Race Report: The Inaugural Carradale Canter 10K

Race Report: The Inaugural Carradale Canter 10K

Date: 12th July 2015

Profile: Undulating

Terrain: Mixed: road, sand and trail

Weather: Warm and sunny

Website: https://www.facebook.com/greatcarradalecanter

Positives: brilliant course, with a mix of hills, flat, beach, road and trail. Excellent support, awesome views

Negatives: not a negative, but a quick field on a difficult course left me fourth from last 😮

Carradale is a picturesque village nestled on the east coast of the Kintyre peninsula, some 25 miles south of Tarbert. It’s blessed with a lovely harbour (with a working fishing fleet) as well as a golden sandy beach and a great network of forestry trails. If you read my post about crewing for Julia at the Kintyre Way ultra, you’ll perhaps remember that Carradale is also located on the Kintyre Way.

As ever, I had my race gear ready to go the night before:  Fortunately, the race wasn’t an early one as it was scheduled for an 11.30 am start (I’m assuming this might be to do with the tide, making the beach section easier to run), and so this morning we had plenty of time to get ready, have breakfast and the drive the long and winding road to Carradale (yes, THE ‘long and winding road’ that Paul McCartney wrote about 😉 )

The sun was shining as we arrived in Carradale. We parked in the primary school car park, and as we were doing so, waved to the marshals we knew, who were having their briefing. We walked to the harbour for registration, and as we walked, saw that the village was a little hillier than we had remembered!

The registration area was pretty busy when we got there, and when we checked in, I realised that I’d been given bib number one! Wowee! I realised, looking around at the other runners, that I might actually be the first runner with bib #1 to finish last 😮 

  
We checked our bags, then chatted to other runners as we waited for the race briefing, and everyone was relaxed and having fun. Then we had a short walk to the start of the 10K, where we had our race briefing. Instructions today included things like ‘watch out for adders’ and ‘beware of the mud’…. I knew this was going to be an interesting race!

Here’s a map of the race:

 The race was started by a countdown and a starter’s pistol, and we were straight onto the road leading back into the village – and it was a tough hill! It got the legs working from the start. TheWelshWookie and I knew we’d be slow, and so we kept to the back of the pack. The support was great from the start, with villagers out in their gardens to support us all.

We soon turned off to the left, and headed down a country lane to the beach – my first ever race section on the beach! Although it was tough, I surprised myself, because I really enjoyed it – I had a smile plastered on my face. A lady asked to take our picture (I think she liked the skort). She had camera problems, but we stopped and waited, to let her take a snap – I think we were happy for the break, but it did cost us a couple of minutes (not that time was a concern for us). I loved dodging the jelly fish and the flotsam and jetsam, and before we knew it we were back onto a track road, and heading for the forestry section.

The forestry part was great – lovely and cool, shaded, soft underfoot. We were soon way behind the pack, and had the run to ourselves. We didn’t see any adders, but were treated to an awesome aerial display by a golden eagle – lucky us 😀

Next was a short section back on the road before heading onto the kintyre way at the Network Centre (you’ll see pictures in my blog post here), and then we were at the hilly part – a steep climb up a forestry track to the highest point of the race. Well, that got the heart going! We walked it, unsurprisingly! Next was a great downhill section for about a kilometre along forestry roads.

Finally, we had the last section: into the village along the main road, back along a side road, up a short grassy hill, down a track, through a field, over a style and then onto the harbour road, where we could see the finish line 🙂

We reached the finish line to a somewhat subdued welcome – but we were not far from last, and people had been waiting to see the finishers for a looooong time by then, so I’m thankful they stayed!

I was handed a goody bag which contained the medal, and grabbed a bottle of water. Other runners were really chatty, and we had a great catch up with quite a few people about how we’d found the run, and how amazingly scenic it was.

TheWelshWookie and I then headed to the barbecue, and joined the burger queue. As we were waiting, the prize giving was taking place. So while we cheered and clapped for the winners, I didn’t manage to take any pictures. Sorry! We were in the queue with Karen, one of our fellow SUPercisers, which was fab. We enjoyed our burgers in glorious sunshine, watching a seal play in the harbour, before heading home to Tarbert. On the walk back to the car we chatted with Gail from Campbeltown about running adventures, and I was struck once again as to how friendly and supportive runners are of each other. 

 Our stats: 1:17:17. My, my – slow, even by my slow standards! No matter, it was worth it.

 The Medal: Engraved, and it came with stickers to add your time to it. No, don’t think I’ll do that!

 Goody Bag: banana, bottle of water and an ace buff style scarf!

 T-shirt: None, but no problem with that

When I got home, I uploaded my run and was greeted with this milestone:

  
And right away, I reset my Nike Coach for the Great North Run training – nine weeks today! :O

I’d definitely do this run again. You’d never know it was an inaugural event as it was so well organised and supported. Roll on next year’s event!

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Marshalling the MOK Half Marathon

Marshalling the MOK Half Marathon

2015 marked the 10th Anniversary of the fantastic Mull of Kintyre half marathon and 10k. Two years ago, I PBd at the 10k, and that PB still stands :). The lasting memory I have is of the fantastic support from the crowds and the marshals. @TheWelshWookie and I were signed up and training to run the half marathon this year, but due to a few issues we ended up withdrawing. Instead of being negative about it, though, we turned it into a positive and volunteered to marshal instead 😀 
So, at 9.30 this morning, we found ourselves in Campbeltown, at the Victoria Hall, being allocated our spot. As we walked to the hall, we enjoyed watching people set up:  

 Knowing that we might not get the chance to see the finish line later, I took a quick snap:  

 The actual finish was just past the war memorial, tucked just out of sight from the finishing straight. The organisation was great, the briefing was very professional and covered most issues:  

   The route begins and ends in the town centre, while the main race takes runners out of town, along West Port beach, past the world class Machrihanish golf course, Campbeltown Airport (one of the short listed sites for the UKs space port due to its massive runway) and back into town. Our point was just before mile 9, not long after the tough-on-the-legs beach section.

We stocked up on jelly babies before we set off, knowing that , with 1/3 to go, a sugar rush might just be what runners need 😉

Our spot was  great: we could watch the runners come along the main road just before mile 4, on their way out to the beach, long before they got to us. Here’s our view of the road: 

We were parked in a lay by, so I enjoyed taking some pics of the cows in the left hand field and the sheep in the right hand field:   

   Oops- the cows seem to have been a lil camera shy- sorry! 

Before we knew it, the leading runner was in sight, running the straight which was gently climbing up towards us:  

  the next couple of hours flew by, as we clapped, cheered, supported and offered jelly babies to the intrepid runners. The thanks, chats and support we received was incredible, and really humbling. All of the runners did so well.

All too soon, we were stood down and all marshals were invited back for complimentary coffee and Danish pastries. Never ones to turn down free food 😉  we made our way back to the finish line. The tent was busy, and everyone was in good spirits;   

  

 The pastries were soooo worth it!

We stayed for a short while, supporting runners as they crossed the finish line, while jealously eyeing up the medals and goody bags that could have been ours. Oh, well, there’s always next year 😉

We had a brilliant time, and can’t wait to run it again in 2016.