CowalFest 5k

Date: 12th October 2013

Profile: Hilly

Terrain: Trail

Weather: Cloudy, and cool

Website: CowalFest

Positives: relaxed event, well organised, good & supportive marshalls, fab goody bag

Negatives: I missed hearing the pre-race instructions

This race was the first ever CowalFest running event held as part of CowalFest, which is held every October celebrating walking and the great outdoors! This was our first ever, proper trail race, and so we opted to sign up for the 5K rather than the 10K event.

@TheWelshWookie and I left in plenty of time, as we had an hour and a half’s drive ahead of us, and we wanted to make sure that we had plenty of time before hand. as the traffic can be slow.

We managed to get there with plenty of time to spare, so we registered and collected our bibs, and then soaked up the atmosphere while debating whether to wear jackets or not!

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It was a cold, fresh day, but we knew that we’d warm up when the run started. As I was wearing my brand-new birthday jacket 😉 I opted to keep it on.

Here’s my pre-race gear check pic:

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The facilities at the start/finish were great. Benmore Gardens, the location of the race, has a lovely coffee shop, and so toilet facilities were better than the usual portaloo! The staff had set up an outdoor sales area, with tea, coffee and snacks available for runners and supporters. It was great!

The race was due to start at 1.30pm, and about five minutes before, we all walked towards the start area. The 10K runners were asked to keep to the front of the group, with the 5K runners further back, which made sense. There wasn’t a loud speaker, and in the beginning, I could hear what was being said. Then, after about 30 seconds or so, the people to my left started talking and laughing, which meant that @TheWelshWookie and I couldn’t hear a thing. Nice one – so thoughtful!


Not only did I miss the briefing, but I actually missed the start of the race! 😮 People headed off, and so I was playing catch-up early on. I pressed the button on my Sport+ watch, and ran!

After we settled into the run, we decided to increase our pace slightly, as we were running well. That was until we reached THE HILL. Never having run here before, I had overheard other runners talking about The Hill, but I thought I’d wait and see it for myself. It was a long, winding monster of a hill! I managed to run for the first third of it or so, and then I power walked the best I could to the top of it. I was pretty out of breath!


The downhill was amazing, though, the view was great (sorry about the finger in the pic!):


I did take it easy, as I was a little worried about slipping on the shale. But I didn’t. 😉

Next, in the middle part of the race, was an out and back section, which was great: I saw that there weren’t many runners ahead of me who were running the 5K, and so my confidence grew a little. I ran a little faster (having recovered from the hill) and began picking off other runners.

In the final part of the race, I just ran. It felt great, I was really enjoying myself, and I picked off another three or four girls heading into the final stretch.

I had a couple of false finishes, though! I came around one corner, and saw a large group cheering, including my sister and three nephews. I assumed that was the finish line, and slowed down! People then started shouting ‘keep going’ and, literally, ‘this isn’t the finish line!’ lol!

I then reached the start area, and thought that I must have missed the actual finish, so again I slowed, and jogged over to the goody bags (priorities, and all that!) when I realised that I hadn’t quite reached the finish line for a second time! Doh!

I had a quick chat with the race officials, told them how much I had enjoyed the race, and then @TheWelshWookie finished.

The whole event was very relaxed, well run, and I loved it, even the big hill. I’d love to do this one again!

The gardens were beautiful:

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Here’s the map of the race:

Screenshot (12)

The goody bag was really great: I love the reusable bag. Here’s the contents of it:


As the 5K was a fun run, it was untimed. BUT- I placed! I was the third female home! Yay! I’ve never placed before, and will probably never place again, so I’m going to enjoy this for a long time!


It was a great run!

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My Stats:

Time: 30:02, but I came up a little short on distance.

The Medal: I was glad to have one, and it was engraved


Goody Bag: reusable tote bag with a lovely logo, 9bar, water, an orange, jelly beans and some great money off vouchers from local businesses including Portavadie Marina and Loch Fyne Oyster Bar.

T-shirt: no t shirt, but we didn’t expect one, given the entry fee.

I’m hoping that this run will be a regular feature!

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