Date: 17th August 2013
Terrain: Road and Trail
Weather: Cloudy, but warm
Positives: great course, well organised, good & supportive marshalls, fab t-shirt
Negatives: unpredictable weather!
This race was the first ever Tarbert 5k & 10k event, and given that it is my local village run, I was really looking forward to it, as well as being a little anxious as I knew the course would be a challenge!
@TheWelshWookie headed out early, to open the school grounds as a car park for visitors, and to check that the tape was still intact, marking out the running route around the area he was marshaling- part of the first trail run, behind Stonefield Farm & Coffee Shop. I had my gear all laid out and ready:
That meant that I had plenty of time to get ready, and pose…
I planned to head into the village to support the 5k runners, but I do not know what happened- I lost track of time. And so I ended up running out of the door, quite literally!
As I walked past the Village Hall, I saw that it was bedecked in bunting, ready for the barbeque and party later in the day:
As I made my way along to Garvel Road, ready for the start of the race, the 5k runners were still milling about at the finish line. At this point, I was pretty envious: their race was over, and the party had begun!
I took a couple of snaps, just to capture the views, and because the weather had taken me by surprise- it was almost sunny! The rain seemed to have vanished: it had surprised a lot of runners, who were wearing long running pants and jackets!
My nervous walk along Garvel Road:
The facilities not far from the start were great: runners could use the Harbour facilities before and after the race: toilets, showers, etc. The start itself was at the end of Garvel Road. One of the first things I noticed when I arrived was that this was Serious. With a Capital S. There were loads of club runners, and runners who looked like they meant business! But I could see that there were quite a few ‘normal’ runners like me!
With about 5 minutes to go, Councillor Anne Horn gave the safety briefing- reminding us to take care on the trail parts of the course, as they would be slippery and soft underfoot. And then, almost suddenly, we were off!
As there were only 200 runners, everyone started at once. I tried to hang to the left hand side of the road, and let the faster runners past me…. there were plenty! I tried to remind myself to just go at my own pace.
Here’s the map of the race:
At the end of Garvel Road, we headed up the main road, and uphill again, over the High Road. Remember I posted a pic from up here, when I was out checking the route?
We then ran down the other side of the High Road, and headed off along Campbeltown Road towards Stonefield Farm & Coffee Shop. I knew that @TheWelshWookie was at the highest part of this section, so I was looking forward to reaching there! The route took us past the shop on the left hand side, and past the wigwams, which are available as holiday accommodation. Then, we were greeted with a sign saying: Welcome to Jurassic Park with a cartoon runner being chased by a dinosaur- that made me laugh!
The trail climbed steadily, and at this point, the faster runners were heading back down. Us slowbies were walking, or run/walking
because I was knackered to let the faster runners by. We reached a cottage ruin, known locally as Maggie’s Cottage, which I thought was the turning point. How wrong I was! We still had a good distance, all uphill, to go!
Eventually, I caught sight of a fluorescent jacket, and I saw that it was @TheWelshWookie! Yay! We’d reached the top! He managed to take a snap, with me actually smiling- maybe it’s a grimace!
We then turned around, and ran back down, around the opposite side of the coffee shop. I must admit, I took it easy running downhill, as it was pretty slippy underfoot, and I have terrible balance at the best of times! At the bottom of the hill was a water stop, but I was all good, and kept going.
As we left Stonefield, we headed back down Campbeltown Road back into the village. For me, this was the part I was looking forward to – my regular run along the harbour out to the end of Pier Road, where I’m used to views like this:
At this stage, the sun really broke through, and it was pretty warm. I managed to pick off a few runners along the road. The 5K mark was just at the fish quay, which was great. I’m pretty sure that there were lots of people thinking ‘Is that all we’ve done?’
I really enjoyed my run all the way to the turning point at the end of the road, where there was a second water point. I filled up my bottle, and headed back. Why I didn’t take one of the jelly babies on offer, I will never know!
All along the route, the support was fantastic. People were out, cheering and clapping us on. The marshals, in particular, were very, very encouraging, giving me that extra boost to push on. They also had a tough job because none of the roads were closed to traffic, so they managed to cheer us by, while keeping an eye on safety.
I then reached Big Brae, which leads onto the Castle loop. After the experience at Stonefield, I knew that the fast runners would be trying to run down while us slower runners were heading up. So, I decided to play safe, and walk to the left, to let them pass more easily. But as soon as I arrived at the Castle loop, I was determined to run this part of the trail. I managed most of it- only walking a short distance up the hill on the loop. My GPS ticked off the 5th mile, and that really boosted me- I was on the final mile!
I finished off the Castle loop, headed back down Big Brae, and made my way back along the harbour to the Harbour Office. This was it- the home straight!
The support along this final part was tremendous- loads of cheering and clapping. @TheWelshWookie was waiting at the finish line, ready to take my pic:
I was so excited to finish that I forgot to switch off my SportWatch GPS! Doh! @TheWelshWookie handed me a bag of jelly beans, which I scoffed right away. I then collected my goodie bag.
Here’rs the contents of it:
I collected my medal, and headed back to cheer on the rest of the finishers across the finish line.
But, yet again, I was distracted. By some deliciously amazing home baking for the finishers- including home made tablet- pure bliss!
There was even some entertainment for the kids:
And just to prove that the sun came out:
We waited for the prize giving: well done to the winnersl! Each trophy winner received a voucher for The Gallery- lucky folks! 😀
We then headed home for a very quick change, and headed back out to the Village Hall to join in the rest of the Tarbert Harbour Authority Centenary celebrations. When we arrived, we received our ‘wages’, a copy of a salary cheque issued by the Harbour Authority 100 years ago:
That entitled us to a free drink at the bar, and free food from the barbeque! Result! Why does free beer taste so good?
i wore my new t-shirt, of course 😉
The Village Hall was really busy, with some people dressed as they would have 100 years ago:
It was a real party atmosphere, with stalls and entertainment.
It was a great day!
Time: 1:06:55 I finished 85th out of about 140 or so runners.
The Medal: A hand made, pottery medal, made locally:
Goody Bag: draw string bag, leaflets, lip balm, wet wipes, doggy-do bags, button badge
T-shirt: A black & red technical shirt, with the logo embroidered on the front
I’m hoping that I’ll be better prepared for next year!