Kippen Trail Race – Race Review
Trail races are like buses - months without one and then two over consecutive weeks. Just a week after Arrochar 10k we were standing in beautiful sunshine on the playing field at Kippen for the Kippen Trail Race. Mingling at the start made us realise what a fabulous community the running one is. We have only lived in this area for 9 months, during more than half of that time government restrictions meant no group running, and yet we bumped into running friends from Callander Jog Scotland group, our village and My Running Scotland Facebook group.
Musicians En Route
The field of over 200 set off round the field to start the 5 miles and most soon slowed down at a bottleneck to get over the bridge and into the woods. A lovely track through the woods and past a pond led us onto a farm road and the start of the hill. There was some splendid cow bell ringing from the marshall and as we got into our stride up the long hill we were accompanied by a saxophonist playing in their garden.
It was a long slog up the hill through the woods. At about 2k it became more undulating as the road snaked round up to a farm at Wrightpark, revealing a splendid view of the Gargunnock Hills. The route then dropped down on a stony farm track. I was really regretting wearing my off-road shoes, which are more fell shoes than trail shoes and have excellent grip but not much support. Road shoes would have been fine with the weather being dry.
Downhill to the Finish
The stony downhill gave way to a single track road at about 5k. The downhill section combined with the tarmac meant I threw in a 5:40 km (super-speedy for me) and I thought it would be all downhill to the finish and I would run a negative split.
How mistaken could I be! A left turn took us off the road and onto a steep uphill path. Not only could I not run up this hill, I could barely walk up it having pushed myself on the downhill. So, I staggered up the hill, grimacing at the photographer at the top and then got myself into a "not walk" across the field. We finally got to the last section back through the woods and I was spurred on by a little chat with a fellow runner who had been at Arrochar last week. I was pleased to arrive at the finish in under an hour
This was a community race in its truest form. Organised by the village, with families taking part and prizes for under 16s. The overall winner was actually in that junior category. There was no goody bag, no water and not even any timing except for the winners. But it only cost £1 to enter. For me this was a perfect run, inexpensive, no hassle, no waste, friendly and they even managed to arrange good weather.
Congratulations to the team at Kippen Trail Race and thanks to Kay Roxby for the photos of us at the top of the hill - what a back drop.