Monday, 4 April 2016

Tay Ten Mile Road Race

I'm not at all sure how I found the Tay Ten. It wasn't on the Scottish Athletics Website. A flattish ten mile road race based around Perth; Not too many of those around.  After missing the Thirsk 10, I thought this looked interesting. The event was all pre-entry at Entry-Central. There were 350 places up for grabs and a video that showed a route winding its way north of the City along the rustic riverside of the Tay.

Me, Mrs Mac and the youngster were entered: There were also a capacious squad of Dundee Hawks on the entry list.

We set off from home at 7am and listened to the news on the way up north along the empty roads about another blossoming drug scandal. Are we growing a little tired of the regular exposure and inevitable, trite rejection of these revelations?.. but it gets you thinking 'whose on what' in the running 'neighbourhood'. Maybe I should get my hands on something performance enhancing, other than extra honey on my toast, sliced banana in my porridge and a sports gel stuffed down my shorts.

Perth was quiet and grey with no wind and a light drizzle falling as we picked up our numbers. There were a large posse of marshalls evident at the local community centre. It was the hub of the race. It began to buzz as the punters arrived. I liked the JogScotland Hazelhead runners gear. Bright, coordinated and stylish.

The start was at the local athletics stadium adjacent to the community centre and, as we lined up, I saw plenty of Dundee Road Runners, but no vests that matched my own from the Hawks.  

We were off at 11am and I fell into my stride early. At mile 2, I latched onto 2 runners who had started steady and had begun to run down the faster starting runners ahead.  One was from Fife and the other from the organising club, Perth Road Runners. Initially, I tucked in, but as there was little wind, there was no obvious benefit to be had and I tried, instead, to pick the best racing line through the puddles

Our combined trio began to eat up the gently winding paths along the riverbank; the Fife runner (Aitken, v50) looked strong, grinding out a merciless 6:15 pace, which, after 4 miles, began to take its toll and revealed a hint of mild threat in this hinterland of park run urbanity. Were my new buddies trying to leave me behind?  Was the picnic along the gurgling water of the Tay about to end?

The Perth runner Fotheringham (also v50) sat on Aitken's shoulder and looked back at me with some regularity, but he needn't have worried. Shortly after we overhauled another Perth runner, my resolve began to unwind at around 5 miles and a small but unequivocal gap opened. There was no Cheerio.

I began to look for something, anything that might get me back that 10 metre gap, that 20 metre gap.  At 50 metres, I reached for my gel. I tore off the top and supped the sticky concoction.  The gel began working its magic just as the previously overhauled runner came past and I squeezed the living daylights out of the lifeless tube of this remotely citrus affair. Having dropped to a 6:30 pace at 6 miles, I began to re-discover my strength of will and convinced my mojo to start stoking the fire again, delivering a couple of 6:20's toward mile 9 where I passed Dick of Dundee Road Runners. Finishing in 63 minutes it wasn't so much an authoritative performance, but rather more a thinner, plausible one for 3rd v50  (15th).  The youngster got a PB and 3rd senior lady and Mrs Mac, a strained calf for her efforts, but we can't orchestrate all the days events along the silvery Tay on a drizzly day .

There was no sign of my errant clubmates. I was looking forward to the chat.
This is an event I can recommend and good for a fast time. A nice goody bag afterwards, too.
Sometime later, we ended up at a hostelry nearby where we struggled a little to wrestle with the rubbery, pre-fried onion rings, the miserly tub of coleslaw, but generous portion of bread and chips. Thats probably because we're athletes and spend our time trying to watch what we put into our system. Know what I mean?

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