The annual Dunoon Ultra Marathon is now in it’s fourth year and is proving ever popular with harriers looking for a local ultra. Many from the club have used this as their first ultra marathon experience, and although it is nice and handy, it is far from an easy route to tackle. The 55km run navigates over 4,000ft of climbing and some real technical sections to keep even the most experienced ultra runner honest.
Paul Monaghan had taken on his first ultra earlier in the year and had finished first in doing so, so his second attempt had a lot to live up to. Paul ran very strong, and stormed to the top of the leaderboard for Greenock Glenpark Harriers on this course with his time of 4.10. It was good for second place on the day, even with a slight detour at the end! In fact, Paul’s time has only ever been beaten twice, so he sits at 3rd all time for this race. Great running Paul.
Second home for the club was the returning Kevin O’Donoghue. It was Kevin’s first big race in a couple of years, and his ultra running experience was certainly tested on the day. Kevin stormed to 4th place overall with a superb time of 4.26. The long runs up the cut and around the hills of Greenock over the last few months certainly paid off for Kevin and it is great to see him back!
John Stevenson was next home in 5.12. John hammered the first section of the run, but managed to hold on for a superb time. Stephen Reid narrowly missed out on breaking 6 hours by just 2 minutes. Stephen’s training was interrupted by many an injury, so it was a superb effort by him on the day! Marianne McKay was first female harrier home in 6.40. A great run from Marianne who has been testing herself over all sorts of crazy races this year!
Eileen Stevenson was fresh off of her half marathon PB at Glasgow and completed the course in 7.15. Terri Wall returned to the race once again and finished alongside Eileen, and swore never again… but she said that last year! Graeme Crawford narrowly missed breaking the 8 hour mark, but was cheered on throughout and especially at the finish by his ever present support team! The distance is not to be sniffed at, and sadly Ian Hanley found this out to his peril as he called it a day at the last checkpoint, but that is still a 24 mile run with 2,500ft of climbing just to that point!
The Ultra relay offers an alternative to the full gruelling distance. Splitting the run into 3 segments, teams can tackle the course and still make a day of it. The first leg runs from Benmore to Glenbranter, tackling Pucks Glen, 13.5 miles and 2000+ft of climbing. The second leg is much flatter, and tackles the 10 mile lochside run from Glenbranter back to Benmore. The final leg take runners up into the hills behind Dunoon, with 1500+ft of climb in the 10 mile stretch, before returning to the towns shore to finish.
Through Glenbranter, it was Lorna Coyle’s team that held the lead after her friend Alan Callan had stormed the first leg. Stephen Hanley had his team round in about 5th place after his first leg. Lorna’s husband Bruce took over from Alan and just held onto the lead over Stuart Austin who took over from Stephen. George McCallum was given the task of hunting down Lorna in the last leg, as well as a couple of other relay runners ahead. George stormed the last leg and held off the chasing pack to bring overall victory to their team! The trio had all ran the full distance last year, and showed they are no mugs this year by taking the relay victory!
Nathalie and Steven Smith welcomed Nicola Stevenson to their team. The team ran well and Nicola stormed the last leg much to the team’s delight. Wenda Crawford had to make some last minute signings in order to get their team together on the day due to a few late injury call offs, and the stand ins ran well as Lisa Boonsanong and Helen Ridley got round before Wenda ran the last leg.
As always there was a great contingent of supporters over on the day offering help and encouragement. It proves to be a good day out for the club members, and the date is set on the first weekend in October next year once again. Thanks also to ‘Captured by GG’ and Ali McCrossan on Facebook for the photos.
55k Ultra: Paul Monaghan 4.10.14, Kevin O’Donoghue 4.26.31, John Stevenson 5.12.04, Stephen Reid 6.02.44, Marianne McKay 6.40.13, Eileen Stevenson 7.15.55, Terri Wall 7.15.55, Scot Hill 7.41.30, Graeme Crawford 8.01.33
Stephen Hanley, Stuart Austin, George McCallum – 4.41.47
Alan Callan, Bruce Coyle, Lorna Coyle – 4.47.17
Steven Smith, Nathalie Smith, Nicola Stevenson – 5.42.29
Lisa Boonsanong, Helen Ridley, Wenda Crawford – 6.06.41