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

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.


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.


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.


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

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

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


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

Harris & Ava make National Final

On day 2 of the National Indoor championships at the Emirates Arena it was the turn of the under 15 athletes, with Ava Beaton and Sophie Campbell competing the 1500metres. Sophie was pleased to have improved her previous quickest time by two seconds (6.13minutes); while Ava’s 5:23 was enough to take her through to the final.

In the 800m Katie Johnson, surprisingly running for the first time indoors, set off in in determined fashion chasing one of the 2 automatic qualifying places. It was a pace she couldn’t maintain, and she slipped back to 4th in 2:42min, but she should take great confidence from her speed over her opening 400m. David Docherty was next up and good solid run (2:31min) saw him record a 5 second PB. Harris Morrison was drawn against the clear favourite Central AC’s Connor Bell. A very quick 200m saw the pair quickly open up a gap on the rest of the field for a very comfortable progression to the final (2:12mins).

In that final it was again Bell setting the pace with a pack of 4 chasing the remaining 2 medals. Harris had kept himself in contention in 3rd with a lightning first lap of 29 seconds, but with no let-up in the pace his rivals were gathering on his shoulder going into the last lap. Unfortunately despite being  faster than his heat, Harris couldn’t hold on and narrowly missed out on a medal, in a time just a second off his best(2:10mins).

In Ava’s 1500m final she turned in another solid performance to place 10th, although disappointed, she can look forward to the summer track season after an injury laden winter.