Forget spending several hours plodding around the noisy capital, for road-racing excitement the Glenlivet 10k, ‘home of the steady incline’, was the place to be on Sunday. A bit of a family affair this one with my sister & brother running in their first ever race and my Mum, Dad, Great Aunty and Christine cheering us on. Perfect weather for the occasion; sunny, clear and with a bit of a breeze to keep things cool. My brother got a pre-race head start on me, sneaking around to the visitor centre and its deserted, oak-panelled conveniences while I fretted away during a 20-minute queue for the toilets by registration.
The course has a fast start with the first 500M going rapidly downhill. I tried to stay level with Nikki Johnstone; this lasted about 90s before he glided off to take 1st place and smash the course record. Simon Peachy sneaked past around 2km after which I settled down to a solitary 3rd position. As per the race description, the 2k to 4k inclines in a steady manner. Nothing to worry about for a hill-runner type you might say, but hills always seem much harder when they’re tarmac and it felt like a bit of a struggle. The website also advises that this is ‘the most beautiful run in Scotland’, debatable from a hill-running perspective perhaps, but the view up Glenlivet towards Tomnavulin from the top of the final rise is pretty stunning – a lovely, out-the-way piece of Scotland. The problem with all this scenery is that it’s distracting, I’d let my pace go and a glance behind revealed Stuart MacDougall (a well-travelled Bella Harrier) almost breathing down my neck. Time to give up on beauty and focus on just putting one foot in front of another.
In contrast to the up parts, the final 4km follow a long, flat stretch of road; just get relaxed and keep it going. He’d built up a sizeable lead but I soon realised I was gaining on Simon P, slowly but surely. I put on a bit of push for the last mile or so and an all out sprint for the final 500M but it was not to be and I crossed the finish line 9s behind. I hung around the finish line to watch the rest of the Callender crew complete, both siblings picking up last-minute places with impressive sprint-finishes and both reporting that they enjoyed this racing thing.