Carnegie Harriers (today) Sunday 14th, finally got back to inter club racing, with Summer GP Event Number 2 – Balgownie Woods trail race taking place. The race has been a long time coming for all members who have waited patiently for the necessary lockdown measures to ease. There was a real buzz in the air at the start, as members who had not socialised or ran with each other for many months, mingled enthusiastically, sharing jokes and tales of lockdown. This was also the first time for many new members to meet others within the club out with their training bubble.
The weather was fine, with underfoot conditions much more conducive to fast running, being dry and not too muddy (unlike the last running of the race in the depths of winter) as 27 runners (split into 2 bubbles) lined up at the start.
Bubble A set of very fast start (too fast?) at 9am, closely followed by Bubble B, 5 minutes later. The course starts from the gate at the B9037, veers to the left onto a muddy downhill track to run alongside the Bluther burn, across the red shingle wetlands, onto the main path at the entrance to Balgownie Woods, before a right turn uphill to the tree lined section at the West boundary fence at the top of the woods. This climb is hard and can really sap the energy, however, after a mile of running, runners soon reached the downhill section, back to the main Balgownie path. At this point, the downhill is much appreciated, however, runners needed to keep their wits about them as they descended the conifer wooded section, with lots of trip hazards to be safely negotiated!
Once back on the main forest track at the west entrance to the Balgownie Woods, the runners were now heading back to main entrance to the woods before the first hill, to start the second loop. This second ascent of the incline is hard, with many runners starting to feel the effects of the fast start and the previous uphill loop. Once the second loop of the hill was negotiated, the runners then turned left down an unmarked wet and muddy bike track, back to the main forest track again, where they turn right and head for home. The final mile crosses the wetlands, over the bridge across the Bluther burn, with a slight uphill back at the start gate on the B9037 road.
This is a tough old route containing multiple terrains, so it was great to see so many excellent performances, especially considering the lack of racing recently. In bubble A, Barry Davie was first home in an excellent 25:06, with Nicola Jackson first female home in 26:39. In Bubble B, Steve Adam crossed the finish in 28:32, with Joy Gudgin first bubble B female in 32:11.
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All in all a very enjoyable race and it was great for members to finally get together outside of bubbles, after months of lockdown.
Thanks to the committee GP sub group and all volunteers for their excellent work to make the race possible.
Fingers crossed for continued racing over the coming months!
Lots more images on our Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/groups/220538018435473