Junior training returns to Ravenscraig stadium on Tuesday at 6.15pm and Thursday at 6.00pm
The 2021-22 Greenock Glenpark Harriers season came to a close on Tuesday night with the running of the club’s Bill Elder 10km. It was the first full uninterrupted season back from the Covid issues of previous years, with all races running as usual from September’s JG Cameron 4k right through until this race. It was another fantastic turnout of runners and volunteers to fill the streets of Greenock with our famous light blue vests.
The race starts in the Battery Park and heads east to the Esplanade, before turning down Container Way and heading for The Beacon. The runners turn the clocktower at the Custom House, and follow the route back to the Battery to finish. It is a mass start race, and we had 70 finishers on the night, including 5 local guest runners. For club members, it is a handicap race and would be crucial to the overall handicap championships.
We had 21 ladies racing on the night, with Marian Monk coming out on top for her 7th club race victory of the season, and her first win at this race since 2018 (taking 2 minutes off her time in the process!). Lorna Mitchell finished in second place, and has had a great debut season for the Harriers in pushing Marian close in a number of races. Ruby McGill rounded out the top 3 on the night, and has won the other four races this season.
There were PBs for at least Olivia Devine, Stephen Harrison, Owen Atkinson, Gary Keogh and Derek Mitchell. There may have been more, so apologies if we missed you out for a shout out! (Best Strava research there…). It was also good to see some new faces running as club members for the first time, the likes of Derek Mitchell, Paul Dillon, Campbell McFarlane and Greg Luke (although sadly injured mid race). You never know, some of the guests might have liked the look of that vest too! See you next season?
The mens race was a tight after at the sharp end. Paul Monaghan and Inverclyde AC’s Dylan Crawford were neck and neck at the turn, but Paul’s experience edged him ahead on the way home to allow him to claim victory in 34.58. Andrew Osborne took 3rd place with another strong run, just edging out his training partner Oliver Reilly once again. Andrew McCall and Andrew White followed shortly behind in what was a great night for the Andrews. Young Kyle Johnstone continues to impress, this time over his longest distance to date with a great run in 38 minutes dead, a great 10k time for the youngster!
The handicap race for this is always a nervy wait. The handicap maths are carried out after the race, leaving runners to guess who had the best race combined with a fair (or generous) handicap! Steven Watson? He ran well, good handicap…but only good for 5th. Must have been Marian Monk then? She ran a great race, but no just 4th. Debbie McKenzie or Charlotte McKay? Those Port lassies done well, but no they were just pipped to the title. The handicap winner was Gill Gilmour, who edged out Charlotte by just 24 seconds. This was the last event in the season’s handicap championships, taking in six of our club races. Graham McGrattan had a narrow lead going into the last race, but only picked up one point on the night, was it enough…. We will reveal all in our next report!
This race requires the largest number of volunteers for any of our club races, given the amount of road crossings on the rout. A big thanks must go to all of them for helping the event run smoothly. We also want to say a huge thanks to Geraldine Charleston for sponsoring the race, and for proving sports massages to our runners over the years! Also thanks to those helping sell some club kit on the night, and those buying it up and continuing to look the part when out training.
