Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Club 5k, 27 October

Last Sunday saw the final race of the Strathearn Harriers championship series with the club 5k race held on Lady Mary’s Walk. Both Men’s and Women’s championships were already decided, with Patrick  and Nicola having taken top spots with a race to spare, but there was still competition for the silver and bronze positions.
The club 5k is a new event this year and has proved a popular addition to the championship series. Race conditions were not ideal, on a showery, blustery sort of day and the runners  were very glad of the hot drinks and cakes kindly served by Frances Graham and Lesley Johnston. The race saw 20 adult Harriers racing, alongside 11 Juniors (or in many cases, behind the Juniors!). First to finish was Phil T in a fine time of 19.53, followed by Paul T (20.49) and John D (20.51). Emily was first woman in 21.09, followed by Maddy (22.35) and Kerry and Wendy sharing a time of 22.55. First Junior home was Angus Lindsay (20.53) followed by Huw Thomas 21.42 and Levi Sweeney (22.00).
In the event there was no change to the 1st three positions of both Men and Women's competitions. Patrick  won the Men's championship with some quality performances and Nicola took the women's prize with a combination of some excellent performances and by running more races than anyone else in the club. Patrick and Nicola will receive their trophies at the club Ceilidh in January. Taking second and third places were Phil and Gordon in the men’s championship and Emily and Maddy in the women’s championship.
This year has been the most successful year for the championship in terms of the numbers of club members taking part in championship races and completing the required set of five races. With more new members joining over the last couple of months, next year’s championship should be even more competitive.

Also in action at the weekend was Jim, running his second marathon of the year at the Dublin marathon. After a long injury-enforced break, Jim has made a terrific recovery this year and raced really well in Dublin to record a time 3.17.27. Matt McClay was also in marathon action at the Abingdon marathon the previous weekend, finishing with a very good 4.00.31 – agonisingly close!
And as a final round-up, new club member Nick Gough ran the Jedburgh 10k in a great time of 39.42, to finish in 14th position – all those speed sessions paying off!

Aviemore half and Livingston cross country

Wendy Howell set a new club record for the half marathon with a terrific 1.28.28 to finish as fourth woman at the recent Aviemore half marathon. Wendy is on a fine streak at the moment, benefiting from her triathlon training, with this outstanding half marathon effort coming just a few weeks after her first place finish in the women’s race at the Pitlochry 10k in September.
Also running in the half marathon was Lawrence Howell, finishing in a very good 1.40.55, and Karen Westley, taking a break from her cycling to record an excellent 1.46.49 finishing 10th in her age category.  The half marathon is one of two races run on the same day, and making a very welcome return to race action in the 10k was club secretary Seonaid, finishing in 52.42 in 12th position in her age category.
The weekend also marked the start of the cross-country season with the East District Cross-country relays at Livingston. The Harriers had four teams entered, with two boys, one girls team running for the Juniors, with one team representing the Senior Women. Sadly, injury ruled out the Senior Men’s team.
The Boys A team of Levi Sweeney, Lewis Forsyth and Charlie Grimson finished a creditable 16th and were just 10 seconds away from 11th place. The Boys B team of Keir McEwan, Andrew MacInnes and Angus Fraser were 27th, and the Girls team of Ally Hall, Catriona Roberts and Maddy Watson  were an excellent 18th. The Women’s team of Emily Greaves, Fiona McDonald and Nicola Watson all ran well to finish 28th. Emily had a busy weekend, having run on Saturday on the Meall nan Tarmachan race, finishing in an excellent second place, beaten only by Scottish international Angela Mudge.

Not content with racing at all points of the compass, Harriers have also been busy raising money for two charities. A new event of beerienteering in Comrie and Crieff raised nearly £400 in aid of Pancreatic Cancer Research. The club has been supporting this charity since club member Simon Wake died of the disease, and has raised a total of nearly £6400 for the charity over a series of events, including the Simon Wake Comrie Hills Relay and the popular quiz nights shared with the British Legion. The club also raised nearly £300 for the Crieff Community Hospital with a special Nepalese night at the Gurkha Restaurant in Crieff, and the club would like to thank Sam and Rina for their hospitality and generosity in supporting this cause.

