Over 1000 runners descend on Kinghorn for iconic Black Rock 5 race

Now in its 32nd year, the popular Black Rock ‘5’ takes place tonight in Kinghorn.

Runners pack the streets of Kinghorn in a previous Black Rock 5 gathering. Pic: Fife Photo Agency
Runners pack the streets of Kinghorn in a previous Black Rock 5 gathering. Pic: Fife Photo Agency

This iconic road and beach race will see a field of around 1100 runners descending on the coastal village to run out to the Black Rock on Pettycur Sands and back.

The race was originally thought to be “about five miles” and was dubbed The Black Rock Five back in 1987.

It transpires that the five mile guess (eight kilometres) was pretty inaccurate, and the race is closer to 7k as measured by recent participants personal GPS!

The race route begins at the bottom of Harbour Road by the Victorian railway arches and climbs uphill to Pettycur Road before following the road to Pettycur Beach.

Runners then head down the ramp on to the sand, heading out to the Rock with superb views of the Forth Bridges and Inchcolm.

They then retrace their steps back along the sandbars and beach, up the hill of Pettycur Road and back downhill through the start line.

The race finish line is reached with a steep, lung bursting and leg sapping dash uphill on South Overgate.

Runners are rewarded with the traditional bottle of beer, bottle of water and a banana!

The race has been staged on a Friday evening in May or June every year since 1987– with the exception of 1991.

The first race was won by Gifford Kerr, ahead of 66 other finishers. As the years have gone by and the race has grown in size, the quality of the top end of the field has increased significantly with winners including Bobby Quinn, Terry Mitchell, Phil Mowbray, Ross Houston, Don Naylor and Murray Strain who are all international athletes.

The course record belongs to Ian Harkness, of Hunters Bog Trotters, with a time of 22:03. The ladies record is 25.59 and is held by Rosie Smith of Edinburgh University Hares and Hounds.

Three years ago a new prize for first runner to the rock was instituted in memoriam of Bill Tulloch who was the marshal at the rock for many, many years.

The current race director. John McKay, who has been in post since 1992, said: “The community spirit in Kinghorn is pivotal to the continued success of the event, with a huge team of local volunteers helping to marshal the route, distribute runner’s numbers and hand out the beer, water and bananas at the finish.

“The enthusiastic and vocal support of the residents lining the streets to cheer people on is always remarked upon by grateful runners at the after race party held in the Harbour View Bar.”

A proportion of the entry fees paid by the runners is used to support local causes, details of these donations can be found on the race website www.blackrock5.org.

The race is due to begin at 7.30 p.m.