Results: Paul Monaghan 34:58, Dylan Crawford 35:19, Andrew Osborne 35:46, Oliver Reilly 35:52, Andy McCall 36:01, Andrew White 36:33, Michael Joseph McLoone 36:46, Daniel Doherty 37:10, Kyle Johnstone 38:00, Owen Atkinson 38:17, Duncan Anderson 38:53, Sean Marshall 38:56, Steven Campbell 39:09, Robert Dolan 39:45, Steven Watson 39:49, George McCallum 40:13, Stephen Harrison 40:37, William Taylor 40:53, John Stevenson 41:21, Eric Lindsay 42:08, Matthew Deegan 42:14, Campbell Cromar 42:17, Graham McGrattan 42:43, Gary Keogh 43:14, Marian Monk 43:46, David Hamill 43:59, Craig Hyslop 44:09, Matthew Young 44:39, Greig Turner 44:45, Stuart Austin 44:51, Ian McKee 44:53, Colin McKnight 45:00, Alan O’Rourke 45:20, Lorna Mitchell 45:23, David Roberts 45:28, Derek Mitchell 45:57, Stephen Reid 46:09, Danny McLaughlin 47:29, Scot Hill 47:38, Sean Macfarlane 48:00, Ruby McGill 48:04, Paul Dillon 48:04, Ricky Long 48:08, Liza Brydon 48:28, Lynne Harrison 49:06, Debbie Mckenzie 49:10, Kelly McGarvey 49:23, James Doherty 50:51, Lisa Boonsanong 51:01, Stuart Crawford 51:29, Olivia Devine 51:58, Campbell Macfarlane 52:24, Claire Monaghan 53:12, Nathalie Smith 55:00, Fiona Macfarlane 57:27, Elaine Medinelli 57:28, Yvonne Prager 57:32, Fiona Cushnaghan 58:54, Helen Crawford 59:02, Gerry Langan 61:18, Jennifer Hanley, 61:11, David Carruthers 61:25, Mary Robinson 63:52, Gill Gilmour 64:20, Willie Logan 65:11, June Anne McKnight 65:19, Charlotte McKay 66:44, Simon Hutton 68:25, Edward Devine 72:07, David Black 85:12
Training session tonight for all juniors is at the Battery Park at 6.00pm. The session will end with a choice of a 1km or 2km race in the park at 6.40pm. All parents/carers, family welcome to come along and cheer on the youngsters. *Wear your club vest or T-shirt tonight.
Junior training is at the Battery Park for next 2 weeks on Tuesdays & Thursdays from 6pm to 7pm (starting Tuesday 26th July). Ravenscraig stadium is closed for maintenance
This year’s Scottish 10k championships were held at Roon The Toon 10k in Kilmarnock. This was a change of venue from the previous years championships, but still on a popular route that Harriers had ran in the past. The route heads out from the athletics arena and heads through the residential streets of Kilmarnock, eventually finding some small hills in the fields to the west. The route then returns right through the town centre before finishing with a half lap of the track.
Neil Lafferty lead the harriers home in a fraction over 34 mins, with Paul Monaghan and Oliver Reilly in hot pursuit. Paul Monaghan landed himself a v50 gold medal, edging ahead of his competitors by around 20 seconds. Andy White just edged out Chris Mooney, and Stevie Campbell completed the set of 6 runners breaking 39 minutes for the club.
Neil Lafferty 34.01, Paul Monaghan 34.29, Oliver Reilly 35.23, Andrew White 36.48, Chris Mooney 38.07, Steven Campbell 38.25
Brian Goodwin 10k
The Bellahouston Harrier’s club 10km race in Pollock Park is always a popular one with Glenpark athletes, and this year we were able to fill a bus load of keen runners and supporters. Enticed by the fast course, and maybe by the finish line beer and burger, they headed up to the big city in fine spirits! The course is 2 loops of Pollock Park, over a slightly undulating course, but one that always manages to bring out some quick times.
On the ladies side, Fiona MacFarlane smashed her PB with a run of 45.39! (Note for this report that these are gun times, so the actual times will be quicker!) Lynne Harrison made her 10k debut and impressively broke the 50 minute barrier in 49.02. Nathalie Smith ran 53.29, 1 second off a PB but still a fantastic run, and there was also good runs from Cheryl Thomas and June Anne McKnight (another debutant).
The GGH men brought a strong team up to Pollock trying to compete for county medals on offer for the Renfrewshire 10km championships. Stuart Greenway, off the back of illness, took the first spot for the club, pipping Neil Lafferty in 34.13, but Neil picking up v40 silver for his 34.21. Neil was a fraction ahead of Paul Monaghan in 34.27 who cruised to v50 gold. It would be remiss not to mention Oliver Reilly in 4th place for GGH, who absolutely smashed his PB with a fantastic run in 34.40! Finally getting one over his training buddy Andrew Osborne in 5th. The top 4 were able to take home the team
Daniel Doherty had a fantastic return to racing action with a 36.23, great to see Daniel back to something close to his best after a time out. Same can be said for Duncan Anderson who ran 38.39, but not quite taking the title of fastest Duncan Anderson on the night…. Steven Campbell and Stephen Hanley also ran sub 40, both nursing some injuries but coming along for the banter and free socks!
