Saturday, 12 June 2010

Things to do before you die No. 43: The Black Rock 5

The impulse I had last Sunday that resulted in my decision to run at Yetholm later that afternoon was perhaps not my best. Having done virtually no hillwork in the last 5 months, I thought I could fast track my legs to the form on the fells I had last year.

I had a similar rush of blood to the head sometime in 2006, I recall, when I entered the British Cycling Hill Climb Championships that were to be held in the area and spent a month furiously thrashing the old jalope up and down some hilly lane somewhere near. Even when I used to race in the days when I was a junior I was rubbish at climbing hills on a bike.

The big day came when I lined up with the cream of British talent (-well, actually it was a time trial so I didn't really line up with anyone, but you know what I mean). There were old Pro's, new Pro's, Pro's Pro's, youngsters with all the gear bound for the Continent, youngsters with no gear but legs like a gazelle's and local clubsters alike.
After 10 minutes of lung shredding, eye popping effort as I weaved and fought my way through the noisy excited throngs lining the Gibbet, shouting 'Ally' (I was later told they were shouting 'Allez'; some continental nonsense or the like) I collapsed over the line to finish eighth. 8th....
Eighth last that is. So where is this all going?
It was the Black Rock 5 last night. This is a 4.5 mile beach race starting and finishing at Kinghorn on the Fife coast. It's a tremendous race which has grown annually with 750 eager runners this year. The race finishes up a narrow very steep hill in the centre of the village beside the Ship Tavern. I think it can claim to have the best atmosphere of any race. Its the great white shark of the beach race scene. I've ran it 3 out of last 4 years with a best time of 26:56 in 2006.
Last night I lined up at the front and belted out a very reasonable first mile. Then last weeks hill race sprang out of the murky shallow waters like a latter day Jaws and my legs went all Amity Island. Its an out and back race where the turn is a large rocky outcrop with knee high water below and a piper playing above. The wail of the pipers lament sucked whatever dregs of energy my legs had retained and all I could hear was the voice on the megaphone shouting 'Get out of the water, Get out of the water!'

I was passed by around 12 runners over the final 2 miles. Near the finish as you go under the viaduct the crowd let out a huge yell and as I hit the finishing hill it was only the knowledge that their shouts were unmistakably for the first woman who must have been on my shoulder, kept me going to the line. It was the Gibbet all over again. I was Hooper in the shark proof cage with something pounding at the bars.

With an estimated time of 28:59 I've clearly got some work to do and other than the Eildon Two Hills on the 26th June (See last years blog entry on this debacle), its no more racing till I regain some form. Next year, if you fancy a different challenge from your local 10k, this is the one for you. Oh, they give you a banana and a bottle of beer at the end as well and its not too far to walk to the burger tent or bar. Still the best race of the year.
Info results etc at

No comments: