Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Orchill 10k and 5k, June 17

Seven Harriers made it to Gleneagles for the Orchill 5k and 10k races. Remarkably, three of the seven were running just a week after completing the Strathearn Marathon – most impressive!

Elaine opted for the 5k race and ran well to finish in fourth position and second lady in a fine time of 24.15.

The rest of the crew opted for the 10k and put in some splendid performances. Angela was first home in 40.13, in 17th position overall and third lady. John, obviously recovering well from his marathon exploits, was next home in 43.02 (25th position). Julia smashed her target of a sub-55 minute 10k before a certain birthday with a terrific 52.40, and Seonaid took over six minutes off her Balmoral 10k time to finish in 53.30. Sandwiched between Julia and Seonaid were Karen and Richard, running together and finishing in 52.49.

Junior Harriers win in Fife

A small team of Junior Harriers were in Fife last week competing and winning in Fife Athletic Club’s annual mini-tour series. The tour consisted of five races over consecutive nights at different locations in Fife, with a beach run at Tentsmuir, a hill race at East Lomond, a trail race at Falkland, a time trial at Hill of Tarvit and a multi-terrain race at Kingsbarns.
For the girls, Catriona won one of her races and had three second place finishes and a third place finish, winning the under-13 girls category by nearly two minutes. 

For the boys, Sol won three of his five races and was overall winner in the under-15 boys category with a three minute lead over the second place boy, Tristan Rees from Fife AC. In the under-11 boys category, Sol’s wee brother Levi ran strongly in each of his races with a steady improvement in his overall position with each race, to finish in seventh position. 

There were also very strong runs from Chris and Finlay Martin, Keir McEwen, Matthew and James Manners, who competed in individual races and all achieved top 10 finishes.

Friday, 15 June 2012

Glas Tulaichean race, 2 June

The Glas Tulaichean race is a bit of an oddity, in that it's an uphill race only, without the fun of the descent. Glas Tulaichean is a Munro on the west side of the A93 through Glenshee, and the race starts at the Dalmunzie Hotel before heading west along the route of an old railway before heading straight up the hill. 
It's small race, but this year's field of 41 was bigger than last year's turnout of 14. Digby was our sole representative and put in a fine performance to finish in 9th position overall, and 3rd MV40. It does seem to be race for the over-40s - of the 41 runners, only 9 were under 40, and there was a fair sprinkling of MV60s and and an MV70! 
One very notable participant was Jamie Andrew, the Scottish mountaineer who had both lower legs and hands amputated after being caught in a storm in the French Alps in 1999, and has since run the London Marathon, climbed Kilimanjaro and raised considerable amounts of money for charity.

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Strathearn Marathon, June 10

Marathon day –1
A small group of us assembled at Cultybraggan to get things ready for the big day. Many thanks to Sandy, the Sweeneys and the Prentices for helping get the goody bags stuffed in record time. George and Derek did technical things with the generator and blew George’s amplifier up. Assorted signs and bit of tape were liberally scattered about the place, and then three carloads went round the course to set out the mile markers and the “Caution runners” signs. So far so good …

Marathon day!
Sunday dawned wet and gloomy. We drove along the South Crieff Road and were relieved to see that all the signs were still in place. Gradually the team tuned up, and then the marshals, and then the runners, and despite the weather, there was a positive buzz and what looked like a very efficient registration process, with an equally efficient t-shirt distribution. Lots of runners took advantage of the personalised drinks facility and all the water station marshals took their allocations with an absolute minimum of fuss. Ian White of Run4It appeared with their inflatable Start/Finish gantry – he’d been at the Skye half marathon the day before, so this was a pretty impressive effort on his part.

I had to leave Cultybraggan before the start to sweep the Glen Artney road, but I’m assured that Phil did a sterling job of leading the runners round the camp on his new bike and we only had one casualty in the first half-mile.
I’m not sure there’s too much to be said about the race apart from the fact that all the runners loved it and heaped huge amounts of praise on everyone involved. Weather conditions were well-nigh perfect – there was an occasional light drizzle, but the temperature and wind were fine. Ex-Harrier Ian Beattie did complain about the midges at one point, and I resisted the temptation to tell he needed to run faster. (As it happened he put in a very respectable time.) The feedback we’ve had has been overwhelming, and everyone involved should be very proud of the part they played.

