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Harriers During Lockdown

2020 has been a challenging year for everyone. Greenock Glenpark Harriers should have spent the year with a number of events to mark the club’s 125th anniversary. When the world was put on hold in March, the club had to find new ways to commemorate this special year, and keep the members engaged in running.

One of the first club races to fall was the Doherty Cup, a ten mile road race. So instead of a race, that weekend the club held a virtual ‘how far can you run in an hour’ challenge, which kept within the government restrictions at the time. This was the first of many virtual running events put on by the club and latterly by Scottish Athletics too.

Graham McGrattan ready for one hour on the treadmill

The Scottish Athletics challenges proved very popular, and the club were regularly in the top 3 in Scotland in terms of participation numbers. One of the most popular virtual events was ‘how far can you climb in 30 minutes’ which challenged the runners to run continuously on a hill for half an hour to gain as much elevation as possible. Inverclyde offers a few good locations for this sort of fiendish challenge!

Social media running site Strava has been a great tool to help keep our runners engaged with each other. During lockdown, it was creatively used as a way to set up virtual leaderboards. GPS watches and smartphones allowed us to create routes across Inverclyde, and Strava compiles leaderboards on each of them. The routes were all 1.25 miles long (a nod to the 125 years) and involved some of the area’s steepest hills. The competitive juices were flowing once again! To give an idea of the toughness involved, try running from Port Glasgow’s Glen Avenue all the way to the golf course (and a bit further…). These routes were steep! There were 6 in total, and one of our runners Kevin Craig was mental enough to complete all 6 in one run, a total route of over 31 miles. If you’re on Strava, get involved!

Kevin Craig ready for action

Social media engagement was high throughout lockdown. Daily photos from the club’s archives were posted on our Facebook group to amuse and bemuse in equal measures. Somehow baby photos of the club’s committee members snuck their way in too! 

Erin McEleny during a SA Virtual Challenge on The Esplanade

Scottish Athletics have worked hard with the government to provide ever changing guidelines as the country eased its way out of Lockdown. In recent months, the club has been able to get senior and junior training sessions up and running again. Running was very popular during lockdown. Perhaps with the gyms closed, and also due to the various charitable challenges doing the rounds on social media. The club have benefited greatly from this, taking on a huge number of new members as a result. The senior training sessions have been the lifeblood of the club in recent months, with numbers almost doubling from pre-lockdown.  A huge credit must go to Alan O’Rourke, Alison King and a whole host of volunteers and coaches for keeping these organised and safe.

In recent months, some club time trials have also been organised, but held away from the public eye and in line with Scottish Athletics guidelines. Perhaps the public are not quite ready for the sight of our runners in the famous sky blue vests charging along the Esplanade. The lockdown put pay to our 2019/20 club championship after only 5/11 races complete. We will be carrying the points from these over to the 20/21 championship. The two time trials held since the relaxation of rules will count towards the championship. We have held these up Greenock Cut and at Ravenscraig Track. They have proven very popular, and have given our runners a much needed excuse to get the special 125th anniversary vest on!

Stuart Austin sporting the club gear

Our annual New Year’s Day race, The Lyle Mile, is likely to be going ahead as a virtual event. We hope we can get the community engaged with running to start the New Year, and we all hope that 2021 will see a return to something closer to normality. Not just for our club, but the whole of Inverclyde.

If you want to know more about the club, please drop us an email at greenockglenparkharriers@gmail.com. Big thank you to the Greenock Telegraph for publishing the article in the paper last Wednesday, and for their continued publicity.

#shecanshewill

#shecanshewill #ActiveGirls @scotathletics @inverclyde @InverclydeL

This is Scottish Women and Girls in Sport Week and @GGHarriers girls & ladies will join in the celebrations by competing on Sunday at Ravenscraig stadium in the Annual Colin Shields races. Our Seniors will contest the 5000m, and Juniors will go over 2000m and some shorter sprint races.

2020 AGM

Wednesday 30th September

Unfortunately due to restrictions, we cannot meet as a group this year. So it is proposed that the following format is adopted in order to get some sort of AGM and bring this season to a close.

