I’ve wanted to do this race for a few years. Usually run in April, it falls in the middle of the school holidays and fills up pretty fast. Rescheduled for 2021 and billed as one of the most scenic 10k races in Britain, I was delighted to finally have a chance to run it.
After substantial rain on Friday, having read someone else’s report from previous years suggesting the finish involved pushing cars out of the field, I was a little worried I’d get stuck in the dubs! I was therefore relieved to find that we weren’t headed for the field after all.
On approach, a lengthy queue of cars could be seen sitting on the road to Glenlivet Distillery. Turning onto the access road to join the very slow moving queue, it became apparent that the reason for the delay was due to drivers being directed to park up on the verge – ‘the field’s wet and I don’t want to be pulling you all out later!’ A wise move!
Firstly, thanks to Glenlivet Distillery for hosting the event. Registration was a wee walk away, but in a warm ‘bar’ with lovely facilities, far superior to the usual pre-race portaloos or toilets that refuse to flush with the heavy traffic! Having visited both registration and facilities, I set off back to the car to rid myself of some layers, somewhat reluctantly it has to be said. With quite strong gusts of wind and a darkness on the nearby hills I was a little concerned as to what lay in store for us.
The Warm Up
Opting to keep my base layer, I ditched the trousers and down jacket to run in shorts and vest. I’m usually pretty hardy and wouldn’t wear anything under my vest, but as I mentioned, the wind was not insignificant and being slightly higher I was concerned the route may be more exposed in parts. I ran back up and around the distillery, doing just over a mile, before visiting the facilities again, then making my way outdoors for the briefing and warm up.
While others bounced about with great gusto, I did some half hearted knee lifts and butt kicks, not wishing to do myself any damage with enthusiastic moves I’m not accustomed to. The music was good and it was fun to be back amongst a crowd to race again, still a novelty after so long away.
Countdown from 5
We were off! A fast downhill to begin, we set off in good spirits despite the light rain. This was a section to savour knowing it wouldn’t last too long.
Before the first mile was up, the climbing started, initially just a little teaser followed by some downhill, before the long climb. It was tough! I slowed the pace knowing there was no way I could keep going at any speed. Even running slowly it was an effort, my legs protesting and encouraging me to walk – I ignored them. It was good to have people around me and I stuck with a few others, slow and steady, one foot in front of the other.
I knew the hill would come to an end but didn’t fully trust that it was over until I reached the halfway point. I was very relieved to then enjoy a long, fast descent, picking up the pace significantly.
Continuing into the last two miles, I enjoyed that it was such a short race in comparison with my last (the marathon), and was happy ticking along, knowing I wasn’t going to hit the time I’d hoped to reach for my club standard (45:00) but that I’d done my best on the course. The only downside was being hit by the wind at one point, making ‘easy’ running feel more challenging than it ordinarily would.
Finally into the last mile and past the Dufftown turn off, I knew it was all downhill. The rain was still pretty light, the distillery was in sight, I was happy! Making the final push to the line, I slowed the pace as I crossed the chip timing mats as the marshal shouted to be careful – they were wet and led down a short sharp rough track so I wasn’t taking any chances! Had a club standard been in sight the story might have been different!
I offered congratulations to those around me, thanking those that had kept me going by being in my sights along the way.
Down the track and across the suspension bridge, we were greeted by a merry band of volunteers offering goodie bags and medals. Much appreciated!
The Results Are In
Finishing the run, I cooled down by running slowly back to the car, although I confess to walking part way back up the hill towards the distillery. Aware that Thistle Timing were doing the results, I checked the website to find out my official time, live chip timing giving a pretty much instant turnaround.
Although as previously stated, I didn’t get the time I’d hoped for, I was happy to finish in 47:07 and even more delighted to find that I was first female veteran. It’s been a while since I’ve made a podium, largely dependent on some talented local ladies taking the day off!
Having changed into dry clothes, I made my way up to the distillery for the prize giving. While good to share in the joy of the winners, prizes awarded to both 1st – 3rd male and female winners, the prizes for age categories went to the first runner in category and I was happy to see one of my club mates, George, win the vintage prize.
Appreciating this is a charity event and not wishing to sound like there are sour grapes, if I’m honest, I was disappointed not to be recognised. The likelihood of anyone other than a male runner winning the age category prize is very slim and I do believe there’s an equity issue here that should be addressed for future years; my suggestion would be to celebrate both male and female age category winners as other races do (or just not bother).
EDIT: I contacted the organiser to express my thoughts on the lovely course, slick organisation and aforementioned prize categories. I’m very grateful that this email was taken in the spirit intended and my comments received well. Feedback was that the intention had never been to favour any gender, it just so happens that on the day extra bottles were donated and decisions made accordingly – the ‘issue’ highlighted will be taken into consideration in future.
A Great Day Out
Moan aside, the event was really well organised. On a fine day, the scenery would be amazing! There was relatively little traffic on the open roads, all of it courteous toward the runners. Volunteers were encouraging and the event was friendly and welcoming. Thank you CHSS – here’s hoping you did well from it!