Stephen Harrison continued his great running since joining the club, and he smashed his PB with a time of 41.15. Just behind him was Greig Turner, also PBing in 42.44 over a much shorter distance than he is used to. Elsewhere there were good runs from Richard Jow, who had great support on the course, Colin McKnight, John Stevenson, Stephen Reid, Malcolm MacLean, Lucas Bezian and Andy MacLean. David Hamill finally took the plunge and donned the GGH colours for the first time, and hopefully he doesn’t look back from here!
Thanks to Bellahouston Harriers for a great event, and to all the volunteers on the course. Even our own David Carruthers got a job in a yellow vest!
Loch Lomond 10k
Held on the Saturday straight after the Brian Goodwin, the Loch Lomond 10k took place in Balloch. Traditionally part of the Polaroid Series, it now stands alone as an event itself and attracts a good crowd for the race. The route starts and finishes in Balloch Country Park, and heads out and back along the River Leven.
Nobody would be mad enough to do this as well as the night before would they?? Nah, just Paul Monagahn. Paul cruised round in 35.27 (taking it easier) and finished 6th overall and 2nd v50. Ross Morrison was next for Glenpark, with Craig Melrose and Gerry Gillespie rounding out the male harriers in action.
A good number of the Glenpark Monday/Wednesday sessions put their training to good use, with Olivia Devine, Ca
Paul Monaghan 35.27, Ross Morrison 45.18, Marianne McKay 53.00, Olivia Devine 53.26, Craig Melrose 58.02, Jennifer Turner 59.12, Caroline Sharpe 59.20, Lynsey McLaughlin 60.36, Gerry Gillespie 62.10, Charlotte McKay 68.26, Sandra Devine 68.30
Port Glasgow 10k
This local 10k event returned for its 3rd running, and first outing since pre pandemic. As always, the famous blue vests of Greenock Glenpark Harriers dominated the start line, but it was good to see vests from far and wide make the trip doon the water on what turned out to be a wet and windy ‘summers day’.
The runners were greeted with the sight of the passing Waverly as they got under way in Coronation Park and headed west to Kingston Dock. After a trip through the town centre, the runners headed east towards Kelburn and Parklea, where they’d turn and head home along the boardwalk, wind assisted to the finish back in the park.
The lead pack consisted of our incumbent senior champion Neil Lafferty, trying to hold off the talent of IAC’s Jon Hammerman and Dylan Crawford, as well as Bellahouston RR’s Brian Mulgrew. Andrew Osborne was clinging on to the back of this group, and continuing his fine form finished in 5th. Inverclyde’s Nynke Mulholland took the female prize and 6th overall with a great run. Neil took the win in 34.08, and Nynke the ladies in 35.51. Hometown boy Daniel Doherty managed a top 10, with Andy White also in that club. Duncan Anderson made a great return to racing in 38.31, with Owen Atkinson not far behind in 38.44.
Just over the 40 minute mark, William Taylor and David Holmes ran really well, and Chris beat Steven in the first battle of the Watsons for a good few years. Harriers were coming in out of the rain thick and fast, with John Stevenson, Stephen Harrison and Eric Lindsay coming home. Too many men to mention them all, another superb turnout!
First lady for GGH was Fiona MacFarlane in just over 45 minutes in 8th place overall, with Lynne Harrison and Terri Wall rounding out the top 3. Heather Lafferty, Debbie McKenzie and Lisa Boonsanong followed them home. Jennifer Hanley ran great for her first competitive 10k, and edged ahead of Karen Tullett who has been training with us for a few months now.
Again, there were so many harrier ladies that ran great on the day in horrible conditions, and it was nice to see a couple of those that couldn’t run out helping on the course to make the event run smoothly. It is great to have a mass event like this on our doorstep, with the next external one to be the Kilmacolm running festival in September. Before then, we have out club 10k, the Bill Elder in August, so let’s see everyone put the work in this summer and smash some PBs that night! We have a club race before then though, with the Singlehurst in Bute next Saturday.
