Tag Archives: running

Tiree Ultra-Marathon

ultramarathon_routeWith one week to go before the first Tiree Ultramarathon, we wanted to share a story that has driven two runners to take on the challenge of running around this island.

Over 60 runners will be on the start line, and I hope that as a community we can cheer and support them in whatever way we can, and show them what a great place Tiree is, as they run, jog and walk those 35 miles.

Event Basics:

· Starting at Sandaig it’s a 35 mile run anti-clockwise around the island

· The course follows established walking routes, beaches, roads and tracks

· There’s relay teams as well as individual entries

· Many local residents have risen to the challenge

· We need volunteers on the day, and any donations for spot prizes

More details, course maps and entry information can be found at www.tireefitness.co.uk If you would like to help out, and support the event, contact Will on 220421 or go on the Tiree Fitness website.

And now, if you need inspiration, if you need a reason to keep going when it gets tough – here’s Anita’s reason for running:

“My challenge is to run 35 miles along the coastline of Tiree. Can I do it?? Well I hope I can, and helping me along the way is my bestie & fabulous coach (who is slightly crazier than me) Tracey, who has done some amazing challenges over the last few years. I think getting me to the finishing line on Tiree without too many tears is her biggest one yet!!

My motivation along the way is to raise some money in memory of a gorgeous little boy called Axel. I am fundraising for Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia Charity (CDH UK).

Friends of ours, Claire and Mervyn, had a beautiful son Axel, brother to Olivia and Kash, born on 5th February 2014. Axel was born with CDH and spent his life in Yorkhill Children’s Hospital in Glasgow.

Axel was born with his liver high up in his chest, gallbladder, small intestine and then his kidney. This made it difficult for his lungs to develop during pregnancy. At birth he needed ventilated straightaway and was rushed to Yorkhill Hospital to be put on life saving treatment. He was able to have repair operations performed on his ward as he was too sick to move. The hole in his diaphragm was so big it was repaired with a Gore-Tex patch.

Unfortunately CDH can lead to other issues after the repair. Axel’s right lung was extremely small, he suffered problems with pulmonary hypertension, blood clots, infections, required ventilation and had operations to try and resolve a chylothorax. Sadly after 100 days of battling, Axel passed away on the 16th May 2014. A very brave wee soldier with extremely brave strong parents. Sleep tight gorgeous xxx

CDH is common in the UK (1 in 2500), but is a condition I had never heard of before and I would like to help raise awareness and support the fantastic work that the charity do. CDH UK will continue to be a huge support to Claire and her wonderful family. Please help me support this charity by sponsoring me in my run around Tiree.” See more at: http://www.mycharitypage.com/ultramarathonanita


Terrific Tiree 10k Goes Global

tiree_10k_2014They came to Tiree by plane and by ferry from all over the UK to take part in the marathon. There were groups from as far away as Slovakia and Brazil. There were kids in their prams and runners in their seventies eager to cover the distance in their best time. And Lindsay Matthews (37), running her first ever race, covered the ground of the half marathon in two hours and six minutes. Lindsay, who comes from Bearsden, near Glasgow, said, “It was a marvellous day. Enjoyed every minute!”

In all, 250 runners finished the course, five times the number who took part nine years ago when it all began. It has now become a huge success and a ‘must run’ event for many marathon competitors in the UK and beyond.

All the way from Paris came Justin Welstead and his family. They flew to Glasgow and chartered a Hebridean Airways plane to reach Tiree in time for the race. Justin, whose father Bill Welstead is a Tiree resident, came 26th and his young daughter Clara was 17th and 5th woman. Bill Welstead told us, “They came all that way for just two days specially to take part and they had a wonderful time. Justin works in Paris as a financial consultant so this trip to Tiree for the marathon gave him a really good break!”

The Tiree 10K and Half Marathon is the brainchild of the island’s fitness guru and very own ‘Iron Man’ Will Wright, who has put many long hours into planning the popular annual event.

Will said :”It has been a real pleasure to watch this event grow and to see people return year after year. Watching local runners complete the course is rather special. And to know that folk travelled all the way from Slovakia and Paris just to do this proves how special Tiree is.”

