Virtual Half Marathon 2021

Greenock Glenpark Harriers staged a virtual half marathon on the first weekend in May which was open to all runners in the area and beyond. This was to provide our members and others with a training target to get them all through the latter stages of the Spring lockdown. With the incentive of a unique GGH T shirt on offer, the uptake and turnout was fantastic. Over 100 people took part, with some fantastic results throughout.

The rules were that you could run the full half marathon distance anywhere you like, as long as you cover the 13.11 miles or 21.1 kilometres. Some people chose this as a perfect opportunity to attack their Personal Best (PB), some to tackle the distance for the first time, and some to try and run it on as inventive a course as possible (more on that later…)

The running took place from Friday 30th April to Monday 3rd May, with 102 final results tallied. The fastest time posted was from our very own Paul Monaghan, who ran a superb solo 76.20 on the Cloch Road on the Saturday, also the fastest time by a v40. Paul is a great team player, and has done brilliant work coaching our junior athletes in recent years. it was no surprise to see him not stop there after his incredible run, he was straight to the track at Ravenscraig to help pace the latter stages of Oliver Reilly’s attempt on the track. A half marathon on the track is just under 53 laps! Oliver, who has been on of the stars of the virtual racing over the last year had a bold target of getting under 80 minutes for the first time, which he did in 78.43. A great run, spurred on by a great set of pacemakers and good for second fastest overall. The third fastest time was posted over on Bute by Wes Pattison in 80.08.

Paul Monaghan wasn’t done there though, he turned up the next morning on The Esplanade to help pace another two of our runners. Chris Mooney and Stephen Hanley were setting out to break 85 minutes, and Paul took the lead and paced it perfectly the whole route. Chris pushed on for the last 5k and ran 83.18, which is great to see the former club champion starting to put good times back together. Stephen ran 84.35 which was a very hard earned 3 minute PB with Paul shouting encouragement in the closing stages!

Paul pacing Chris and Stephen

The fastest female times were excellent. Fiona Macfarlane has trained so hard throughout lockdown for a marathon that has sadly still not happened. Fiona didn’t want the training to go to waste, and went out and absolutely smashed her PB in a time of 1.42.03, which is 4 minutes off of her previous time and also the best time for v35. Fiona was paced round with a strong team of Harriers in another great show of club team work. Liza Brydon was second fastest female and fastest v45 in 1.44.20. Liza’s run was completely solo and took her out and back on the Cloch Road too. On a similar route was the third placed female, Katy Croucher, who also ran solo. Katy was raising money for the British Heart Foundation, and ran a great time of 1.46.08. Katy is not currently a member of the club, but shows great promise as a runner with a time like that!

Fiona with her pacing team of Stuart, Ross and James (and supporter!)

In the other age categories not mentioned, the first v50 male was Gavin Morrison who was actually running his first ever half marathon! Gavin ran a great time of 87.10, although has said that once was enough… we’ll see! Danny McLaughlin was the first v60 in 98.09, with Graham McGrattan not far behind. Robert Dolan Snr walked the full distance in just over 4 hours to be the first v70. On the female side, Terri Wall, who likes the longer races, was first v55 in 1.53.02. Saving the best until last, we had Charlotte McKay in the v65 age group who ran just over 3 hours assisted by daughter Marianne McKay. Great running Charlotte!

Various runners including Charlotte and Liza

On to some of the more adventurous routes. For some, flat out and back racing is the worst thing imaginable. They’d rather take to the hills! Sue Hewitson and Marian Monk ran a great loop around the trails of the Greenock Cut. Eileen Stevenson, Nathalie Smith and Steven Smith ran along the old Kelly Cut loop around Inverkip and Wemyss Bay. Kirsty Ormond took a few friends on a 13 mile adventure down the old Largs road, starting from Greenock end. Not a bad place to finish for a nice ice cream!

However, the pick of the bunch has to go to Mick McLoone and Andy McCall. If you have ever driven past the old IBM site and seen a very steep trail heading up from the railway line to the Greenock Cut and wondered, why is that there? Well it is there for crazy people to run up it. One ascent of that hill is approximately 350-400ft. So if you run up and down that to get the half marathon distance you get an elevation gain of somewhere between 4500 and 5000ft! That’s what these two guys did. Whichever altimeter was more accurate doesn’t matter, its still higher than Ben Nevis! They completed the distance in around 2 hours 30 mins. They are still smiling in the photo below, but they legs would have felt that for days!

A couple of madmen in Mick and Andy

One of the most encouraging runs we saw over that weekend was rom Aidan Coyle. Having joined the club through our Couch to Club Runner programme in 2020, Aidan has gone from strength to strength. The aim of the course was to get people into running who had never ran before, or thought they were ‘too slow’ for a running club. After months on the programme, some runner like Aidan joined the club and started taking part in big training sessions and club races. In the lead up to the virtual half, Aidan reached out to the Harriers online community asking for a training plan to break his PB. Up stepped Kevin O’Donoghue who gave him a 10 week plan to smash that PB. Kevin went the extra mile and ran with Aidan on the day, and Aidan ran 1.53.05, a 6 minute improvement! This is exactly the sort of story we love to see at Greenock Glenpark Harriers.

