The Hill (Andrew)

There’s a hill near my house that’s smaller than I thought. Every few weeks I like to run up it to check if I can run it faster than before.

The hill is in Queen’s Park. You start at Balvicar Street then run up a 9% slope until you get to the flagpole at the top of the park. It started as a two minute run and over the last 18 months I’ve been getting closer to one and a half minutes. Until Saturday, when I found out it was smaller than I thought because…

… Stava doesn’t use the top of the hill as it’s finish line. It stops it’s segment just below the flag pole. I’d been running an extra 20 metres and it wasn’t recorded.

And if a runner runs in the woods and doesn’t record it in Strava, do they make a sound?

For 18 months I’ve been running up the hill and leaving my final burst of speed until AFTER the actual finish line. I’d been running to the top when the finish line was still on the slope.


Which just goes to show how much I use Strava i.e. not a lot! I like the app to see gradient, speed and matching run times. So, if I run the same route again, it’ll remember and show you how you compare.

But as for segments, I only look at two. Queen Park hill run and another hill run in Stornoway to run up to the War Memorial overlooking the town.

And, looking at that one, I have that one wrong too…

I start running after the segment starts! I run from a gate when I should be running 10 metres before that. No wonder my time of three minutes was so slow – I wasn’t even trying for part of the run.

So, while I can see the appeal of Strava segments, turning the world into a series of races and challenges, in practice, there’s a reason for a start line and finishing tape. You need to know when to run and when to stop.

However, just as Chris Froome would do better if he turned up for the Tour De France in France instead of starting in Japan, looking on the bright side, I can now see that I can do the same and smash my best time just by running the right route next time I’m out.