Thursday, 16 September 2010

Simon Wake Comrie Hills Relay 2010

Tom Wake, son of Simon Wake and watched by his mother Shelagh, presents the prize for fastest Leg 1 to Scottish International Andy Fallas of Carnethy.

A record 35 teams from 18 running clubs across Scotland took part in this year's Simon Wake Comrie Hills Relay, run over a reconfigured course on Sunday 12th September. It’s a tough 40k+ event with over 2,000 metres of ascent, run in four stages by teams of five runners. The highly scenic course starts and finishes at Laggan Park in Comrie and follows a route over the hills in Glen Lednock.

The race is organised by Strathearn Harriers, with support from The Famous Grouse Experience, and is dedicated to the memory of Harrier Simon Wake who died tragically in 2008 after a short battle with pancreatic cancer. All proceeds from the race are donated to the fight against this terrible disease.

The men's race, which featured three Scottish International runners, was a real thriller with the lead changing hands between teams from Carnethy, Deeside and Strathearn (briefly) before Deeside’s Robbie Simpson became the first leg 3 runner ever to break the hour and in so doing looked to have put the race beyond doubt.
However, as seems inevitable in the Comrie Relay, a final twist and a couple of missed turnings by the Leg 4 Deeside runner allowed Tim Darlow to sprint across Laggan Park to the finish to snatch victory for Carnethy by just 7 seconds after 40 kilometres and 3 hours 16 minutes of running.

Strathearn Harriers Men’s team – comprising Colin Glencorse, Phil Mestecky, Digby Sym, Will Manners and Phil Tipping – finished close behind in third place in a time of 3 hours 18 minutes 14 seconds.

The women’s race was won by a team from Ochil Hill Runners, while Fife AC won both the Men’s Vet and Women’s Vet categories. Lothian Running Club won the Mixed category, but a Harriers Mixed team featuring Nicola Watson, Angela Mackenzie, Doug Flint, Tony Wayte and Andy Greaves were category runners up in a very respectable time of 3:56:53.

The third Harriers team of Cathy Tilbrook, Adrian Wake, Peter Gaylor, James Bussey and Ali Manners ran well to finish fifth in the Mixed category.

Despite the navigational questions (?!!), Deeside's strength showed in the fact that they picked up two of the fastest Leg prizes:
Leg 1: Andy Fallas (Carnethy) - 46.55
Leg 2: Drew Tivendale and Sam Burgess (Deeside) - 39.04
Leg 3: Robbie Simpson (Deeside) - 59.31
Leg 4: Bill Fairmaner (Fife) - 38.07

An enjoyable day ended with cups of tea, plenty of post-race analysis and a great barbecue sitting in the sunshine in Laggan Park.

As well as being an increasingly popular fixture on the Scottish hill running calendar, the race is very much a community event which brings together many people from Strathearn in a variety of roles. Race organisers Phil Tipping and Colin Tipping were in overall charge but thanks go to many other people who gave their time and energy to organise timekeeping, marshalling, car parking, feeding the runners, marking the course and a myriad of other tasks.

Thanks also go to The Famous Grouse Experience for providing prizes and to those local landowners on the east side of Glen Lednock who this year kindly gave permission for the race to cross their land.

Sunday, 11 July 2010

The Famous Grouse Crieff 10k 2010

There was an excellent turnout of 249 runners for this year's Famous Grouse Crieff 10k and despite some damp conditions before the race it was once again a successful and enjoyable event. Morrison's Academy sports ground was a beautifully manicured green and there was an abundance of food for all.

Results are at

First man home was Neil Calder of Edinburgh AC in 35.31, just ahead of Andrew Wright of Carnegie in 35.52. Chris Black of Bellahouston was 3rd in 37.05.

The womens race was won for the second year in succession by Edel Mooney of Lothian in 40.41, with second and third places going to Claire Couper in 42.05 and Strathearn Harrier Angela Mackenzie in 44.02.

Colin Glencorse was first Harrier home in a very impressive 37.54 and 6th place, closely followed by Will Manners in 38.09 and 8th place. Will and Angela collected the prizes for first local runners, including a gallon of whisky each. (So when's the party?)

Special mention for the three bananas who finished the race, in a bunch of course, in just over 65 minutes. This was race number 6 in a series of ten 10ks they are running to raise money for charity- more at

The club is very grateful to The Famous Grouse Experience for their generous sponsorship of the race, and to Highland Spring and Morrison's Academy too for their support.

Race organiser Ali Beattie did a great job, ably assisted by Colin Tipping and a team of other helpers. Thanks go also to the pipers from the Comrie Pipe Band who spurred the runners on and to Gilbert the Grouse for his performance at the finish line!

Saturday, 23 January 2010

Devils Burdens 2010

Another excellent day doing the Devils Burdens relay over the Lomond Hills.

After loads of call-offs we had only one Harriers team this year, comprising Jack and James on Leg 1, Gordon on Leg 2, Phil M and Andy on Leg 3 and Kenny on Leg 4. Jack's mum and Seonaid turned out to support.

The access roads were clear and the weather on the day was cool but mostly dry. There was some snow and ice on the hill - some of the snow deep and very hard going - but there was also a lot of easier wet grass and track.

The race entry was up from 110 or so last year to 120 [corrected from first post]. For the first time the race start was split - slower teams at 09.30 and the rest at 10.00. For various reasons the Harriers team ended up starting at 0930, and discovered that this was no bad thing!

Parking was easier at all points round the race, there wasn't a bottleneck of runners going up the hill on Leg 1, and - most unusual but all the more enjoyable - Harriers were first to finish both Legs 1 and 2!!!

Inevitably the 30 minute head start didn't last and the elite runners started overtaking during Leg 3, but it was a good effort and a good run from all the Harriers involved.

The team finished in around 3hrs 30. Inividual timekeeping was a bit disorganised but we'll see the exact times and positions when the official results are published.

Update: Harriers finished 73rd in 3:31:74 - full results now available here :