This was my first race in over 2 years and my first ever trail race. Actually, this was only my 2nd or 3rd 5k because I generally like a 8-10k distance. It was also the first year for this series, The Fare Challenge. I don’t have a lot of back story on the creators of the race, but I can tell you: They put on a great race, even greater when you realize it was the first year for it AND they are super nice and have great communication. And I should say trusting, because I still have to pay. (Dang UK banking).
The Fare Challenge has a 5k (started at noon), and a 10k and half-marathon that start shortly after, all on the same day. The 5k started at a different location, but we all ended in the same spot (which is where the 10k and half marathon started.)
I so wish I had my camera because there were some incredible pictures. To start with, we were “piped up” to the 5k start-line by a bag piper in full costume. Then there was the castle ruins (Cluny Crichton Castle ruins) where we started the run. The beautiful woods. The cow stampede caused by us running past the field. And just all that is beautiful Scotland, specifically the Hill of Fare by Banchory. These pictures are borrowed from The Fare Challenge’s Facebook page.
I will say that even though I was under-prepared for this race, it was a perfect course for my first trail race. While difficult enough to make me walk (haven’t walked in a race since my first half marathon), it wasn’t totally balls to the wall and you can get through anything for 5k.
I think I’ll just break down races in the following way for recaps.
£16 per person for the 5k. Not bad (when not converting).
Parking – good
Just provided a little reminder to us not to get a white car or a little coupe. Definitely muddy and poopy, but it was a big field so certainly parking was ample.
Bathrooms – needs improvement
They had the nice trailer bathrooms (not porta potties) with running water. But I think the water was from the sea (or worse) and when I flushed it was all brown and smelled salty/dirty. Oh and no TP in either stall an hour before start time. Only 2 stalls, but for fewer than 500 people it was alright.
Registration – good
There was a short queue but I was happy with the process. Everyone was friendly and knowledgeable, and it beat having to drive out there for packet pick up before the race!
Timing – good
Not my favorite device for timing, but it was easy enough to attach to our shoes with zip-ties and stayed put without bother on the run. I will say I generally dislike chip-timers where I have to have them cut off and collected immediately upon crossing the finish line, which is the case here.
Course – Great?
I mean, I don’t know what to compare this to in terms of trail courses? I found it challenging without being god-awful. I got a little muddy, but wasn’t running through a swamp. I think it’s great for anyone, but especially as a first trail race. The only bad part was running past one farm, which I can only assume was a dairy farm and it smelled like spoiled milk. E started gagging. Otherwise, the other farms just smelled like your typical cow shite.
Goodie Bag – good
I liked that this was given to us after we finished. It was a small bag with no t-shirt (who needs more ill-fitting t-shirts).
Everyone was really nice and welcoming and there was a good mix of abilities. Thank god,
Yes, if you’re into medals you definitely get one crossing the finish line.
32:42 – 77th place
I will say that even though I was under-prepared for this race, it was a perfect course for my first trail race. While difficult enough to make me walk (haven’t walked in a race since my first half marathon), it wasn’t totally balls to the wall and definitely something anyone can get through without fear of death. I can’t wait for this race to come around in a year and I’ll be more experienced and accomplished in trail runs!
Did you run the race- what did you think? Do I need to add any other criteria when reviewing a future race?