Leading up to the 30th September we’ll invite members to email in anything they would like to have brought up under Any Other Business (AOB) to greenockglenparkharriers@gmail.com

This will be discussed by the committee , minuted, and a reply sent. This will all be put together with the President, Treasurer and Secretary’s report and emailed to all members on the 30th September.

As far as setting the fees for next season Yvonne Prager (Treasurer) proposes keeping the fees the same as recent years.
Senior £50
Junior £50
Family £100
2nd member from same household £30
Early bird (paid before 31st October)
Senior £45
Junior £45
Family £95
2nd member from same household £25

Fees will be due from 1st October bank details to follow.

I hope you will support this format and we can move forward and plan for season 2020/21

The current committee is listed below. There has been a couple of changes recently. There are two vacancies at the moment. One for the treasurers position, Yvonne Prager has decided to step down after 4 years as Treasurer and 8 years before that as President. Graham McGrattan is also stepping down as Clubhouse Manager (with someone showing an interest in the position). Steven Watson stepped down recently as Membership secretary with Liz Ness taking over. We would like to thank everyone for their hard work over the years. If anyone is interested in the Treasurers position please get in touch.

Robert Dolan – President
Yvonne Prager – Treasurer (vacant)
Stevie McLoone – Secretary/Coaching rep
Alison King Welfare – Officer/Assistant Secretary/Covid Co-ordinator
John Stevenson – Mens Captain
Elaine Medinelli – Ladies Captain (newly filled position)
Stephen Hanley – Communication Secretary
Liz Ness – Membership Secretary
Stephen Reid – Kit Manager
Graham McGrattan – Clubhouse Manager (Stepping Down, someone showing interest)
Claire Melville – Social Convenor
Alan O’Rourke – Ordinary Member
Lorna Coyle – Ordinary Member


GGH return to Ravenscraig Stadium

At long last we are able to return to Ravenscraig stadium for training, commencing Tuesday 15th September 2020. Times are slightly different than usual, and there are some restrictions been put in place. ***Please note that there will be NO toilet facilities available.

Tuesday

Junior training – Ravenscraig Stadium 6.15 to 7.15pm (upto 7.45pm for sprint group). Meet outside the stadium – no entry prior to 6.15pm.

 Thursday

Junior training – Ravenscraig Stadium 6.00 to 7.00pm (upto 7.30pm for sprint group). Meet outside the stadium – no entry prior to 6.00pm.

Saturday

Junior training – Ravenscraig Stadium 11.45am to 12.45pm (sprint group speak to Kenny M. for your times). Meet outside the stadium – no entry prior to 11.45am.

GGH Clubhouse Update

We have taken advantage of the Covid shutdown to refurbish the Orangefield clubhouse. The work is nearing completion, with expectation that we can start using it again by the 1st October 2020.

Unfortunately there will be quite significant restrictions in order to comply with Government guidance. This will include:- clubhouse limited to TWO users at any one time: Coming changed for your session: No use of the showers. Users Wiping down equipment on completion of session: Toilets can be used, and users to follow all current Government guidance.

There will be a booking system in place on the clubwebsite. Members may book a single 1 hour gym session up to 1 week in advance**. The Gym will be available 24/7.

**If an adjacent slot is available 24 hours prior to your current booking, you may book a back to back session.

Please note: You will need to Contact committee for a new key, as lock has been changed on outer door.

Training Sessions and New Members

We are delighted to once again begin taking on new senior members to Greenock Glenpark Harriers. We have had our popular Monday and Wednesday senior training sessions up and running now for the last month, and we are now in a position where we can open these sessions up to new senior members and free trials.

If you are interested in joining the club or coming along to one of our training sessions, then please drop us an email at greenockglenparkharriers@gmail.com

Our senior training sessions run on Monday and Wednesday nights at 6.20pm. These sessions are for all abilities, please do not feel that you are not fast enough for these sessions. That will never be the case. Currently, Monday nights are in Greenock Cemetery and Wednesday will be in the Battery Park until the clocks change. Pre-booking for sessions is currently essential so that we comply with track and trace. More information on this will be passed on if you email in.

We are currently offering membership for free until the start of our new season next month, so now is the perfect time to come along and give it a bash!

