Greenock Glenpark Harriers were able to host their first senior prize giving in over two years on Saturday night. However, before all of the celebrations could get into full swing, there was the small matter of a cold, wet and windy race around the Greenock Cut. The Willow Bowl is one of the best races on our club’s race calendar, and is always a stern test to our hardy Harriers and guests.
The race is a conceding handicap starting from the Long Dam near Overton, and running up and over the stony road into Cornalees before returning to Overton via The Cut itself. The race was last held in May, where runners faced an awkward easterly wind, but it was back to the prevailing westerly on Saturday. The hill and run into Cornalees was brutal, but once onto the cut the runners could get into a stride and let the breeze carry them home!
Club coach Alan O’Rourke is deep into marathon training and set off with Ian McKee on the same handicap. The two had quite the tussle as they charged their way around the course. Alan eventually saw Ian off and took home the Willow Bowl handicap trophy. Ian’s consolation was the Tommy Knight Trophy for first vet across the line. A strong run from William Taylor saw him round out the podium spots, just ahead of Natalie Smith who also ran superbly. Eric Lindsay was in fifth spot ahead of him picking up a meritorious award at the prize giving later that night, a well-deserved accolade.
The scratch races are always a bit trickier to calculate, with the conceding handicap format. Michael McLoone ran so well, flying up the hill at the start and keeping the pace to pass all but the top 5 in the handicap along the cut. But when all the times came through, it was a second club race victory for Paul Monaghan! A strong run from Paul, who’s been leading the club in recent weeks. Andy McCall rounded off the gent’s podium with a strong run, closely followed by Oliver Reilly and Wil Scott. Wil has been training with the club in the last few weeks while berthed on the Clyde, and looks to be a talented young runner! Stephen Hanley and Owen Atkinson had another good battle for 6th and 7th, and there was another string run from relative newcomer Colin McKnight.
The ladies race was contested between Marian Monk and Shona Doherty who started together. Shona had briefly joined the club last season and claimed victory in the mile race, but was running as a guest at the Willow Bowl, and was first lady back once again. Marian claimed all the championship points though as she cements her place at the top of the standings with another great run. Another guest, Eleanor Connelly rounded out the top 3. Viki Smith was to be the recipient of two meritorious awards at the prize giving, and the long distance specialist did well over the shorter route to finish 4th lady and second harrier. There were also great runs from Debbie McKenzie on her return from injury and from Charlotte McKay tackling the race for the first time.
It was good to see six guest runners tackling the course on the day. It was especially good to see Donald Shaw return to the club for the race for the first time in over 30 years. He has won the race in the past, and our club championship! Another former champion in Dick Hodelet sponsored the race, so a massive thanks to Dick for his generosity. Also thanks to all of our volunteers braving the conditions, and to Danny McLaughlin for warming them up with some soup after the race! The next club race is 9th April, Docherty Cup 10 mile road race in Gourock. All eyes now on the National XC in 10 days time.
Results: Paul Monaghan 48.09, Michael Joseph McLoone 48.37, Andrew McCall 48.49, Oliver Reilly 49.57, Wil Scott 51.46 (guest), Stephen Hanley 51.53, Owen Atkinson 52.27, Michael McLoone 53.34, Steven Campbell 54.09, Eric Lindsay 55.26, William Taylor 56.23, Donald Shaw 56.43 (guest), Dean Elliott 58.23 (guest), Colin McKnight 58.28, Alan O’Rourke 58.41, Ian McKee 58.48, John Stevenson 58.54, Graham McGrattan 59, Campbell Cromar 59.34, Shona Doherty 59.52 (guest), Callum Gorry 62.23, Marian Monk 62.44, Ross Slater 64.18, Eleanor Connelly 64.26 (guest), Viki Smith 65.12, Stephen Reid 66.17, Michael Connelly 66.17 (guest), Terri Wall 68.34, Lynsey Mooney 70.33, Debbie McKenzie 73.05, Nathalie Smith 74.04, Yvonne Prager 75.18, Elaine Medinelli 79.48, Kenneth Scott 83.53, Charlotte McKay 91.26