The races started and finished on Sorobaidh beach. The 10K and half marathon runners all set off together followed by the pram pushers. Then the kids off on their own races. Marshals stationed around the course encouraged and directed competitors and were amazed by the drive, determination and focus of everyone who took part. In the evening there was a prizegiving event and dance with our very own Trail West providing the sounds. This was a great evening to relax and enjoy the company of other runners and all the local folk who cheered them on. A great day was had by all.

Inspired Will In Top Form In Edinburgh

will_marathonIt’s a few weeks past now, but on the 26th May local resident Will Wright joined 27,000 people at the Edinburgh Marathon Festival.

This is Scotland’s biggest running festival and attracts runners from all over the world, from beginners right through to elite international athletes.

“It was a last minute entry into the marathon as I was supposed to be racing at the triathlon world championships that weekend, but I opted for the marathon instead. And I’m glad I did, it was an amazing event, so many people taking part and the streets lined with spectators.”

The festival was over 2 days with races of 5km, 10km, Half Marathon and Marathon distance, as well as Junior and Relay races. The event’s charity partner was Macmillan Cancer Support, with many runners raising funds for this, and other causes.

“Running seems to bring out the best in people, the atmosphere on the start line was just inspiring, and with so many people running for good causes there was a real emotional attachment to completing the challenge. There were cheers of support all around the course from spectators and other runners.”

The marathon was won by elite Ethiopian athlete Tola Lema in 2hrs15, followed by John Kales from Kenya. A few places back in 13th was Will Wright in a finishing time of 2hrs40.

“I’m delighted to finish so high up, and to get a time like that has made all the training worth it, so many laps around Tiree, so many times up to the golf ball and along the beach. I love running on Tiree anyway, and to get a good result at a race as big as Edinburgh is really encouraging.”

With lots of international runners competing, the top places were taken up by visiting runners from all over the world. Will’s finish time managed to get him the trophy for 1st Scottish Runner – “It was a bit of a surprise, but I felt that living and training on Tiree, and being able to train with lots of people here, I was collecting that trophy as one for the whole Tiree Team. I think it shows that even living on a small island, it’s possible to work towards something like that and actually do quite well. So I’ll pass that title to Team Tiree as a thank you for all the encouragement that people have shown me as I run and bike around the island –  thank you!”

Will’s next event is an Ironman Triathlon in Spain at the end of July where he will be racing for the first time as a Pro athlete.

Will is sponsored by Scott Running, The Natural Ketosis Company and XTerra Wetsuits.

Records Broken and Stories of Achievement On A Windy Island

Tiree 10k and Half Marathon ~ By Will wright

10k runnerThis was to be the first ever Tiree Half Marathon, and the 8th edition of the Tiree 10k – the 2013 event was definitely the best yet. 13.1 miles for the Half Marathon, 6.2 miles for the 10k: over 200 people lined up on the beach ready to battle against the wind and rain, to overcome the tiredness and fatigue that was sure to come, to ignore the voices that said it couldn’t be done, and to get back to the finish line with every mile completed. Walkers, runners, kids, pram pushers; everybody raised their game and made it to the finish in what was the most challenging conditions we’ve had for this event. For this and many other reasons, it was the best year yet.

At the prize giving on Saturday night there was a real sense of achievement, magnified by the challenging weather conditions, and justified by the number of people who told me this was their first half marathon, or they beat their PB, or that it was simply the hardest thing they’ve ever done. With a winning Half Marathon time of 1hr13 it was a day of extremes from start to finish. The 10k event saw record entry numbers and a new course record. The kids event saw the fastest ever 2km time and some promising young runners. And the 10k Dance was one of the best nights I’ve seen on Tiree; great music, great atmosphere, and everyone up dancing right from the start.

So, thank you everyone who helped make it such a special weekend. In particular the event sponsors: Tiree Medical Practice, the Co-op, Active Schools, Scott Running, Chocolate & Charms and everyone who entered the events. And of course the excellent helpers who did such a great job to make the day run smoothly. Thank you everyone for being so considerate and supportive for all the runners who took part on the day.

