Loch Tay Highland Lodges Killin 10K 2018 Review

Another weekend, another race to run. The GinRunners loaded Mabel with supplies and headed north to one of those “When did we book this one ?” (Answer : Can’t Remember), and “Were we drunk ?” (Answer : Probably) events that we knew nowt about but it looked good on EntryCentral. Yep, Killin 10K, we’re on the way.

We did know that Killin is a beautiful part of the world but it’s not exactly known for it’s majestic sweeping flat plains. The terrain there is a bit, erm, pointy so we headed up not knowing what we were in for. A sneaky look on the website did reveal the path profile we could expect.. it looked not too bad if you ignored that vertical bit in the middle !!

We arrived in Killin and did a spot of off-roading in Mabel (Did I mention, Mabel is our bright yellow camper van), before parking up and joining the throng heading to the start, via the toilets. The weather was cracking and there was a really nice vibe with locals and visitors alike soaking up the sun, and enjoyed the pre-race ambience.

Ready for the off

As the start time approached we headed to our respective positions, Bex hoping to get round in under an hour and 10 and me hoping to get close to my 57:30 10K best effort set during the Mull Half a couple of weeks before.

Who cares, just want to finish.

The countdown was given over the PA by one of the younger spectators, who was good at numbers going up the way but not quite up to speed with counting down. 1-2-8-3-something and we were off for a quick trot round town before heading out into the countryside.

The route starts off impressive and pretty much stays that way. You run over the main bridge with cracking views of the river before resisting the temptation to turn right for the 5K route, instead turning left. The part of the route along the old railway line was really, really nice.

‘Tis a pretty place.

Hitting our stride

Leaving the heart of the village there’s a long, gradual climb (the good sort, not the “I wish I was dead” sort) before you leave civilisation behind and turn left along the glen. By this point, about 3K in, I’d hit my stride and was enjoying the race like I don’t thin I ever have before (in my 6 months career). Up to 5K was what I believe is called “undulating”, not too nasty with the bonus of the support from the awesome volunteers manning the drinks station.

Not quite sure what I drank, it wasn’t water !

Before the race I’d promised myself a wee walk when I got to 5k, but as we approached that marker I saw the bloke in front had the same idea so in the end I kept going with, amazingly, nothing of any great concern leg / breathing / grim reaper with his scythe wise. The undulation “ups” were nice to trot up and the “downs” let you go with the flow.

Of course it couldn’t be like that all the way, that would be too easy. After a good, quick (for me) 5K a plan started to form in my overconfident mind of running the whole way. Inevitably this plan was scuppered by that big spiky bit at 6K. It wasn’t the longest hill, and probably not the steepest but I only managed about half of it before having to walk. I’d set my watch to a 3:1 interval before the race so I used this on this steep bit, 90 seconds running, 30 seconds walking which, amazingly, didn’t seem to bugger up my time too much at all. Maybe lost 30-45 seconds but that was it.

Downhill all the way

The good thing about getting all your “up” in one big hit is that it’s pretty much plain sailing, erm, running from there on back. Not quite downhill all the way but certainly no more major “up” to battle. As you turn right back onto the main road and run past some familiar sights. It’s here that the realisation hits you that IT’S NOT FAR TO GO NOW.

Along the road you race, then it’s a right turn onto the park. A final sprint over the grass and it’s over. The announcer will give you a shout out too. Or if you’re me he’ll call you Graham. A quick look over the shoulder to make sure no smartarse is trying a last minute overtake and you’re done. All that remains is to collect a really nice medal. OK, it doesn’t have the year on it but it is on the ribbon so we’ll let them off). There’s also a banana, a caramel wafer and a can of Coke…

…And then to stare in disbelief at the time on the watch.. 54 and a half minutes.

Job done

Finishing we would much rather have had the Belhaven Saltire lager that was on offer. Alas as this was a day trip there was the drive home to think about. It would have been rude not to partake of the awesome soup and a sandwich served in the hall though. Friendly locals serving nice food with the proceeds to a great cause, what’s not to love?

We’ve done a few runs in the past few moths, highlands, islands, lowlands and whatnot but this felt different. We’ve got a few we’d quite like to maybe go back to but this is set in stone, we’re definitely doing the 2019 Killin 10k. Unanimous conclusion… that was brilliant.

Oh, and Bex? Well she beat her target too.