Cupar 5 mile road race - 28th February 2015
The first road race of the season for me and one that I have ran in the past. Cupar 5 was always a club favourite at Pitreavie AAC, where I used to be road runner team manager.
Cupar is in Fife, just north of Kirkcaldy and about 30 minutes drive to St Andrews or an hour from Edinburgh.
It's a great race organised by Fife AC. The format is simple, either pre-register online or just sign up on the day, pin your race number on your vest and run. No chip, no difficult course to follow, just two and half miles out, run around a cone and then run two and half miles back.
Since I had only really decided to race on Thursday, I just went for the option of signing up on the day.
On Saturday, I posted on Twitter than I was racing and Nicholas said he was heading up as well, since he lives close by he took the offer of a lift rather than catch the train. The Cupar 5 race is actually really easy to get to and from by train from Edinburgh, if you ever need to get there without a car.
Bryan Mackie was also heading up and he had offered me a lift but since I was going with Mandy and now also Nicholas, we picked him up aswell.
The team try and car share as much as possible, whether it's going to cross country races or any other race. You usually find parking is limited so it makes sense.
With everyone in the car we were on our way to Cupar by 12:30pm, at this point I should probably mention it's a 3pm race start. You will also notice I said it takes an hour from Edinburgh to get to Cupar so you would be correct if you thought arriving at Cupar by 1:30pm was a bit early!
We went to the registration hall, got our race numbers and then went and grabbed a coffee in Cafe Westport which was really nice. Since Mandy wasn't racing she also had a scone with jam which looked really really nice! I'd go back there just to try out their pancake menu!
After coffee and a final visit to the loos, Bryan, Nicholas and I headed out for a warm up about 30 minutes before the start. It was a cold, wet and windy day so a good warmup was important.
We went for a 2 mile warmup, did some strides and stretches and timed it perfectly to get back to the start line, hand our layers of clothes to Mandy who has kindly offered to meet us at the start line with a rucksack to keep our kit dry.
We got our places on the start line and after a very low key, 3,2,1 Go, we were off.
Within the first 100 metres I could tell the warm up had been worth it, I was flying, felt light on my feet and was in the zone. Others around me were breathing really heavily but I just felt relaxed and comfortable. The wind was in our face so I tried to get in to a group to try and help shield me a bit but it felt like people were backing off or slowing up much quicker than I'd prefer.
I had a look at my watch and the pace was looking at 5:25 minutes per mile, this was too fast so I did ease off a bit before the first mile clocked in.
I had two aims for the race, the first was to race it without a stitch and the second was to enjoy it. By dropping the pace slightly I felt more relaxed and so felt this was the better option and I could always try and make up time on the way home with the wind on my back.
First mile clocked in at 5:51, I was happy with that.
I was now nice and relaxed, in a good rythem and Nicholas was running next to be, we swapped position a couple of times and were joined by another runner who had a very strange running technique, he sounded like the was dragging his feet. It was starting to get on my nervous so when we approached the half way mark. A cone in the road, I decided to give a push of pace, spin around the cone and get away from him.
Mile two clocked in at 5:54 and mile three was 5:55 but I wasn't looking at my pace by this point. I was running to how I felt and mile three is a slight climb, I was still catching and passing people. Nicholas had put a push on before the half way marker and the distance between us stayed pretty much the same for the rest of the race. I couldn't close the gap but we were both passing people the whole way back.
Mile 4 came in at 5:49.
The final mile I had always planned to give it my all, there was no sign of a stitch so it was game on. I gradually picked up the pace and started to chase down the final runner in front of me that I thought I might be able to catch. With half a mile to go I could feel the sick feeling coming and this was when I knew I was pushing it but I kept on going. "It's only twice around a track" I told myself, the guy in front of me must have read my mind, he picked up the pace as well and it felt like every time I pushed harder, he did the same thing.
The final mile was a 5:22 and I finished the race in 28:53, a new personal best, but I didn't can't the guy in front of me. I did finish 19th / 147.
A relatevly small pack for the race but on Sunday there were 2 races which I suspect a number of people would have attended, the Arbroath Smokies, ladies only, 10 mile race and the Lasswade 10 miler.
If you get the chance to race Cupar, it is a good race with homebaking and tea and coffee available to all at the end as well.
For £7 if you are a Scottish athletics member, £9 if you aren't, it's a bargain of a race.
A huge thank you to Mandy for standing out in the rain and wind keeping our kit dry for us so that we could pull it on as soon as we finishe.
Thanks to Peter Bracegirdle for the photos.