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.