Tiree 10k 2013“I had a brilliant time at the 10k and I am so glad I made the journey as I loved the race and breathtaking scenery.” – Suzanne Halliday

“I’ve gained so much from the running community in the last few years, and Tiree was an excellent example of sharing that love. I’ve told my husband that it’s an island we must visit.” – Deirdre Hoyle

“Just wanted to say how much I and my friends enjoyed the races at the weekend, definitely worth the long trip from Glasgow and Edinburgh! I got a new p.b. time and was so happy to do this in such a beautiful place.” – Clare McKinlay

“The weather might not have been great, but the atmosphere at the Tiree 10k and Half Marathon certainly was. The course was scenic, but challenging and despite the wind, sand, cattlegrids and off-road section I managed to run a personal best time. A particular high for me was how encouraging all the runners were of each other.” – Catherine Stewart, 1st lady, half marathon.

Next year’s event is on Saturday 3rd May 2014 – Bank Holiday weekend. If you’ve got any good photos please let me know. The finish times are up on the Tiree Fitness website – www.TireeFitness.co.uk and any comments or feedback please contact Will Wright.

Tiree 10k Scorcher


There is little doubt that Tiree is the sunniest place in the UK – that fact was proved with Tiree getting the highest UK sunshine hours in April and May this year – 270 hours in May! The Tiree 10k weekend was one of the hottest with temperatures up into the mid thirties.

So it was in those conditions that runners, walkers, kids and pram pushers lined up on the beach start line ready to sweat it out over 10km. Overall winner Owain Williams finished in a time of 39:32 – “this was my third attempt at getting a top podium finish on Tiree. I would say this year was the toughest yet. The heat was unbelievable but the water stops were a welcome sight. My time was much slower than I had hoped and trained for but Tiree is my favourite race; a home race but also something a bit different – a bit of beach running, some road running and a fantastic dance at the end.”

The fastest female runner was Catherine Stewart (43:44) – “The last kilometre is always tough – jelly legs and sand running do not mix well, but it’s all part of why I love this event.” One of the top local finishers was Stewart MacLennan (48:21) – “a fantastic day and evening dance. I was also pretty chuffed with my time considering the tropical heat which at times was not fun!! Looking forward to 2013!!”

The Tiree 10k started in 2006 with 40 runners and each year has grown with over 200 runners last year. The age range stretches from several months in the pram push to over 70 years. Spot prizes were awarded this year to Jimmy, Susan and Allanah Kyle, Sophie Isaacson, and our pram pushers – Jo, Mark, Eilidh and Carrie. Congratulations to everyone who completed the event.

running 10k

So, despite the last minute ferry delay which meant about 75 runners were stuck in Oban and had to go home, we still had a great turn out from local residents and visitors who entered into the spirit of the event and made for a successful day rounded off with an amazing dance with Trail West.

There was a group of 33 runners and walkers who travelled from Mull and Iona as well as a group from Coll, both groups having chartered their own boats to get here. Mhairi Killin from Iona said: “My friend Nikki inspired us all to achieve something we thought we couldn’t achieve. It was a great experience.” For more information on the inspiring story behind the Iona Runners go to http://www.justgiving.com/NicolaHodge.

Next year we are due for a change, the Hynish course has been used for 3 years now so it’s time to shake things up. I’d be interested to hear any ideas or suggestions for developing the event. Thanks again everyone who took part or contributed to the success of the 2012 Tiree 10k. Full results can be found at http://www.tireefitness.co.uk/

Health Matters – To Run Or Not

stethoscopeExercise is bad for you. It’s something I’ve heard a lot on the island recently, and I can see why. However, not exercising is worse!

We have worried about exercising too vigorously since the time of the Ancient Greeks. The messenger Pheidippides ran 150 miles in two days when the Persians invaded at Marathon in 490 BC. When he reached the finishing line he gasped, “We have won” – and died on the spot. In 1909 a group of eminent doctors wrote to The Times saying that, “school and cross-country races exceeding one mile in distance were wholly unsuitable for boys under the age of nineteen, as the continued strain involved is apt to cause permanent injury to the heart and other organs.” And when the 52 year old running guru Jim Fixx died of a heart attack in 1984 while out for his morning jog – well, that proved it. (except that he lived nine years longer than his dad). And yet, doctors still want you to work up a sweat five times a week! What’s going on? The short answer to the so-called ‘exercise paradox’ is that pushing yourself  is slightly dangerous – while you’re doing it. While you’re exercising your risk of dying from a heart attack just about doubles. That’s still a small number if you’re young or female; a slightly larger number if you’re older or male. But, when you stop, the body’s metabolism and hormone levels change for the next two days in a profoundly healthy way. So you end up much better off. Sudden death during exercise happens, even in young people who reckon they’re healthy. Let’s not pretend it doesn’t exist. But it’s incredibly rare – one study on American nurses put the risk at one death for every 36 million hours of exercise. And almost all of those who collapse have something wrong with their hearts. This is why there has recently been such a lot of talk about screening young players as they do in Italy. Since 1982 it has been compulsory there for all kids taking part in sport to have a medical examination and an ECG, an electrical test on the heart. About 2% need further tests, and some of these are no doubt disappointed to be told to stop playing completely. But there has been a 90% fall in the number of sudden deaths during exercise in Italy and the pressure is building to introduce it here.

