This was a new event for me and as I learned before the start, the event is in its infancy after just starting last year. I only discovered this race a week ago Brian, a friend I know through Parkrun and Ginnie, mentioned it after last week’s Parkrun and when I went to enter the Aviemore 10k and missed the cut-off point for entries, I checked the race out and signed up straight away.
I rarely race 10k and, as such, it’s been a while since I’ve actually done one. I decided recently that it would be good to do a few over the Autumn/Winter period to keep me ticking over and build towards training for Paris so I signed up for this race and the Men’s 10k in Edinburgh, a race I did last year, so it would give me a race in October and November.
The race is held at the popular Lochore Meadows Country Park in Fife and only a short journey down the road for me. The race is billed as “a generally flat and fast 2 lap route, mostly on ‘hard packed’ trails / paths, with a short section on road within the park” and is optional to wear trail shoes or road shoes. Under normal circumstances, I can see road shoes as being beneficial but the rain we’ve had over the last few days, trail shoes were probably better. Definitely not the day to wear brand new, pristine white shoes! In many races, getting parked and using the toilets can be tricky due to the numbers but as this race was limited to 160, this wasn’t really an issue.
I arrived at 9.45am, 15 minutes before registration was due to close and while there were a few people arriving at the same time, the queue for numbers flowed swiftly and there was a relaxed and efficient atmosphere, which is nice to see. I had time to go back to the car, get organised, visit the toilet before the race briefing. There’s something nice about smallish races where everything just seems so relaxed yet brilliantly organised so there’s a gentle flow with no obvious stress. The organiser did a great job, his announcements very clear and it wasn’t long before we made our way to the start line. I normally don’t hear all the announcements at races, mostly from the chatter of other runners and just go with the default of following the person in front but this wasn’t an issue today.
We got off and I was at the back of the pack, which made it tricky to get past people as the path was narrow but this can be a good thing as it allows you to go easy and not do anything silly like go off too fast and struggle the rest of the way. After half a mile a few spaces started to appear and so I was able to take advantage and go past some groups of people. It was around this time I was able to settle into my rhythm and start to think of my pace. When you haven’t raced 10k for a long time, it can be tricky to find a pace that’s good for that distance so it was going to be good learning for me.
The route is fairly easy to follow with only a couple of bits where a marshal is needed. While it was billed as flat and fast, there were a couple of wee hills to tackle, which is fine but you have to tackle them again in the second lap so it’s worth to bear that in mind when you’re pacing it. It also has a couple of deceptive bits where you think you’re about to go round the bend that will take you to the halfway point/finish only to find there’s another bit to go before you reach those points. You would think that you’d learn it in the first lap but it caught me again in the second lap!
If you live around Central Scotland or Tayside then I would highly recommend looking out for this race. It’s very well organised and a good introduction if you’ve never done a trail race before. You need to get in quick as the limit this year was 160 and they sold out well in advance of the event. We got a good wee medal at the finish along with a bottle of water and a Bounce Ball protein snack, which was pretty tasty, in the goody bag. A great race with lots of friendly runners to chat to before, during and at the finish.
I’ll maybe see you there next year! Have you tried any smaller races that are new to you? How did it compare to the ones you normally do?