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Race Review 11-12th September

It’s been a busy couple of days for Greenock Glenpark Harriers, as the return of open events has ramped up in recent weeks culminating in one very busy weekend! We’ve not done one of these round up reports since pre Covid, so its good to have plenty of reasons to publish one now.

Kilmacolm Running Festival

It was great to see the return of the Inverclyde Leisure running festival on Sunday, with junior 3km and senior 10km and half marathon races taking place. The routes all encompass the Kilmacolm to Bridge of Weir cycle path, providing a great running surface with some slight undulation (mostly on the second half of the longer races!)

The half marathon was lead by PB man Oliver Reilly, who added another personal best to his recent haul. Oliver broke the 78 minute barrier with a great run of 1.17.51 for 6th place overall. Robert Dolan and John Stevenson ran well, with both in the midst of marathon and ultra marathon training, with Robert clocking 1.23.28 and John 1.29.59 (which shows that every second counts!). Eric Lindsay mashed his PB by finishing in 1.32.03 and Ross Morrison was just behind him with a time of 1.33.31, a brilliant debut half for Ross. Craig Hyslop was not far behind Ross, and Lynsey McLaughlin ran a superb 1.54.57 as the only female harrier to tackle the half. Shout out to Inverclyde AC’s John Bell who took the win, and he looks in great shape for his marathon next month.

Robert checking out the competition and Oliver loosening those hips!

The 10km saw a great number of female harriers taking part, with Donna Campbell coming home first in 46.18 followed by Marianne McKay in 49.43. Julie Smith, Eileen Stevenson, Emma Sinclair, Jennifer Turner and Charlotte McKay also ran well. Shaun Wiseman and Daniel Doherty finished first in their age category, with Shaun running 38.07 and Daniel just behind in 38.26 and both placing in the top 10 overall. New members William Taylor and Euan Morrison ran well too, and it was great to see Jim Brannigan running so well with a great time of 52.24.

The junior 3km saw three of our juniors take part, with Erin and Aimee McEleny running 13.55 and 14.21 respectively. Summer Taggart was the fastest of our junior in a time of 12.38.

10km GGH Squad

City of Stirling 10km – Scottish Championships

The Scottish 10km championships took place in Stirling on Sunday, and the fast course and stacked field lead to some very impressive times. Three Harriers made the trip to Stirling, and two of them recorded very impressive PBs. Paul Monaghan, off the back of his recent club race victory in Dunoon, went one step further by becoming the Scottish v50 10km champion in a great time of 34.04 and 30 seconds ahead of his closest challenger.

Another recent club race winner, Neil Lafferty, had the fastest time on the day with a 33.13 PB for 4th v40. Chris Mooney made up the speedy trio in 34.29 to squeeze into the top 50, and taking 40 seconds off his time at our club 10km a few weeks ago. This event is one for the calendar next year for sure, with all runners waxing lyrical about the fast conditions.

Our 3 in action at Stirling

Conic Canter Ultra Marathon

A new 38 mile Ultra Marathon set up by the organisers of the West Highland Way race was held for the first time last Saturday, with our very own Ultra daft Kevin Craig taking part. The run starts at the start of the WHW in Milngavie and follows the route right to Balmaha, taking in the iconic Conic Hill, before looping back to Milngavie.

Kevin lead the race for long periods en route to Balmaha but was eventually pipped by Robert Turner of Musselburgh. An amazing run from Kevin to complete the course in just under 5 hours 10 minutes for second place!

Kevin with his prize for second

Skye Half Marathon

A trio of Glenpark ladies headed to the picturesque Skye for the annual Skye half marathon. Starting and finishing in Portree, the route takes runners north west in a big loop through the picturesque countryside and rolling hills of one of Scotland’s nicest places.

Lisa Boonsanong (1.55.56), Sharon Black (2.12.50) and Wenda Crawford (2.30.48) all took part and looked like they had a blast!

3 GGH Ladies in Skye

Even further afield was Scot Hill running in the Torbay 10km (which is all the way down in Devon!), Scot finishing in 33rd place in 47.33.

