Sunday, 21 December 2008

Mince Pie Run 2008

Fifteen folk were out this morning for what proved to be a very enjoyable Mince Pie Run on the Ochils.

Despite Jeremiah-like predictions from some quarters, the weather was breezy but dry and mild, with some pleasant blue sky and sunshine.
There seemed to be some minor navigational difficulties in finding the start point at Glensherup car park, but the group was assembled and ready to run by 10.15. The forest track took us steadily uphill and then out onto the open hillside with good views towards the Firth of Forth and the Lomonds of Fife.
At the top of Innerdownie hill we met the full force of the wind and standing upright did become a bit tricky. Fortunately there was a fine stone wall on hand to provide shelter.
From Innerdownie we dropped down a grassy track into the head of Glenquey for mince pies and coffee. Then on along to Glendevon from where a group of keen ones - Karen, Al, Will, Colin, Ben and James - took the high road back over the hill while the rest of us completed the circuit along the riverbank.
Approximate stats: 10.8k for the circuit with 470m ascent, a bit longer and a bit more climb for those who went back over the hill.

Sunday, 9 November 2008

A special Sunday run

Many Strathearn Harriers and friends got together today with members of the Wake family for a special Sunday run up to a tall cairn that stands on Choinneachain Hill above Loch Turret, one of Simon's favourite places.

A large group of runners reached the cairn and took a quiet minute to remember Simon.

After coffee and biscuits, the group set off back down the hill, through mist and stinging hail, to emerge back at the dam, refreshed and invigorated by a run that Simon too would have enjoyed.

The weather was interesting to say the least, especially for those of the Wake clan who are more used to sunny climes, and the routefinding was of the usual Harriers standard (!), but we all felt the better for the outing.

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Comrie Relay - 14th September

Some more photos from Graham:

Sunday saw the 3rd annual running of the Comrie Hills Relay sponsored by The Famous Grouse Experience. This year attracted the largest field yet with 26 teams from across Scotland descending on Laggan Park for the start. This included a formidable Carnethy team out to steal the title away from the local club, Strathearn Harriers who had won the race in the previous two years.

The race requires teams of 5 runners covering a total of 42km and more than 2000m of climb in 4 stages of varying distance, ascent and terrain. It begins and ends in Laggan Park taking in the hills on both sides of Glen Lednock via Shakey Bridge, Crappich Hill, Invergeldie, Meall na Seide, Carroglen, Funtilloch, Ma’am Road, 20 Shilling Wood and the Deil’s Cauldron.

In the men’s race, an early lead was established by Prasad Prasad of the Ochil Hillrunners who broke the Leg 1 record to handover in 1st place. Harrier John Burke was just a few minutes behind in 4th handing over to Phil Mestecky and Graham Johnston for the start of Leg 2. By the end of the leg, the Carnethy duo of Steven Fallon and Ronnie Gallagher had overhauled the Ochil pair to take the lead. Despite running the second fastest time for Leg 2, Phil and Graham were not quite able to overtake Fife AC in third place by the time they handed over to Will Manners for leg 3.

Will, however, had no such difficulty, and in fact streaked past both Fife and Ochils to lie in 2nd place on the climb up to Meall na Seide. His time of 66.47 was 3rd fastest of the day and a new club record by over 5 minutes, but more importantly kept the team just 6 minutes behind Carnethy and 3 minutes ahead of 3rd place. On the final leg, Colin Glencorse had a great run but despite being one of only two runners to get under 50 minutes was not able to make any impression on the Carnethy lead. They took the title in a new record time of 3.23.12 with Harriers a very creditable 2nd place just 6 minutes behind.

Special mention must go to Lara Carson who would undoubtedly have set a never-to-be-equalled Leg 2 record had she not been tackled and wrestled to the ground by Phil Tipping just a mile from the end. Maybe next year, Lara...