Black Rock 5
12 Harriers made their way to the small town of Kinghorn in Fife on a Friday night in May to race the ‘Black Rock 5’. A welcome return of the race that first started in 1987 with 67 runners now attracts north of 1000 runners and is known for it community spirit as the locals line the streets to create the most amazing atmosphere.
The course is a 7km out and back, with the majority of it on Pettycur sands round the low tide exposed ‘Black rock’ and finishing 200m or so beyond the start line up a wee hill 😀. Ssshhhhh if you are in the know.
How did everyone get on?
First up, the girls:
Fiona Cushnaghan; first time doing the race and her aim was to get it complete after hearing about the conditions on the far side of the ‘Black Rock’. She wasn’t let down, with the water over her knees in some parts, but pulled through to finish in a solid 49:12. Before the race, Fiona & Craig were making their way to the start when Craig asked for directions. The steward looked at Fiona and responded “..for the kids race?” (Fiona’s words, they had a good laugh at this 😀)
Kirstin Arthur; also first time taking part found the out section super tough into the stiff Easterly wind but enjoyed the return journey + the wade in the Forth! Pushing hard on the hilly finish saw Kirstin finish strongly in 49:09, admitting if the finish was any further she may not have made it! I think most would agree on that 😀
Fiona Macfarlane; another first timer to the beach race enjoyed the terrain and also found it tough on the way out into the wind. The atmosphere, location and scenery had a positive effect on Fiona’s running, finishing in an impressive 35:59 and 21/165 in her category.
Emma Benstead; Emma has experience of the course with 2 previous finishes at the race also found the wind hard on the way out and had to tough out the second half with the waterlogged sand zapping energy as she returns to full fitness, finishing in 64:19. Emma loves the race setting and whole ‘Black Rock’ experience.
Lorna MacLean; another first timer and Lorna was looking to complete the course and soak up the atmosphere, as well as her first chance in ages to pull the vest on! No surprise Lorna also found the wind tough going and conditions underfoot tricky but finished well (and still smiling) in 57:35. Lorna loved the atmosphere of the race and being part of a big Harriers contingent.
Marianne McKay; last minute decision to compete due to the lurgy but pulled through in an impressive 39:00. When asked her thoughts about the event, she commented “it was fun” which makes us think she wasn’t trying hard enough 😉.
Angeline Austin; Ange’s fifth time taking part, toeing the line every year since 2016. One of her favourites to race and enjoys telling other harriers how good an event it is and to have a go! Working on getting back to race fitness, Ange finished strongly in 55:06 after being the last starter!
Next the boys;
Craig Canning; another first timer to the Kinghorn race and another who struggled in the wind on the way out, but picked up on the way back and finished strongly to post 35:14, a welcome return to racing for Craig. He loved the buzz generated when a whole town comes out to support the massive event, as well as the views up the Forth!
Stephen Reid; Stephen’s fourth time competing in this event and also found the wind tough but enjoyed the return leg to post a solid 35:18 comfortably in the top 1/3 in his category. Why does Stephen keep coming back? The unique course, always a good Harriers crowd and of course the beer at the end!
David Benstead; David’s second time competing also found the wind tough to deal with in the first half but after rounding the ‘Black Rock’ used the wind to pick up and return a solid 41:55. David thinks it’s an excellent race with a fantastic atmosphere.
Malcolm MacLean; Malcolm’s first time and was persuaded by the others who have ran multiple times to try out the unique race. Malcolm, returning from injury, was looking to get round comfortably and welcomed the support from the Kinghorn locals on the closing stretch on the streets and in their gardens cheering on, especially on the last hill section. Malcolm really happy with 38:15 and loved the whole community spirit and vibe of the race. Already looking forward to next year!
Stuart Austin: fifth time, running every race since 2016. Struggled with conditions, mainly underfoot, to get any rhythm but really happy to be back competing with a big Harriers group. Finished in 33:35 and top 1/4 age category so no real complaints. One of the most atmospheric and unique races in the calendar, and the beer, banana, water combo to look forward to at the end – what’s not to like!