Men's winner Will Beauchamp

First placed man was Will Beauchamp (Sheffield Running Club) in a mightily impressive 2.45.05. Second was Chris McCann (unattached) in 2.57.24, and third was Gavin Harvie (Kirkintilloch Olympians) in 2.58.05. Although Will Beauchamp was running for a Sheffield club, he does come from Crieff, so this was a very successful home-coming for him. Will had been spotted while he was warming up as a very capable runner and everyone round the course commented on just how comfortable he looked.

Women's winner Gail Murdoch
First lady was Gail Murdoch (Carnegie Harriers) in 3.12.25, followed by Isobel Burnett (Carnegie Harriers) in 3.28.09, and third was Julia Drewer (Ferranti AAC) in 3.44.11.

First local man was Martin Purvis of Crieff, who finished in 22nd position, in a good time of 3.38.11. Second local man and first Harrier was John Davidson, in a time of 3.44.50. John was running to raise money for the Teenage Cancer Trust, and has so far raised over £1000.

First local lady was Rhian in 3.39.52. Rhian’s other exploits this year have included two ultramarathons and a triathalon, with more of the same to come later, and she’s spending the summer looking after her White-tailed Eagle chicks. Second local lady was Elaine Moffat in 3.57.11. Elaine underwent back surgery last year and has made an inspiring recovery in her return to running. Elaine was accompanied across the finishing line by Nicola and Karen, in a close finish. Karen ran the London Marathon in April and had a less-than-happy time, so she was delighted to beat her London time here at home in Strathearn. Other Harriers running were Allan MacInnes, Matt McLay, Andy Gallagher, Graham Martin (who also run the London Marathon in April). Rowan Mestecky and Mark Dillon were running as honorary Harriers on a flying visit from New York – good effort guys!

We had 155 entries, of whom 115 made it to the start, and only two runners didn’t complete the course. We were happy not to have to impose the cut-off time, with the last runner coming in a smidge over the 6 hours we’d anticipated for the last runner (The last runner, Peter Burns, of Witham Running Club in Essex, has run 258 marathons and has the full set of all UK marathons!). Full results are available here:

We deliberately didn’t look for big ticket sponsorship for the event, but along the way, we picked up help and assistance, bananas and Mars Bars from:
Comrie Development Trust
Comrie First Response
Crieff Hydro Hotel
Strathearn and Auchterarder Community Sports Partnership
the Fruit Shop, Comrie
Target Health and Fitness, Greenloaning
the Comrie Pipe Band
Muirhead Red Squirrel and Wildlife Sanctuary.
Catering was provided by the Comrie Allotments Association and race photography was provided by local photographers FM Photography.
Many thanks to Highland Spring for providing loads of water and toThe Famous Grouse Experience for personalised bottles for the winning man and woman.

The whole event was made possible by the small army of willing helpers and supporters at every turn and water station along the way. A lot of a careful thought and planning went into the organisation of the race, and the organising committee has been delighted with the positive feedback from runners. Here’s a selection of what people have been saying:

Just wanted to say a big thank you to all of the people who helped organize the Strathearn Marathon; the course was brilliant, the aid stations were perfectly spaced out/staffed and the whole day ran like clockwork - the perfect marathon on reflection! This was my most enjoyable win to date, and I'll definitely be back next year to defend my title! 

A great event, superbly organised by officials and marshals, with fantastic support from all helpers and spectators. A wonderful advert for your area and community. I suspect the event will very quickly become a must-do event for marathon enthusiasts.

Great day out with the volunteers, organisation and what views you did get to see was stunning.  Would recommend this to everyone and I hope it goes from strength to strength.

What a fantastic event. Well done and many thanks to everyone involved. One of the most scenic and interesting road marathons you could find anywhere (even with the hills - sorry, 'undulations')!

Congratulations to all from Bill Melville and all at Year of the Perfect Run.

