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Running on the Inverkeithing 'Red Ash'



report by Shane Fenton

Inverkeithing Highland Games is a unique event, with it being the only one of it's kind in Scotland which sees all the running and cycling events take place on a red ash/cinder track.

It is also a 400 metre track, one of only two on the games circuit - the other at Blackford [grass] in Perthshire.

Nowadays, nearly all cinder tracks have been replaced by all weather synthetic surfaces which provide greater durability and are less stressful on runners.
It's a bit like horses for courses some runners like running on the cinders others hate it.

The last Olympics to be staged on a cinder track were the 1964 games in Tokyo.
Tradition however dies hard on the Scottish Games circuit and Inverkeithing are proud to still stage their races on the aptly named Ballast Bank.

In the old days runners would sharpen their racing spikes for better grip on the cinders and would rub graphite on them so they would not pick up too much ash.

It's the day of the year the cyclists look forward to, after weeks of slogging round often heavy rain soaked tracks they revel in the speeds they can achieve on the faster surface, although it can be a bit of a leveler among the riders and often the handicapper has to tighten up the starts.

On a dry sunny day the bikes aren't always popular with the crowds as they often go home the same colour as the track, as the bikes throw up a huge plume of dust as they speed round the circuit, as one wag put it one year, '' they bikes are chuckin up a helluva stoor.''

There is a full programme of running events for both open and youth runners as well as all the traditional heavy event contests.

Come along and enjoy this unique occasion, action gets underway on Saturday at 12,30pm.


In order to mark the 2014 “Year of Homecoming” in Scotland, there will be additional prizemonies made available on the basis of the best individual performance in each of the six “league tables” set out as follows:


Senior Athletes Sprints (90m; 200m; and 400m) £100 to first placed overall.


Senior Athletes Endurance (800m and 1600m) £100 to first placed overall.


Youth Athletes Sprints (90m and 200m) £50 to first placed overall.


Youth Athletes Endurance (800m and 1600m) £50 to first placed overall.


Senior Cyclists (all events) £100 to first placed overall.

Youth Cyclists (all events) £50 to first placed overall.


Published: 2014-07-31 22:08:54