Greenock Glenpark Harriers are a running and triathlon club based in Inverclyde on the west coast of Scotland. We cater for all abilities of athlete and warmly welcome new members from ages 9 to 90. Check the ‘Contact Us’ page for more info
Have you taken up running during one of the lockdowns? Are you worried about busy indoor gyms re-opening? Do you want to improve that 5k PB?
Well look no further than Greenock Glenpark Harriers! Our membership fees for the next 6 months are now only £25. We are taking on new senior and junior members (waiting list still applies for ages 9-11).
As a senior member, you would have full access to the following: – 2 group training sessions per week (Monday and Wednesday evenings) – up to 8 club races to be held over the summer (these will have to be member only for the foreseeable, £2 entry per race) – Access to our clubhouse gym at Orangefield – Access to Ravenscraig track on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturday timeslots for free!
As a junior member, you would have the opportunity to train at the track with our varying age groups on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.
Not sure it is right for you? No need to worry, we offer a 4 week free trial to the training sessions!
Scottish Athletics have been organising virtual challenges over the last year to keep us all engaged with running during the pandemic. Distances have usually ranged from 1 mile to 10, occasionally longer. However for their 7th event, they offered a marathon option! We haven’t always reported on virtual racing, but when one of our members goes ahead and finishes first for a virtual marathon, it is more than deserving of a write up!
Oliver Reilly previously lead the way with his time at the virtual London Marathon in October, running 2.57 around the Battery Park (with a solid team of pacers). This time, he opted for the trickier loop of The Esplanade and Eldon Street (around 3.5km). Completely solo, and battling a brisk westerly wind and uneven and slightly undulating terrain, Oliver proceeded to run an incredible 2.50.59! An incredible run, and it sat rightly as the top virtual marathon entry in Scotland. Oliver ran on the Friday, and the weather admittedly deteriorated over the weekend which may have put some runners off. However, you would have to do something special to get anywhere near that time on your tod!
Oliver was not the only person to attempt the marathon distance. Our very own Ultra runner Kevin Gill had been training hard for the ultimately cancelled track marathon, so he set out to complete his marathon on a shorter loop of Eldon Street and The Esplanade. Kevin, backed by a hearty group of pacers, set out well and despite hitting the wall, he pushed through to break the 4 hour mark by just 37 seconds.
The other options for seniors over the weekend were 10k and half marathon. Oliver was not to be the only runner topping leaderboard for the event, Debbie McKenzie ran her best half marathon time to top the ladies masters leaderboard in a superb time of 1.50.17. Heather Lafferty also had a great run to get herself 4th on the same list, and they combined with Emma Sinclair to finish as the fastest ladies only team. On the men’s masters side in the half, Owen Atkinson was 3rd and Eric Lindsay’s fastest half got him 6th.
All routes need to be on a loop of at least 1km (due to GPS inaccuracies), that is unless you can get on a track, and for a half marathon that’s over 52 laps… Its not for everyone, but Andy McCall isn’t everyone. Andy absolutely smashed it on the track in an incredible 1.19.24, and in his own words that’s his fastest half marathon since the dawn of GPS watches! Andy, Owen and Eric combined to be the number one team for the half marathon category, with Andy 2nd overall individually! Well done guys.
In the 10km, Daniel Doherty completed his on the track for a great run of 36.33 and Stephen Hanley wasn’t far behind in 37.04 while opting for a coastal route in Gourock. John Stevenson made up the club A team which finished in 5th spot, with a B team of Graeme Boyce, Viki Smith and Fiona MacFarlane.
One of the main things is seeing good participation and representation from the club, and Donna Campbell, Sandra Devine and Elaine Medinelli also combined for a full 10km team. Eddie Devine and Charlotte McKay also took part, which is great to see. It is hard to compete with the numbers that Bellahouston Road Runners have entered in almost all of these events, but Greenock Glenpark Harriers have regularly been second behind them in terms of numbers. We only had one junior have a go at the options available, well done to Summer Taggart running a quick 3km in 12.33.