An excellent event that is very well organised, sponsored by a brewery 😀, that raises lots of money for the local community and provides a unique atmosphere for runners and spectators. The prize giving is held after the race in The Harbour View bar, which has fantastic views over the Forth and onto Edinburgh with lots of category and team prizes, beer and BBQ. Entries normally open on a Friday night in April and typically sell out within an hour or two so if you would like to give it a go, get in early.
MOK run weekend 28th and 29th May
Some of our club members returned to Campbeltown for the popular Mull of Kintyre running weekend consisting of junior races on The Saturday and a 10k and Half marathon on the Sunday.
On Saturday it was Connie and Zak Dolan in the junior races, Connie had 1 lap of Kinloch green to do and Zak 2, both ran well and earned their bag of goodies at the end.
On Sunday it was the combined 10k and half marathon events, this event has a maximum 1000 entrants and usually sells out quickly when it goes on sale at the turn of the year.
Robert Dolan in the half with Jude Dolan and Liz Ness in the 10k set off on a sunny Sunday morning, Jude who was stepping up in distance being too old to defend his junior title from 2019 stayed with the leading pack until the split, the 10k heading back into town but the half heading up the A83 to continue the half, Robert found out at this point that he was lying in 4th position which he held until the end. A very scenic tough course, usually windy taking in part of Machrihanish golf course and beach.
Jude stayed with the pack as long as he could heading into town and came home in 9th place overall and 3rd in his age category. Liz who has been doing this race for years completed another one and added to her handmade clay medal collection.
The goody bags, pastries, sandwiches and coffees are as popular as the race itself and its definitely one for your diary.
Juniors – Connie Dolan 1 lap 3:20, Zak Dolan 2 laps 4:57
10k – Jude Dolan 39:01, Liz Ness 60:59
Half marathon – Robert Dolan 1:28:23
Thanks to Robert Dolan and Stuart Austin for writing. Please get in touch f you want to submit a race report.
Glorious weather at Shewalton Water in Irvine welcomed Inverclyde trio Danny McLaughlin, Marian Monk and Campbell Cromar to this year’s Scottish National Aquathlon Championships. There were 75 athletes participating and all three athletes were defending their 2021 national titles. As always, Ayrodynamic Triathlon Club did an excellent job organising the event.
The water temperature on the day was 15C, 1C above minimum, so wetsuits were optional. When this was announced Campbell decided to ditch the wetsuit and trade off a slightly slower swim time for a faster transition. Danny and Marian, being the more experienced (and some would say more sensible) triathletes, opted for wetsuits.
Big chunky medals on show in the presentation area prior to the start was motivation enough for all competitors to give it their all. The aquathon was split into male and female waves, with the women set off first in the 750m swim.
With a few GB athlete’s in the race, the day’s proceedings got underway at a blistering pace. Marian came storming in with the leading group and had an impressively fast transition.
Marian proceeded to pass a few in the 5km run, finishing fastest overall V40, V45 and V50. For this she was justly awarded the V50 gold medal and Best Female vet’s cash prize. This got as far as Nardinis in Largs for ice creams all round!
With the ladies’ run underway, the men’s race was promptly called. Campbell, an experienced open water swimmer, started with the leaders and finished well up the field, despite not having the benefit of a wetsuit. Danny however, who has recently recovered from COVID-19, struggled to catch his breath and had to swim breaststroke for the first few minutes, allowing the main pack of swimmers to get away.
Campbell finished a minute behind his main rival in the swim. Thankfully with just running shoes to put on, he left the transition zone a few seconds ahead and proceeded to open up a further four minute gap on the run to win his age group comfortably.
Danny’s swim left him quite far down the field. He was unable to repeat his excellent performance of last year and unfortunately finished out of the medals.
Full results from the race can be found here
A video of the event can be viewed here
If you are interested in Aquathlons, consider joining :
Glenpark Harrier junior trio of Simon Okiti, Harris Morrison and Kyle Johnstone were on fire recently at Scottish Athletics Joint League match at Grangemouth.