In the women’s race, the Harriers team put in consistently strong performances on all 4 stages. Karen Nichols set the tone with a very strong run on Leg 1 handing over in 2nd place and just a few minutes behind the Fife AC Female Vets (over 35). Cathy Tilbrook and Ali Manners were able to take 2 minutes off their time from last year to finish in 64.52. Angela Mackenzie then demonstrated her strength on the hills by recording the fastest women’s time for Leg 3 in 84.39 before Liz Mestecky brought the team home to great cheers from the home crowd. This excellent performance was good enough to pick up the prize for first women’s team while the Fife team that finished ahead of them picked up the prize for first Female Veterans team.

In the male vets (over 40) race, Strathearn fielded a second strong team of Graeme Martin, Gordon Morrison and James Bussey, Digby Sym and Phil Tipping. Their cumulative time of 4.10.02 was good enough for second place in their category and 9th place overall showing what strength in depth the club can now call upon.

Overall an excellent day’s competition made possible by the help of an army of marshals, the support of the landowners and topped off by a wonderful barbecue for all competitors prepared primarily by Liz Tipping and Beth Dillon.

Some more pics of the winning teams here from Alex

and more pics of the event generally from Graham Bennison of Fife here at

Sunday, 24 August 2008

Ochil 2000s

(photos courtesy of SHR)

5 Harriers (plus Bob running in Ochil HRs colours) took part in the Ochil 2000s race on Saturday 23rd August. This 18 mile 5000ft tour of all the high points in the Ochils was the latest in the SHR Championship series and so attracted a much larger and field than last year with 160 runners including some of the top men and women in the country.

The race is a point to point from Glendevon to Stirling Uni (involving a tedious 30 minute bus ride beforehand) and while the first half is on good paths and tracks, the second half is more a random routefinding exercise across heather, peat hags and bogs culminating in a climb up Dumyat and descent to the university.

The race was won by Colin Donnelly of Lochaber in a new record time of 2.47.44 while first woman home was, inevitably, Angela Mudge who, in finishing 5th in 2.51.33 set a new course record by nearly 45 minutes.

All the Harriers performed well and, in fact managed to finish 7th team out of 14 clubs who fielded the requisite 3 runners.

Will Manners can be very pleased with his finish in 13th place and 3.04.19, just 4 minutes outside the old course record. Considering the quality of the field this represents a really outstanding performance.

The other Harriers finished as follows:

40th Phil Mestecky 3.25.35
67th Graeme Johnstone 3.41.07
107th Gordon Morrison 4.04.55
126th James Bussey 4.18.31

And Bob Hughes running for Ochils was 100th in 4.01.26

Friday, 22 August 2008

Sherrifmuir 11 2008

Despite the longest list of pre-race excuses I can remember in some time (some even believable!) inlcuding viruses, broken collar bones, travel sickness, hard week of training, wheeziness, bad sleep and even too much chockie pudding the night before, 12 Harriers made it to the start line of the latest club champioship race.

The race route is simple: 5 1/2 miles out, essentially downhill, on a single track road from the Sherrifmuir Inn to the A9 follwed by 5 1/2 miles back up to the pub.

For this years race, conditions were near perfect with cool temperatures and no rain. A record field of 102 set off, led from start to finish by the impressive Robert Russell of Central AC. His finishing time of 59.28 (well over 6 minutes ahead of 2nd place) ensured it was a low scoring day for the Harriers' club championship. Not that the ladies fared any better as the first lady home was FV45 runner, Fiona Matheson from Falkirk in 4th place overall and a time of 68.44.

Of the Harriers, the highlights were Will Manners (he of the collar bone) finishing in 7th place despite jogging the first 2 miles or so; Phil Tipping who picked up 1st local in 13th place; Gordon Morrison who came in 27th overall just outside his target time of 1hr20mins; Fred McCain in 39th; Ali Manners who ran a strong steady race to finish only just behind Cathy Tilbrook in 71st place; and Rowan Mestecky who kept a good pace throughout to complete her debut as a Harrier (our first US-based member) in just over 1hr40mins.

Dario Melaragni, pacing his protege, Eilish Angiolini, finished last overall but was delighted to pick up a bottle of malt (and free legal advice?) for his troubles!