It is great to see so many events returning. Greenock parkrun has been back for a month now, and some of our members have been absolutely smashing their PBs at it which is great to see. This weekend we have our first race of the 2021/22 season, and there is still plenty of time to register to run. The JG Cameron is at 2pm on Saturday at the yellow pole on the Esplanade for the fast 4km race. We will have junior races from 1.10pm too, and we are delighted that these are returning to the calender.

It is also time to start thinking about the cross country season. Entries close for the West District XC Relays on 23rd September, so get your name in soon to either captain. We are looking for a new men’s captain to take up the mantle from John Stevenson, who has done a superb job. This will also be Elaine Medinelli’s first outing as Lady Captain, so hopefully we see a great turnout from the ladies to support her!

Champions Crowned at Glenpark

It has been a busy few weeks for Greenock Glenpark Harriers as we brought our elongated championship season to a close. We started this season’s senior championship in September 2019, and who would have known then what lay in store? We managed 5 races before the March 2020 lockdown, another 3 in the Autumn/Winter months of 2020 and finished it all off with an amazing 8 races since May 2021!

The backlog of races and work going on behind the scenes has meant that some races went ahead without big race reports afterwards, an unfortunate side effect of how busy things were. Back in June, we held the Chisholm Mile at Ravenscraig Track, the one mile race which usually takes place on the Esplanade. This was followed by the windfarm race in mid July (which we did report on) and the club hill race at the end of July. We managed to make our annual trip to Dunoon for the Willie Jukes race on 14th August and last week we held our season finale, the Bill Elder 10k in Greenock.

Runners at the start of the Bill Elder 10k

The mile race saw Shaun Lyon secure a victory in an impressive 4.41 and new member Shona Docherty pipped Marian Monk on the line for the ladies win in 6.02. The mile proved to be tougher shift round the Ravenscraig track, but an incredible 76 harriers took part on the night. Hopefully we’ll be back to a wind assisted Esplanade next year.

The hill race saw a recent record of 27 runners take part on a warm Wednesday evening in July. That might not sound a lot, but it is hard to convince too many runners that 2.5 miles of solid climbing is worthwhile! This was the most runners we have had at this race since 2013, on top of an army of volunteers to keep them right. The race starts in Pennyfern, and runs all the way up to Hillside Hill behind Cornalees, and back down to the start. Andy McCall proved once again that this is his terrain, and he took the win in 34.09, just under a minute ahead of Kevin Craig. Sue Hewitson is also adept at this style of running, and she secured her 11th win of the season! Sue finished the season with 12 wins, with no female runner managing to defeat her in any of the races she ran. This was more than enough to secure Sue her first Greenock Glenpark Harriers Woman’s Championship victory.

Sue Hewitson en route to her victory at the Bill Elder

The Harriers always travel to Dunoon in May for our memorial race for Willie Jukes, a 5 mile race along the waterfront between Dunoon and Inellan. This was cancelled due to the pandemic in 2020, but we were delighted to get it scheduled for 2021 in August. Marian Monk secured her first race win of the elongated season, and it is great to see her hard work paying off (more on that later!). In the men’s race, it was a first club race victory for Paul Monaghan. It was almost hard to believe that Paul had not won a race, as he has been a near ever present for the last 8 years. Paul puts in big big miles, and everyone in the club was delighted to see him win his first race in a great time of 27.57 for the 5 mile race. This race also has a handicap element, and new member Campbell Cromar won this very comfortably with a great run, another member who has been training hard!

Marian Monk working hard at the Bill Elder

Going into the final race of the season, a number of our club championships had been decided. We were able to host 16 races between September 2019 and August 2021. Sue had won the female overall and female v35 championships . Marian Monk won the female v45, Fiona Cushnaghan won the female v55 and Charlotte McKay won the female v65. On the men’s vets side, Stevie Campbell had secured the v40, Danny McLaughlin the v60 and Frank McMahon the v70. The overall senior champion, the handicap champion and mens v50 were still up for grabs.

