Urban Nights – 7 Hills of Sheffield race report by Tom McCart

Urban Nights is a race series set up by Tim Tett of South Yorkshire Orienteers. Each race is also followed up by a social.

This race is named after the famed number of hills Sheffield is built on (a fact we share with Rome), but Tim has taken an interesting take on the name, each year picking 7 William Hill betting shops to act as controls for the race.

Runners have to visit each ‘Hill’ along the course in any order they choose and finish back at race HQ

The map of the chosen controls was published 2 days before the race allowing for some preliminary planning to take place. Unfortunately Christmas is a very busy time for my job as a postman and I didn’t manage to look at the route until 15 minutes before I set off for the race.

The only thing I decided in these 15 minute was which way round to run the route, I ended up on counter-clockwise due to wanting a nice downhill to ease the legs up after a long day at work.

After paying my race entry (an eye-watering 50 pence) we lined up outside outside race HQ and waited for the shout to go. At this point I noticed that almost everyone else was facing the other way, starting uphill to run the route clockwise.

I had to make a choice, do I stay with what I decided or change my mind and run with the mass. I chose to stay and later came to regret the decision

The run went quite smoothly considering my lack of preparation, I did manage to get lost a couple of times but I managed to correct myself quite quickly and get back on course.

The reason why I regretted not running with the clockwise runners is the section of the race between the 6th and 7th Hill, where I stuck to the main road and miss a shortcut through the Shirecliffe allotments meaning I ended up running an extra kilometre than everyone else. Had I run clockwise I would have been able to follow the pack.

After a change of clothes at Race HQ, it was off to the pub and then to the Rajput for a well earned post race curry.

Next race in the series is ‘The North Stand’ on the 14th January, visiting the oldest football ground in the world, followed by Pizza.

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