Full Harriers results are as follows:

7th Will Manners 1.12.11
13th Phil Tipping 1.15.14 (1st local)
23rd Phil Mestecky 1.18.35
27th Gordon Morrison 1.20.08
36th James Bussey 1.23.05
37th Doug Flint 1.23.32
39th Fred McCain 1.24.08
67th Cathy Tilbrook 1.34.15
71st Ali Manners 1.35.13
81st Liz Mestecky 1.41.12
82nd Rowan Mestecky 1.42.02
102nd Dario Melaragni 2.10.15

To see how these results impact the championship check out the forum

Wednesday, 23 July 2008

70 Wild Miles

Doug Flint found an interesting way to fill the longest day this year. Here's his personal account:

Perhaps it's something to do with the mid-summer light bringing out the maddies, but on 21 June this year there were a few Harriers in/passing through the Glencoe area (including those true nutters doing the W Highland Way race - still in awe of you guys - congratulations to you all, and phenomenal result for Phil M getting 2 hrs under his own target!).
Not quite such a success for me in this year's '70 Wild Miles' event but still hugely enjoyable now that I can look back on it from the comfort of my chair!

So, what does it entail? It starts with a 47-mile road bike race from White Corries ski centre car park across the edge of Rannoch moor to Tyndrum and on down to Taynuilt on Loch Etive; followed by a 10-mile sea kayak from Taynuilt (exciting mass-start of 100+ kayaks) up to the head of L Etive, all rounded off by a 13-mile jaunt back up the Glen Etive road to a welcome finish below the spectacular Buchaille).
After I completed the 2005 race in 6hrs 2 mins, my wife, who some of you may think of as the cheery/lovely Cathy (but read on), 'generously' set me a target of 5hrs 30mins (despite me now being 3 years older than last time and possibly 3 years less fit, I didn't get to set my own more realistic goals this time!).
Race day dawned dry and nice and cool for my bike leg start at 8.48am.
Trying to suppress both my porridge and pre-race nerves, I was excited and confident, despite having only made the transition to clipless pedals a week or so previously (a huge thanks to Will Manners for the loan of the shoes and some tips!). Then disaster! A final pump up of the tyres to make them race hard - my back valve blew out - no, nothing to do with my nerves or the porridge!. So with 10 minutes to go, I had to rush to change the rear inner tube (my only spare), and get down to the start. As one of the last to set off, it was a pretty gruelling slog but thankfully I passed a few stragglers on the way, and only got passed by a few real racers who’d set off behind me. Lost a minute or so having to stop for a traffic light/road works, but otherwise uneventful (and rather scenic), arriving in Taynuilt in just over 2 hrs. At 5 mins better than 2005, I was pleased and was up for hitting Cath's target). Glad to get off the bike, with slightly sore kidneys, only to be seized by hamstring cramp as I cocked my leg over the seat to dismount (still a lot to learn!). I thought my race might be over at that point, and wasn't welcoming being in my kayak with legs braced in one position for the next 2 hrs.

L Etive was glassy calm, apart from the frantic spray of eager paddlers at the start hooter, but having set off an hour later than the organisers had planned, there was more tide than I allowed for. A major tactical blunder saw me head up the middle of the loch with a few others, on what we thought to be the shortest straight-line distance. Frustratingly and mysteriously, the majority who chose to hug the left shore inexorably pulled away, but by the time I had worked out that they were probably less-affected by the strong but invisible current, it was too late as I was 200m from shore. It was a genuine slog ploughing along, and again I was relieved when the finish came, although the spectacular views had kept me going. However, a disappointing 15 minutes down on 2005, and probably losing 15-20 minutes on the day to the smart Alecs who had hugged the shore. I won’t make that mistake again (if/inevitably when I do it again next year).
After a brief re-fill (I gained in weight to sandwiches, chocolate and drink what I lost to the ferocious midgies and could stand it no more) I set off on the run. From memory miles 4 and 6 are the tough ones as although it’s all predominantly uphill, these two are the sapping steeper ones. Thankfully, although warm, it wasn’t too hot for running, and I was delighted to knock 7 minutes off my 2005 time, and to be met by Cathy and the kids at the finish.

