Saturday, 22 September 2007

Corbett bagging on Morven

I ventured north to run the well-organised and very enjoyable Morven Hill Race today Saturday 22nd. The conditions were excellent - no rain, a bit windy on top but mostly dry and springy underfoot.

As it happens this was the final race of the 2007 SHR Championship, and it finished dramatically with Brian Marshall of HELP snatching the race and the championship from Stewart Whitlie of Carnethy in a close-fought downhill pursuit. When the two runners (going down) passed me (still only 2/3 of the way up) Brian was at least 200 meters behind, so he must have run an exceptional descent.

The winning time was 45.25, but I was happy to survive a somersault fall more or less unscathed and finish in 1.3.59 in 62nd place out of 101 runners. Full (provisional) results are here.

The bonus for me was to be able to tick off another Corbett (no 96) in addition to a great hill run. The next Corbett hill race is Meall a'Bhuachaille near Aviemore on November 17th - any other Harriers interested please get in touch.

Duncan completes the Atacama Crossing

In August, Duncan King took on one of the mightiest endurance challenges around in the Atacama Desert in Chile. The Atacama Crossing is a six stage 250km race with stages varying in length from 20 to 80km across terrain which could be described euphemistically as "varied" and at altitudes of over 4000m.

This year 80 competitors from 16 countries and ages ranging from 18-67 took part. Competitors have to carry all food and equipment (apart from their tent which is transported ahead of them to the next camp) but while some managed to keep their packs down to under 10kg our Duncan was less frugal and started the race with the heaviest pack of all - 17.2kg (see photo above).

Added to that, Duncan arrived only a couple of days before the race and so had no time to adjust to the climate and altitude.

Despite these self imposed handicaps, he managed to complete the race in 35th place in an excellent time of 57hrs 32mins, surviving injury-free apart from one or two memorable blisters.

Sunday, 16 September 2007

Sterling efforts at Stirling 10k

Four Harriers went to Stirling for the 10K on Sunday. Conditions were wet but with no wind it was near ideal for racing. Phil Tipping was first back in 61st place out of 720 finishers in a time of 38.31.

Ali Manners, had the run of the day, setting a big PB of 47.42 (although some problems with the chip-timing system may have added 20 seconds or so onto her unofficial stopwatch time which read 47.22). This is a well-deserved reward for some hard and consistent training over the summer.

Beth Fotheringham and George Carson ran the race together and finished in a time of 55.59.

Robert Russell from Central won the race in an impressive 30:46, nearly 2 minutes ahead of his nearest rival.

Full results.

Club Championship: Gordon closes in on Ian at Merrick

On Saturday, Gordon took on the challenge of the Merrick Hill race in the Galloway Hills. His time of 2.04.26 was good enough to bring him home in 60th place out of a field of 84 runners (full results).

More to the point, his 3 participation points in the race brings him within spitting distance (perish the thought) of Ian Beattie in the Harriers club championship. With two races to go Ian's lead has been cut to just 1.8 points.

1st: Ian Beattie: 76.5
2nd: Gordon Morrison: 74.7

Nest race is Pitlochry 10K on October 7th...

Monday, 10 September 2007

Harriers retain their title at the Comrie Relay!

This years Comrie Hills Relay was full of incident and interest with local knowledge (or recce runs) proving the decisive factor! As a result Strathearn Harriers Men's Team ended top of the tree for the second year running and our Mixed Team (Liz's) were able to take home the 1st Mixed Team prize as well.

21 Teams from Carnethy, Central, Fife, Highland, Ochils, Westerlands, Corstophine, Beacon, Cosmics and 3 teams from Strathearn Harriers assembled for the race. Many had sent considerably stronger teams than last year with most bookies probably favouring a Carnethy win over Central.

However, not far into Leg 1, the form book was thrown completely out of the window as most of the leaders took a wrong turning. Last years leg winner, Simon Peachey from Carnethy, decided that if a job's worth doing it's worth doing well by finishing the leg dead last in a time 35 minutes slower than last year! Goodness knows where he got to.

Meanwhile, Colin Glencorse rescued two Fife runners who were disappearing off course and was rewarded for his kind action with a stage win for the Harriers. Allan Mooney somehow managed to avoid getting lost and recorded an excellent time of 59.16 for his Harriers mixed team, while Liz Mestecky took a full minute off her time from last year to bring her team in in 15th place.

