The first club championship race of 2020 was held at the Coves Reservoirs in Greenock on the first Saturday of the year. Seniors and Juniors tackled the tricky undulating trails in good numbers. This race is typically met with freezing temperatures, but this year was a bit milder for the runners albeit with a strong southerly wind to add to the difficulty.
The senior race takes on 4 full laps of the reservoir, with each lap measuring around 1.35 miles (2.2km). The senior men and women tackle the same route with all runners starting at the same time. Shaun Lyon made his full return to club racing, and the 2017 club champion took an early lead. Steven Campbell kept pace with Shaun in the early stages, but Shaun charged ahead an held on for the victory. Andrew White made a steady start to the race, and took his time picking his way through the field in what was a well timed run, eventually leading to a third place finish and narrowly missing out on catching Steven by just 12 seconds.
Daniel Doherty held off the challenge of Neil Lafferty to finish in fourth, and our previous race winner Andrew McCall faded to 6th after a fast start. Elsewhere in the mens race, there were good runs from Owen Atkinson, taking a minute off of his time from last year, and from James Doherty who has recently joined his brother Daniel in the club.
Sue Hewitson was in imperious form in the ladies race. Sue powered round the course in under 40 minutes to take her third straight club race win and cement herself firmly at the top of the lady’s club championship table. Sandra Campbell held off the challenge of Donna Campbell to claim second place. Nicola Stevenson survived a scare as she fell en route to a solid run in fourth place. Marian Monk was not far behind Nicola as she looks to be recapturing some of the form that saw her win so many races in recent years.
The handicap race is always interesting at this race. The runners all start a the same time and it comes down to the maths after the race when the handicaps are subtracted to reveal the winner. This time it was the turn of popular runner Stuart Austin to take the glory. Stuart has been back in the club racing frame this yea, and his recent hard work paid off with a 30 second PB on a day where there were not many PBs to be had. Stuart just edged out Viki Smith who also had an incredible run. Viki managed to finally get her sub 50 minute 10k target over the Christmas period at Beith, and her sub 45 minute time for this race shows that her times elsewhere should continue to tumble. Stephen Reid ran really well to claim third place.
There was a good turnout from the juniors as well. Starting at the same time as the seniors, but doing less laps (lucky them!). Leo Beaton and Aimee McEleny won the under 11 races, while Aimee’s sister Erin claimed the under 13 race with David Docherty winning for the boys. The family affair continued with Ava Beaton winning the under 15 race. The under 17s race was won by Shaun Wiseman, as he continues to smash it this season. Abbie Tosh won ahead of Anna Docherty in the girls under 17 race, and well done to the 7 under 15s and 17s who took on 2 full tough laps of the course.
As always, a big thanks to all of our volunteers for their efforts and keeping us safe around the course. Also to our club members who helped out with a morning litter pick at the Coves prior to the race, and thanks to the Friends of Coves Community Nature Reserve who are making a great job of keeping the area clean and safe. Finally a big thank you to our race sponsor WB Smith Trees and Turf.
Results: Shaun Lyon 32:11, Steven Campbell 33:19, Andrew White 33:31, Daniel Doherty 33:53, Neil Lafferty 34:01, Andy McCall 34:20, Andrew Osborne 35:44, Kevin Craig 36:08, Owen Atkinson 36:31, Robert Dolan 36:55, Stephen Hanley 37:19, John Stevenson 37:53, George McCallum 38:48, Sue Hewitson 39:42, Danny McLaughlin 40:39, Chris Watson 40:45, Stuart Austin 41:10, Stephen Reid 41:22, Graham McGrattan 41:33, Alan O’Rourke 43:01, Sandra Campbell 43:07, Donna Campbell 43:19, Liam McFadden 43:58, Nicola Stevenson 44:01, James Doherty 44:04, Marian Monk 44:28, Callum Gorry 44:39, Frank McMahon 44:46, Viki Smith 44:53, Robin McAuslan 45:07, Rich Jow 45:13, Lucas Bezian 45:30, Cheryl Thomas 46:00, Marianne McKay 46:28, Colin Campbell 46:57, Debbie McKenzie 48:51, Stuart D Crawford 49:29, Fiona Cushnaghan 52:27, Helen Crawford 55:03, Angela Nelson 55:08, Susan Clark 57:10, Liz McAuslan 57:10, Charlotte McKay 35:04 (2 laps)