Shortest race ever

The weekend was meant to be Cupar XC. A course I have never ran but one I was looking forward to. Something a bit different and from what I had heard it was going to be a challenging course around 2 fields near the start line of the Cupar 5 mile road race.

First I went to Edinburgh parkrun as a number of the road runners from Pitreavie AAC were heading down to run the course and then head to a friends for bacon and sausage sandwiches. I decided not to run as the course had a number of black ice areas and Mandy also didn't fancy it so we stood on the sidelines and supported and warned the other runners about a large area of ice which they were approaching.

We got many shouts of thanks and also got completely ignored by a couple of runners who proceeded to slip and slide over the ice! We tried to warn them smiley

After the amazing breakfast sandwiches from Jane and Donald (thanks guys!), Mandy and I headed up to Cupar, arriving super early due to one thing and another. The field was frozen solid which made it a very interesting terrain to walk on. Lots of ridges and slippery services but I felt my Inov8 Talon's would be fine on the route, spikes had very little chance of penetrating the top layer.

Ten minutes before the race and I was really looking forward to it, I just had a good feeling about the race. I have been making up a lot of places on hills recently and this course had a couple of good climbs which I fancied I could make some progress on. The plan was to run the flat and downhill sections hard and see how it went. Five minute warning was given so I made my way to the start line. The gun went and approx 24 seconds later I was out of the race! It was a very short straight section and then in to a right hand bend, a number of people had fallen already and there was a lot of pushing and shoving while people tried to get in to a good position. I perhaps held my ground a bit too well and ended up getting some studs in to my ankle for my troubles. I took a couple of steps and just felt a sharp pain shoot through my leg, with over 9 km still to go I didn't think it was worth it so I pulled out. I was fuming!

These things happen but it never makes it any easier. To add salt to the wounds, Mandy had decided to go out for a run while I was racing and she had a fantastic run along the roads at Cupar, I should have just joined her instead of going for the XC.

Went and spoke to my coach and he advised me to go to the first aid tent, which I did and they strapped it up and iced it. The ice pack was almost warmer than the ground was!

As the coach said though, there are plenty of other races but you only have one body - why risk further injury when you can come back another day. Looking back at the race I am glad I didn't compete. I counted at least 4 or 5 other runners struggling back to the first aid tent with twisted ankles from the frozen uneven ground, maybe I got off lightly!

Usually I am out racing when the lead runners finish and it was quite amazing to watch them. The pace these guys are running is outstanding and Central AC put in a brilliant performance.

I've taken today off from training to make sure the ankle is repaired and will head out tomorrow and see how it goes. Then its back to the track for some more speed work and the countdown for London Marathon really starts! My training plan is currently with my coach for him to look at and amend and we will see where it gets me.


Owain Williams

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