It’s a New Year and for all those involved with Greenock Glenpark Harriers that means only one thing: time to run up a big steep hill! The people of Inverclyde will be heading into this New Year with a sense of cautious optimism that hopefully things can return to some form of normality. Sadly, given the current circumstances we find ourselves in as a community, this year’s Lyle Mile had to adapt. However, we can safely say that this year’s version of the challenge has proven to be an enormous success!
Instead of the New Year’s Day mass race, we adapted the rules and allowed people to have a go at the challenge over a three day period from 1st to 3rd January. The Lyle Mile route remained the same, but you could do it when you wanted, record your time and submit a result. Runners still started the challenge at the railway bridge at the bottom of Lyle Road, and followed the winding pavement all the way up to the beacon on top of the Lyle Hill. The course is exactly one mile long and takes on about 400ft of elevation! An absolute lung buster to blow away the cobwebs.
The Lyle Mile always has a charitable element to it. Each year, the £2 entry fee goes towards a local charity close to our hearts. This year, we chose to recognise the great work of Ardgowan Hopsice and the work they do in our community, especially in challenging times such as these. We opened up a justgiving fundraising page and asked that the £2 entry fee was donated there. We were absolutely taken aback by the level of generosity shown by the local community. At the time of writing we have raised £1600! We could not be more delighted. We have to give a huge thank you to everyone who donated and shared our story across social media. Special thanks to Greenock Telegraph for publicising and to CM Autos for their continued sponsorship.
We had just under 100 official entries to the virtual race itself. However, we know that there was even more people out there who ran the route or donated money. As always with this race, some of the times were incredible. Inverclyde AC’s John Bell smashed the race record with a time of 5.59, beating his own 6.26 set at the inaugural race in 2017. John is one of the top runners in Scotland, and we all hope to see him fulfilling his promise at some big races this year. John has ran the route quicker in training, which is quite hard to fathom! It was an IAC one two with Dylan Crawford taking second place in an amazing 6.18, which any other year would have been good enough for the win!
First Greenock Glenpark Harrier was Neil Lafferty in an amazing 6.22, setting a new GGH record for the race, beating Chris Mooney’s 6.36 from 2018. It is a shame that these runners were not able to go head to head this year, as a race always gets a few more seconds off the time. Andy McCall was second for GGH in 6.54, and Daniel Doherty just pipped Kevin Craig for fourth place in a real battle of the Port boys.
The Glenpark juniors always impress in this race, and this year saw Ava Beaton defend her GGH ladies crown in 8.04, finishing ahead of fellow junior GGH athlete Summer Taggart. It was dead heat in the GGH senior ladies category, with newbie Liza Brydon tying with Fiona MacFarlane on 9.30. Jude Dolan was once again the fastest GGH junior male, and he took 14 seconds off of his previous best at the same time. Ruari Trainer had a great run in 8.30, and Euan Johnson narrowly missed the 9 minute barrier!
There was an option to run the Lyle Mile elsewhere, as travel restrictions put pay to some people being able to attend in person. We were delighted to see that 2 Helensburgh AC athletes took on a one mile stretch of Ben Bowie that was similar elevation gain to the Lyle Mile itself. We had another runner from Helensburgh do it too, and one as far away as Ireland taking part and donating to the cause!
It was great to see a number of our Couch to Club Runner group take part. Margaret Bryce felt the benefit of a few practise runs at it, and there were great runs from Emma Sinclair, Lynne Fulton and especially Aidan Coyle. Let’s hope 2021 sees a return of this Tuesday training group, and we see more runners graduate and join in the main training sessions too.
The current lockdown has put pay to our usual training, January club race and cross country schedule. However, as soon as we are able to, we will be looking to get training sessions back up and running and the next club race organised. In the meantime, there will be some more Scottish Athletics virtual races to have a go at and the club’s 125th Anniversary Strava segments are still out there for you to have a go at!
We would like to say a big thank you to CM Autos for their continued sponsorship of this event, it is much appreciated especially in these times.
Results: John Bell 5.59, Dylan Crawford 6.18, Neil Lafferty 6.22, Andrew McCall 6.54, Daniel Doherty 7.04, Kev Craig 7.05, Jude Dolan 7.23, Stephen Hanley 7.32, Andrew Osborne 7.35, Oliver Reilly 7.43, Paul Beaton 7.57, Ava Beaton 8.04, Rhys Crawford 8.08, Robert Dolan 8.16, Ruari Trainer 8.30, Ian McKee 8.32, Graham McGrattan 8.36, Stuart Clark 8.37, Stephen Harrison 8.40, Graeme Boyce 8.42, James Doherty 8.46, Summer Taggart 8.56, Paul Monaghan 9.00, Euan Johnson 9.01, Greg Turner 9.06, Malcolm McLean 9.06, Eric Lindsay 9.09, Stuart Austin 9.09, Ross Slater 9.11, Ross Paul 9.12, Richard Newsome 9.22, David Holmes 9.28, Stephen Reid 9.29, Fiona MacFarlane 9.30, Liza Brydon 9.30, Mick Harrington 9.31, Erin McEleny 9.35, Sean Macfarlane 9.40, Sophie McGinty 9.40, Craig Canning 9.42, George McCallum 9.47, Rich Jow 9.58, Debbie McKenzie 10.03, Marianne McKay 10.06, Cheryl Thomas 10.08, Alex Paterson 10.17, Gary Keogh 10.19, Lesley Weber 10.23, Lynsey Mooney 10.26, Claire Monaghan 10.27, Lynne Harrison 10.29, Paul Murtagh 10.32, Heather Lafferty 10.33, Stuart Crawford 10.34, Lesley Weber 10.53, Aimee McEleny 10.58, Aidan Coyle 10.58, Robin McAuslan 11.09, Elaine Medinelli 11.12, Lynsey McLaughlin 11.12, Kirsten Arthur 11.23, Ian Hanley 11.26, Fiona Cushnaghan 11.48, Helen Crawford 11.48, Jennifer Boyd 11.48, Liz Ness 11.49, Simon Hutton 11.55, Lorna Coyle 12.01, Emma Sinclair, 12.02, Bethany Atkinson 12.18, Owen Atkinson 12.20, David Benstead 12.25, Islay Newsome 12.36, Sandra Devine 12.38, Beccy Gibson-Knowles 12.54, Matthew Ross 13.00, Angeline Austin 13.02, Kate Austin 13.02, Neve Austin 13.02, Jenni Murray 13.06, Grace Salton 13.06, Jen Turner 13.09, Charlotte McKay 13.10, Margaret Bryce 13.29, Angela Nelson 13.29, Orla Trainer 13.46, Andy McIntyre 13.54, Claire Melville 14.09, Lynne Fulton 14.09, Carol Thompson 14.25, Julie Morrison 14.58, Linsay Miller 15.00, Emma Benstead 16.16, Karen Jamieson 16.18. Helensburgh: Gordon Andrew 8.52, Gordon Turk 9.08, Emma Cummings 10.25