The first club championship race of 2019 was held last week at the Coves Reservoirs in Greenock. The conditions were perfect on the day, a little cold but no wind saw some really good times posted by a bumper field of Harriers. 46 senior runners were in attendance which continues the trend of well attended club races this season. The race is 4 big laps of the reservoirs adding up to just under 5.5 undulating miles, a stern new years test to blow away the holiday excess!
This race last year saw Andy White claim his first club championship race victory. This year, he set out to try and retain his title. He lead from the front and broke away from the chasing pack after one lap and powered round to claim his second Harriers race win. Stevie Campbell held off Alan Mollins for second place, but it was another fine showing from Alan who is now regularly competing with the top club runners at these races. New member Neil Lafferty continued to show real promise with a 5th place finish, while other new members Oliver Reilly, Callum Gorry and Owen Atkinson all ran well.
Chloe Simpson made it back to back wins in her maiden two club races of the season. It has been a strong showing so far from Chloe in her first few months as a Harrier. Sue Hewitson showed great signs that she was back to her best racing fitness with a strong second place just over 30 seconds behind Chloe. Nicola Stevenson rounded out the top 3, more on her later…
The race does have a handicap category, but all runners are set off at the same time so the handicap winner has to wait until all of the maths is done later in the evening. In this case, John Stevenson was able to reveal the runaway winner as his daughter Nicola! Her storming run on the day did have all of the other runners convinced she must have been in with a shout, but she had to wait until later that night to find out. John Stevenson himself managed to sneak second place by a nose hair over marathon training buddy Robert Dolan. Both runners seeing their high winter mileage paying dividends.
Elsewhere, there were good runs from Marianne McKay, Eileen Stevenson and Cheryl Thomas who all placed in the top 10 for the handicap race. Stephen Hanley placed high in the handicap standings for the second race in a row, which could make for some interesting reading when the championship tables are published (these will be done before the Willow Bowl…).
There was a huge army of volunteers around the coves keeping all the runners safe, encouraged and very photographed! A big thanks you has to go to all of these for their efforts, as well as some of the runners who helped out with registration, results and post race refreshments. A big thank you also to our race sponsors WB Smith Trees and Turf LTD. See you all again for the Willow Bowl on Saturday 16th February!
Results: Andrew White 32:46, Stevie Campbell 33:58, Allan Mollins (U17) 34:01, Paul Monaghan 34:13, Neil Lafferty 34:27, Daniel Doherty 34:56, Andrew Osborne 35:17, John Stevenson 35:36, Paul Beaton 35:41, Andy McCall 35:58, Robert Dolan 36:07, Stephen Hanley 36:31, Owen Atkinson 36:48, Chloe Simpson 38:25, Harry McGill (U17) 38:35, Sue Hewitson 39:08, Danny McLaughlin 39:10, Oliver Reilly 39:30, George McCallum 39:41, Graham McGrattan 39:50, David Ness 40:03, Michael Dunn 40:13, Alan O’Rouke 41:34, Ian McKee 41:43, Nicola Stevenson 41:50, Stephen Reid 42:08, Sandra Campbell 42:37, Robin McAuslan 43:13, Frank McMahon 43:14, Cheryl Thomas 43:25, Marianne McKay 43:42, Ashley Anderson 43:56, Donna Campbell 44:02, Callum Gorry 44:43, Jim Cuffe 44:54, Claire Monaghan 44:56, Colin Campbell 45:25, Jeremy Deveney 45:35, Viki Smith 47:32, Lisa Boonsanong 48:56, Boyd McKenzie 49:12, Debbie McKenzie 50:18, Eileen Stevenson 50:41, John Carruthers 53:28, Simon Hutton 54:50, Eddie Devine 61:20