To stop a long story getting longer, I finished tired and happy but annoyingly 2 minutes slower overall at 6hrs 4mins. I was forgiven though.
Icing on the cake was learning a few days later, to my amazement, I’d come 7th overall out of 58 individuals who did all 3 legs, and ahead of all but
6 of the teams of 3.

The photos show me at various stages of 'knackeredness' and my supporting family on the day. Now that my training is over (until next year) I can go back to eating donuts and enjoying life!

If anyone wants to do the event next year, or any part of it, I'll be happy to help and train with others. Gorgeous scenery, 47 miles on a bike, 10 mile kayak, 13 run; what more can I say, a top day out! And certainly less painful than 95 miles on foot…


Thursday, 17 July 2008

The Famous Grouse Crieff 10k 2008

This year's Famous Grouse Crieff 10k on Sunday July 13th was another fine event.

The sun was out, the grass was green, bagpipes skirled and at eleven o'clock 254 runners lined up to start the race.

The course was in excellent condition and winner Rob Gilroy of Ron Hill Camsbuslang broke his own course record by finishing in 33.22, spurred on by a fine competitive run from David Morwood of North Belfast Harriers, holidaying in the area, who finished a close second in 33.56. Ian Stewart of Carnegie was third in 36.30.

The other prizewinners were:

Male V40 - 1st Chris Upson of Westies, 2nd Gary Mitchell of Kirkintilloch

Male V50 - 1st Martin Dean of FVO, 2nd Ian Johnston of Carnegie

Women's race overall - 1st Ros Alexander of Carnegie, 2nd Polly Harrison of Central, 3rd Hazel Dean of Central

Women V35 - 1st Frances Maxwell of Calderglen, 2nd Fiona Angus of Perth RR

Women V45 - 1st Ada Stewart of Kirkintilloch, 2nd Sharon Taylor of Bellahouston Harriers

Prizes for local runners went to Derek Phillips of Perth RR and to our own Angela Mackenzie.

The race was ably organised by Alison Beattie, with a multitude of helpers. Thanks also to our main sponsor The Famous Grouse Experience and in particular to a very lively Gilbert the Grouse!

Some pics below by Ali Manners, who also took the start video clip, and from Beth of The Famous Grouse Experience

Crieff 10k 2008

More pics at

Saturday, 28 June 2008

Caption Competition

A couple of photos from the West Highland Way Race seemed worthy of a caption competition. Add your suggestions to the forum and we'll have a judging shortly after the Crieff 10K. I've not yet checked with the Social Secretary but I expect the prize will be something potable from our sponsors.

Photo No 1

Photo No 2

West Highland Way 2008

On Midsummer’s day four runners from Strathearn Harriers were involved in one of the world’s toughest endurance races. The West Highland Way Race, organized by Harriers own Dario Melaragni, allows athletes 35 hours to complete the 95 mile distance from Milngavie to Forth William following the course of the well trodden West Highland Way long distance path.

It's difficult to imagine a more complex and logistically difficult event to organize than a linear 95 mile race that lasts 35 hours with finishers ranging from 17-35 hours. As Race Director, Dario gets no sleep for at least 2 nights and has to deal with any number of questions, problems and complaints not to mention just making sure everyone is accounted for, safe and well. As a result of his efforts, it is a great race and becoming more and more popular by the year.

This year conditions were ideal: cool and clear and very dry underfoot. 127 ultradistance runners set off from Milngavie at 1am on Saturday morning and by noon on Sunday 97 had made it to the finish in Fort William.

The winner was Jens Lukas from Germany who finished in a time of 17 hours 6 minutes.

The 3 Harriers who were racing experienced mixed fortunes on the day:

In his first attempt at the race, Duncan King finished in a courageous 32 hours 30 minutes braving a burst bladder (fortunately his water carrier rather than his body part), strong winds and torrential rain in the 2nd night.

