Wilson Trophy

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.

Shaun Lyon

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.

Kevin O’Donoghue and Kyle Wilson

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.

Fiona MacFarlane

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!

Sue Hewitson

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.

George McCallum and Oliver Reilly

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.

Graham McGrattan

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

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.

Glenpark Harriers Smash the Virtual London Marathon 2020

This year has been very different for Greenock Glenpark Harriers. It was supposed to be a year of joy celebrating the club’s 125th anniversary. Those celebrations will have to be put on hold. There have been no races throughout the summer, and the runners have all kept themselves busy with a variety of virtual races set by Scottish Athletics and the club itself.

Each year in April, Glenpark have always sent a good contingent down to London to run one of the world’s best marathons. This year, the marathon was initially postponed until October, before ultimately being reduced to an elite race only. To try and keep the runners interested, London decided to organise a virtual marathon for those lucky enough to have a place in the actual run.

So whilst Eliud Kipchoge was being proven to be human, and Sarah Hall was sprinting over the finish line in one of the best finishes London has seen, our club runners were out pounding the pavements of Inverclyde in a bid to record their time for the 26.2 miles. We had 7 athletes competing in the race, and some inspirational stories amongst them.

The Battery Park is just over a kilometre in circumference, and all Inverclyde runners know it as a great training ground. It’s flat, it has nice pavement or grass, it usually has a toilet. However, not many people would think that over 41 laps of the park sounds like a good idea? Step forward Oliver Reilly. One of the rising stars within Greenock Glenpark Harriers he was the lucky recipient of the club’s ballot place in the marathon. Well he didn’t want that ballot place going to waste, and he wanted to represent his club with pride. Boy did he do that.

Oliver has ran two marathons before (PB of 3.17), and wanted his solid training to go to use. So he set out with a target of sub 3, and as close to the good for age time of 2.57 as possible. To help, the club rallied round Oliver and he was met with over ten runners and countless supporters who came down to the Battery Park to help with pacing and support. It was a fantastic sight to see the club vest out there for the first time in 6 months. Needless to say, Oliver absolutely smashed it, running 2.57.35! A big thanks must go out to Kevin O’Donoghue, who paced the whole distance with Oliver, and provided many words of ‘encouragement’, especially in the dying stages…

Some of the pacers deserve a shout out too. The likes of Andy McCall and Duncan Anderson, running 20 miles at that pace just shows how well they’ve been training over the summer. Here’s hoping there’s something for these guys to compete in soon.

A traditional Sunday run route for our runners is to head out the IBM road, and loop back through Gourock. It’s essentially a half marathon route, so Donna Campbell set out to do it twice!  Donna ran an absolute stormer, completing in under 3.40! A fantastic run! That time is within the good for age rankings, and will see Donna get to experience the real deal next year hopefully. Other ladies competing included Sue Hewitson who ran 4.08 and Kirsty Ormond who walked it in 7.27. Unreal effort from Kirsty, who went down the Old Largs Road and back up the coast. That’s a lot of time on your feet!

Inverclyde was host to Scotland’s first mass participation marathons in 1981. To commemorate this, and take part in their own virtual London, Robert Dolan and John Stevenson set out to recreate the route. It starts with a loop of the Esplanade, then out to Gourock Road end via the Cloch Road. It then turns and heads all the way back to Coronation Park in Port Glasgow before turning back for a finish on the Esplanade.

Robert, club president and London marathon regular, assisted by different generations of his family on foot and bike, got round the route in 3.23.46. The finish on the Esplanade was greeted with champagne and family members a plenty. It might not quite be The Mall, but it’s not bad. John had less fun in his run. Having went out with Robert, the marathon distance took a prisoner. Not for the first time, and definitely not for the last, a fantastic runner hit the wall. John, a veteran of London and multiple ultra marathons ran well through 16 miles, but the last 10 were not as easy. However club captain John stuck at it, and battled to the finish. Finishing in under 4 hours has to be hugely commended!

Craig Canning picked up a late entry into the virtual marathon, and ran a very steady 3.52 which is brilliant considering the lack of marathon training. Craig benefitted from some more Harriers helping him round the final few laps of the Battery Park.

The stories of the help and support on offer throughout the day sums up what this running club is all about. It’s been a tough year for everyone, but Greenock Glenpark Harriers are going to emerge from it stronger than ever. Bring on 2021.

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.