I signed up for this race a while back as there have been a serious lack of events on the calendar and I needed both something to aim for and a race or two to get used to running in a crowded start again. I’d heard Huntly was a tough run so figured I’d go easy and see what happened.
Parking up near the Gordon Schools I picked up my number before heading off on my warm up. Focusing on marathon training, this was just shy of 2 miles and my legs felt a little heavy after the miles already banked this week.
I didn’t have much time, so it was a quick toilet stop and out to join the crowds assembled by the Huntly Pipe Band. This was a great way to start, the band taking the runners to the start area. With chip timing in place there was no great rush to get over the line and a relaxed feel to the start.
We counted down from 10 following a quick briefing, and we were off. Initially the route headed towards Huntly Castle where we encountered the first gradual incline, before briefly running alongside, then across a minor road. We then headed up into Bin Wood where all the fun began!
My recollection of the course is vague, but I clearly remember the short section of single track that was both tough and rough. At this point I was questioning my decision to wear road shoes as I was lacking grip. I did walk a wee bit here as I figured it was as quick as attempting to run uphill and would conserve energy! Apparently I wasn’t the only one with this thought.
Once up, there were some decent fire roads to follow, with good downhill sections and a few shorter ups (minor undulations) that were far easier due to the harder paths underfoot.
I found myself really enjoying the run; it was a lovely environment to be in with some good views and very encouraging marshals along the way. There was also good camaraderie among the runners and I did chat to a few folks at various points.
Before long it was back down the hard section we’d come up, treading carefully to ensure I made it safely. Then across the minor road where I tried to run into nothing as I was chatting to the marshals and hadn’t realised everyone else before me had turned right along the minor road.
Quickly correcting myself on realising I couldn’t go any further, I enjoyed the last couple of miles, and before I knew it I was on the finishing straight picking up speed for the final push. It was such a boost to have a crowd supporting, clapping and cheering me on to the line. Metro Aberdeen got a shout as we’d turned out quite a number – always good to hear the club being recognised.
Post race, it was good to bump into various running buddies and parkrun friends, and great to see the 10k starting off.
Overall verdict: a challenging half, but a great course and definitely one I’d do again. Great t-shirt too!