For the first time since March of this year, Greenock Glenpark Harriers were able to host one of their club championship races on its usual course. In the past few months, Scottish Athletics guidance has allowed us to hold two time trials, but these have been away from the public eye. The Wilson Trophy race is always held on the trails behind the Greenock Cut, and as always is a conceding handicap race which allowed us to spread the start times for the runners to keep group sizes down.
The runners are set off in reverse order, with fastest runners starting last. The winner of the handicap race is the first person back to the finish line. In between, the runners have to contest with an undulating 4.5 mile course across the tracks and trails behind Overton. For the second year in a row, the fastest time was good enough to win the overall race and the handicap trophy. Shaun Lyon was last out and first back, tearing the course to pieces in a great time of 26.47, the fastest time in at least five years.
For once, the weather was favourable. This is a race synonymous with poor weather conditions, and is often cancelled for snow or ice! However this year, there was no rain or wind to be found. The weeks leading up to the race have been wet, and the trails were very much chewed up making it quite heavy going underfoot. It is also typically the club’s poorest attended event, with the most runners in the last five events being just over 30. An amazing 56 runners toed the line for this year’s event, no doubt excited for the opportunity to race! The club have done wonders during lockdown to get regular training, and now some events, all carried out safely and in line with Scottish Athletics guidelines.
In the ladies race, the scratch winner was Sue Hewitson, defending her title from 2019. Sue is at home on the trails, and has spent most of lockdown training on the runners’ paradise around The Cut and Cornalees. Fiona MacFarlane had a fantastic run in second place (third handicap), and Marian Monk was not far behind in third spot overall. Sandra Devine was so close to winning the handicap race, only being caught by Shaun with 11 seconds to spare! It was a really good run from Sandra, and there were a lot of good performances from the newcomers on the ladies side. Olivia Devine, Jennifer Boyd and Emma Sinclair all ran well on their Wilson debut, but it was Lynsey McLaughlin who perhaps had the best of the bunch. The regular training has been paying off for this group in particular!
Andy McCall couldn’t quite defend his double win at this race from last year, but he was still second in the scratch race and took over two and a half minutes off of his time from last year. Debutant Kyle Wilson was set off with a group of the fastest runners in the club, but he didn’t let that affect him. He held off multiple club champion Stevie Campbell to claim third spot. Stevie did however claim first vet. There was some fine performances from the likes of Daniel Doherty, Kevin Craig and Michael McLoone.
Appropriate footwear is always an essential for this race, and a better choice of shoes allowed Oliver Reilly to take seven whole minutes off of his time from last year! One of the runs of the day came in the v60 category, with Graham McGrattan running a hair over 33 minutes for the course, over 3 minutes quicker than his last time on the course. Age is no barrier in the club, and it was fantastic to see Eddie Devine and Charlotte McKay competing and winning their respective age categories.
Gavin Morrison and Campbell Cromar made their Glenpark debuts having recently switched to the club, and both ran well and enjoyed the chance to compete against so many fellow club members. Everyone at the club was buoyed to see George McCallum competing in the race, and the sense of community spirit was high among all those running and volunteering. It was great to be back to racing as a club, and everyone hopes it is the start of things to come in the New Year.
A big thanks must go to the race sponsors, Wilson Buses. Also thanks to the volunteers who braved the cold on the day, and the day before to set the course up. A lot of work went in prior to the race to make sure it could be ran safely, and we are looking forward to our next opportunity to race in the new year.
Results: Shaun Lyon 26.47, Andrew McCall 27.59, Kyle Wilson 28.23, Steven Campbell 28.27, Daniel Doherty 28.41, Kevin Craig 28.46, Kevin O’Donoghue 28.51, Neil Lafferty 29.00 Michael McLoone Jnr 29.05, Andrew Osborne 29.52, Gavin Morrison 30.09, Oliver Reilly 30.45, Chris Jones 31.03, Robert Dolan 32.23, Gordon Hepburn 32.23, Stephen Hanley 32.51, David Roberts 32.59, Graham McGrattan 33.03, Owen Atkinson 33.14, Sue Hewitson 34.24 Eric Lindsay 34.35, Alan O’Rourke 35.59, Stuart Austin 37.11, Stephen Reid 37.27, Fiona McFarlane 37.28, Campbell Cromar 37.4, Callum Gorry 37.42, Danny McLaughlin 38.11, Frank McMahon 38.22, Craig Canning 38.34, Marian Monk 38.41, Mick Harrington 39.08, Stuart David Crawford 40.32, Debbie McKenzie 41.04, Kenneth Scott 41.24, Marianne McKay 41.31, Matthew Young 41.38, George McCallum 41.4, Lisa Boonsanong 41.44, Cheryl Thomas 41.51, Claire Monaghan 42.05, Heather Lafferty 42.22, Aidan Coyle 42.23, Alex Paterson 42.39, Liz Ness 43.55, Lynsey McLaughlin 44.23, Olivia Devine 44.54, Fiona Cushnaghan 46.04, Jennifer Boyd 46.33, Elaine Medinelli 46.59, Sandra Devine 47.58, Helen Crawford 48.44, Angela Nelson 49.14, Emma Sinclair 50, Charlotte McKay 61.46, Eddie Devine 64.35