Black is back in Kinghorn!

After an absence of two years, Kinghorn’s legendary Black Rock ‘5’ Race is back and will see over 1000 people running through the streets of the town.

By Paul McCabe
Thursday, 19th May 2022, 9:00 am
Black Rock '5' runners on Kinghorn beach and (inset) 2019's winner, Jamie Crowe. (Pics: Fife Photo Agency)
Black Rock '5' runners on Kinghorn beach and (inset) 2019's winner, Jamie Crowe. (Pics: Fife Photo Agency)

Starting at the bottom of Harbour Road and finishing on South Overgate, the event has been a staple in the town since 1987 but hasn’t been run since 2019 due to the Covid-19 outbreak.

Race Director John McKay said he has been overwhelmed with the local reaction to the 5k run which will take place on Friday, May 27, with all the available places already snapped up by eager participants.

He said: “Talking to people on the street the reaction in Kinghorn itself seems to be very positive. People have said it's as if we're finally emerging from the pandemic.

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“However, because of the Covid-19 situation, we've mitigated some of our normal practices.

“We would normally do the number collection in a sports hall, this time we've paid a company to post out the numbers to the 1200 runners, we have changing facilities with enhanced ventilation and we will also be taking extra steps to manage the flow of people.

“People can make up their own mind whether they want to use that facility or not, but talking to race organisers from other events they've said that people are turning up ready to go.”

With around 1200 runners alone descending on the town, Mr McKay said it takes a huge effort involving a number of volunteers to put on the event.

"We have an army of people who make this work,” he says, “up to around 70, who all volunteer their own time.

“There will be a number of police officers, there's around six to eight first raiders then after that there will be those who will be distributing our infamous beer, water and bananas!

"We'll have the RNLI burger stall where people can make a donation and I'm currently getting together the people who will put up the crowd control barriers.

“We're very fortunate. There appears to be a very good feeling within the Kinghorn community that, yes, this is our biggest event of the year, let's get this done.”

Despite the two year gap, Mr McKay said that once the race was announced, the places were taken up quickly, much to his relief.

“We've always generated that fear of missing out so I'm delighted that we have around 1200 entries.

“We've been known to sell out within three hours, this year it took around 24 which is still pretty damn good!

“We had 900 in the first three hours then we watched slowly tick over until the last few places went. Plus, we always hold back some places for postal entries.

“There are people taking part from all across the UK and some from Ireland and the Netherlands, and it’s always people of all differing abilities.

"We might have international steeplechasers to people just trying it for the first time who might walk part of it.

“It’s a really good run with a good spread of entrants.”

The post-race event is to be held at The Carousel and other bars and restaurants in the town will also benefit.

Mr McKay said: “The Carousel is under new ownership but they have very much bought into the event, it's done good business for them in the past.

“We try to be as hospitable as we can. There always seems to be a very good vibe and the other pubs in the town will do very well.

“I went in to speak to the Chinese restaurant too. They pointed at their calendar which had 'Black Rock Race' written on it and said to me 'thank you very much!'

"One of the funniest things to see is the look on the face of the train driver of the last train to Edinburgh when he pulls into Kinghorn Station!

You would normally have one or two people - on Black Rock Race night you have a full platform!”

With just over a week until the starting pistol sounds, Mr McKay gave praise to what he says is “a buy-in from the whole community”.

He said: “We're really looking at this as a way to restart Kinghorn and the following week we then have the beginning of the Kinghorn Gala.

“We have a huge amount of people who come out to watch.

"The Primary School Fun Run takes place earlier in the night and the parents there get the atmosphere going. The kids get a tremendous cheer.

“It's the local populace who give their blood, sweat and tears to get the whole race done and I can't thank them all enough.”