I suspect it’s an indication of how busy the first term of the school year has been that it’s only at the start of my October holidays that I’m getting round to writing about an event I took part in the weekend before term began. That said, the October holidays in Scotland are traditionally known as the “tattie holidays” (when children would pick potatoes in the fields) so it does feel appropriate to be writing this now!
I think I first noticed this event in Facebook posts and was intrigued by the novelty of running with a sack of spuds on my back. Since entry was free (and easy to sort out online) we decided to sign up and a few days before we received race numbers in the post. (I remain undecided as to whether it was on King Edward Street because we actually have a street with the same name as a potato, or if it was just a happy coincidence!).
The premise was simple: turn up, collect a sack of spuds (10kg for women, 20kg for men) and run 4 loops around St John’s Kirk to make approximately a mile. There was also the option of forming a relay team and running a lap each as well as a “spud and spoon” race for kids.
We were fairly last minute getting there as I had been at a SUP yoga session beforehand, but there was enough time to find our tatties, get organised, then the women were set off for their event first, leaving Steve in charge of getting some action shots.
The first lap felt pretty straightforward, but by the second the lack of extra propulsion from my arms was becoming noticeable. We do tend to think that most of the effort is coming from our legs, but when we can no longer use our arms it becomes apparent just how important they are in our running.
By the time I was on the final lap I was definitely ready to be done – who knew a mile could be so tricky! My Garmin (yes, I recorded it out of curiosity to see how it affected my pace) clocked about 0.85 of a mile and I ran at a 9:45 pace. Overall I was running for about 8.5 minutes but I definitely worked hard in those minutes!
Once finished I was given a medal (not bad for a free event) and all finishers got to keep their potatoes. Needless to say, potatoes have accompanied A LOT of meals lately! All the potatoes that were leftover were donated to foodbanks and charities, which I highly approve of.
Overall it was a great fun event. Sometimes it’s good to do something a little different and although my shoulders ached a bit right after, I would definitely do this again if the event returns to Perth next summer.
What’s the most unusual race you have taken part in?