Saltire Trail 10k

A tough day out

Last weekend I went along to take part in the Saltire Trail Race. The race takes place in East Lothian and was about a 40min drive for me. I haven't been training for this race, I don't have the fast pace stuff in me just now but I thought, I'll go along and just enjoy myself. 

Anyone that knows me will know I love trail running. If I could run on trails every day of the week, I would. I was really looking forward to running this race for the first time. 

I arrived in plenty time to join the queue to pick up my race number and quickly nip to the loo. The registration was at the local community hall and everything was really well organised. There was also a kids play area, BBQ and ice cream van! The race is part of a larger community day and there was a 2k and 5k race on at the same time. 

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The 10k race was the second race of the day, the first being the 2k race.

The race would start at 12:30pm or just after the last 2k runner had finished. With this in mind, I headed out for a quick warm up. 

The warm up

I changed in to my trail shoes and headed out down the hill that will be the finish straight. The ground was firm and it felt pretty good running along it. I then headed down another path and this was a bit harder to find good footing. I would worry about that later on during the race. 

A nice easy mile warm up was done. It was warm, really warm and I was only running easy. The race was going to be tough if the sun continued.

I got back to the start area and bumped in to a few people I know from previous runs, races and instagram. Was great to have a nice chat with them all before the start of the race.



The race

After a slight delay to the start due to waiting for the last 2k runner to finish, we were asked to head to the start line. 

Standing a few rows back from the start line, I felt nervous but relaxed.

The siren went off and we were racing. I relaxed straight in to a comfortable pace as we headed down a very uneven field, trying to look out for rabbit holes and any other obstacles. Down the field and then a right hand turn, I got a chance to count how many other people were ahead of me. I was sitting 18th. 

We all headed around the field and then on to the section I ran during my warm up. It was as hard to run on as I had feared but everyone was in the same boat. 

I'll save myself repeating my self for the next part but basically, the underfoot conditions were brutal for most of the race. It was either along freshly cut paths with short hard stubble, anckle long grass that you just dragged your feet along or on roads which were uphill. 

So, now we know the running conditions. The rest of the race basically got tougher and tougher. 

I did find a small bit of enjoyment before things got too tough and I spotted a camera and decide to do a heel click. I was out to enjoy the race, even if the weather was trying to ruin it.

After 2.5 miles I was still sitting 18th but I was quickly passed by a few people on the hill sections around 3 miles and I never gained the places back. 

Mile reps were : 

  1. 7:00min/mi (4:20min/km)
  2. 7:05min/mi (4:24min/km)
  3. 7:17min/mi (4:31min/km)

There was a lovely section running through a field. The grass was knee high and we were asked to stay within the tram lines. It was lovely. Pretty flat and just a really nice bit to run along with the sun shining. 

However, that sun was really taking it's toll on me by now. I came up to the water stop and really could have done with some water but I stupidly didn't read the pre-race email well enough and hadn't realised I had to bring my own cup / bottle to fill up with water. I'll know for next time!

I was now struggling on the up hills and it felt like there was a lot of uphill. I ended up walking up the hills as my heart rate was really high and I wanted to get to the finish. 

As soon as I got in to any shaded sections on the course I felt the pace picking up so I knew it was all heat related but there just wasn't enough shaded section for me to pull back any places, there was enough to help me not lose any more positions though.

Mile 5 got really interesting. A gap in a wall and in to a forest but with no clear route through. I could just spot a yellow arrow in the distance that I had to follow. Some ducking under branches and through a hedge and I was back running again. A couple hundred meters looking for arrows and then running, spot the next arrow, follow that until I came in to an opening and didnt see any more arrows. 

It was a lovely part of the forest, high tress and very runnable paths but no arrows and I had lost sight of the runner who was ahead of me. I just kept on running and hoped. 

Thankfully, I was right and I was catching a couple of runners ahead of me now. The shade of the trees really helped.

I know had a mile to go so I just put the foot down and started to chase the runners ahead of me. I caught one of them and I was now feeling sick but with just the finish straight to go I just kept on chasing. 

I didn't catch the runner ahead of me but I did have a strong finish.

The final splits were :

9:38min/mi (5:59min/km)

11:45min/mi (7:18min/km)

7:32min/mi (4:40min/km)

6:22min/mi (3:57min/km) for the final half mile

Miles 4 and 5 really did the damage to my race but I really couldn't have pushed any harder in the head and lack of water. 

I finished 24th/79 and even though I had put sun cream on, the back of my neck was red for a few days after it! 

I can honestly say it was one of the toughest trail races I've ever done but I'm already looking forward to running it again next year. I'd recommend getting some hill training in and also reading the pre-race email. :) 

Thanks to the organisers, marshalls and photographers. It was a great day out! 

Published on : 05 June 2024