Simon was first to represent the Harriers on the track in his 200m race, an electric start saw Simon close the stagger on the athletes on the lanes outside him and eased into the home straight where he implemented his personal process once in the lead, a controlled last 30m allowed Simon to hold his form and cross the line victorious in a new lifetime best of 22.81seconds, his first sub 23 second run.
Immediately following Simon’s race was Harris, fresh from helping Clydeview Academy to the Scotish Schools 4 x 400m relay title two days earlier, he decided to drop down from 400m to test himself over the shorter distance of 200m. After an aggresive determined start Harris utilised his 400m power to storm round the bend cutting the stagger of all athletes outside him to be leading into the home straight, a focused home straight by Harris saw him claim first place in a new best for him 23.14 seconds.
Kyle concluded the trio of young Harriers to perform on the day this time over 1500m, A mature first 800m Kyle sought a bit of wind protection before excellerating ahead of his competition with 500m left, hitting the bell for the last lap Kyle struck for home, working hard down the back straight he held this until the final 100m where he dug into his deep reserves of endurance to stop the clock in a new best of 4.37minutes.
Young Harriers now look forward to the next National championships, Scottish Schools this week
The Babcock series of 10km races returned in May for the first time since 2019, with some members still having their pre Covid entries for the cancelled 2020 and 2021 series! Helensburgh 10km started the series on May 5th, with Dumbarton a week later. The series concluded in Glasgow Green on May 29th. Dumbarton also doubled up as the West District 10km championships for the year.
Helensburgh is traditionally a nice sunny spring night, but runners were greeted with damp conditions more ideal for fast running. The race took place the night before the Scottish 5km championships at Silverknowes, so the field was not quite as strong as previous years. 8 harriers were in attendance, with Oliver Reilly and Andrew Osborne battling it out for top honours. They ran each other close, with Andrew edging the win with a 35.18 PB, Oliver only 4 seconds behind. Sol Sweeney won the event in 30 minutes dead, and former Rio 2016 marathoner Sonia Samuels picked up first female in 34.30.
Back in the pack, Stephen Hanley edged out Mick McLoone for 3rd Harrier, as Mick was narrowly beaten to first v50 by 11 seconds. Alan Poole narrowly missed out on sub 40, but would be back next week at Dumbarton to set that right. Marianne McKay was first female harrier, with Charlotte McKay also running well. They were on hand to provide the biggest cheer of the night when Andrew, Oliver and Stephen managed to win 3rd team with their finishing positions of 13, 14 and 20 being enough to finish behind Shettleston and Bellahouston RR.
On to Dumbarton, and unseasonably cold and wet conditions greeted the runners for what is traditionally a fast night of 10k racing. The sheltered course tends to not be too exposed to the wind, and apart from a headwind near the last km, it was not a bad night for racing. This doubled as the West District 10km championships, and some of our club’s top guns were on show to try and pick up some prizes.
Neil Lafferty lead the way in 34.12 for 16th overall and v40 bronze, narrowly missing silver but just ahead of good runs from Inverclyde’s Jon Hammerman and David Tamburini. Their teammate John Bell took the overall win in 30.41, with Katie White taking the first place female.
Again, there were a pack of harriers helping each other round with Andrew Osborne breaking the 35 minute barrier for the first time, just ahead of Wes Pattison and Paul Monaghan, with Oliver Reilly not far behind with a new PB of 35.12. Paul was first v50 on the night.
Andy White (2nd v50) edged out Stephen Hanley in a tight battle, while Stevie Campbell, Mick Follan and Alan Poole (with a PB) were all under 40 minutes. No team prizes this week with the stronger field in attendance from all local clubs. Natalie Smith ran a great PB of 54.09, with Craig Melrose not far in front. Nathalie has been running well, and had her eyes set on Shettleston to keep it rolling.
Onto Shettleston to complete the set, and a new course was in store for runners around Glasgow Green. The narrow stretch from the back of the playing fields to the Shawfield bridge was under repair, and the Shawfield loop was removed. Instead, runners had two 5km loops of the green to contend with. Nice and flat, but some tight turns cast some doubt on how quick the course could be.
