On an overcast Bank Holiday Sunday; myself, Kenny, Chris, Cat, Natalie, and Gwen descended on the village of Balfron for their annual 10k race. The majority of us were new to this race so we were in equal parts excited to try something different, and apprehensive about the hilly course we had been warned about. We watched as Cat and her children started the 1 mile Fun Run around the village, triumphantly returning to the school with their medals a short time later. Soon, we were gathered around the start line as the 10k began!
The race was an undulating out-and-back, with a mostly downhill trajectory for the first 5k. Despite drizzling throughout, the scenery out of Balfron was lovely and it was great to be in the countryside; even though there was at times an overwhelming smell of manure coming from the fields. During the race, Kenny had the full rural experience when a rogue horse escaped into the race and he had to stop running whilst the horse was cajoled back into its field by a farmer!
Having completed the London Marathon the week before, I wasn’t expecting a particularly fast time and was hoping to plod along and enjoy the scenery. But the downhill start helped me to get some speed up and after the first couple of minutes, I had managed to overtake Natalie. Since I joined the club last year, Natalie and I have had quite a few close finishes – I had managed to clinch victory at the Cumbernauld 10k, but she beat me at the Club Trail Race and Barge 10k. Here, it was an opportunity for me to get an equaliser. Natalie had completed the Boston Marathon the week before, so was similarly in post-Marathon recovery.
By the 5k mark, after a few swaps with Natalie, I was the first Harrier to reach the turnaround point. I gave a wave to Natalie, Cat, Kenny, Gwen and Chris as we passed each other on my return leg. Before long, Natalie overtook me and sped away, I tried to stay close to her, but the hills had other ideas! From about 7k, it felt like a never-ending incline. I managed to overtake a few people, but Natalie was still way ahead. At 9k we went up the last hill and I had a final burst of energy. I was able to catch her and get ahead just as we re-entered Balfron with a few hundred metres to go. With her hot on my heels, we sped to the finish! I crossed the finish line and didn’t even have a chance to turn around before Natalie joined me. We were thrilled to find out we were the 3rd and 4th women overall.
I really enjoyed the race. It was beautiful scenery, straightforward route, well organised, and good facilities provided. After five months of marathon training, it was a treat to have a race where the halfway point was at 5k rather than 21k! A particular highlight was the edible shortbread medals at the end; they were locally baked, delicious, and reduced waste which was a bonus! There were excellent performances across the board from our runners, with big congratulations to Gwen who managed to set her second fastest ever 10k, even after running 25k the day before!
Amy Watson – 43:32
Natalie Somerville – 43:37
Cat Nisbet – 47:08
Kenny Henderson – 50:24
Gwen Keenan – 53:18 Chris Hever – 57:02