Cupar 5

This was a bit of a shock to the system. I’ve not done a running race on tarmac since last June, but I think the biggest surprise was just how fast everyone was. It’s been a while since I last raced up north and I’m not used to seeing National Champions turn up to local road races. This is race is one of the traditional London marathon warm-ups, Liz McColgan is even a former winner, and still holds the women’s course record.
The race itself was a simple out-and-back route, with a couple of small hills. It had been measured by the man from Scottish Athletics with his special wheel very recently and so we know it is bang on five miles, with only 227 feet of climbs, so fairly flat and a good course for some fast times.

Thanks to David Smyth for the photograph
There was a record turnout of 315 runners, so the start line was awfully busy. I started on the second row.The pace was high right from the gun (just an expression, it was merely someone shouting ‘Go’)
The three leaders made a break immediately, with about fifty of us forming a pack behind them, by around the 2 mile mark this had already split into three chasing packs, with me in the second. The run out was actually quite tactical, due to the head wind, everyone seeking shelter behind everyone else, with the sheer number of runners in close proximity leading to a little contact, but all good natured and no pushing and shoving.

Thanks to David Smyth for the photograph
We continued to spread out into smaller and smaller groups as the race went on. I reached the turnaround with female East of Scotland XC Champion Morgan Windram-Geddes right behind me, we tuned and ran up the hill, I beat her to the top but she then came passed me and began to pull away. The tail wind on the way back should have made the return leg easier but I didn’t really feel the benefit, either that or everyone else felt it more somehow, and I lost a few places on the way back. I had a sprint finish with Ryan Ritchie, but he was too fast for me in the end. I took 44th place in 0:29:57, not too bad considering the wind. And yes, I was beaten by a girl!
The race was won by Scottish XC Champion Derek Hawkins of Kilbarcham AAC.
Well done also to Mark Telford of Perth, who broke the course record for a wheelchair, nearly 3 minutes ahead of Hawkins.

Thanks to David Smyth for the photograph
It’s the first time I’ve had a proper look at a racing wheelchair, there is a lot more to them than I was expecting, all deep-section carbon rims and Dura-Ace components!

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