Callum Gorry and Fiona Cushnaghan

The Bill Elder 10k runs from the middle of the Battery Park and follows the coast along the Esplanade and eventually to The Custom House, where we turn back and return to the start. A slight detour this year was required to avoid the building site at the Cinema, but thanks to a bit of pre race study, the distance was spot on 10km once again (even if runners used that new cycle path for the racing line!). The race once again saw a brand new winner, with Neil Lafferty taking the crown in an impressive 34.08. Neil ran hard from the gun, covering the first 5k in comfortably under 17 minutes, building a lead on the chasing pack that would not be closed in the second half of the race. Paul Monagahan was the closest chaser in 34.53 and Oliver Reilly just behind in 35 minutes dead. That was a PB for Oliver who had ran 35.12 the Sunday before in Kilmarnock. For Paul it secured his v50 title in his first year in that age category.

Paul Monaghan, mens v50 champion

The ladies race was won by Sue Hewitson, her twelfth victory of the year and cementing her status as the female champion. Sue ran 40.51 to take the win ahead of Marian Monk who ran a superb PB of 43.13. That PB was rewarded with a top 10 place in the handicap race, and 33 points was enough to secure the victory for the overall handicap champion ahead of Eric Lindsay and James McFadden. Eric and James have raced well all year, and any of the three would have been worthy winners, but Marian took the crown and thoroughly deserved it after putting in a ton of work this season.

Neil Lafferty claiming his first race win

The handicap race went down to the wire, and it was great to see young Callum Gorry take the win just ahead of not so young Eddie Devine. Charlotte McKay was right with Eddie at the finish line too, and ran a great time of just under 70 minutes. There were other PBs dotted around the field, Malcolm McLean was rewarded for his hard training with a PB of 41.34 (which was followed by another at parkrun on Saturday). At the top end of the race, former champion Chris Mooney seems to be coming back into form with his run of 35.10, and new member Stuart Greenway was just behind him in 35.16. Stuart has PBs that most can only dream of, so it will be good to see him run in the famous Glenpark colours next season!

2019-21 GGH Senior Champion, Stevie Campbell

None of these races could go ahead without the help of an army of volunteers, so a big thank you to anyone who has volunteered for these races in recent month. Holding this all together has been John Stevenson, who has went above and beyond the call of duty as men’s captain to get these organised. John is sadly stepping down, and we are hopeful we can find someone even half as good as him to fill his boots!

We have to thank all of our race sponsors over the course of the year, and in particular the sponsors for the 5 races mentioned in this report:
Chisholm Mile –
Harris –
Cornalees Cup – Lock and Sole (key cutting and engraving, Oak Mall)
Willie Jukes – Travis Perkins
Bill Elder – WB Smith Trees and Turf

All race results and championship tables can be downloaded here:
https://greenockglenparkharriers.com/racechampionshiptables/

James Wilson Memorial 10,000m Race – Sunday, 8th August 2021

On Sunday, 8th August, Greenock Glenpark Harriers hosted the first ever James Wilson Memorial 10,000m track race at Inverclyde’s Ravenscraig Stadium. 

19 harriers lined up at the start to take part in a gruelling 25 laps of the Ravenscraig Track. Shaun Lyon continued his excellent run of form to record a fantastic time going under 33 minutes to win the mens’ race. Meanwhile, Sue Hewitson also proved that regular track workouts were paying dividends – going under 42 minutes and taking the ladies crown. 

Shaun Lyon

The race – delayed from last year – was organised to mark the centenary of Glenpak Harrier James Wilson’s participation in the 1920 Olympics Games held in Antwerp Belgium. James earned an individual bronze medal in the track 10,000m race as well as team silver for Great Britain in the cross country event.  

Sue Hewitson

Other 10,000m heats took place on the day as Greenock Glenpark Harriers were host club for the Scottish Athletics 10,000m masters races. Many of the fastest over 40 runners from across Scotland took part.  

The Harriers would like to thank all volunteers, track officials and Inverclyde Leisure staff who supported the event on the day. In addition the following local businesses who contributed to the event: DJ John Curruthers; photographers Peter Wilson & Ken McArthur; as well as Morrisons Greenock who supplied the bottled water.

