Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Highland Perthshire half marathon and marathon

Danny M and Allan MacI ran the Highland Perthshire half marathon on a nice looking course from Weem to Kenmore and back again on a mostly flat course. It's one I would have been keen to do if it hadn't been for this pesky leg not working. Anyway, Danny ran a storm to finish in an excellent 1.30.16, in 12th position. Allan's training this year has been more than a wee bit disrupted, but he's gunning for the Athens marathon later in the year, so his time of 1.53.47 suggests he's getting back on track.
Also running was Kirsty, who now wears a Wee County vest, but still has time to come and run with friends here in Crieff and Comrie. Kirsty's training and racing schedule this summer has been pretty awesome, and she was rewarded with a one-hour PB in the marathon, with a time of 4.18.something. In fine Harriers style, she rounded off her marathon day with a party! Inspirational stuff!

Forfar and Perth 10k races, August 2013

The club championship got back into action in August with the Forfar and Perth 10k races. Both events are new to the championship this year, and there were contrasting fortunes for our runners.
Only four Harriers went to Forfar, and according to Phil T, “we all found it quite a tough race. The course is mainly downhill for the first half and consequently mainly uphill once you turn around. We all had a stiff wind into our faces for the second half and there were some tired runners at the end.”
The winner was Stephen Connor of Forfar Road Runners in a time of 37.16. Phil was first Harrier to finish, in 39.57, in 9th position. Zak was next, getting more good race experience, finishing in 46.33, followed by Maddy in 46.43, followed by Nic in 49.28.
There was a much bigger turnout for the Perth 10k the following week. Patrick has a very good record in this race and he repeated his success, finishing in 13th position overall and first M50 in a time of 36.06. Will, on his way back to recovery after injuring an ankle in the arduous task of standing up (albeit after falling off his bike on some gnarly MTB trail) was close behind, one place behind on 36.21. Next was Charlie Grimson in a very good 37.07, with Phil T next on 37.35. Zak was running again and did well to get his time down to 42.34, and at a different point of the age spectrum, Gordon ran well for his 43.20. Al, ably supported by Murray, Harris and Kaz, was next in 44.09, with Nic behind in 45.36, just a wee bit short of her season’s target of 45 minutes. Ali M was next in 48.50, with Sav following in 54.43 and Mary in 58.51.
Sadly, it seems that the course was short, or mis-marshalled, or by some mishap not everyone ran the full 10k distance, so times for PBs might be looked on with a bit of suspicion.

In the championship, the standings are:
Men Patrick            89.3 (5J) Phil T              85.8 (7J+1W) Gordon M       67.9 (5J) Tony               67 (7) Chris               61.1(4+1W) Al                    53.7 (6J)

Women Nicola           79.5 (9J+1w) Emily            71.8  (3J+2w) Maddy          70.6 (7J+2w) Ali                 53.3(4J) Cathy           46.5 (3J)

Six go for a run in Newcastle

Never let it be said that rotten weather gets in the way of a good run. Six hardy Harriers and their trusty support team of Colin and Judith braved the wind, rain and 56,000 other runners for the Great North Run, racing against such international superstars as Mo Farah, Kenenisa Bekele, Haile Gebrselassie, Priscah Jeptoo, Meseret Defar and Tirunesh Dibaba to raise money for their selected charities and, by the sound of it, have a fine weekend.
For those who don’t know, the Great North Run is one of the world’s biggest mass-participation events, with a route that starts in the centre of Newcastle running out to the coast at South Shields. Our team were Fiona Lyle, Julia Greenlees, Kerry Sweeney, Susan Saunders, Wendy Taylor and Nicola Watson, and we think Newcastle just about survived. Tastefully attired in blue tartan tutus, but disappointingly not wearing club blue socks, the team ran the whole event as a group, and thoroughly enjoyed themselves all the way.

Simon Wake Comrie Hills Relay 1 September

The course was marked, the marshals marshalled and the burgers ready to be frazzled, it must be time for another Comrie Hills Relay.
There were a few last-minute hiccups. Patrick decided on Friday evening that a sprint was the best way to round off a training session, only to pull a hamstring, and Wattie eventually had to succumb to his niggling groin strain, so Phil T had a bit of reshuffling to do, drafting in the substitutes who stepped up to the mark in fine style. Kerry had some reshuffling of the marshals to sort out when Colin Howat managed to fall down his stairs and rendered himself unfit for sitting at the top of Crappich Hill. Get well soon to all the injured runners and marshals.
We had new teams this year from Forres Harrier and an Aberfoyle collective, who finished the race with very different fortunes. HBT entered eight teams, but even a club of their size couldn’t quite muster the required 40 runners, and eventually they ran five teams, with a few folk doubling up on assorted legs.

First to the Leg 1/2 changeover were Andy Gilmour for Carnethy A and Matthew Halliday for Forres, in speedy times of 45.49 and 45.51 respectively – proper racing! First woman through was Megan Mowbray of HBT in 52.18.

