12 Harriers made their way to the small town of Kinghorn in Fife on a Friday night in May to race the ‘Black Rock 5’. A welcome return of the race that first started in 1987 with 67 runners now attracts north of 1000 runners and is known for it community spirit as the locals line the streets to create the most amazing atmosphere.
The course is a 7km out and back, with the majority of it on Pettycur sands round the low tide exposed ‘Black rock’ and finishing 200m or so beyond the start line up a wee hill. Ssshhhhh if you are in the know.
How did everyone get on?
First up, the girls:
Fiona Cushnaghan: First time doing the race and her aim was to get it complete after hearing about the conditions on the far side of the ‘Black Rock’. She wasn’t let down, with the water over her knees in some parts, but pulled through to finish in a solid 49:12. Before the race, Fiona & Craig were making their way to the start when Craig asked for directions. The steward looked at Fiona and responded “..for the kids race?” (Fiona’s words, they had a good laugh at this)
Kirstin Arthur: Also first time taking part found the out section super tough into the stiff Easterly wind but enjoyed the return journey + the wade in the Forth! Pushing hard on the hilly finish saw Kirstin finish strongly in 49:09, admitting if the finish was any further she may not have made it! I think most would agree on that.
Fiona Macfarlane: another first timer to the beach race enjoyed the terrain and also found it tough on the way out into the wind. The atmosphere, location and scenery had a positive effect on Fiona’s running, finishing in an impressive 35:59 and 21/165 in her category.
Emma Benstead: Emma has experience of the course with 2 previous finishes at the race also found the wind hard on the way out and had to tough out the second half with the waterlogged sand zapping energy as she returns to full fitness, finishing in 64:19. Emma loves the race setting and whole ‘Black Rock’ experience.
Lorna MacLean: another first timer and Lorna was looking to complete the course and soak up the atmosphere, as well as her first chance in ages to pull the vest on! No surprise Lorna also found the wind tough going and conditions underfoot tricky but finished well (and still smiling) in 57:35. Lorna loved the atmosphere of the race and being part of a big Harriers contingent.
Emma and Lorna
Marianne McKay: last minute decision to compete due to the lurgy but pulled through in an impressive 39:00. When asked her thoughts about the event, she commented “it was fun” which makes us think she wasn’t trying hard enough.
Angeline Austin: Ange’s fifth time taking part, toeing the line every year since 2016. One of her favourites to race and enjoys telling other harriers how good an event it is and to have a go! Working on getting back to race fitness, Ange finished strongly in 55:06 after being the last starter!
Next the boys:
Craig Canning: another first timer to the Kinghorn race and another who struggled in the wind on the way out, but picked up on the way back and finished strongly to post 35:14, a welcome return to racing for Craig. He loved the buzz generated when a whole town comes out to support the massive event, as well as the views up the Forth!
Stephen Reid: Stephen’s fourth time competing in this event and also found the wind tough but enjoyed the return leg to post a solid 35:18 comfortably in the top 1/3 in his category. Why does Stephen keep coming back? The unique course, always a good Harriers crowd and of course the beer at the end!
David Benstead: David’s second time competing also found the wind tough to deal with in the first half but after rounding the ‘Black Rock’ used the wind to pick up and return a solid 41:55. David thinks it’s an excellent race with a fantastic atmosphere.
Malcolm MacLean: Malcolm’s first time and was persuaded by the others who have ran multiple times to try out the unique race. Malcolm, returning from injury, was looking to get round comfortably and welcomed the support from the Kinghorn locals on the closing stretch on the streets and in their gardens cheering on, especially on the last hill section. Malcolm really happy with 38:15 and loved the whole community spirit and vibe of the race. Already looking forward to next year!
Stuart Austin: Fifth time, running every race since 2016. Struggled with conditions, mainly underfoot, to get any rhythm but really happy to be back competing with a big Harriers group. Finished in 33:35 and top 1/4 age category so no real complaints. One of the most atmospheric and unique races in the calendar, and the beer, banana, water combo to look forward to at the end – what’s not to like!
Stuart in the pack, standing out with a lovely GGH vest
An excellent event that is very well organised, sponsored by a brewery, that raises lots of money for the local community and provides a unique atmosphere for runners and spectators. The prize giving is held after the race in The Harbour View bar, which has fantastic views over the Forth and onto Edinburgh with lots of category and team prizes, beer and BBQ. Entries normally open on a Friday night in April and typically sell out within an hour or two so if you would like to give it a go, get in early.
MOK run weekend 28th and 29th May
Some of our club members returned to Campbeltown for the popular Mull of Kintyre running weekend consisting of junior races on The Saturday and a 10k and Half marathon on the Sunday.
On Saturday it was Connie and Zak Dolan in the junior races, Connie had 1 lap of Kinloch green to do and Zak 2, both ran well and earned their bag of goodies at the end.
Zak and Connie
On Sunday it was the combined 10k and half marathon events, this event has a maximum 1000 entrants and usually sells out quickly when it goes on sale at the turn of the year.
Robert Dolan in the half with Jude Dolan and Liz Ness in the 10k set off on a sunny Sunday morning, Jude who was stepping up in distance being too old to defend his junior title from 2019 stayed with the leading pack until the split, the 10k heading back into town but the half heading up the A83 to continue the half, Robert found out at this point that he was lying in 4th position which he held until the end. A very scenic tough course, usually windy taking in part of Machrihanish golf course and beach.
Robert in the pack
Jude stayed with the pack as long as he could heading into town and came home in 9th place overall and 3rd in his age category. Liz who has been doing this race for years completed another one and added to her handmade clay medal collection.
Robert and Jude
The goody bags, pastries, sandwiches and coffees are as popular as the race itself and its definitely one for your diary.
Juniors – Connie Dolan 1 lap 3:20, Zak Dolan 2 laps 4:57
10k – Jude Dolan 39:01, Liz Ness 60:59
Half marathon – Robert Dolan 1:28:23
Thanks to Robert Dolan and Stuart Austin for writing. Please get in touch f you want to submit a race report.