Robin and Gordy for GGH

Results:
32:45.63 Shaun Lyon, 34:50.92 Paul Monaghan, 36:05.24 Neil Lafferty, 36:44.64 Oliver Reilly, 37:09.74 Andrew McCall, 37:14.81 Christopher Mooney, 37:29.15 Kevin Craig, 40:06.10 Gordon Hepburn, 41:36.73 Paul McAulay, 41:47.86 Sue Hewitson, 44:08.40 Graeme Boyce, 44:20.58 Campbell Cromar, 44:31.81 Marian Monk, 44:41.37 Micky Dunn, 47:57.20 Stephen Reid , 50:09.05 Debbie Mckenzie, 54:00.87 Lynsey Mooney
Selected Others: 35:18.57 Graeme Hyett Inverclyde Athletic Club, 40:11.12 Thomas Jamieson Inverclyde Athletic Club

Three Golds for Glenpark

Scottish Triathlon Association’s National Aquathlon Championships Race Report

At the Scottish Triathlon Association’s National Aquathlon Championships at Irvine on Sunday the 1st of August, Glenpark had a medal haul of three golds.

After an initial recci the week before when Danny McLaughlin, Marian Monk and recent new member Campbell Cromar went down to familiarise themselves with the course, they did a 5k warm up and swam twice the distance by mistake (Danny insisted it was two laps and not one but the Garmin doesn’t lie). When it became apparent that the swim distance was wrong Danny swam the 2nd lap calling himself an idiot, whilst Campbell, who was quite a bit ahead got out early and continued into the run. Meanwhile Marian, being the ever considerate one, waited for Danny. The real reason was to call him the numpty he already knew he was! The terrific trio continued into the run and suffered quite badly in the sweltering heat. So ended the confidence boosting course recci. On the bright side, they now knew what to do come race day!

Campbell during the run

Marian and Danny also ran hard mid-week in the Glenpark Harriers Hill Race. Campbell decided not to run the Hill Race, saving himself confessing he felt guilty to begin with, but the more he watched the race the less guilty he felt!

On race day it was a lot cooler and confidence was high. Campbell, who had no previous experience of multi-sport competitions, but a lot of experience with open water swimming, decided to swim in skins. That way he figured he wouldn’t need to get tangled up in his wetsuit at the transition. He persuaded Marian to do the same. Danny however decided (along with almost all of the other competitors) that he’d put his wetsuit on to get more buoyancy. That decision saved Marian and Campbell 30 seconds. The chances are if Campbell wore his wetsuit he’d still be down there!

Marian preparing for the water

Anyway, to the race itself.

There were 2 heats, male and female.

Marian was easy to spot in her Glenpark tri suit. She was well up with the leaders at the start but dropped into the following pack at the mid-way point of the 750m open water swim at Shewalton Water in Irvine. Coming out of the water looking very fresh she went through the transition in less than 30 seconds, gaining quite a bit on those in the group ahead who looked tired by comparison. Marian then proceeded to pass at least 8 on the 5k run, clocking a fabulous post-swim time of 20:50.8 and finishing 33rd out of the total 67 men and women competitors. For this she was justly rewarded with the National Aquathlon title in the 45-49 age group category.

Danny Ready for the swim!

Next came Danny and Campbell in the Men’s competition. With around 50 in the water at the start line and a lot of splashing going on, it was a good time to throw in your washing ! Campbell went with the leading group for the first leg and settled into a steady pace whilst Danny, who admits swimming isn’t his strongest event, worked very hard to minimise the gap going into the run. Coming out of the water in 11:36, Campbell was well up the field with a lot of younger athletes behind. Danny as expected stormed through the field very successfully. With a swim time of 15:50.6 and a transition of 1:04.9, Danny ran a blistering pace, passing several runners to clock 20:22.0 for the run. This was 5 seconds faster than Campbell, who although passed by a few runners further up the field, was delighted with his 5k post-swim time of 20:27.5 following a 32.9 seconds transition.

Marian and Campbell

Campbell finished a meritorious 21st out of 67 competitors, whilst Danny finished 47th. Both Campbell and Danny won their age group categories too (55-59 and 60-64 respectively), making it three national gold medals for Glenpark on the day.

Throughout the event there was an excellent running commentary, video footage of each competitor finishing and a real-time results service. Marshalling was also first class.

