There’s no doubt that the Brig Bash route is a PB course for the 5 mile distance. Despite a few gentle undulations, the most significant one being in the last half mile before the finish, there are a large number of flat straights where it’s possible to open up and push the pace. The weather was also kind to us, with spells of warm sunshine but enough of a cooling breeze to keep a lid on the temperature. A headwind in the first half was counteracted by a tail wind in the second half, so the stage was definitely set for some PB times.
You need to have your finger on the pulse to get into this one, with the 300 race limit typically selling out just hours after opening. There were hints at the prize giving though that the race limit may be expanded for next year, which will come as a relief to those who didn’t get in this year. There aren’t just prizes for the 5 mile race but also for the fastest male and female over the first mile. It’s therefore important to not get too carried away and get dragged along too fast with the leading group at the start if the 5 mile race is your focus.
Starting off down a country lane on the edge of the small village of Bridge of Earn, the race took us down part of the Main Street and through a residential area of the village, before heading west to follow a rectangular-shaped loop along country lanes through picturesque countryside. With such a short race and fast course, there’s no chance to relax into it gently if you’re going for a DRR gold standard like I was. It was therefore important to do a good warm up beforehand, with the park near the start full of runners warming up with 20 minutes to go before the start.
I was targeting a sub-29.25 time to get my gold standard in the male 35-39 age category. From prior research, I knew I needed to aim for 5.50 min/mile pace to do this comfortably. So off I went out of the blocks like a bat out of hell on the tail of Adam Hart, clocking my first mile in 5.41 and banking myself a vital 9 seconds on the time I needed. Adam proceeded to then pull away but I settled into my 5.50ish pace, only mile 3 running a bit on the slower side in 5.59. I was pushing hard the whole time but also feeling good with it and knew I wasn’t at risk of burning out. I just had to keep focused on my pace until the end.
I think we all had to dig deep up that final hill on the Main Street but then there were just a couple of straights to go. Someone behind me managed to force out a sprint on the final straight to the line and pass me but I forced out all the pace I could and crossed the line with nothing more to give. It’s very satisfying to cross the line knowing you gave it your all and left nothing on the table. And guess what - I got my gold standard, finishing in 16th place in a time of 29.12 with an average pace of 5.50 min/mile. It was all going well for Hannah to get her gold standard too until the halfway point, when she stitched badly and had to walk it out, but she still finished in an impressive time of 33.59.
Congratulations to Alison McNeilly for finishing an impressive 2nd lady in the race with a time of 31.06, picking up a nice memento. The ladies team of 3 finished in second place, just behind PH Racing, comprising Alison, Mairi Littleson and Hannah Tippetts. Also congratulations to Adam Hart for being first DRR home, finishing in 11th place in an impressive time of 28.28. It was a night for records to be broken with Jamie Crowe in attendance, smashing the time for the first mile in 4 minutes 24 seconds and the 5 mile course record by over 30 seconds in 23 minutes 29 seconds. That’s just a different league to the rest of us.
A little bit of a break from racing for me until August now, except for the occasional parkrun, so a chance to get a solid block of training in over the rest of July.