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!