Phil Mestecky, who had previously completed the race in 2005 in a little over 27½ hours surpassed all expectations including his own to finish in an excellent time of 19 hours and 14 minutes and in a highly creditable 7th place.

Ian Beattie running in his 10th West Highland Way unfortunately felt unwell after 27 miles and was forced to retire from the race.

Phil also picked up the “slimmer of the year” award from the organizers for the runner who lost the most weight on the day. From start to finish Phil shed an astonishing 13lbs in weight, evidence of the toll the race can take on the human body.

Thursday, 5 June 2008

Lang Toun 10k

Wednesday 4th June saw the 20th Anniversary of The Lang Toon 10k. It was a lovely summer evening and the club had a fantastic 17 club members dust off their running vests for this race. It was described in The Herald as "one of the most gruelling races in the Perthshire area" but the club managed to produce some fine performances and pick up a stack of prizes, it must be all that training around The Crieff 10k route( in my opinion much more gruelling)!
The race was won Greg Simpson in a time of 36.15 and the women's race was won by Fiona Angus in a time of 44.37. Unfortunately we don't have finishing positions but we managed to get everyones finishing times. The results are as follows:

Will Manners 38.11 1st vet and 3rd male
Graham Johnstone 39.18 (PB)
Ian Beattie 39.21 3rd vet
Phil Tipping 40.44
Ben Wake 42.16
Adrian Wake 43.54 2nd vet 50
James Bussey 45.34
Cathy Tilbrook 46.32 2nd lady and 1st vet
Ali Manners 48.12 3rd vet
Liz Mestecky 48.17
Karen Westley 49.16 2nd local lady
Kona Andrews 50.32 (PB)
Peter Gaylor 55.01
Beth Fotheringham 55.58
Soenaid Roberts 58.33
Fiona Lyle 58.3
George Carson 1.00.43

Finally welcome to Kona and congratulations on a fantastic time in her first ever race!

Wednesday, 21 May 2008

Harriers All at Sea

This weekend Simon and Phil took part in the 2008 Scottish Islands Peaks Race.

This gruelling test of endurance and tolerance to sea-sickness starts in Oban and finishes in Troon taking in major hill runs totalling well over 60 miles along the way, on Mull (Ben More from Salen), Jura (Paps of Jura from Craighouse) and Arran (Goat Fell from Lamlash) not to mention some epic sailing legs including rounding the Mull of Kintyre en route.

Phil and Simon, aboard the 43 foot yacht, Lady Q (skippered by Malcolm Lamb and ably crewed by Tommy Hunter and Helen - all from Ayr), completed the course in a total time of 50 hours 44 minutes which was good enough to take 16th place (7th in their class) out of the 47 or so boats that set out from Oban on Friday.

In the running competition the two Harriers finished 9th overall in a combined time of 15 hours 15 minutes. A solid run on Mull (5:05.50) was followed by a slightly disappointing performance on Jura (6:12.10) with a lost breakfast due to sea sickness, poor route choices, injury and imperfect navigation in thick mist costing the team well over an hour. However, an excellent 3rd fastest time on the final Goat Fell run, which they completed in 3:57.17, helped to ensure a top 10 finish.

The final cruise across from Arran to Troon in pleasant sunshine and a tailwind gave ample opportunity for the team, aided by plenty of IPA to celebrate their performance and to contemplate how times could be shaved next year...

Full results are at:

Tuesday, 29 April 2008

Well Flung Harriers

On Saturday 3 Harriers, Phil M, Ian and Duncan took part in The Highland Fling, a 53 mile "warm-up" for the West Highland Way Race in 8 weeks time. The race follows the WHW from Milngavie to Tyndrum including the awkward section along Loch Lomond.