Following an easing in restrictions, Greenock Glenpark Harriers have now restarted their popular group training sessions for their junior athletes. Training sessions are held at Ravenscraig Sports stadium on Tuesday evening from 6.15pm to 7.15pm, Thursday from 6.00pm to 7.00pm and Saturday from 11.30 to 12.30.
Anyone interested in getting into athletics is very welcome to come along and try some free training sessions. These are open to anyone of age 8-17. Our youngest age group, 8-11, has a waiting list. Please email us to find out more. We hope to cut the list down ASAP depending on numbers for the new season and number of volunteers required. We are always looking for more volunteers if you are interested!
If anyone would like any further information, the Club can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org A member of the coaching team would be happy to speak to anyone interested and provide more information about the clubs junior section. More information is also on the club’s Facebook page (@Greenock Glenpark Harriers), Twitter (@ggharriers) or Instagram (@greenockglenpark)
It is only 6 weeks to go until the Greenock Glenpark Harriers virtual half marathon! We have already had an amazing 130 runners sign up for the event. You can still enter right up until the start date on 30th April.
The half marathon (13.11 miles or 21.1 kilometres) should be ran over the long weekend of 30th April to 3rd May on any route you so choose (Although if you a running on a short loop, please try and keep to a loop over 1km due to GPS inaccuracies). Your result can then be emailed in to the club with a link to Garmin, Strava or whatever you use to track your run (even a picture of your watch will do).
The event is open to non-members, and we are thrilled at the numbers who have signed up so far that are not in the club (even one all the way from Germany!). Non-members can still get a T shirt, but the T shirt is only free for members (and only £9 for non-members if you want one).
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
We all hope that 2021 will bring with it greater fortunes for all, and what better way to start 2021 than by running one mile up a big old hill! The Lyle Mile is back this year, but in virtual form. You can run the Lyle Mile any time between 1st and 3rd January 2021. Read on to find out more…
The main Lyle Mile course is unchanged, you need to run from the lampost before the railway bridge at the bottom of Lyle Road, and finish at the Beacon on the very top of Lyle Hill. See images below for exact points. You must follow the pavement the whole way, and only cross the road at the corner of Merlin Avenue when safe to do so. As you approach the top, follow the pavement past the car park spaces and then fork right up the slope to the beacon.
Of course, we are fully aware that the usual Lyle Mile course is limited to those that live in Inverclyde only. However, if you live out with Inverclyde, do not fear! We would love to see entries from near and far. All you have to do is find a one mile route that goes uphill! We will have leaderboards for both the Lyle Mile course itself, and those taking part elsewhere.
This year, we will be supporting Ardgowan Hospice, and we have set up a justgiving page. Typically, we would ask runners to donate £2 to the charity as your entry fee, so that is our suggested donation for those taking part this year too. Please see the justgiving page here: https://justgiving.com/fundraising/gghlylemile2021
We are delighted that CM Autos have agreed to sponsor the event again this year, a big thanks to them for helping us out especially in these uncertain times!
So, now for the fun part. Entering your result! There are 3 main ways of doing this:
For the first time since March of this year, Greenock Glenpark Harriers were able to host one of their club championship races on its usual course. In the past few months, Scottish Athletics guidance has allowed us to hold two time trials, but these have been away from the public eye. The Wilson Trophy race is always held on the trails behind the Greenock Cut, and as always is a conceding handicap race which allowed us to spread the start times for the runners to keep group sizes down.
The runners are set off in reverse order, with fastest runners starting last. The winner of the handicap race is the first person back to the finish line. In between, the runners have to contest with an undulating 4.5 mile course across the tracks and trails behind Overton. For the second year in a row, the fastest time was good enough to win the overall race and the handicap trophy. Shaun Lyon was last out and first back, tearing the course to pieces in a great time of 26.47, the fastest time in at least five years.
For once, the weather was favourable. This is a race synonymous with poor weather conditions, and is often cancelled for snow or ice! However this year, there was no rain or wind to be found. The weeks leading up to the race have been wet, and the trails were very much chewed up making it quite heavy going underfoot. It is also typically the club’s poorest attended event, with the most runners in the last five events being just over 30. An amazing 56 runners toed the line for this year’s event, no doubt excited for the opportunity to race! The club have done wonders during lockdown to get regular training, and now some events, all carried out safely and in line with Scottish Athletics guidelines.
