Saturday saw the inaugural running of these races in Arran after their last-minute postponement last year due to weather. There were two races, advertised as 25km and a 71km Ultra. However, the Ultra was cut short to 50km (I think), missing out a couple of technical loops, and the 25km (Tarsuinn) race was actually nearer 27km (with around 6,000 feet of climb).
There were 4 Carnethies running – Myvanwy Hanna in the Ultra and Neil Burnett, Stephen Magee and myself in the shorter race. The Ultra runners set off on their shortened race at noon and we were off at 1pm.
The Tarsuinn Trail race had elements of the Glenrosa Horseshoe about it, albeit in the opposite direction, so taking in Goatfell first (and as we ran from the beach at start, we took in all 874m of it), followed by North Goatfell, to Cir Mhòr (799m) across The Saddle. There was some very technical stuff here and there was much scrambling and sliding and climbing, before a more runnable section up to the midpoint spur at Caisteail Abhail (859m). Some finishers took it upon themselves to miss this extra spur completely and 7 were disqualified in all at the finish. From here we started to descend until the final climb up to Beinn Tarsuinn (937m) and then it was a descent to the final couple of miles on a road/track to the finish at Ormidale Pavilion.
Neil had a great run on his preferred surface (large, sharp rocks) to take 3rd place (and wasn’t far off a the win) in 3.50 and (unusually for me on longer races) I had a decent run in and managed to overhaul 5 runners to finish in 16th in 4.50 with Stephen in 4.56 for 18th. Myvanwy was first female on the Ultra in 9.43 in what looked like a brutal day out.
We were lucky with the weather: cool with little breeze and decent visibility (I only went wrong once!) and finished the race thinking it was a real test and would highly recommend it. It was a technical run, but not overbearingly so and the ascent up to Goatfell gives you a chance to warm up before the harder running begins. Getting there and back in a day was a bonus too. Hopefully 2019 will see greater numbers, as it deserves to become an established race.
Results here: https://www.ultratrailscotland.com/results.html