Here’s the trick. Don’t push yourself. Build it up slowly. Be careful when you get over 50. And listen to your body – stop if it hurts. It is important to be aware of what your body is telling you. One study found that almost half of all athletes who died during exercise had had symptoms, like chest pain, in the previous weeks. And you don’t have to push yourself to the limit to get huge health benefits. The chances of sudden cardiac death for a middle aged man like me during a 30 minute brisk walk is tiny, compared to my haring after a fit teenager during an all-ages shinty game. Despite all these warnings, exercise is great for your health. Researchers in Seattle looked at the 145 people who had died suddenly in one year in the city. Those who exercised vigorously were two thirds less likely to die than those who were couch potatoes. And doesn’t all that running knacker your knees? Well, no actually. A study in California followed middle aged runners for 20 years. At the end 32% of the non runners had knee arthritis and only 20% of the runners. But different sports do mean different risks. There were 14 injuries reported by 1000 runners in one study over a year, 64 by football players and 96 by rugby players. 1 in 600 horse riders are injured every year, particularly novice riders. Horse riding in Australia was found to be the third most dangerous sport after motor racing and power boating.

So, exercising is much better for you than not exercising. Some pastimes are safer than others. And if you’re a middle aged man like me – be sensible!

Tiree 10k 2011

10k 2011

On Saturday 30th April the annual Tiree 10k Fun Run took place in glorious sunshine with plenty of local residents and visitors taking part. There were 173 runners and walkers altogether including Power Pushers and Kids Fun Runners. Once again the Tiree Pipe Band started everyone off along the beach and provided a great setting for the start of the event.

Out on the course the warm weather made it hard for the runners but there were still some fast times with Tim Brand from Lochaber coming over the line first in 36:36 closely followed by Tiree’s Owain Williams in 37:21. Owain has knocked 2 minutes off his time from last year and is running the Edinburgh Marathon later this month. Also finishing strongly was Jennifer MacKinnon in 48:06, which gained her first place in her age group.

The kids events saw the closest finish ever with Colin, Finn and Jack sprinting for the line well ahead of the rest of the field. Jack managed to cross the line first and a great performance from all three. Rowan was first back for the girls just a few minutes later.

Out on the 10km walk there seemed to be some odd characters with Captain America and Mr Blobby making it all the way round. Among others they were raising funds for the Gobi Desert Trek. Well done to them and all the walkers who completed the course.

Once again I’d just like to thank everyone who helped on the day or contributed towards the event and in particular the event sponsors. Thanks also to the people who live or work along the actual course for their patience as 173 runners and walkers passed by!

10k 2011 power pushers

The event seems to get better each year and this time it’s also helped raise funds for the Tiree Pipe Band, the Duke of Edinburgh group, the PTA, the Tiree Sports Foundation and the Gobi Desert trek. Thanks everyone for making it such a fantastic day.

Have a look on the website for full results and the date for next year’s event will be announced soon.

Tiree 10k 2011

Tiree 10k logo

Only a couple of weeks to go before the Tiree 10k is here again.

Saturday 30th April will see runners and walkers of all ages and abilities take to the roads to complete the 10km course;
which starts on Sorobaidh beach and continues down the road to Hynish and back.

As usual there will also be the Power Push and Kids events taking place so no excuses for not taking part! If you’re driving on the roads that day please be extra careful as there will be children and adults in the road. Caution signs will be displayed.

All events start at 1pm with registration opening at 11am so make sure you get to An Talla early enough to get to the start line on time. Please return your entry forms as soon as you can. They’re available from www.tireefitness.co.uk and are also available at the Business Centre.