What a wonderful marathon (if that isn’t an oxymoron). First of all, the organisers need to take a bow. Fantastic communication and organisation, you should all be proud. Fantastic organisation led to fantastic on-course support. It’s easy for the wet runners but the enthusiasm of the static helpers at the water stations was superb. Facility to have personal drinks at 10 and 18 miles was superb and made me feel like an ‘elite. Whilst you are out in on your own on country roads for most of the time, you knew where you were for all of the time! Fantastic signage and even more fantastic stewardship. Every corner manned and every marshal enthused to shout you on.

Great route and my first small club run marathon (only done Edinburgh and Paris before). Great atmosphere and the best Marshals ever! Fantastic running t-shirt and lots of homemade cake! Definitely the toughest Marathon I've run and added 15 minutes on to my usual time but this resulted in a real feeling of achievement. In short a brilliant way to run 26.2 miles and thumbs up for a well organised race :) Think this is going to get popular in future years.

What a fantastic race! Scenic course (if only we had been able to see a bit more of it ;-)), fun undulations, superb organisation, super-friendly and thoughtful marshals, friendly atmosphere all round.

Thanks for an amazing event guys, from start to finish and after with the food. Faultless in every bit.

Great wee race, impeccably organised and very friendly marshals as well! Congratulations to Strathearn Harriers for all their hard work - it was much appreciated!

Great organisation, and great support from all the marshals with their cheering and provisions (on the course and the post-race cakes!)!

Thanks to everyone at Strathearn Marathon who made today's event such a momentous occasion. It was an amazing event and was made even more special by the marshals and organisers who supported us all the way.

From start to finish this was a brilliant event. All of us from Garscube really enjoyed it. Your marshals are fantastic. Thanks for a great day

Fab event - great route, well organised and very supportive marshals

It really is an extremely friendly and enthusiastic group from Strathearn who have organised this race and from start to finish they were really supportive at all the waterstops and road junctions.

What a fantastic day - the support and encouragement was tremendous. The organisation, marshalling and catering were second to none.

The organisers, marshals, caterers, pipers and race compere got it spot on! What a success! Great day.

Absolutely fantastic event today!! Massive well done to the organisers! Hope there'll be plenty more in the future :-)

I just wanted to say that the marathon is the best and well organised marathon I have ever ran. (It isn’t the first). From the clear briefing at the start, stewards at every point (even with jelly babies and jelly beans), plenty of water stations. The race was well supported throughout with cheers from the locals and the plenty of stewards.

Just a quick email to say how much I enjoyed yesterday’s race. It was a lovely course and the organisation was superb. Special thanks to all the marshals who were extremely supportive and smiley!

A lovely and challenging route that was well marked and marshalled. The marshals were super so please pass on my thanks.

Thank you very much for a fantastic event today, brilliant course and a huge thank you to all the stewards out on the course and water stations. Also not forgetting the allotment guys what a spread !

Many thanks for a great marathon. Well organised and very well marshalled. The marshals were very cheerful and supportive. A fascinating venue too.

I just wanted to send a few lines, to thank you and the Harriers for a fantastic event today, I thoroughly enjoyed the whole thing, well organised and run, it’s a credit to the club.

Well done to all race organisers for the Marathon, it was so well done and a massive thank you to all the marshals, they were probably the only reason I managed to make it all the way round.

I just wanted to say how much I enjoyed the first Strathearn Marathon on Sunday. It was also a first for me as I had never run a marathon before this. The route is absolutely beautiful and the scenery took my mind off the hills. This has to be one of the friendliest and most enthusiastic races I have ever taken part in. The marshals were so encouraging and motivating. It was also really good to have some marshals on bikes circling the route to offer support along the way. The youngsters who were also helping to marshal the race were just lovely and supportive. It was really nice to see all ages helping out so willingly in this event. I found the participants to be equally friendly. For part of the route, I got chatting to a highly experienced ultra marathoner (Stewart) and also a very experienced marathoner (Claire). This was the 17th Marathon for both of them. They were so encouraging and nice. It really helped me. A very well organised run and I think next year will be an early entry requirement.

Please can I just say a really big thank you to you and all of your team for a really great event. Everyone was just lovely and I hope you will be able to run it again in the future. I will be giving it a great report for our club (Carnethy) website.

I shall definitely do this extremely well organised and very beautiful race again in 2013.

