Saturday 17th February saw the Greenock Cut play host to the annual Greenock Glenpark Harriers Willow Bowl Race. The near 8 mile route sees the runners start along the long damn near the Waterman’s cottage and takes them up the back hill towards Loch Thom. The runners then pass through Cornalees, into the nature trail and back onto the Greenock Cut towards the finish line at the Waterman’s Cottage. The race is a conceding handicap race, with the runners set out in reverse order, with the aim that they all finish roughly the same time. This always results in a frantic finish, as the runners try and catch those in front before the finish line. This year was no different, and the first 15 runners all crossed the line within the space of 2 minutes.
Donna Clark was this year’s winner of the handicap race, finishing half a minute clear of the field. Donna found herself leading the race with around 1.5 miles to go, and she was looking over her shoulder to see if anyone was gong to catch her from there to the finish line. Nobody did, and Donna’s great run was rewarded with the trophy. This run follows up a strong showing at this month’s Renfrewshire Road race for Donna, and her hard work is paying off. One of the many fantastic photographs taken on the day captures Donna with one mile to go, looking comfortable with a stunning backdrop.
This race was a favourite of the late Tommy Knight, a long standing member of the Harriers who sadly passed away at the tail end of 2017. As recognition of this, Tommy’s family donated a new trophy to be awarded on the day. It was decided that the new trophy would be passed onto the first veteran to cross the line in the handicap race. It was somewhat fitting that long time member and past senior champion Steven Campbell took the trophy home on Saturday. Steven finished the handicap race in 2nd place behind Donna, and put in a really strong run of just over 47 minutes. Steven can be seen in the picture below frantically chasing down Nicola Stevenson near the end of the race.
In the senior mens race, Chris Mooney was set the daunting task of having to chase down the entire field by being sent out last. His nearest competitor had a 2 1/2 minute head start on him from the word go, and it would be a lonely run for Chris as he wouldn’t see another runner until Cornalees! This didn’t put him off though, and Chris ran a super sub 45 minute race, which included a sub 35 minute 10k along the Cut! His speed saw him catch all but 3 of the other runners in the race, and he took home the mens prize by over 2 minutes from Steven Campbell in 2nd place. Andy McCall revels in these sort of runs, and he put in a good performance to finish 3rd in both the mens and senior races. He was probably a little disappointed that the gates on the cut were open, leaving him without the option to jump over them!
Last year’s Lady winner Sue Hewitson made it two in a row on her home track. Sue ran the race in just over 57 minutes on a course that really suits her strong running style. Donna Clark’s run was rewarded with a runners up spot in the scratch race, with Nicola Stevenson putting in a great performance to take 3rd. Current ladies champion Marian Monk was next, and keeps her position at the top of this year’s ladies championship standings. Lorna Coyle was narrowly pipped into 5th position, and Marianne McKay had a great run to finish 6th.
There was great support all the way along the route from fellow harriers and a big thanks goes out to all of them for their encouragement on the day. Special thanks goes to Planet AD Photography and to Thomas Loehndorf for some fantastic photos on the day. Last but not least we want to say a big thank you to The Willow Bar for their continual support of the race with their sponsorship. The runners all appreciate the spread put on in the Willow Bar after the race.
Results (handicap times in brackets):
Chris Mooney 44.51 (76.51) 1st Male, Stevie Campbell 47.04 (76.34) 1st Vet handicap, Andy McCall 48.48 (76.48), Paul Monaghan 50.14 (79.44), John Stevenson 50.36 (77.06), Paul Beaton 52.09 (77.39), Danny McLaughlin 52.48 (77.18), Derrick MacNish 53.34 (77.04), Chris Watson 53.38 (78.38), Richard Davidson 53.53 (78.53), Stephen Hanley 54.04 (77.34), Graham McGrattan 55.33 (79.03), Sue Hewitson 57.04 (78.04) 1st Lady, Malcolm McLean 58.23 (80.53), Duncan Anderson 58.59 (79.29), Stephen Reid 59.02 (77.32), James McFadden 59.39 (79.09), Donna Clark 59.57 (75.57) 1st Handicap, Ian McKee 60.26 (78.56), Nicola Stevenson 62.01 (77.01), Marian Monk 62.21 (80.51), Lorna Coyle 62.24 (77.54), Matthew Young 63.16 (78.46), Colin Campbell 63.2 (79.5), Marianne McKay 63.35 (77.35), Kevin Gill 63.57 (81.57), Ian Hanley 64.52 (78.52), Kenny Scott 66.19 (78.19), Claire Monaghan 66.25 (78.55), Lucas Bezian 66.32 (77.32), Andy McLean 66.35 (79.35), Boyd McKenzie 67.29 (80.29), Graeme Crawford 73.23 (82.23), Barry O’Donnell 80.49 (91.49), Wenda Crawford 87.41 (89.41)