Full results are here.

Inverclyde Windfarm Race 2021

Greenock Glenpark Harriers have been fortunate in the last few months to have some club races to keep their competitive juices flowing. Across Scotland, some open events are starting to come back into the racing calendar. Last Wednesday night we were fortunate enough to have such an event on our doorstep. The new wind farm at Corlic Hill has been dominating the skyline behind Inverclyde for over a year now, and what better way to christen the access road than to have a race around it!

Runners set off on the course (GBR Photos)

Owners of the windfarm, BayWa kindly sponsored this new race, and thanks to the tireless work of Glenpark’s Andy McCall and Alex Osborne of Acorn Trails the race went ahead last Wednesday night. The 117 runners on the night were presented with a typical Greenock summer’s night, which started brightly but the wind and mist descended to challenge their toughness. 

Race winner Kiran Cooper (GBR Photos)
First Harrier home Shaun Lyon (GBR Photos)

The route itself was three clockwise loops of the access road which links all eight of the wind turbines. The route starts with a gentle downhill but soon rises steadily upwards towards the western end of the loop, at this point the runners are met with “Killer”. There is 100ft of elevation gained in the space of around 150m of running, the challenge isn’t just to run to the top of it, it’s to keep the legs going for the downhill after! The hills and the wind made for a challenging route along the stoney roads over the 5.5 mile distance (9km).

First Female Louise Mitchell (GBR Photos)
First Female Harrier Sue Hewitson (GBR Photos)

Kieran Cooper has won events across Scotland, and at 21 is a real talent in the Scottish running scene. Him and his dad Richard are well kent faces down Inverclyde way with a number of Greenock parkrun and local races to their names. Kieran proved to be a class apart and won this race in a great time of 30 minutes 50 seconds, with Richard in 7th in 33.37 (first M50). Shaun Lyon has been prolific in winning the Glenpark Harriers club races recently, and he was 2nd overall here to again take the Glenpark crown in 31.47. Stuart Donnachie, an Acorn Trails regular, was 3rd in 32.18.

3rd Male Stuart Donnachie (GBR Photos)

The ladies race was very tight. Like Shaun, Sue Hewitson has been pretty prolific for Glenpark in recent years, but couldn’t quite catch Louise Mitchell who edged her out by just 14 seconds. Louise runs for Cani Sport Fife, and it was another guest runner taking third with Bellahouston Harriers’ Kristina Greig nipping just under the 40 minute mark.

3rd Female Kristina Greig (GBR Photos)

Glenpark Harriers have a club championship schedule of 1 races in the season, and normally the Harris Trophy would be run around Greenock’s Coves reservoirs in the midst of winter. However, due to the lockdown this year that race has not gone ahead. The trail around the Coves is tight, and perhaps not suitable for a race during times of social distancing. This year, this windfarm race substituted itself into the championship schedule as the eighth race of the season. Sean and Sue took home the crowns in the senior races. Neil Lafferty and Wes Pattison the closest challengers for the mens title and Marian Monk and Fiona MacFarlane closest to the ladies crown.

Sprint finish! (GBR Photos)

The handicap aspect was won by new member Ross Morrison in just his third race for the club. Ross raced superbly in just under 40 minutes to take the title ahead of Marian Monk and Lisa Boonsanong. The handicap committee deserve huge credit for judging this one given that it is a brand new race route!

Danny McLaughlin battling it out against handicap winner Ross Morrison (GBR Photos)

The gratitudes do not stop there. This is one event where the hard work and dedication of many needs to be highlighted. The brainchild of Andy McCall, he worked tirelessly to bring his vision to reality. Acorn Trails involvement allowed the race to go ahead with online public entry, chip timing and superb publicity. It was great to see runners from across Scotland travel to our home turf and see what Inverclyde has to offer. The club volunteers were aplenty too, and made sure all runners got to and from the start line safely, and were well marshalled and supported around the course. Finally to BayWa for allowing us to use their land for the race, and for kindly sponsoring the club and the race. 

Additional sponsorship was received from Migo Sports, Tesco Port Glasgow and Tunnocks. Some fantastic photos were taken on course from GBR Photographs. Money was raised on the day for Ardgowan Hospice, with over £400 donated to the local charity. 

