The Kirky 12.5km has been a long-standing favorite for the Harriers and we had another strong contingent out on Sunday, with 7 of us making the trip. Unlike previous years, we had a dry day with only a light breeze, a far cry from the days of huddling behind cars and ambulances for a pre-race heat!
This is one of the tougher road races in our merit league calendar, with plenty of tough hills as you wind through the country roads surrounding Kirkintilloch. With such an undulating course, it’s a tricky one to pace properly and the pre-race chat was all about strategies. At the gun, myself, Derek, Natalie, and James set off together and I did my best to reign it in, knowing what was coming up. On his debut at the event, Derek didn’t have that luxury and set off at a speedy pace before the big hill at 4km came around to bite. He had been hot on my tail until that point, and I had a few nervous glances over my shoulder to make sure I was holding him off. My strategy of going hard up the hills and relaxing a bit on the descents and flat sections seemed to work and I felt pretty good going over the halfway mark. There is a long downhill here before the steepest of the climbs at 8km, and it was at this point I began to feel it, dropping a few places.
Behind me, Derek, Natalie and James were all within sight of each other with Natalie running a controlled race, picking up and overtaking the two guys. Cat wasn’t too far behind either, going great and running her fastest time on the course for a few years. Chris was next, running well and only narrowly missing his goal of a sub-70 time despite an epic sprint to the line! Linda completed the Harriers set with another good run.
Up ahead, Natalie, Derek and James seemed to pull each other round, with Natalie finishing very strongly to come out on top of the three-way tussle (and 2nd place in her category!). James showed his greater experience on the course to see off Derek, who looked strong on the back of his recent marathon training and will do well at this race in future. I was happy with my time, only narrowly outside my course PB which I am happy with given a lack of miles over the last few months.
Big thanks as always to the Kirky Olympians for putting on a great event. A great bunch of marshals and volunteers and the Haribo at the finish line was very well received!