Hilton tames the Pyramid
MOSSMAN radiographer Jimmy Hilton embellished his stamp on the Great Pyramid Race near Gordonvale last weekend with his third straight win in the event.
The mountain king was first to the Pyramid peak and eventually crossed the line in 1:22:47 on Saturday in front of race record holder Neil Labinsky and local hope Steven Francis.
It was hot and the 100strong field battled a headwind on the flat path to the foot of the climb.
Hilton declared it was his slowest race yet – his best was 1:18 – and he was ecstatic with the win over such a strong group of competitors – and in front of his family who had come up from Victoria.
It was an especially fine win given Hilton had been battling a flu infection in recent weeks (as had other workers at Mossman Hospital). “I’m a bit bunged up still.” It affected his training in the lead up to the event, which normally consists of running up the hills at Hilton’s Cassowary valley home and up the Bump Ttrack in Mowbray.
Early this year Hilton was hit by Ross River fever which “just dragged on”, he said.
The heat was worse than in previous years and “I found it quite tough in the first half an hour and I think that slowed everyone else down too. It was one of the my toughest races and I was very ecstatic with the result,” said the 37 year old.
The Pyramid is a particular type of race, of course. “I don’t think it’s a runner’s race, to be honest,” Hilton said. “It’s a bit of everything.
“It’s a mental race, to be able to switch off when you’re hurting on the way up.
“And then to be brave enough to switch off your consciousness on the way down and just go as hard as you can down the goat track, hanging on to every single branch and tree, anything you can to stop yourself from falling. It’s mainly rocks and granite boulders.
“You’re leaping from rock to rock. They call it a downhill freefall. Your quaddies take a pounding, that’s for sure.
“And you’re dodging a hundred runners on the way up.”
The descent takes 20 minutes, compared with the hour or so in the climb. The total course is 12 km and the mountain is 3 km up and 3 km down.
Hilton has his eye on a few more races in the winter, depending on how his body holds up.
As for next year’s Pyramid, “I wouldn’t miss it, I love it. A good rush.”
Three starts in the Pyramid Race, three wins: Jimmy Hilton heading to the finish line on Saturday.