I ran the marathon yesterday and it was all brilliant. Thanks to the marshals especially.

I had a wonderful race yesterday. Thank you so much for providing the opportunity and for being there for us all the way round. Here’s to many more Strathearn Marathons - although maybe I'll be a marshal next time! Well done.

I knew that my first marathon experience would be special ... your marathon was a fantastic experience and I am sure that you will receive lots of glowing feedback. I knew it was going to be tough because you kept on telling us it would be but what you failed to mention was the fantastic scenery that was still visible through the drizzle and all the wonderful support from your team of marshals both at the start and all the way along the course. You should all be very proud of a wonderful event and apart from digging up the hill at the finish I wouldn’t change anything, the pipers, marshals, drink stops and the refreshments at the end were all top class.  

This was my 5th marathon, New York, London, Edinburgh, Berlin all huge, but this by far was my favourite. Having spent most of my childhood years coming to Comrie for caravan holidays and my sister now settled in the village, I felt the draw of the beautiful countryside and I am very proud to have achieved a p.b on the toughest course I've ever ran . 

Please pass on my thanks to Phil Tipping and all the other organisers. I had a lot of fun and thought that the marathon was fabulous and very well organised. 

Most impressive race. Shame it was only a race with a view from about midday due to the low cloud. Otherwise good temperature once we had powered up the hill. Most impressed with the support from the marshals - great enthusiastic support. Definitely one to do again. Well worth boycotting Edinburgh for!!

Superb race, beautiful course and wonderful organisation.

I thought it was a wonderful race. Tough course, excellent organisation - exactly my type of marathon. Well done to all involved.

Fantastic race. Beautiful course, superb organisation, very friendly marshals and atmosphere, great t-shirt. A big THANK YOU to all involved! 31:20 PB for me.

Great wee race, impeccably organised, very friendly marshals and I managed a 2 minute PB so what more can you ask for. Definitely not a flat course, but the hills weren't as bad as I was expecting so all in all a very good day.

A short email to thank you and your band of helpers for yesterday's superbly organised marathon. I am particularly grateful that everyone gave of their time so ungrudgingly and offered me so much encouragement, despite my taking so long to drag my decrepit body over the finish line. Your company over the final mile was reassuring and the attention of the catering staff most welcome. 

Strathallan 5 mile road race, June 9

Unfortunately the Strathallan 5 mile road race came the day before our marathon, so we didn’t have a very big representation. However, we did have one outstanding performance from Maddy Watson, who was sixth woman overall and first female junior, in 38.12. Dave Griffiths came in 53rd in 46.07 and Mary O’Kane came in 57th in 48.55.

Sol takes on all-comers in Dunfermline

A small group of us headed to Dunfermline on Sunday 3 June for a 5k race and juniors fun run. We had been hoping for a flat course so we could blast round a quick 5k, but although the route followed two laps a nice wee park, it was still hilly enough to put paid to any ideas of a really quick time.

This wasn’t a Scottish Athletics permit event, so Sol was able to run in the main race along with all the adults, and it didn’t take him long to show us how to do it. At the end of the first lap, he was just about still in sight, but the leading group (of which he was part) put on a bit of a spurt and pulled away. At the end, he finished in 2nd place, just 5 seconds behind the winner in a very fine time of 19.04. I was next Harrier to finish, in 5th place, in 19.55. I was reasonably happy with that, but I should have made a bit more of an effort over the last 500 metres – I was only a second behind the 4th place runner and should have been able to catch him. Must try harder.

Kerry was two places behind me, and finished as 2nd woman in 20.59. Next Harrier was Liz, in 24.40, followed by Fi in 25.16. The gap between these two is definitely getting narrower!. Kirsty wasn’t far behind, finishing in 26.37.

After the 5k race there was a junior fun run which Levi ran in. The race was supposed to be 900 metres, but turned out to be quite a bit longer than that, so it’s all credit to the kids for doing so well. The race was won by a young local girl who looked really strong – I’m sure I saw her at some of the cross-country events over the winter. Levi was a very good 3rd, so it was a fine outing for the Sweeney family.
After a big group from Woodmill High School, we were the biggest club group, and definitely the noisiest!