What makes for the perfect running event? Thought, planning and communications are one part of it. An enjoyable course is another. Of course, for the shallow and superficial (yep, us) there’s the goody bag and the medal. On the day things like support and wether also come into play. If all these factors click onto place then near-perfection is attainable.
We’re big fans of 10K runs. Far enough to be a challenge but not so far as to become boring. We’re also big fans of the beautiful scenery round East Lothian so when the Archerfield 10K was announced we made sure we got our names down sharpish.
On the morning of the event we arrived at Archerfield Walled Garden bright and early. The skies did look a bit grim and the wind was howling but we’ve never let that stop us before. The large cafe was packed with a lycra clad horde, much to the bemusement of folk out for a nice, quiet Sunday morning.
The registration was a slowish process with some confusion over who collected what from where. Once that sorted itself out the event staff soon had all out race numbers issued. This delay did mean that the race was 15 min late in setting off, but as we were in the nice warm cafe we didn’t really mind. Outside the temperature was dropping and the rain which had threatened all morning started,
And then, as if by magic (or metrology more likely) it stopped.
Archerfield is definitely a proper “multi-surface” event. We stared off outside the walled garden on one of the estate’s roads before heading across the grass. This was a “wow” factor start too, running along the
avenue of trees towards the big house. The route then took to the local roads and headed for the coast. Although the roads weren’t closed there was very little traffic about and the drivers that were heading for the beach gave the runners plenty of space.
Life’s a beach
Ahh, the beach. Now we’d felt the wind a couple of times on the way so we knew it’d be a “bit” breezy down beside the seaside. The middle three K of the route was basically just a pretty out and back on the sand. Now running on sand can be a bit ‘orrible but this was hard packed, well behaved sand that didn’t present too much of a problem.
The first half of this beach route was a joy to run. The aforementioned wind was pushing us along and as we approached the turning point we were greeted by the cat-strangling-wails / music (delete as appropriate) of the bagpipes.
On the “out” part we’d enjoyed the wind assist and tried to ignore the fact we’d be running into it on the way back. This was slightly less fun, especially with the sand shot-blasting exposed areas. By now the sun was well and truly out and we took a moment to check out the beauty of the surroundings.
This was something special.
We’d both had unpleasant (for different reasons) Half Marathon experiences the week before, but this was much more fun !!!
As we headed back inland the course took a different route back to Archerfield Estate. We’d had tarmac, grass, road and sand… all that was missing was trail.
Well, that was up next. The path back strung its way through the trees before hitting a road again through some, erm, quite expensive looking houses.
Like, seriously expensive.
The last K was back on trail paths again, past some of the cool little things to see in Archerfield estate. If you want to see a willow yurt or suchlike then this is the place to come.
The finish was up a little hill back where we’d started outside the walled garden. There we collected our medals (quite nice ones too) and a goodie bag that contained, erm, some sort of noodle thing that tasted healthy, some posh chocolate balls and a little bottle of gin.
Yep, gin. As if it wasn’t already our favourite 10K, Archerfield’s goody bag contained a little bottle of gin…