Best of the day again came from Andrew Osborne, who Edged out Oliver Reilly for top harrier, but no PBs this time. Stephen Hanley was 3rd back, nursing an injury and doing well to get round in 38 minutes. Those three were the only 3 to complete the series from the club, finishing in that order each time. John Stevenson returned to club racing with a solid sub 40. Nathalie Smith beat her PB from Dumbarton with a sub 53 minute run, just ahead of the returning Andy McLean and Nathalie’s training partner Eileen Stevenson.
The series was once again very well organised, and provided our runners with a great opportunity to get some quick times in ahead of a busy month of 10k racing. Next up is the Scottish Camps at Roon the Toon (Kilmarnock) on Sunday and the Renfrewshire Championships at Bellahouston Harriers’ Brian Goodwin the following Friday. The club is running a bus to this, so please get in touch if you are interested. The end of the month sees the Port Glasgow 10km, and entries are still open here:
You could also volunteer for this, and please get in touch if you wish to do so.
Amidst the wider hill racing season, Greenock Glenpark Harriers held our annual club hill race on Saturday 8th May. This was also a Scottish Junior trial hill race, with junior athletes and some seniors travelling from all over Scotland to take part. The race followed our traditional route from Woodstock Road on the route to Hillside Hill behind Cornalees with various age category turning points along the way.
The juniors turned at various points up the ascent in age groups U11, U13, U15, U17 with under 20s and seniors heading right to the top before turning back for home. The route always starts at the end of Woodstock Road and heads through the fields to the cut, where the runners cross the bridge and head into the trails on the way up to the summit. The course measures 2.5 miles up from the start to the summit, climbing a total of around 900ft in elevation.
There was some Harriers success in the junior races, with Aimee McEleney 2nd in the U13s girls race, and earned a new trophy donated to the first GGH back down the hill. Summer Taggart was 1st girl in the U15s race. Jude Dolan edged out Shaun Wiseman for 3rd in the U20s race, with Ruby McGill taking the female title. It was a good turnout of juniors from across the country, with 28 competing across the age categories.
The gents race was billed as a battle of the Port, with Andy McCall’s regular title under threat from new challenger to the hilly crown Kyle Wilson. With Neil Lafferty back in the mix too, it was hyped up to be a close affair! On the way up, Kyle and Neil tried to open up a gap on Andy, knowing his strengths lie on the downhill, but with the gap close at the summit, it looked like Andy might be able to charge through. However, Kyle had other ideas and threw himself down the hill to hold off the challengers, which also included Kilmaenock Harriers’ U20 Jonathan Downey. Kyle stormed home for the overall win in 32.51, with Jonathan 2nd and Andy 3rd.
Neil Lafferty came home as 3rd Harrier to add another 8 points to his senior championship haul, which looks like it could be enough to see him crowned this year’s champion. Two cracking runs followed Neil from Inverness Harriers’ Robin Burnett and Euan Rollo, hopefully the long journey was worth it for the spectacular setting on the hills of Greenock. Michael McLoone and Owen Atkinson rounded out the top 5 for Glenpark, both showing their strength on their preferred races.
Ruby McGill picked up another senior race victory with her great U20 run, tackling the full course and coming in ahead of Marian Monk and Fiona MacFarlane. Ruby has now won three senior races this season, but Marian’s 9 points secures another senior ladies championship victory. Ruby will be gunning for that crown in the years to come.
The trial run the week before the race encouraged a few more members to brave the tough course for the first time, with Charlotte McKay and June Anne McKnight going out of their comfort zone to take part. There were also great runs from Lynne Harrison and the returning Debbie McKenzie. William Taylor, Colin McKnight and Stephen Harrison also ran well in their harriers hill race debuts, benefitting from the reccy run or Alan’s famous hill sessions!
This race never happens without volunteers, from those leading the recci run and marking the course before the race, and those helping with registration, timekeeping and marshalling on the day. A big thank you to all of them. An even bigger thanks must go to our race sponsor, Cadence Cycles and GGH member William Laing for his support.