Acorn Trails race report: Link
Race Results: Link
GBR Photographs: Link

The chase is on! (GBR Photos)

Docherty Cup 2021

The 2021 Docherty Cup saw Greenock Glenpark Harriers returned to the road for a club race for the first time since November 2019! The Docherty Cup is a ten mile conceding handicap race ran along the Cloch Road, and was cancelled in 2020 due to the pandemic. Our club racing made a return in the autumn, but we have kept ourselves to secluded trails and the track for each race so far. However, with restrictions easing, and an early start time on Saturday, we safely put on our first road race in over 18 months.

The ten mile race sees runners do a lap of Gourock’s Ashton promenade (starting near the Spinnaker Hotel) before heading along the Cloch Road towards Inverkip. The runners are turned at the Bankfoot roundabout and head back to the finish line at The Spinnaker. The race is a conceding handicap, where the runners are set out with the fastest runners last, with the aim being that everyone finishes at the same time. First runner back wins the Docherty Cup. This made it back to back handicap races in a short period of time, so a big thank you has to go to the handicap committee for putting the work in. They can rest easy for a few weeks now!

In conceding handicap races, we always hope to see a tight finish among runners of a variety of different abilities, but that wasn’t the case for this one. Donna Campbell was miles ahead! Donna was a whole two and a half minutes ahead of her nearest competitor as she ran a big PB of 74.02, almost a minute quicker than her time in 2018. James McFadden continued his good form, which saw him finish 4th at the Willow Bowl and now 2nd at the Docherty Cup, and is enough to see him top the handicap championship with 3 races to go. Paul Monaghan ran a storming time of 57.52 to break into third spot in the handicap race.

Paul’s run was bettered by only two other men in the scratch race. Shaun Lyon returned to winning ways with a run of 56.19. Shaun now has four wins in the five races he has ran over the extended Harriers 2019-2021 season, and sees him make a late surge for the crown. Kevin Craig continued his superb form on from the Willow Bowl as he found himself in second place, 21 seconds ahead of Paul Monaghan. Steven Campbell, Oliver Reilly, Andrew Osborne and Andy McCall all dipped under the hour mark for the ten miler. Michael McLoone Jnr narrowly missed out in 60.05, but took family bragging right by beating his dad by just under one minute having set off in the same group.

Sue Hewitson won her seventh ladies race of the year, which is a clean sweep of the races she has ran! Things may have been different for this one though, with Nicola Doohan toeing the line for the second time in a harriers vest. However, Nicola had to pull out through injury at the 10km mark. It will be good to see both ladies toe the line for a club race in the near future! Sue now has a commanding lead at the top of the ladies championship. Donna Campbell was the runner up in the ladies race with her great run. She edged out Fiona MacFarlane who continues to run well on the back of her steady training.

Debbie McKenzie and Cheryl Thomas rounded out the top 5 in the ladies race. It is harder to see progress when the race hasn’t been held for over two years, but a look at the 2019 results showed that Lisa Boonsanong took 6 minutes off of her time and Heather Lafferty took almost 4 minutes off of her time. Callum Gorry took 30 seconds off of his time and saw him nip into the top 10 handicap for the second race in a row. Conditions wise, it wasn’t too bad a day for the race. Bright and mild, with a bit of a northerly wind.

The biggest thing though is that once again the club turned out in force to volunteer and make the race run smoothly. Timekeepers, marshals, registration, photographers all helped on the day, and tireless work went on behind the scenes from John Stevenson once again. Another big thank you goes to The Spinnaker Hotel for their continued sponsorship of the race. Races continue to come thick and fast throughout the summer months for Glenpark Harriers, and a report from last Saturday’s Singlehurst Race will be posted soon, and then its onto the Chisholm Mile next Tuesday at Ravenscraig Track!