A massive thank you has to go to our men’s captain John Stevenson who organised the whole event, and generously donated the T shirts to the club members who completed the run. We are also indebted to Alyson Fielding from Active Physiotherapy Clinic for her generous race sponsorship. Alyson helped a number of our runners prepare (and recover!), and if you are interested in her help then please get in touch.

Category Results:
Overall Male: 1. Paul Monaghan 2. Oliver Reilly 3. Wes Pattison
Overall Female: 1. Fiona MacFarlane 2. Liza Brydon 3. Katy Croucher

Male Vets:
v40 Paul Monaghan
v50 Gavin Morrison
v60 Danny McLaughlin
v70 Robert Dolan Snr

Female Vets:
v35 Fiona MacFarlane
v45 Liza Brydon
v55 Terri Wall
v65  Charlotte McKay

Full Results: Paul Monaghan 1:16:20, Oliver Reilly 1:18:43, Wes Pattison 1:20:08, Andrew Osborne 1:20:57, Daniel Doherty 1:22:19, Chris Mooney 1:23:18, Stephen Hanley 1:24:35, Robert Dolan 1:26:48, Sean Marshall 1:26:57, Gavin Morrison 1:27:10, Gordy Hepburn 1:28:32, Paul McAulay 1:29:03, Kevin Brown 1:29:10, John Stevenson 1:29:35, David Roberts 1:29:38, James McFadden 1:33:39, Ross Paul 1:34:03, Craig Hyslop 1:34:26, Stuart Austin 1:34:58, Alan Poole 1:35:32, Owen Atkinson 1:35:39, Eric Lindsay 1:36:16, Danny McLaughlin 1:38:09, Steven Campbell 1:38:20, David Holmes 1:38:44, James Doherty 1:38:57, Stewart Ballantyne 1:40:57, Fiona MacFarlane 1:42:03, Ross Slater 1:42:04, Greig Turner 1:42:14, Kev CRAIG 1:42:16, Graham McGrattan 1:43:55, Chris Watson 1:43:56, Liza Brydon 1:44:20, Alan O’Rourke 1:44:48, Malcolm MacLean 1:45:17, Sam McVicar 1:46:00, Katy Croucher 1:46:08, Scot Hill 1:46:44, Debbie McKenzie 1:47:43, Steven Morris 1:48:15, Gary Keogh 1:48:36, Robert Adams 1:50:10, Ross Neilson 1:50:48, Stuart D Crawford 1:51:10, Stephen Reid 1:52:22, Terri Wall 1:53:02, Aidan Coyle 1:53:05, Kevin O’Donoghue 1:53:15, Sean Macfarlane 1:55:03, Oliver Bertinetti 1:55:29, Heather Lafferty 1:56:20, Cheryl Thomas 1:57:20, Lucia Giuntoli 1:58:35, Olivia Devine 1:58:54, Richard Jow 1:59:08, Lynsey Mooney 1:59:54, Liam McFadden 1:59:55, Lynsey McLaughlin 2:00:47, Lucas Bezian 2:03:39, Alex Paterson 2:04:00, Robin McAuslan 2:05:42, Susan Slater 2:06:36, Julie Smith 2:09:00, Donna Campbell 2:09:52, Michelle Morgan 2:11:06, Lisa Boonsanong 2:13:25, Jim Brannigan 2:14:13, Audrey Thompson 2:15:27, Johnny Thompson 2:15:27, Emma Sinclair 2:15:33, Liz Ness 2:15:46, Kirsty Ormond 2:16:00, Jane Dolan 2:16:41, Marian Monk 2:16:49, Yvonne Prager 2:17:49, David Carruthers 2:18:22, Sue Hewitson 2:21:06, Viki Smith 2:22:05 Elaine Medinelli 2:23:07, Sandra Devine 2:23:07, Jennifer Turner 2:24:11, Fiona Cushnaghan 2:24:13, Kirstin Arthur 2:24:13, Marianne Mckay 2:24:17, Graeme Crawford 2:24:19, Callum Gorry 2:24:53, Simon Hutton 2:25:00, Susie Gillies 2:25:00, Nathalie Smith 2:29:27, Steven Smith 2:29:27, Andrew McCall 2:30:59, Michael McLoone 2:30:59, Eileen Stevenson 2:32:34, Wenda Crawford 2:33:52, Andy McIntyre 2:34:04, Helen Crawford 2:53:23, Charlotte McKay 3:00:09, Robert Mitchell 4:01:00, Robert Dolan Snr 4:01:14

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