Leg 2 was much more straightforward with no runners losing their way or missing checkpoints. Phil Mestecky and Simon Wake had a strong run and managed to extend the lead from 1 second to nearly 2 minutes over Fife due to some good route choices and fast descending off the hill. Their time of 45.46 was second fastest on the leg behind Fallon and Ashcroft from Carnethy. The pairing of Doug Flint and a resurgent Gordon Morrison were the 9th fastest in an excellent 53.11. Cathy Tilbrook and Ali Manners also had a strong run on this tough leg finishing in 1.06.28.

So on Leg 3 Digby took off in the lead and held it until near to the summit ridge where he was overhauled by Mark Harris of Fife and then later on by Dave Weir of Fife Vets. In all, 4 runners dipped under 1.05 on this leg with Andrew Wright of Highland recording an awesome 1.01 dead for a new course record. Phil Tipping ran well to come home in 1.17.16 for Liz's Mixed Team with Adrian Wake finishing in 1.31.07 for Allan's Mixed Team.

Further chaos ensued on Leg 4 as several contenders managed to get lost and the Central A team runner missing out on a leg 4 stage win by failing to punch the final checkpoint. Ian Beattie, running serenely through the mayhem, emerged into Laggan Park with a lead of nearly 7 minutes to the great surprise of the waiting crowds, officials and indeed himself. Meanwhile, the two Fife runners were apparently enjoying a sightseeing tour of the Dunira estate while the Highland Hillrunner, who had started Leg 4 in 4th place missed the turning over Shakey bridge and shot off down the Balmuick road and thence over the horizon.

For Liz's Mixed team, Karen Pass also had a fun-packed afternoon! Literally caught with her pants down by the early arrival of Phil Tipping, she then failed to retrace her steps correctly from the monument and began descending the steep path towards the Deil's Cauldron. Despite these faux pas, she only lost one position overall and brought the team home to their Mixed Team victory in a time of 1.08.30. Shelagh's time of 1.04.49 was good enough to bring Allan's team home in 15th place.

All in all, a fun-filled event made possible by the efforts of Alex Dillon as race co-ordinator and his team of helpers and marshalls especially Phil Tipping and Gordon Morrison. The day was topped off perfectly with a wonderful B-B-Q and home baking provided by Liz Tipping, Alison Beattie, Beth Dillon and Hazel Sym for which much thanks.

Full results are here

Read what others thought of the day
Ian Beattie's blog
Scottish Hill Runners
Highland Hillrunners (also see their message board click on Highland Hillrunners link)
Fife AC Bulletin Board (see thread entitled "Results Week Ending 9th Sept. 50km, Strett Athletics Final, Comrie, Devils Beeftub. etc")

...and see some excellent photos from a Fife AC Photographer
and some more good ones from Cosmics too

Monday, 3 September 2007

Weegie wonders - Harriers in action at Glasgow Half

Five Harriers joined the more than 6400 runners (and Jimmy Saville too!) that descended on Glasgow Green on Sunday for the Half Marathon.

In good running conditions, Phil Tipping led the Blue and Whites home in a time of 1:24.54 and 144th place (Top 2% of the field!) showing that he is regaining some of the speed which West Highland Way training had removed from his legs earlier in the year.

Ian Beattie had a steady but reassuring run after a recent hamstring pull and a dramatic tumble while running through Laggan Wood in Comrie on Thursday combined to give less than perfect race preparation. Ian's time of 1:28.34 (275th) was some way off his best but getting through the race uninjured was the chief objective on this occasion.

Jim McConnell's 1:37.26 (792nd) shows that his Marathon training is starting to kick in - so, Jim, we'll be looking for something around the 3.45 mark in Berlin based on this.

Liz M, was not too far behind Jim, finishing in 1:46.37 (1729th) and setting a new personal best by 2 minutes in the process and Shelagh came in shortly afterwards in 1:54.17 (2761st).

Sunday, 2 September 2007

Ade clocks up another Ben

On Saturday, in wild and wet conditions, Adrian moved a step closer to his free bottle of whisky for completing 21 Ben Nevis races. This was No 17 and proved to be one of his better recent runs finishing in 2:39.02 (325th/404), a minute faster than in 2006 and more than 15 minutes better than 05.

Also running in the race was Digby Sym whose 2:06.57 (139th) was nearly 10 minutes faster than his previous attempt in 2005. Digby was not entirely satisfied though as he felt he went off too slowly and got held up in traffic on the narrow climb and then struggled to fully let himself go on the steep downhill section. So, with better conditions and some more specific training, it looks like a sub 2hrs could be on the cards for next year. (Digby's face in the photos clearly shows the agony and the ecstacy of the Ben race!)

The race was won by Ian Holmes from Bingley in 1:32.57 and first woman was Angela Mudge in 1:48.28 (27th overall).