Results: Shaun Lyon 56.19, Kev Craig 57.31, Paul Monaghan 57.52, Steven Campbell 58.47, Andrew Osborne 59.08, Oliver Reilly 59.26, Andrew McCall 59.42, Michael McLoone Jnr 60.05, Chris Mooney 61.02, Michael McLoone Snr 61.02, Robert Dolan 63.01, Gavin Morrison 63.52, James McFadden 65.27, Stuart Hodge 65.54, John Stevenson 66.52, Paul McAulay 67.16, Chris Watson 67.24, Eric Lindsay 68.32, Sue Hewitson 68.58, David Roberts 69.19, Stuart Austin 70.01, Danny McLaughlin 71.19, Craig Hyslop 71.52, Ian McKee 72, Callum Gorry 73.41, Donna Campbell 74.02, Fiona Macfarlane 75.48, Ross Slater 76.02, Kevin Gill 79.17, Greig Turner 80.19, Debbie McKenzie 81.29, Cheryl Thomas 82.08, Lisa Boonsanong 82.09, Robin McAuslan 82.26, Marianne McKay 83.17, Terry Wall 83.25, Heather Lafferty 83.35, Jim Cuffe 85.07, Fiona Cushnaghan 87.47, David Benstead 88.33, Graeme Crawford 90.44, Gerry Gillespie 91.03, David Carruthers 94.27, Yvonne Prager 95.15, Wenda Crawford 96.48, Emma Sinclair 96.57, Simon Hutton 101.12

Willow Bowl 2021

The Covid-19 pandemic put pay to Greenock Glenpark Harriers club racing in December of last year. The club had enjoyed a few months of racing in the lead up to Christmas, and three of our championship races had been run safely in that period. However, we had to wait until late April until we were in a position where we were allowed to put on another club race.

The Willow Bowl is one of the most popular races among our senior members. The race is a conceding handicap run around the Greenock Cut. Starting at the Long Dam near Overton, the runners are sent off west-bound in reverse handicap order. They travel up the stony road and down into Cornalees before joining the Cut and racing back to the start. The first person across the line is the winner of the Willow Bowl. This year the wind was unusually coming from the east, making the last 4 flat miles or so along the cut a tough prospect into the breeze.

In recent years, an additional prize has also been awarded to the first veteran runner across the line. Last year, Eric Lindsay won the Tommy Knight Trophy for this feat, and this year he went one step further by winning the Willow Bowl itself. Eric had a commanding lead of almost one minute over Fiona MacFarlane, who herself took home the Tommy Knight Trophy this year. Eric has been running great in his first couple of years as a Harrier, and this was perhaps his best performance yet. The same can be said for Fiona, who has now been unlucky to finish second in the last two handicap races! With 4 races to go in the handicap championship, both Eric and Fiona are battling it out as the top 2 runners.

In the scratch races, Sue Hewitson once again asserted her dominance on the trail. Sue has won the ladies scratch race every time she has ran it, which is four times in the last five years. Sue ran just under 56 minutes for the 7.8 mile course, her second fastest time in those four victories. Fiona MacFarlane and Marian Monk both broke the hour mark to claim second and third respectively. Marian claimed the v45 title and Terri Wall took home the v55 crown. Elsewhere there were some really strong runs from Debbie McKenzie, Heather Lafferty and Lynsey McLaughlin. There were 16 ladies running in total, which is a great turnout.

One person who is more than comfortable on the hills is Kev Craig. Our club ultra marathon specialist showed that he has some good speed on the shorter routes too. After a steady start up the hill, Kev threw everything at it from there to the finish line to take the mens race by the narrowest of margins. In a conceding handicap race, you are often not starting with your main competitor, and Andy McCall had started two minutes after Kev, and had to wait until they compared watches at the end to see he had just been pipped at the post by 10 seconds! In third place was Andrew Osborne, who had an incredible race. Andrew took two and a half minutes off his time from the year before, and in tougher conditions! Andrew finished ahead of a number of the club’s top guys, like last year’s winner Kevin O’Donoghue who was fourth.

Elsewhere there was another brilliant run from Oliver Reilly in fifth place, who continues to improve race on race, and big things are expected in the near future! James McFadden had another great run, with a high placing in the handicap standings, as did Callum Gorry who had a superb run, taking seven whole minutes off of his time from last year! Craig Hyslop ran well in his first club race, and Graeme Boyce too in his longest run to date. Kev Craig was the v40 winner, with Paul Monaghan taking the v50 crown (yes, you read that right… watch out v50s all over Scotland when big races return!!), Danny McLaughlin took the v60 and Frank McMahon the v70.