Unfortunately, our popular Couch to Club Runner group on a Tuesday night will not return until Spring 2021. It was always the plan this year to stop this for winter due to too many cancellations last year, and poor visibility on the Esplanade. The lockdown easing just came too late to run a full block before the clocks change.

However, we hope that the runners who were attending this will give one of our other sessions a chance for free in the next month, and we guarantee that you’ll love it! You wont find a more welcoming bunch of folk than the Harriers on a Monday or Wednesday night.

Isaiah Williams GGH 1914-18

We recently received an old Harriers picture  taken during the Great War. We are very grateful to Peter Hayden who’s grandfather is featured, for the photo and the background story. (see below)

2014-18 Isaiah Williams - front right- Grandpa Dafen 001

my grandfather, Isaiah Williams in his Glenpark running kit with other members of his team and their
coach ( I bet your current coaches don’t look as scary!)
The photo was taken during the First World War when my grandfather was stationed , we believe, in the dockyards. He was a steelworks engineer in Llanelli, South Wales
when the War broke out…and we understand his expertise was needed in the dockyards when the ships and submarines were being built for the War effort.
He is seated in the front row on the right as you look at the photo. Both he and the other athlete standing back left have the club emblem on their running kit…it looks like GGH which would make sense.
He was born in 1889 and died..sadly… a few weeks after he retired in 1959. He moved back to the steel/tin industry in Llanelli and married his childhood sweetheart. They had two
daughters…one being my mother. His elder daughter…my Aunty… died in 2015..aged 93 and it was in her albums we found this great photo.

New to Running?

Whether it is the Run5 Donate5 Nominate5, the 2.6 challenge or a different type of contest, there has been a great deal of virtual running ideas keeping people busy in the last month or so. Even within the club, we’ve had our virtual Docherty Cup door to door race, the Scottish Athletics 15 minute challenge and this weekend we will have our virtual Willie Jukes 5 mile race. The charitable success of the Docherty was recently publicised in the Greenock Telegraph. The GGH 125 Strava segments have also proven to be very popular in getting some competitive juices flowing.

One thing that we have noticed as a club is that there are a lot of people out there running, taking full advantage of the daily exercise. Maybe it is because the local gyms are shut? Maybe it is the lack of structure team training sessions? However, we are sure there are a number of people who have tried running for the first time. Maybe you even enjoy it? Maybe you’d like to keep it up after this situation calms down?

Well if that is the case, then perhaps a little more information on Greenock Glenpark Harriers is what you’re after. Under normal circumstances, we offer runner focussed training sessions for ages 9-90. We compete at a national level and we have 11 of our own unique club races from 1 to 10 miles. We also have a newly initiated and already popular free beginners group which meets once a week, with the name “Couch to Club Runner” which does exactly as advertised.

Obviously, we cannot offer these services now. We will be hoping to be up and running as soon as we can. However, if you are just getting into your running and you have any questions, then why not drop up a message at any of the below:

@ggharriers on Twitter
Greenock Glenpark Harriers on Facebook
greenockglenpark on Instagram
greenockglenparkharriers@gmail.com

Maybe you want to know what sort of training you could be doing to allow yourself to run further/faster? Maybe you want to know good local routes to run? Or maybe you want to know more about us as a club? Anything at all, drop us a line and we’ll get back you. In the mean time, stay safe and enjoy your running!

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Harry Top of his Class

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Harry McGill put in a fantastic performance to win the Scottish schools National cross country championships. Representing Largs Academy he came from behind to win by 8 seconds over Glennifer HS Lewis Hannigan

There were also a dozen young harriers representing their schools at the Hopetoun estate in South Queensferry, with large numbers in each of the races. There were excellent runs from the youngsters over the testing, hilly course, especially from Shaun Wiseman, band Ruby McGill placing well up the field.

Age Group D girls: Sophie McGinty 124th

Age Group D boys: David Docherty 52nd; Euan Johnson 66th

Age Group C girls: Katie Johnson 86th; Sophie Campbell 110th; Gabby Henderson 143rd

Age Group B girls: Ruby McGill 39th; Abbie Tosh 77th; Olivia Trainer 115th

Age Group B boys: Shaun Wiseman 40th; Jude Dolan 74th

Age Group A boys: Harry McGill 1st