In total 137 runners had registered for the race and, in the end, something like 130 hardy souls turned up for the 6am start including the awesome pair of Jezz Bragg and Lucy Culquhoun, both previous winners and course record holders for both the Fling and the WHW race. As the race got under way, weather conditions were good, 8 or 9 degrees and no wind or rain but after half an hour or so this deteriorated into a steady drizzle then full-on rain which stayed with us for the next 2-3 hours until the sun came out for the second half of the race. Underfoot was very wet and, especially in the Loch Lomond section and descending Conic Hill, quite slippy but overall preferable to the heat of the previous two runnings of the race.

As expected, Jez Bragg came home first in a new course record of 7hrs 24 50s, followed by Don Naylor of HBT in 8.03 and then first woman, Lucy Culquhoun in 8.10.03; another course record. All 3 Harriers had excellent performances with Phil M finishing 12th overall in 9.37.28, Ian in 28th and a PB of 10.28.26 and Duncan in 41st and also a PB time of 11.16.31.

This is a great race and strongly recommended to anyone wanting to find out if they fancy having a go at the WHW Race. It's extremely well organized with your own food supplies being transported to the various checkpoints, a bus back to Milngavie if you need it and even a holiday cottage rented in Tyndrum if you need to recover overnight. It's amazing value too costing only a tenner and a medal and a customized Highland Fling bottle of sparkling wine to take home!

Finally, a huge vote of thanks to the support teams: Liz M, Ali B, Kerry and Maddy who kept the Harriers' bodies and souls together throughout and special thanks to Liz M for getting up at 3am on a Saturday morning to transport the runners to the start.

Monday, 28 April 2008

April Races

Just a quick catch-up on some good performances by Harriers in recent races.

James Bussey enjoyed his run at the Clachnaben hill race on April 19th. He finished in a creditable 40th place out of 63 runners, but his official time remains a mystery - for some reason there are still only a few assorted official finishing times available, and James' is not one of them. Well done anyway!

Kinross 10k
On a pleasant evening on Thursday April 24th a surprisingly high turnout of Harriers - Beth Fotheringham, Cathy Tilbrook, Phil Tipping, Matt Mclay, Gordon Morrison, Graham Johnston and George Carson (plus Kirsty McKay as a Wee County Harrier) - ran the Kinross 10k.

In his first ever 10k, Graham was first Harrier home in 40.53 and 31st place. Phil T was close behind in 41.41, not bad for a return to racing after a layoff with injury since October last year. Full results are on the Scottish Athletics site at

Highland Fling
Finally, as reported extensively on the club forum, Ian Beattie and Duncan King ran well in the 85k Highland Fling race on Saturday 27th, and Phil Mestecky ran a stormer!

Tuesday, 15 April 2008


On Saturday April 12th, Will and Gordon made the trek north to Strathpeffer - charming spa town north of Inverness - to compete in the second SHR Championship race of the season.

The Knockfarrell course is just under 5 miles with a bit of everything including mud, gorse, short sharp climbs, very runnable sections on grass and rock and some crazy downhills. Excellent!

The normal field of 50 runners shot up to nearly 150 because of the SHR Championship status this year, and the race was won by Jethro Lennox in 37.42. Will delivered another excellent performance to finish 13th in a time of 42.47 which last year would have put him in 3rd place!

Gordon ran a solid 53.05 to finish 75th out of 149 and pleased to be ahead of some runners who have previously beaten him in other races.

A long drive but a good day out!

Results are here, and hopefully some pictures will also follow.

Monday, 10 March 2008

Inverness Half

1064 runners turned out on a cold but surprisingly sunny Sunday afternoon to do battle with the streets of Inverness. 6 of that number were Harriers and I think without exception everyone was pleased with their days work. Times and race positions are as follows:
Ian Beattie 1.24.30 (59) Simon Wake 1.27.21 (87) Doug Flint 1.34.26 (193) Cathy Tilbrook 1.48.19 (490) Vic Johnstone 1.48.34 (496) Fiona Lyle 2.00.18 (773)

Sunday, 17 February 2008

Will power at the Carnethy 5

Great runs from all the Harriers yesterday (including the 2 mysterious Griffiths who once again entered the race as Harriers!). It was a great day for it. Cool, sunny with no wind and 461 runners turned out to enjoy it.