Great Scottish Run weekend, October 5 and 6

We had another packed weekend of events, with a big group of runners and supporters travelling to Glasgow for the various Greats Scottish Run events on Saturday and Sunday.
First up was the Juniors fun run on Saturday morning, which saw some of the youngest youngsters running. Scott Saunders, Huw Thomas and sisters Beth and Lucy Taylor all enjoyed themselves in the first event, setting the stage for their brothers and sisters and mums and dads later in the weekend.
The next race was the Junior 2.5k race, which in the past has featured runners such as Eilish McColgan, who will, barring injury, be one of Scotland’s leading hopes on the track in next year’s Commonwealth Games. Sol, Levi, and Daniel put on a fine show, with Sol working hard to finish in fourth place overall. 
After all the excitement with the Juniors races on Saturday, it was the turn of the adults on Sunday. The first race was the 10k, and for the Harriers we had the whole range from highly experienced runners such as Patrick and Kerry, to 10k debutants, such as Derek Saunders, David Graham and Donna Stewart.
Patrick recorded a great time of 36.22 to finish in 33rd position in a very high-quality field. Zak Howie, now based in Glasgow, put in a terrific effort to finish in his best 10k time of 41.47, while Kerry also recorded a fine personal best time of 42.27. Maddy ran well for her 45.46. David , Derek and Donna ran together all the way and finished in 1.09.44.
The main event was the Great Scottish Half Marathon, which this year featured the world’s best long-distance runner, Haile Gebreselassie, and a fine collection of other international stars, some of whom we’ll be seeing in Glasgow again at the Commonwealth Games. On his first visit to Scotland, Gebreselassie was a convincing winner, breaking the Scottish all-comers record for the half-marathon, and set a new World Masters age group record. The women’s race was won by Susan Partridge from Oban, another strong medal hope for the Commonwealth Games.
In perfect conditions for a half-marathon and on a fast course, we had a great collections of Harriers performances. Will was first Harrier home in a terrific time of 1.21.13, to finish in 79th position. Other notable performances included personal bests for Wendy (1.37.03), Andy (1.48.08) and Julia (1.56.17). Also running well were Allan McInnes, preparing for the Athens Marathon, Jayne, Matt McClay, preparing for the Abingdon Marathon, Alistair Sexton, Colin T, running again just a week after the Loch Ness Marathon, and Nicola.
And if the Great Scottish Run weekend wasn’t enough, Harriers were also in action at the Chester Marathon, where Phil T recorded a very good 3.23, and at the Ben Venue hill race, where Gordon enjoyed his day out on the hill to beat the 2-hour mark for this demanding race.

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Loch Ness Marathon 2013

Over the past few years we’ve had a numbers of Harriers running the Loch Ness Marathon, and this year was no exception. Unfortunately, Danny M wasn’t able to run due to illness, but the other Harriers put in very good efforts.  
Despite now running for Wee County Harriers, Kirsty still has many friends and supporters here in Strathearn, and we were all delighted to hear of her fine run, finishing in 4.28. Kirsty’s on a demanding programme of runs this autumn, having done the Aberfeldy Marathon earlier in September with a PB, and following Loch Ness with the Kirkintilloch half later in the month and the Glen Ogle 33 in November.
Dave G was next home, finishing in 4.42, beating his expected time, so well done Dave. Chris C’s wife Ariane isn’t yet a member of the club but will be press-ganged soon, following her performance of 4.29 in her first marathon, having been paced and supported by Chris all the way round. Representing the section of the club who can still remember when the Beatles were a bunch of brash up-and-coming Scousers, Colin put in a storming performance for the first 20 miles and then slowed down a wee bit. Nevertheless, his final time of 5.20 was a fine effort.

East Neuk and Pitlochry 10ks

A select group of Harriers were running in a couple of races on the weekend of 22 September.
Chris Clarke was a very good eighth place in a time of 38.23, in what sounded like a bit of a fight with the wind. Nic was in 13th woman in a time of 47.46. Julia was running with daughter Kate, in what was apparently Kate’s first 10k, not quite finishing together, with Julia sprinting away from her daughter to finish in 1.03.47, with Kate just 16 second behind.
Meanwhile, over at Pitlochry, Wendy D won the women’s race in a fine 40.36, and John D was 3rd MV50 in 41.58. Fine performances on a less-than-perfect course.