For the Harriers, Chris Clarke was making his SWCHR debut and put in a fine run on Leg 1 to complete his leg in 53.07, in 10th position. John Davidson put in a sterling effort to finish in 56.33, and Nicola managed to overcome any navigational challenges to finish in 1.07.12. Nic is proof that recce’ing your leg definitely pays off. Despite the care taken to mark the course, we still had a couple of people go wrong, with one runner missing the turn into the field at Balmuick and carried happily on up towards Carroglen. He did eventually get to the handover, after John D had retrieved him from upper Glen Lednock. We also had one runner who managed to get to Shaky Bridge but decided that she preferred to run beside the river for a bit longer instead of crossing the bridge, adding a few hundred metres on to her run before she realised she’d missed something. Who can blame her – it’s a lovely run. We may need to think about “You’ve gone the wrong way” signs. It all added up to a mini-mass start of two runners at the Leg 1/2  changeover, which doesn’t happen very often.
Leg 2 saw Carnethy A and Forres extend their lead over the rest of the field by a big margin, with leg times of 41.27 and 42.05. By this point, they were about nine minutes ahead of third-placed Westies A. Meanwhile, back with the Harriers, Digby was encouraging Phil M with helpful quips along the lines of “Try to imagine you’re racing”. Phil’s response doesn’t meet the parental guidance control requirements ... Jim Alexander was making his SWCH debut with Gordon, with Jim doing a great impression of an over-eager spaniel bounding up the hill, and Gordon doing his usual very sound job of picking the best lines on difficult terrain. Rachel was also making her debut, running with Cathy, another Leg 2 regular. Rachel almost looked like she was enjoying herself at the end.
To add to the challenge on Leg 2, Rhian settled down in her checkpoint about 100 metres away from the usual spot (or 150-200 metres, depending who you talk to), which caused a few scratched heads. It was certainly enough to send one of the HBT teams wrong, seen approaching Checkpoint 5 from completely the wrong direction. And then one of the Deeside runners fell and dislocated a shoulder. Fortunately, the club paramedic and GP were at the Leg 2/3 handover to look at it and agree a diagnosis, and suggest a trip to PRI might be in order. 
Beth and Elaine M were doing a great job organising the handover and set half-a-dozen runners off on the 12.30 mass-start for the haul up Ben Chonzie. By that time, Kyle Grieg of Forres had overtaken Stewart Whitely of Carnethy A and finsihed Leg 3 in a record time of 59.26. This is, I think, only the second time that the leg has been run in less than an hour, with the previous record-holder Robbie Simpson going on to run for Scotland in assorted hill and distance racing events.
After falling a couple of times on the fast descent down to Carroglen, Andy Greaves had a race on his hands over the last stretches of Leg 3 and Adrian Davies gradually overhauled him in the run-in to Funtulich, but a time of 1.10.33 for Andy was a very good effort. Grant has run every day since January 2012, but did admit that Leg 3 was a bit more of an effort than most of his outings. Nevertheless, his time of 1.26.08 was very commendable. Emily’s time was just a few second slower than Grant’s time, and judging by the way she looked at the end, she worked very hard for it.
We had another mass start at the Leg 3/4 changeover, with ten runners going off together, including Kerry and former Harrier Kirsty, now running a storm for Wee County Harriers.
Once again, Forres and Carnethy A were extending their lead on Leg 4, and finished comfortably ahead of the rest, with both teams recording times better than the previous record. Forres finished in 3.10.54, with Carnethy A finishing in 3.13.38. Carnethy’s times over Legs 1, 2 and 4 were the fastest times on the day, but Kyle Greig’s outstanding performance on Leg 3 made the essential difference. Westies A had maintained their third position to finish in 3.27.36.
Club captain, race organiser and Leg 4 specialist Phil T had a fine time, to record the fifth best time, to finish the race for Harriers A in sixth position, in a time of 3.41.44. Jim McConnell, venturing off road for a change, ran a terrific leg and thoroughly enjoyed his pell-mell descent down past the Deil’s Cauldron, overtaking bodies left, right and centre. Well, that what he told me ... Anyway, he did really well, and bought the B team home on 16th position, in 4.11.50. Kerry was her usual determined self and recorded the second best women’s time for Leg 4 to bring the women’s team home in 24th position overall, and third female team.
Meanwhile, back at Laggan Park, the burgers were on the go, and another pair of SWCHR debutants were doing a great job with the catering – many thanks to Frances Graham and Lesley Johnston for the organisation, Graham and David for the burger flipping, and all the other helpers. To quote Westerlands CC Strathearn Harriers once again put on a superb BBQ, including a delicious spread of home baking.
Prizes this year were presented by Sammy Wake, with bottles of whisky being dispensed to assorted winners. 
As with all the club races, the race could not happen without a horde of volunteers to act as marshals, time-keepers and caterers, and the club is very grateful to everyone for all their efforts. The club is also very appreciative of the support given to the event by the local landowners and residents.
Full results are available on the Harriers website