First Harrier home in an amazing time of 56.36 was Will Manners. Will is clearly beginning to establish himself in the upper echelons of hill running and should begin to pick off the odd prize this year. Here he finished in 32nd place, which may not sound amazing but in a race of this calibre is a tremendous performance, and in the process claimed the scalps of messrs Upson, Gorman (Westies) and Davis (Carnethy) to name but a few.

Next home was Phil M in 79th place and a time of 1.02.04 - a PB for him by over a minute in his third time running the race.

The next three Harriers had a rare old tussle with positions changing place throughout. Kaz Nicholl seemed to have the strength on the uphill but Gordon and James B both had the advantage of experience (and proper fell shoes) over Karen on the downhills.

In the end Gordon made it home first of the three in 276th with a time of 76.10. Then came James B who went over on his ankle on the final descent. James finished in 76.27 and 283rd. Karen followed close behind in 296th and a time of 77.58. Given that this is Kaz's first real hill race I think she should be well pleased with the result.

Also very well done to Ali Manners who exceeded her own expectations to finish strongly in 91.34 and clearly had a really enjoyable run judging by the size of her grin at the end of the race.

Full results are now up.

By the way, if anyone knows how to contact the two Griffiths (father and son?) who registered for the race as Harriers but ran incognito, we need to collect several years membership fees from them!

A few pics here from SHR - sorry couldn't find any of Ali or James

Sunday, 27 January 2008

Harriers scale new heights in the Devils' Burdens

Club records tumbled at this Saturday's Devil's Burdens Relay.

Our photos mixed in with some taken from Fife AC, Chris Upson and Scottish HillRunners

The most important record was that we managed to get three teams out with hardly any last-minute pull-outs or injuries (even though several were struggling through colds and other assorted bugs) and with no need to arm-twist or cajole young relatives or other random ringers or passers-by into running for us!

Our men's team recorded their fastest ever time (2.52.07) and highest ever finishing position (11th out of 93 teams).

The leg 1 pairing of Graeme Johnston and Phil M got the team off to a great start. Graeme dragged Phil round in a new club record time of 40.34 to hand over to Simon in 11th place and only 3 minutes behind the leaders.

Simon faced an awkward uphill start to leg 2 into a brisk wind but nevertheless recorded a creditable 31.08 picking up 3 places to bring the Harriers home in 8th place.

On the third leg the Harriers' pairing of Will and Digby were pegged back by three teams. Due to a bout of lurgy it seemed like Digby's engine was firing on only 7 of the usual 8 cylinders with the result that their time of 1.08.23 was several minutes behind the record time they set last year on the same leg. They handed over to Ben Wake, making his debut for the Harriers 'A' team in 11th place.

Ben ran a storming last leg to hold off the usual collection of whippets on Leg 4. His time of 32.02 was 18th fastest of the day and is actually a new club record for Leg 4 albeit as a result of a course change two years ago.

The Men's B team also had a good performance finishing in 62nd place overall in a time of 3.32.24.

Leg one was run by Adrian Wake and James Bussey who worked well as a team to finish in a time of 50.31 in 50th position. On Leg 2 Graeme Martin, making his debut for the relay team, ran an excellent 38.27, 57th fastest of the day, just dropping 1 place. Graeme had had to come home early from work the day before with a bug, but managed to shrug this off to put in this valueable performance.

On Leg three, the dynamic pairing of Gordon Morrison and Doug Flint ran a strong race to finish in very good time of 1.19.04, 52nd fastest of the day and helping to pick up 2 places to hand over to Peter Gaylor on Leg 4 in 49th place. Peter ran hard despite feeling well below par and recorded a time of 44.22.

The Women's team had a great race setting an overall new record time of 3.59.13, highest ever finishing position (80th) and with new leg records on legs 3 and 4.

Liz M and Karen W set off on Leg 1 and were doing excellently, reaching the top of East Lomond well up the field. However, after carefully negotiating the tricky descent, disaster struck on the flattish field section with Liz twisting her ankle badly. After a 5 minute pit stop for running repairs the duo set off again and struggled home in just over an hour in 80th place.