Good luck everyone. I hope you all have a fantastic day and thank you to the event sponsors;
Active Schools, Concise Aerospace, Tiree Medical Practice, Chocolates & Charms and the Cooperative.

The Year In Review

Looking back at 2010 shows that the year started quietly.

The main topic of conversation which divided opinion on and off the island, is the proposed off-shore wind farm, now known as Tiree Array, which caused heated debates and which I am sure will continue through this year too.

February saw the appointment of a new Police Officer – PC Tanner, and the wind turbine at Ruaig was given the name Tilley following a competition run by the board of Tiree Trust.

Following tests in April Tilley was officially declared “open”, with a naming ceremony at Ruaig, followed by a gathering at An Talla where Champagne was served followed by Tea/coffee and cakes. A dance in the evening was well attended.

Work started on the Ringside Theatre and Tiree Maritime Boat Builder Course ended with the full renovation of Morag- Anne and Daisy and the start of the making of a new copy of Morag-Anne.

The newly formed [email protected] room on a Friday evening proved popular with our youngsters as did the continuation of the Youth Club.

In March there were rumours that Tiree High School could be closed as part of Argyll & Bute Councils cost saving measures. This culminated in a packed meeting at An Talla in May being informed that whilst the school would remain open the number of teaching staff would need to be reduced. The Parent Council organised many meetings with council and government officials in order to minimise the harm that this would do to the education of our children.

Over 100 people took part in Tiree’s first ever Sport Relief Mile raising over £1000 for charity.

Highland Airways went bust and the flights from Oban to Tiree were taken over by Hebridean Air Services Ltd.

In May we heard that there was to be another island first –Tiree Music Festival was to take place in July. This turned out to be a huge success with performances from Skerryvore, Skippinish, Gunna Sound, Trailwest, the Defenders, Fortunate Sons, Crooked Reel, Torridon and a unique performance by the All Star Tiree Ceilidh Band. News of this year’s Tiree Music Festival will be announced shortly – watch this space!

A volcano erupting in Iceland caused disruption to flights all over Britain and Tiree was left for a number of days with no planes arriving or departing.

For those of a more energetic nature the annual 10k run in June involved over 200 people both locals and visitors.

The debate regarding Tiree Array continued with over 150 people attending a public meeting at An Talla.

2010 was the year of the 50th Anniversary of Tiree SWRI, a lunch was held at the Lodge Hotel to mark the occasion.

A group was set up to try to find a way to save the Thatched House Museum and although the original building has been sold there are plans to build a new thatched house museum and research into this is ongoing.

July was packed with the Art Exhibition, Feis, Agricultural Show and Dance, Sports Day and 5 A-side football tournament. Strenuous activity continued in August with the Regatta. Once again the Raft Race proved a popular if slightly ungainly affair and the Trawler race was fought out in its unique colourful way!

A Grand Black Tie event was held to mark the opening of The Ringside Theatre and film showings there over the following months have proved to be popular with young and old.

Another first for Tiree occurred at the end of September when a Northern Parula ( a small bird) stopped for a few days of rest. This was so rare that twitchers from all over the mainland arrived – some by chartered plane- to catch a glimpse of the visitor.

Although the winds blew strongly at the beginning of October, by the date of the wave Classic the island was left with barely a breeze and many activities took place on land rather than on the waves.

In October a new memorial was unveiled at Sandaig, to commemorate HMS Sturdy which had been driven onto the rocks following a storm in 1940.

Gordon Connel was winner of Music Tutor of the Year at the Trads in November and Skippinish Ceilidh House won Venue of the Year.

December saw snow lying on the ground for a number of days and temperatures struggled to get above zero despite the sunshine. The Christmas Party season banished the winter chill for a few days at least but a few days into January the snow returned to keep us on our toes.

Tiree’s Scottish Champion

will running

Not many of us would want to even think about it let alone actually do it, and on hearing about it we may think a degree of insanity was required, but there’s no doubt that for someone to not only take part but to win requires dedication and stamina.

On Saturday 11 September Will Wright swam 1.9 km in Loch Linnie’s icy waters, Mountain biked along a 90 km route and ran up and back down Ben Nevis – a distance of 21 km.

Competing against many other intrepid souls he improved on his placing of 9th in last year’s event and finished first making him the Off Road Triathlon Scottish Champion of 2010.

Congratulations Will from all of us armchair athletes who can only manage such activities whilst dreaming.

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