I suppose one of the potential benefits of shorter races should be shorter blog posts so here goes.
It's quite a while since my running club sent a large group to participate in a race and despite initial enthusiasm and sign ups when entries opened in February, this number was whittled down by injury, work and other distractions from 15 to 7 Harriers toeing the line on the night.
I'd managed to wangle my work schedule to be in Ayrshire and I narrowly made it on time, turning up a mere two and a half hours before the race started! The upside being I had no trouble finding a parking place, no queue to collect my number, no queue for the bogs and I was able to rest my eyes in the car for an hour.
This race is one of a diminishing number of midweek races, but remains incredibly popular being both a sell-out and attracting over 900 runners this year persuaded by the excellent value, chip timing and fast and flat route it offers.
The start and finish is on the Troon seafront with a brisk and blustery wind on the night promising a tailwind on the first kilometre and a challenging headwind for the final 1000 metres.
A few minutes before 7pm Andy, Emma, Lesley and myself positioned ourselves close to the 42 minutes sign. I felt this was realistic, but had a slight confidence quiver when I looked back and saw that this put us very close to the sharp end. Eight hundred people behind you on a 10 K is an awful lot of people, too late to change now, we're off.
Much to my surprise I wasn't immediately trampled and overwhelmed by a rampaging horde of skinny road runners, in the first kilometre I was probably overtaken by 10 people and in turn overtook about 10 people myself, so perhaps, for once most runners had put themselves in the correct "starting pen".
The route is flat other than two spots where the road crosses the railway line, and is on footpaths, quiet residential roads and a couple of very short bits on Tarmac track, a definite PB potential race. It's incredibly well marshalled with a reasonable smattering of support, particularly on the second half.
I've got no tales of interesting conversations or musings about the magnificence of the scenery as its a 10K so I was working too hard to talk and you're mostly running through housing estates and around the perimeter of Troon Municipal golf course.
From the off Andy disappeared into the distance and although I overtook Emma around 1K, she promptly repaid the favour and that was the last I saw of her till the finish!
I was acutely aware that this race fell a mere 10 days after the Highland Fling and 10 days before my first crack at the 55 mile Cateran Ultra so my race plan was to aim for sub 7 minute miles, ease off if things hurt and hold on if I could.
My mile splits were 6:43 6:56 6:51 6:56 6:53 6:51 and although I was working hard, I didn't feel I was majorly "in the red" at any point. The last kilometre is back along the seafront into a noticeable headwind which allowed me to pass a couple of people and my usual sprint in the final 100 metres gave me another couple of scalps, I finished in 42 minutes dead, knocking 42 seconds of my PB. I'm pretty chuffed with that given the complete absence of any speed work in my training this year.
The slick organisation continued after the finish with runners being funnelled to collect your technical t-shirt, commemorative buff, water and a Tunnocks Caramel wafer, incredible value race for £10 especially for a chip timed event.
|Carol, Emma, Doug, Lesley, me, Carolyn & Andy|
For the record the Dumfries contingent finished as follows
Andy Beattie 40:37 49th
Emma Knowles 41:09 64th (and 8th lady overall). PB
Keith Ainslie 42:00 74th. PB
Lesley Jeffrey 43:30 111th
Douglas Kerr 47:11 218th. PB
Carol Graham 55:01 547th. PB
Carolyn Davies 1:10:22 897th
Well done to Troon Tortoises RC who organise the event, it's a race I'd thoroughly recommend.