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 http://picasaweb.google.co.uk/whitecroft/ComrieHillsRelay2008#

and more pics of the event generally from Graham Bennison of Fife here at http://web.me.com/dsmyth/Site/Comrie08.html