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Cupar 5 race report by James Barnet

Despite living in Cupar for 1.5 years prior to moving to Errol and joining Dundee Road Runners, this was a race I had never run. Described by Fife AC as a fast course with the opportunity for fast times, it seemed like a great opportunity early in the racing season to go for the 5 mile standard and potentially a PB.


A ridge of high pressure brought a sunny but chilly day for the race on Saturday 16 March. The only weather concern was a potentially strengthening south-easterly wind during the afternoon. With a 2pm start, this could prove decisive in whether PB territory was on the cards.


The biggest drama occurred before most DRRs even arrived at registration. Severe traffic delays through the pesky roadworks on the Tay Road Bridge had us sitting stationery for some time, wondering if we were even going to make the start line on time, let alone registration before 1.30pm. There was talk of multiple problems, including a breakdown in the single carriageway section, just highlighting the problems once again caused by these major roadworks on the main artery connecting Dundee with Fife. Anyway, most if not all DRR made it to the start line in time, although some only just by the skin on their teeth. There was a comparatively small DRR contingent at this one, as most were saving themselves for the Alloa half marathon, a DRR grand prix race, on the following day.

Luckily we had 15 minutes to spare for a warm up. It was already becoming apparent that the outbound section containing most of the incline would have a tail wind, while the return leg would have a headwind. It would be important to dig in deep on that return leg.


The race is in a nice scenic location and comprises an out and back on a quiet country road just outside Cupar. The road was closed to traffic which was an added bonus. The first half heads west, normally the direction most prone to a headwind, and gently climbs in several stages, separated by long fast flat sections. It’s fairly fast, although by the 2 mile mark the gentle inclines were starting to take their toll on pace. I had set off fast, being dragged along by the fast boys out front, but I also knew that it would be important to make the most of the tailwind despite the gentle inclines.


Just as the halfway point was approaching, we came across a sight that no-one wants to see on a supposedly fast course - a steepish drop downhill! This undoubtedly broke my rhythm as I braked for a sharp hairpin loop round the halfway cone then faced straight into that steepish hill we’d just run down. It would be mundane if on a training run but during a fast 5 mile race, it was undoubtedly a set back.


The return leg is predominantly downhill, although with one or two gentle short inclines back up. This should be the faster leg under normal circumstances but we had that relentless south-easterly headwind in our faces for the whole time, which was cold and draining. Nonetheless, the final mile is entirely flat or downhill and I found some energy to pick up the pace a bit for a fast finish in 29min12secs. I was very pleased with that time given the course and conditions, comfortably getting my gold standard and finishing within half a minute of my all time 5 mile PB.


There was also success for several of the other small DRR contingent. Hannah continued to astound everyone by smashing out her 3rd silver standard in 3 weeks, now 21 weeks pregnant, picking up the First Senior Ladies prize. Jane O’Donnell picked up the First Vet 40 prize and Gill Hanlon picked up the First Vet 70 prize. A small but successful turnout from DRR at the Cupar 5 in 2024. Good luck to the many running Alloa half today!



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