Shelagh ran hard into the stiff headwind but unfortunately couldn't quite recapture the form of 06 and 07 finishing a few minutes off her previous best times for this leg in 44.21. Ali Manners and Cathy Tilbrook set a new club record for leg 3 of 1.37.02 with Cathy (this year) navigating perfectly. Leg 3 is tough with difficult terrain, steep descents and awkward contouring and Ali really needed to work hard to try to stick close to the in-form Cathy.

Leg 4 was run by Wendy Duigan, another club relay debutante. Wendy ran an excellent race overtaking 4 teams and posting the 33rd fastest leg of the day in 34.37 - needless to say another women's club record. Her efforts brought the team home in just under the 4 hours and in 80th place.

Full provisional results and some photos are available on the SHR website and some of our own photos can be found here.

Harriers results, with team positions and (individual leg positions) are as follows:

Mens A Team

Leg 1: Phil Mestecky and Graeme Johnston - 40.34 - 11th (11th)
Leg 2: Simon Wake - 31.08 - 8th (16th)
Leg 3: Will Manners and Digby Sym - 11th (22nd)
Leg 4: Ben Wake - 11th (18th)

Mens B Team
Leg 1: Adrian Wake and James Bussey - 50.31 - 50th (50th)
Leg 2: Graeme Martin - 38.27 - 51st (57th)
Leg 3: Gordon Morrison and Doug Flint - 1.19.04 - 49th (52nd)
Leg 4: Peter Gaylor - 44.22 - 62nd (80th)

Womens Team
Leg 1: Liz Mestecky and Karen Westley - 1.03.13 - 80th (80th)
Leg 2: Shelagh Crighton - 44.21 - 84th (78th)
Leg 3: Cathy Tilbrook and Ali Manners - 1.37.02 - 84th (80th)
Leg 4: Wendy Duigan - 34.37 - 80th (33rd)

Saturday, 19 January 2008

East District cross country

The third and final of this year's East District League cross country events was at Livingston today and a good turnout of Harriers faced a bitter wind on an enjoyable course that was changed from previous years to reduce the mud (good) and introduce more hills (not so good).

Cathy Tilbrook ran well to finish as first (albeit also only) Harrier home in the senior women's race.

In the men's race the now senior Ben Wake finished as first Harrier, drawing on the power of youth in the closing stages to hold off the more experienced Doug Flint who ran a very strong race, doubtless motivated to emulate Cathy's achievements and stand in the sunlight beyond her lengthening shadow.

Other Harriers - Gordon Morrison, Adrian Wake and James Bussey - came in not long thereafter, but Ian Beattie was clearly uncomfortable and dropped out of the race after the first lap.

Full result details to follow in due course, but at the prizegiving after the race Central emerged as the strongest club in several categories, both on the day and for the series of 3 league events overall.

Extra: results now published at

Tuesday, 1 January 2008

New Years Day Run 2008

On New Years Day, the Harriers once again adopted their patented 3-part cure for Hogmanay heads with a brisk run up to the monument in Comrie. In near darkness, 22 Harriers assembled at 8.15am amidst the usual scenes of carnage that accompany the morning after the night before in Melville's Square.

Setting off at speeds varying proportionally to numbers of hours slept and units of alcohol consumed, the runners made their way up the steep track to the monument. Any sore heads that the climb hadn't sorted out were offered the hair of the dog in the form of Rob Bolton's famous "coffee" before setting off back down the hill to the Deil's and Wee Caldrons.

Only four harriers needed the ultimate hangover solution: A leap into the Wee Caldron in an attempt to kill or cure. Led by the intrepid James Bussey, whose battle cry (or was it a squeal?) as he entered the water could clearly be heard resounding off the rocks and trees, Will Manners and his friend, Amanda along with Phil Mestecky followed suit and disappeared deep into the icy water. Fortunately, all emerged undamaged, invigorated and ready for a New Year!