#36: Lochore

A lot of people seem to get hugely upset as their language of choice changes. Words get invented, altered, or used differently as new generations seek to put their own stamp on their world. The word meaning ‘cool’ changes almost every week. Though this may be unsettling for some, isn’t it wonderful that no one is saying ‘chillax’ anymore?

A while ago I thought it would be quite fun to pretend that automatically opening doors were being opened by my imagined telekinetic powers. The game is to try and make a subtle hand gesture on the approach to the doors, but at the exact moment so that it looks like cause and effect. It’s a bit like trying to count down 5 to 1 so that a school bell sounds at the end of the countdown. Obviously this is a fairly subtle gesture, I don’t want people seeing this before I’ve got it perfected. It’s actually trickier than you would think to get the timing just right. Try it yourself if you don’t believe me. By the way, no birds have waved back to me yet either.

Thankfully not all of the new parkruns that have gotten underway this year have been epic distances away. Lochore is practically on my doorstep being just under an hour’s drive, or a few stops on the Fife circle train and an easily runable distance at the other end. Having inlaws ‘fae Fife’ has meant that I’ve seen quite a bit of the braw Kingdom, but I’d not been to Lochore before. A one loop course round a loch though? Sign me up!

Though we do get the short end of the stick here in Scotland if you’re quite fond of the sun and hot weather; at this time of year we get daylight in spades. As a big fan of longer days, the equinox is always one of my favourite days. Once you’ve lived somewhere for a while, it’s all to easy to fall into a rut and days go by with just the usual work, eat, sleep pattern. I have to try and remind myself every now and then that it’s ridiculously easy for me to just pop over to Cramond and watch the sun go down.

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A sort of lie in (well, alarm set for 7.00am) and off we go at 8.00am. Luxury! We arrive into Lochore meadows not long before 9.00am. Into the visitor centre to use the excellent loos and then to the loch side where we stand transfixed for probably a whole ten minutes looking out at the view. We’ve chosen an absolutely brilliant day, it’s slightly overcast, a good temperature for running, and there’s a breeze coming across the water toward us.

Into the usual scrum at the start, and the briefing gets underway. We’re told that today there will be the event’s first pacer, so anyone wishing to run 20 minutes should follow him. This is greeted with guffaws from the rear two thirds of the pack, and it’s stuff like this that makes parkrun brilliant.

Go! We’re making a beeline for the loch side path to our right, crossing a sort of sandy beach stretch before hitting the path proper. There’s a brilliantly equipped children’s play area in front of us, but no chance for us yet to go down the slides as we start to arch round to the right. Standing at loch side earlier I had thought I could see the whole of the loch. As we go round the corner, I’m first thinking that this is maybe another lane of water, but the corner reveals more of the loch. The wind is pushing us back and making ripples on the water which lap on the shore. A multitude of camper vans are parked up on the side of the loch, I’ve no idea how they got there but it seems a lovely way to spend a few days. Underfoot the path is a fine gravel and I’m starting to fall in with a small group around me. I’m really enjoying the long grasses on the waters edge, and just as I get used to the water to my left, the path is consumed by trees and we leave the water’s edge. Mile #1: 6.47

The path narrows slightly and we’re threading our way through a tree lined corridor. The path is now firmer under foot and I’m puffing a little as we come to a marshalled hard left into the nature reserve section. On our right the trees have dropped away, and are replaced with meadows stretching away into the distance. The gravel track underneath gets a bit less refined, but not to the point I’m needing to look where I tread and now we’re off on an adventure. There are twists, turns, and I’m wheezing down the neck of the poor person in front of me. As we come down we see the point we’ve just come from a few minutes earlier and now see other parkrunners following in our footsteps. A short stretch and there’s the loch again to my left peering in at me through the trees. Everything opens out, and there’s the water again. Mile#2: 7.09

Everything now is open, the wind is on our tails and we’re heading for home. I get glimpses up the loch here and there, and I can see the boat sheds that I think we’re heading toward. We’re on a country lane threading through rolling hills in miniature. I can usually see only a few hundred metres of the path ahead. Down a little slope, round to the left up a short slope and see the next section. A snake of a road sinking down again before cutting left and up. That section managed, then another and into view comes the shed I’m targeting. There’s a guy with a flash looking camera, hope I’m smiling…

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Sort of. Thanks to Fishygordonpix, I was enjoying myself. Honest.

Not long to go now, that shed is getting closer, puff puff wheeze. A slight right and oh, there’s the finish line! We’re not going to the sheds at all, well done me.

It’s hard to imagine a location that is more perfect to hold a parkrun. The course is beautiful, the facilities are superb and the crew are wonderful. Even though all parkrun courses are measured to exactly 5k, it’s rare that GPS watches agree. Here, this course was absolutely on the nose, so that was a nice touch.

Scores! 34th place, 21.38

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