Thursday, 26 January 2012

Devil's Burden relay, 21 January

Saturday 21st saw a convoy of Harriers head for Falkland for the annual outing to the Devil’s Burden relays. With four legs and handover points dotted about the Lomond Hills, this is a bit of a logistical headache and much credit must go to Gordon for his efforts in working out all the required toings and froings of various cars and drivers. Like all good plans, Gordon’s was sufficiently flexible to be able to accommodate assorted complications such as Al’s need to get away early and Wendy’s arrival straight from work!

So we didn’t quite all gather in Falkland for the start. In fact, I don’t think there a single occasion when we were all gathered together until the ceilidh in the evening.

As far as I can tell, Leg 1 seemed reasonably uneventful - Digby and Andy Greaves for the Men’s A team, Gordon and Doug for the Men’s B team and Cathy and Ali for the Women’s team. Digby and Andy did very well, coming in 12th for their leg, less than 4 minutes behind the leaders. Gordon and Doug were a bit further behind, and I think I’m right in saying that Ali and Cathy did their leg faster than Ali’s managed it before, which is very good going. Cathy and Ali were the 16th Women’s team to complete Leg 1.

Leg 2 was a bit of a mixed bag. By his own admission, Andy Gallagher didn’t do very well, having had a disrupted training programme in the lead up to the race. By contrast, Al ran a stormer, inspired by the little demon that is Kaz, sitting on his shoulder refusing to let him walk the hard bits. Al put in the best time of all the Harriers Leg 2 runners (you can read more about Al’s experience on his own blog). Wendy also did very well, only coming into the team at the last minute as a late replacement for Emily, who went away skiing and came back with a dodgy knee. Wendy’s time was the 7th best Women’s time for the leg.

Leg 3 – well, I found it hard work. Not helped by the fact the Al was faster than we’d anticipated, so Phil and I mis-timed our warm-up (in that we’d hardly started before we saw Al coming down the hill and we had to sprint back to the handover point) All of which meant that I was pretty much spent after the first five minutes of relentless uphill slog, and I spent the next 70 minutes swearing at Phil’s back as he seemed to be sauntering along like he was out on a Sunday stroll. Meanwhile, Will and Colin were over the hill and far away. The only slight impediment to their progress was the mud, which captured one of Colin’s shoes and refused to give it back. Without that, they would have improved on their time of 1:01:37, which was still mightily impressive and was the 13th best time for the leg.

And then there was Kerry and Rhian. It sounds like they had a good time. They were apparently eyeing up assorted runners legs and making dates for future races. And they ran really well, on terrain which is not quite Kerry’s thing.

Leg 4 is the glory leg, in that it’s the last leg and it’s the nice fast one. Phil T blitzed it in the 23rd fastest time. Allan might have put in a fine performance, but since he took a wrong turning somewhere, we don’t really know where he ran or how far he ran. Somehow he did get to the finish, from the right direction, and somehow he persuaded the marshals that they didn’t really want to disqualify him for missing a checkpoint. I suspect the fact that he managed to lead a number of other runners astray may have helped! As to be expected, Angela put in a fine finish with the 6th fastest Women’s time, just 18 seconds behind Lucy Colquhoun.

Overall, the Women’s team had a very strong showing to finish in 9th position in the women’s race finishing the race in a time of 3 hours 29 minutes. Both the Men’s teams put in strong performances, with the A team finishing in 23rd position, in a time of 2 hours 51 minutes, and the B team in 54th position in 3 hours 12 minutes. For reasons which probably don’t stand up under scrutiny, I suspect I’ll be back next year.

Broxburn cross-country, 14 January

The Harriers’ racing for 2012 got off to a brisk start at the 3rd of the East District League cross-country meetings, held this time in Broxburn. Club captains Phil T and Ali M have been very active in chivvying folk into running these events, and for the first time in some years, we’re had full men’s and women’s teams at each of the three races. Phil and Rhian get extra brownie points for racing in each of the three events. The races have also been very well attended by the juniors in the assorted age categories.

The course at Broxburn seemed to be better used by the local dogwalkers than the local runners. It was mostly flat, or flattish, although there was one evil short and very muddy slope which certainly took the wind out of my sails on the 3rd lap. There was also a very cold wind, so running was in some ways to preferable to standing around getting cold. There was also quite a lot of enthusiastic shouting and support, and I think we’re vying with HBT for the noisiest supporters. I was particularly appreciative of Levi, who positioned himself at the penultimate corner about 400m from the finish, and was a very welcome sight on the last lap!

As always, many thanks to everyone who helped with these events, and particularly the parents who do the driving and don’t even get the satisfaction of running themselves.

Results were as follows:

Under 11 Boys – Levi Sweeney 27th; Kier McEwan 33rd; David Alexander 38th; Finlay Downie 46th; Huw Thomas 47th; Matthew Oates 49th. Team result 9th for the meeting, and 8th for the season

Under 11 Girls – Jessica Martin 31st. Since Jessica was the only runner at Broxburn, we got stung for penalty points and team result reflected this – 14th for the meeting, and 9th for the season

Under 13 Boys – Fraser Lindsay 41st; Andrew MacInnes 43rd; Christopher Martin 46th; Glen Hughes 50th. Team result 12th for the meeting, and 9th for the season

Under 13 Girls – Catriona Roberts 31st; Morgan Oates 37th; Sammy Wake 38th. Team result 6th for the meeting, and 4th for the season

Under 15 Girls – Maddy Watson 33rd. Maddy was the only runner at Broxburn, we got stung for penalty points again and team result reflected this – 18th for the meeting, and 16th for the season

Senior Women – Angela Mackenzie 25th; Rhian Evans 44th; Ali Manners 78th, Kirsty Mackay 90th. Team result 14th for the meeting, and 10th for the season

Senior Men – Andy Greaves 89th; Phil Tipping 105th; Digby Sym 109th; Phil Mestecky 144th; Tony Wayte 177th; Gordon Morrison 189th; Al Nicholl 200th; Jeff Sweeney 214th; Allan McInnes 216th. Team result 22nd for the meeting, and 17th for the season

Once all the team results are collated together, we ended up with the Girls and Women’s team finishing 7th overall, and the Boys and Men finished 10th overall.

Sunday, 1 January 2012

New Year's morning run 2012

A pleasingly smooth arithmetic progression on today's club run.

31 Harriers and friends, plus a dog, taking part.
20 minutes or so running up from Comrie to the Melville monument
15 minutes at the monument while the famous RB "coffee" was served and views admired
10 minutes to return to the road in Glen Lednock
8 minutes to arrive at the Wee Cauldron
6 brave/daft folk to swim in the freezing waters
1 very enjoyable start to the year!