Bluebell Trail 10k Race

Bluebell Trail 10k Race

Yesterday (Sunday) was the Bluebell Trail 10k race in Dalkeith Country Park. It's the first time I've ran this race and I was really looking forward to it. 

The past week I've been pretty low, mentally not in a good place, but a trail race, around some country trails in the sunshine sounded like the perfect therapy. 

I had done a couple of easy runs last week but I knew that I wasn't in great shape. I told myself that I would go to the race, just run it and don't put any pressure on myself. 

I had planned to to wear my non-club running vest so that I wasn't under any pressure to "perform" in a club vest, but then I pulled it on a couple of non-club vests and they were a tad tighter than I remember!! More about that later, but I had no choice but to wear my club vest as it was meant to be a really warm day and no way was I racing in a tshirt. 

Owain doing his warm up run with his dog Toby

Mandy, Toby and I jumped in the car and took the short drive to Dalkeith Country Park. Arriving in plenty time, I walked to the registration tent and picked up my race number. 

I did a quick 2k warm up to see what the ground was like and the trails looked amazing. Hard packed but in great shape for racing. I had the option of wearing my road racing shoes or my trail shoes which had more grip. I decided that I could get away with wearing road shoes but I'd prefer to have the grip, just in case. 

Toby joined me for some of my warm up and before I knew it, it was time to head to the start line. 

I got myself near the front, not too close as I knew I wasn't in that sort of shape, but close enough to not get stuck behind anyone. 

After a short race briefing and a countdown, the horn sounded and we were off. 


The race

We were off and down a road for the first 1k, my legs felt pretty heavy from the off so I knew it was going to be a long race. Down a slight hill and out towards the trails. There was a nice mix of undulations, some puddles, lovely tree lined paths and I was really enjoying it. The first few kilometres went past pretty well. There was a mix of 5k and 10k runners so it was hard to tell who you were racing against. I just had to focus on my own race. 

  1. 4:13min/km (6:47min/mi)
  2. 4:29min/km (7:12min/mi)
  3. 4:49min/km (7:45min/mi)
  4. 4:25min/km (7:06min/mi)
  5. 4:46min/km (7:40min/mi)


Owain giving a wave during the Trail 10k race

I wasn't looking at my pace at all during the race, there was no point. I would just get stressed if the pace wasn't where my mind thought I should be. It was all about enjoying racing again. 

At the end of the first 5k there was a sharp hill called "Heartbreak hill" - there is a good reason why it's called that. It's a sharp climb and it really makes you work to get to the top. 

I know I get stitches if I work too hard on climbs so I eased up the pace, got to the top and then tried to get the legs moving again. There was a water station just at the top of the hill and I picked up some much needed water. 

Back on to the road, I felt I could try and make up some time and I pushed on a bit. Put some distance between me and the other runner who was behind me on the hill. 

The second lap was a slightly different course and there was more mud, more technical trails and I'd say more climbs. Nothing major but I could really feel it in my legs. 

There was one section where we ran through a field of long grass and that was really tough. The grass was so long you couldn't tell what was under it, it was really uneven. I was glad to see the end of that section. 

Then there was a long slow climb from 6k to 8.5k along narrow trails with tree roots, mud, and tractor ruts. It was a great technical section but the lungs and legs were really burning by now and in the back of my mind, I knew I still had heartbreak hill to go! 

My garmin was also about 250m out of sync with the Km markers by now so I wasn't even sure when to expect the final hill. 

  1. 4:38
  2. 4:52
  3. 4:55
  4. 4:46
  5. 4:35
  6. 4:03 (for the last 260m on my watch)

Finally, I started to recognise some of the trail again and I knew the hill was close but I could also hear someone else catching me. 

We came around the corner and started the climb up heartbreak hill and I was passed. I put my hands on my thighs and just pushed as hard as I knew I could, without risking a stitch. 

We got to the top of the hill and back on to the road. 

With about 300 metres to go, I was back on firm ground and I put the foot down, picked up the pace and passed the guy who caught me on the hill. I was really pleased with the final section of the race.

I pushed hard. I raced to the best of my current fitness and I really enjoyed the course. It was a super friendly event and I'll be sure to head back again next year. Hopefully fitter and able to really push hard on the course. 

I finished 22nd / 227 which considering everything, I'm over the moon with. 

Thanks to the race organisers and marshals, they put on a fantastic event. 

Thanks to Mandy and Toby for being the best support crew. 

Full race results :


What's next?

Since pulling on my vests, I decided to stand on the scales and I was shocked to find I was about a stone or more heavier than I thought I was!! I'm now focusing on losing some of that weight over the next few months. 

I also have another race, on Wednesday! The Blast Running Sundowner in Inverleith Park, another trail race but 5k this time!

Bring it on!

Published on : 13 May 2024