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Race Report by Angie Parkin

The Smokies 10 mile race saw a decent turn out of Carnegie Harriers women. We commandeered a section of the hall where we were picking up numbers and peeling off layers. The weather was sunny, if a little bit cold. It was March in Arbroath after all. I most definitely have mixed feelings about it being women only. It always seems a bit strange not to have any men around. I think I might be in the minority here though as there seemed a lot of enthusiasm for it being just us women. After some chatting about it I’m starting to see the appeal. Particularly if you finish first and get to follow the race car and be the first across the finish line. More on that later though. Just to be clear, that’s definitely not me I’m talking about!

Small groups of us headed out for warm up runs and there was plenty of evidence of dynamic warm ups going on. Fresh from her Jog Scotland leader training the day before, Gail Beveridge was doing an excellent job of leading a couple of us in a warm up. With a few minutes to go before the start the main road was closed and the timing mats were laid out. There was a great atmosphere and we were all keen to get going. Those hills certainly wouldn’t climb themselves.


A nice way to describe the Smokies is that it’s undulating. The good news is that the worst of the climbs are in the first half of the race. Looking at my splits, mile three is a particular highlight. Well at least if you love hills then it is. It feels like the hills will go on forever, but there’s plenty of downhills on the way back to try and stretch out tired legs and pick up the pace. There’s enough people in the race that you’re never running on your own. It’s a small enough field though that you’re never jostling for position.

There was great support out on the course. The marshals were really encouraging, and there were plenty of locals out shouting us all on. Sue was out offering support too just as we were about to hit the first big hill. There were three water stations during the race, which were much appreciated. It was good to see that they were offering cups of water rather than bottles, which is a better environmental option. It’s interesting to see this becoming more common in races now, with the option to opt out of post race mementoes. In Arbroath there were no medals, but their T shirt was up to the usual high standard, with the bright orange colour being great for dark nights at training.

I don’t know about everyone else, but the last couple of miles were brutal for me. I’d gone out hard (it’s all relative, but for me I was going for it!) and so for the last couple of miles it was a question of just desperately trying to hang on. I knew I was on for a faster time than I’d managed the two other times I’d completed the race so I really didn’t want to blow it. Fiona Rennie went past me and offered me words of encouragement. I desperately tried to keep her in my sights to try and keep my pace up. As my watch was telling me I was almost done I suddenly remembered how awful the approach to the finish line was. Quite honestly I could have done without the grass finish with what seemed like Mount Everest to get up just metres from crossing the finish line. Shouts of encouragement from fellow Harriers got me over the line and I soon forgot the misery as I realised I’d beaten my previous best time on this course by over ten minutes. It’s almost like this training at Carnegie Harriers is doing the trick!

Once I remembered how to breathe again I went and found my fellow Harriers to find out how everyone had got on. Drum roll please………. Nicole Jackson had only gone and won in a time of 1.02.36. Brilliant work by her and this made for a good reason to hang about for the prize giving. Next in was Fiona followed by me a minute later. Then Gail and Kath finished together, having chatted their way around the course. Great work as they’ve both been injured and didn’t think they’d make the start line. Then we had Pauline and Val crossing the line together. It’s great to see such great team work from Carnegie Harriers.

We headed back to the hall for a buffet that wasn’t for the faint hearted. Mountains of sandwiches, sausage rolls and cakes to die for. There was even a gluten free and vegan selection. It was great to see everybody being catered for. I don’t know about anyone else, but I certainly consumed about twice the number of calories that I’d just burnt off. The prize giving was certainly worth waiting for. It was great to see Nicole pick up her prize, and we certainly gave her the cheers she justly deserved.

All in all the Arbroath Smokes 10 mile race is a great one to do. It’s certainly challenging, but you definitely get the benefit of running down all those hills you’ve slogged up. There’s a distinct vibe that you get with a women only race, which makes for a nice change. It was great to see such a great atmosphere in the Carnegie camp, with everybody being so encouraging. If it’s not one you’ve done before then get yourself along next year (not you men I’m afraid!) and if you’ve not done it for a while then get yourself back there. The hills really aren’t that bad. Honestly.