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Many thanks to Joy Gudgin for this report on the Crieff 10k, the 7th, and most recent, event in this year’s Grand Prix series.

Good Crieff!

Hosted by the Strathearn Harriers, the Crieff 10k is described as a multi-terrain race following a scenic route with 220m total ascent. It was a race I had always fancied doing – mainly because of the glorious Perthshire countryside – so when it featured as one of our GP trail races, I was an early sign up.

The day of the race was dry, warm and still – great running conditions if a little hot. The night before the race however was very wet so having swithered about shoes, the trail shoes were donned.

The drive to Crieff is beautiful and we were there within an hour despite a few slow horse boxes to contend with.  Parking was easy and as we had been posted our numbers in the week there was plenty of time to chat to other Harriers and to warm up around the large sports ground at Morrison’s Academy.

There was a fantastic turn out from the club – 32 Carnegie Harriers on the start line plus a number of club members supporting and photographing. Kerry had got us organised with a club photocall at 10.45 in front of the pavilion – a great idea to have a planned time and location.

The race start was on the grass near the pavilion. We began to congregate, signs with anticipated finishing times helping you to position yourself. I really like races with lots of club mates as I know who to start near and who runs at a similar pace.

11am and we were off. After a short grass section the route heads out on quiet roads leading onto a trail path up and over Laggan hill. I had looked at the elevation beforehand so I knew we were in for a significant climb within the first mile but I was clinging on to the fact that the trajectory seemed to be mainly downhill after that! Having reached the summit of Laggan hill there followed a lovely descent through the woods with stunning views of the Perthshire scenery glimpsed through the trees. The recent rain was in evidence as there were some muddy, slippery sections along with tree roots and stones to watch out for.

As the route levelled and we left the woods, there was a welcome water station. Having missed a water station once in a race (years ago) and regretted it, I always take water now!

The race continued on a narrow trail path accompanied by the sunshine and the scent of warm bracken before we joined a wide path running along the banks of the fast flowing and majestic River Earn. There were a number of dog walkers and walkers along this path many of whom offered encouragement. I actually found this section the toughest as it was long, straight and I was running by myself.  A short, sharp hill was, according to the marshal, the last hill, only for there to be a second sharp incline! But before too long we were back on the quiet country roads nearing the Academy and then running past the car park and onto the grass for the final push to the finish.

We were rewarded with water, a banana and a very nice mug plus an excellent buffet.  It was lovely sitting on the grass in the sunshine with everyone chatting about the race and great to see the mugs in use immediately for postrace tea and coffee.

The Crieff 10k was a very successful race for the Carnegie Harriers. There were many great runs including category prizes for Jonny, Joy and John and fantastic for the club to also win both team prizes – well done Jamie, Steven, Jonny, Charlotte and Alison. Well done to all on a challenging trail race on a hot day and thank you also to all those who came up to Crieff to support and encourage.

Finally well done and thank you to the Strathearn Harriers for a friendly, well organised and well marshalled race with the added bonus of great weather, a buffet and a lovely trail route. A great  club day out and  definitely a race I would do again.