Saturday, 22 July 2017

The Laurencekirk Tower Race

Laurencekirk Tower on a nice day (c Laurencekirk Tower race fb page)

Having seen some nice summer days through the window of my office during the week the Aberdeenshire weather did its usual and saved it all up for Saturday. It pissed it down with rain. This, however, didn’t put off the 30 or so runners who turned up for the Laurencekirk Tower Hill Race, many of whom were from Stonehaven running club and seemed to be intent on a Parkrun and Tower race “double” that Saturday.
Course Profile - 3.18m/702ft
The Laurencekirk Tower hill race is a lovely low key event, so low key I had trouble finding the registration. The race directions said that registration was at the primary school but what this actually meant was that the registration was at a table placed at the end of a farm track near the primary school. Once registered I had a wee chat with fellow Fife AC runner Bob who pointed out a misty hillside as being where the tower was located but assured me that it was a well marshalled out and back route and that I couldn’t get lost.

The route was up to the tower and back
It chucked it down with rain as we lined up for the start line photo and then we were quickly set off along the track with the small field of 30 runners spreading out quite quickly. A couple of hundred meters in we went under the A90 via a small tunnel (before the race I had been wondering how we were going to get across the road) before following the gently climbing gravel track past the farm. A marshal directed us through a gate and up the final stretch towards the tower over a slightly rutted and grassy field. Once at the top we were directed around the tower which meant tip toeing over the wet, slippery boulders which lay around its base and then it was straight back down the way we had come up.
Getting ready for the start
Startline photo
And they're off
The start was along a farm track
Under the A90
And a gradual climb
 I noticed that on the way back down the girl in front of me seemed not to be enjoying the descent over the rutted grass, to be fair it was a bit of a potential ankle twister, so I gradually gained on her finally overtaking her on the gravel path. I had to work quite hard to keep in front of her but eventually she seemed to drop back as I belted back down the track and through the puddles to the finish line. My quads did not thank me for descent that the following morning.
Soggy timekeepers
Bob Thornton finishing
Prize winners
This race was so low key that you didn’t even get a race number to pin to your vest, they gave you a sticky label with your number on to stick to your front. Runners were appearing over the line with little balls of very damp paper in their hands as the labels got wet and fell off. Mine disappeared completely and I have no idea where or when it fell off. The first 3 finishers got a wee prize each as did the winners of the junior fun run which was held just before the senior race. Every runner got a wee goody bag with a Mars Bar and Crisps along with the ample supply of water and bananas at the end. Perfect. 
St Cyrus beach
The beach was deserted
Swimming in the choppy seas off St Cyrus beach was the afternoon’s warm down activity. I guess the good thing about a grey rainy day is that we had the beach to ourselves.
Simon and his surfboard
It was fine for surfing but less so for swimming
Creature from the deep

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