Its great to have club races back, but they would not be possible without the help of so many volunteers in the run up to the race and on the day itself. So a big thank you to all of them, and especially to John Stevenson for driving it. A big thank you has to go to our race sponsor and club member Dick Hodelet as well. Since this race, we have held our next club race, the Docherty Cup, so look out for another exciting read soon!

Results: Kevin Craig 46.31, Andrew McCall 46.41, Andrew Osborne 47.26, Kevin O’Donoghue 47.29, Oliver Reilly 47.36, Steven Campbell 48.1, Chris Mooney 49.14, Paul Monaghan 50.04, Stephen Hanley 50.57, Chris Jones 51.59, Gordy Hepburn 53.39, Eric Lindsay 54.02, Paul McAuley 54.23, David Roberts 54.28, James McFadden 54.3, Sue Hewitson 54.5, Chris Watson 55.33, Craig Hyslop 56.14, Ross Paul 56.41, Stuart Austin 56.53, Owen Atkinson 56.58, Graeme Boyce 57.08, James Doherty 57.12, Campbell Cromar 57.49, Ian McKee 58.06, Robert Dolan 58.46, Danny McLaughlin 58.46, Ross Slater 59.05, Fiona MacFarlane 59.27, Callum Gorry 59.35, Marian Monk 59.57, Viki Smith 61.18, Graham McGrattan 63.08, Robin McAuslan 64.13, Debbie McKenzie 64.29, Jim Cuffe 64.37, Frank McMahon 64.52, Lisa Boonsanong 65.17, Liam McFadden 67.11, Marianne Mckay 67.47, Heather Lafferty 68.29, Terri Wall 68.53, Lynsey McLaughlin 69.17, Lucas Bezian 72.22, Sharon Black 72.41, Sandra Devine 72.56, Susie Gillies 57.18, Elaine Medinelli 76.2, Yvonne Prager 77.35, Matthew Young 82.56, Angela Nelson 90.51

Sprinters Back in Action

Greenock Glenpark Harriers’ fastest athletes returned from lockdown to competition recording fastest athlete and personal bests at the recent Stirling University invitation track meeting.

First up was Mark MacLachlan in the 100m, who after some fine performances at Glenpark’s local event recently, was seeking an official time over the shorter sprint. A fine start saw Mark into his stirde accelerating into the middle part of the race in a commanding position, capable of maintaining his speed further down the straight Mark stopped the clocked in a new best close to the 11 second barrier.  He the followed this up with a fine 200m to ensure a successful conclusion to the days efforts.

Mark MacLachlan

Scott Hannaway the areas fastest 200m athlete pre lockdown was back to put his marker down. An explosive start from the blocks saw Scott catch the athletes on the outside lanes as he powered around the tight bends, as he cruised into the home straight it was a race against the clock as he pulled clear of the competition, crossing the line Scott had announced his return with another 22 second run and fastest athlete of the day. 

Both are now focus on the coming available events in the summer. 

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

Virtual Half Marathon

The time is finally here for our Virtual Half Marathon! You can run your half over the next 4 days on any route you so choose, just making sure you cover the whole 13.11 miles or 21.11 kilometres.

In order to submit your result, please use the form below to enter your time and a link to either Strava or Garmin. If you do not use either of these, then just drop us an email at greenockglenparkharriers@gmail.com with some photo evidence from your chosen app of even just your watch!

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/18hAq4heW_0Zfy5zfrHOCA6dxkvSAPBiSKIIlnB92z94/viewform?edit_requested=true

We are absolutely delighted that Active Physiotherapy Clinic are on board as our race sponsor. Alyson Fielding has been treating a number of our runners in preparation for the event, and has some great offers for some recovery treatments if you need them after the weekend! Have a look here: https://www.facebook.com/ActivePhysioClinicGourock/

The T Shirts are here and they look spectacular! Can’t wait to see these dominating the streets of Inverclyde in a few weeks time.