Race Report by Paul Kelly
I took on my first GP race on Sunday 25th June at the Harrier dominated Benarty Trail Race and what an experience it was.
The race took me back to Lochore Meadows where running officially started for me at the Couch to Carnegie graduation Parkrun just a mere 3 months ago.
Prior to the race I recced the area with a couple of fellow Harriers and apart from quickly learning how to open gates whilst running I thoroughly enjoyed the scenic route.
Race day arrived and it was a warm overcast day, not the best conditions for taking on my first official GP race, but none the less I donned my green and orange race vest for the very first time and headed on down to Lochore Meadows.
Upon arrival I collected my race number and (most importantly) my cake. A group photograph was then taken of the participating Harriers and once I got chatting to a few familiar faces from the club I felt at ease and ready to race.
The race starts near to where the Lochore Meadows Parkrun finishes and takes you along the trail in a clockwise direction of the Loch until veering off at the entrance to Harran Hill woods for a loop around the woodland paths and back down following the same trail back to the finish line.
I quickly settled into a nice pace approximately 5.30/km until reaching Harran Hill where things got interesting. I had intended to run as much of the hill as possible but soon realised due to the sheer elevation that if I attempted to run up the hill I would likely not manage to run any more of the race so I went for the sensible option and walked up the hill at a steady pace along with many others. It was lovely to see the infamous Dod at the top of Harran Hill cheering us all on and once the elevation had levelled out I began running again. The run back down hill was also a daunting experience as the descent was very steep. However, by the time I reached the main trail again I had built up some speed and felt really good as I finished (despite dropping the jelly babies handed to me by one of the race marshals).
The atmosphere at the end of the race was exhilarating with all the Harriers cheering each other on as we crossed the finish line and I felt a real sense of achievement as my fellow Harriers congratulated me on a successful race.
I finished with an official time of 45:06 which I was delighted with as I had expected to finish in no less than 50 minutes.
I’d like to finish by saying a massive thank you to Kathryn for setting up the Couch to Carnegie group which ignited a passion for running I didn’t know I had, and to all the other Harriers for being so supportive and welcoming.
I’m now looking forward to future GP races feeling like a fully fledged Carnegie Harrier.