In the ladies race, the scratch winner was Sue Hewitson, defending her title from 2019. Sue is at home on the trails, and has spent most of lockdown training on the runners’ paradise around The Cut and Cornalees. Fiona MacFarlane had a fantastic run in second place (third handicap), and Marian Monk was not far behind in third spot overall. Sandra Devine was so close to winning the handicap race, only being caught by Shaun with 11 seconds to spare! It was a really good run from Sandra, and there were a lot of good performances from the newcomers on the ladies side. Olivia Devine, Jennifer Boyd and Emma Sinclair all ran well on their Wilson debut, but it was Lynsey McLaughlin who perhaps had the best of the bunch. The regular training has been paying off for this group in particular!
Andy McCall couldn’t quite defend his double win at this race from last year, but he was still second in the scratch race and took over two and a half minutes off of his time from last year. Debutant Kyle Wilson was set off with a group of the fastest runners in the club, but he didn’t let that affect him. He held off multiple club champion Stevie Campbell to claim third spot. Stevie did however claim first vet. There was some fine performances from the likes of Daniel Doherty, Kevin Craig and Michael McLoone.
Appropriate footwear is always an essential for this race, and a better choice of shoes allowed Oliver Reilly to take seven whole minutes off of his time from last year! One of the runs of the day came in the v60 category, with Graham McGrattan running a hair over 33 minutes for the course, over 3 minutes quicker than his last time on the course. Age is no barrier in the club, and it was fantastic to see Eddie Devine and Charlotte McKay competing and winning their respective age categories.
Gavin Morrison and Campbell Cromar made their Glenpark debuts having recently switched to the club, and both ran well and enjoyed the chance to compete against so many fellow club members. Everyone at the club was buoyed to see George McCallum competing in the race, and the sense of community spirit was high among all those running and volunteering. It was great to be back to racing as a club, and everyone hopes it is the start of things to come in the New Year.
A big thanks must go to the race sponsors, Wilson Buses. Also thanks to the volunteers who braved the cold on the day, and the day before to set the course up. A lot of work went in prior to the race to make sure it could be ran safely, and we are looking forward to our next opportunity to race in the new year.
Results: Shaun Lyon 26.47, Andrew McCall 27.59, Kyle Wilson 28.23, Steven Campbell 28.27, Daniel Doherty 28.41, Kevin Craig 28.46, Kevin O’Donoghue 28.51, Neil Lafferty 29.00 Michael McLoone Jnr 29.05, Andrew Osborne 29.52, Gavin Morrison 30.09, Oliver Reilly 30.45, Chris Jones 31.03, Robert Dolan 32.23, Gordon Hepburn 32.23, Stephen Hanley 32.51, David Roberts 32.59, Graham McGrattan 33.03, Owen Atkinson 33.14, Sue Hewitson 34.24 Eric Lindsay 34.35, Alan O’Rourke 35.59, Stuart Austin 37.11, Stephen Reid 37.27, Fiona McFarlane 37.28, Campbell Cromar 37.4, Callum Gorry 37.42, Danny McLaughlin 38.11, Frank McMahon 38.22, Craig Canning 38.34, Marian Monk 38.41, Mick Harrington 39.08, Stuart David Crawford 40.32, Debbie McKenzie 41.04, Kenneth Scott 41.24, Marianne McKay 41.31, Matthew Young 41.38, George McCallum 41.4, Lisa Boonsanong 41.44, Cheryl Thomas 41.51, Claire Monaghan 42.05, Heather Lafferty 42.22, Aidan Coyle 42.23, Alex Paterson 42.39, Liz Ness 43.55, Lynsey McLaughlin 44.23, Olivia Devine 44.54, Fiona Cushnaghan 46.04, Jennifer Boyd 46.33, Elaine Medinelli 46.59, Sandra Devine 47.58, Helen Crawford 48.44, Angela Nelson 49.14, Emma Sinclair 50, Charlotte McKay 61.46, Eddie Devine 64.35
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.
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!
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!
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!
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 email@example.com. Big thank you to the Greenock Telegraph for publishing the article in the paper last Wednesday, and for their continued publicity.
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.