DeVilla Forest 15k Race Report

I wonder how many races are sponsored by breweries?

The DeVilla Forest 15km is a new race organised by the Carnegie Harriers, from Dunfermline.  It almost fitted in with my marathon training programme, so I signed up.

The race was extremely well organised.  Start and finish were in the Scottish Police College at Tulliallan, near the village of Kincardine in Fife.  This is intended to be the home of a new Scottish National Police force, if the current plans come to fruition.

The registration hall even had a Starbucks inside!

The race started at 1100; I arrived rather earlier than I had intended at around 0930.  I went into the recreation building to register, where I was quickly given my race number.  Across the hall I picked up my chip, then along a few steps to get goodies from the sponsors – a £5 gift voucher from Sweatshop and a bottle of Schiehallion Lager from the local Harviestoun Brewery!  Now, I must confess that my preferred long drink comes from apples rather than hops, but I certainly plan to savour this bottle this evening!

As I was early, I went for a bit of a wander.  I walked to the start, which was between Tulliallan Castle and the Police Memorial monument, commemorating those officers who have dies in the line of duty.

Then it was time to start.  I was rather chilly, so wore 3/4 tights, a long-sleeved compression top with a vest over it (mainly to give me somewhere to pin my number).  By the time I got into the race, I think that maybe short sleeves – and possibly shorts – would have been better.

Tulliallan Castle

On to the race.  We started in front of the castle, and ran along a paved road for a short distance to the forest.  I made my first mistake at the start by allowing myself to be much further forward in the line than I should have been.  To anyone I held up – sorry!

Soon we were out on the forest roads – slightly muddy roads used by the vehicles that service the forest.  And then, all of a sudden, we were directed off those roads and onto rabbit tracks, and then simply following arrows between the trees.  Since by this time a good couple of hundred runners had already gone through these tracks, and it rained last night, it did become pretty muddy and slippery.  It’s not all bad – it was really gentle on the knees.

The “flatt-ish” course turned out to have a few more hills than I, at least, had expected.  I think that my hill training is paying off a bit, as it was on these hills that I was able to catch up a little with other runners.  However, I was definitely overtaken by many more people than I overtook.

The water station was around four miles (I messed up with my Garmin, so not sure exactly where), and it was very much appreciated.  Then we carried on round the Peppermill Dam, where was had a remarkably exciting and rapid downhill stretch through the trees, followed by a very… original… bridge across the dam’s spillway.  During this stretch I fell once, which only marginally made me any muckier than I was already!

Scottish Police Memorial

We came back to the water station (it’s roughly a figure-of-eight course) and from there it was mostly downhill.  Near the end there was a single-track stretch.  There was a lady running behind me, but clearly catching up, so I gallantly let her go first.  When it opened out, I caught up with her.  Eventually we saw that we were approaching the gate to go back into the grounds of the college.

“No more chivalry, it’s a race from here on,” I laughed to her as we entered the college.  She left me hopelessly in the dust… I reckon she must have gained fifty metres on me in that last three hundred!

I messed up with my Garmin, and it had no satellite lock for the first six or seven minutes.  I think in fact I stopped the timer when I was trying to lock the bezel.  Even if I hadn’t messed that up, it is hopelessly inaccurate amongst the trees.  So any thought of “pacing” went out the window.  But this was a great race – congratulations to the organisers!

My Garmin time (I tihnk the time is good even though part of the route is missing) is 1:16.  You can see what I did get of the route on Endomondo.