Willow Bowl Race 2023

Willow Bowl Race 2023

The Greenock Cut is a popular route for many a Harrier on their training runs, and once a year we get to use it as our very own race track. The Willow Bowl includes a full lap of the cut, starting at Overton and heading clockwise to Cornalees and back to Overton along the cut path for a 7.75 mile course. The race is a conceding handicap, with the plan to see all harriers grouped together charging towards the finish line to take home the prizes! The weather was different for once, the mist and light rain came in just before the start leading to a cold, but almost completely wind free race.

The handicap race provides two prizes, the Willow Bowl itself to the first runner back across the finish line, and the Tommy Knight Trophy for the first veteran runner back home. The handicap committee work hard and use recent races to gauge runners form, prizes often go to those in good form! This year was no different, with Cheryl Thomas returning home over a minute ahead of the field, putting her recent marathon training to the test and running a 10km PB in the middle of the race!

Gary Keogh was second back, also showing the benefit of marathon training, and in third taking the Tommy Knight Trophy was David Carruthers! Graeme Boyce and Helen Crawford rounded out the top 5. The closeness of handicaps showed with the next 3 being separated by just 3 seconds, with Paul Dillon just ahead of Robin McAuslan and Jim Brannigan.

The gents scratch race saw Dylan Crawford pick up his first win in Harriers colours, and takes him clear at the top of the club championship tables. Dylan’s time of 44.43 equals Shaun Lyon’s winning time in 2017 and is joint fastest since Stephen Trainer the year before that. Strength in depth in the mens ranks shows with a 4th different winner in 4 races this year, and Neil Lafferty kept pace in the standings with a second place finish just ahead of Paul Monaghan. Daniel Doherty continues to get back to his best with a 4th place finish, as does Chris Mooney in 5th. Stephen Harrison and Colin McKnight pick up top 10 points for the first time as well.

The ladies scratch race saw Jill Knowles make it 4 wins from 4 in a superb time of 51.38. She was 6th overall in the scratch race, and this is the fastest female Willow Bowl time we have on file (back to 2005), 2 1/2 minutes ahead of Emily Pollock in 2010! A phenomenal run from Jill.

Lorna Mitchell was second female, agonisingly 1 second over the hour, and handicap winner Cheryl was 3rd. Jennifer Telford made her debut in club races having recently joined and ran well. She challenged Viki Smith, narrowly missing top 5, but just edged out Lynne Harrison in 7th.

A massive thank you to all the volunteers on the course, in the clubhouse and in preparation for the race. So much work goes on behind the scenes, and we are lucky to have such dedicated volunteers to keep these races rolling. The next one will be just around the corner, as we look to reschedule the Wilson Trophy in the coming weeks, before we hit the Docherty Cup 10 mile road race on Saturday 1st April at 12 noon.

Results: Dylan Crawford 44:43, Neil Lafferty 46:55, Paul Monaghan 47:19, Daniel Doherty 48:23, Chris Mooney 49:33, Jill Knowles 51:38, Michael McLoone 51:51, Stephen Harrison 54:16, Colin McKnight 54:18, Steven Campbell 54:19, Eric Lindsay 54:38, Gary Keogh 54:59, Graeme Boyce     55:49, Kevin O’Donoghue 56:03, Stephen Hanley 56:06, William Taylor 56:45, Ian McKee 57:45, Robert Dolan 57:51, Greig Turner 58:08, Danny McLaughlin 58:28, Campbell Cromar 59:04, Lorna Mitchell 60:01, Cheryl Thomas 60:21, Richard Jow 60:27, Robin Mcauslan 60:45, Marian Monk 60:53, Callum Gorry 61:28, Viki Smith 61:35, Jennifer Telford 61:54, Lynne Harrison 62:06, Scot Hill 62:21, John Stevenson 63:06, Mark Sullivan 63:07, Stephen Reid 64:06, Paul Dillon 64:14, Paul McCallion (guest) 64:22, Matthew Deegan 64:50, Debbie Mckenzie 65:01, Jim Cuffe 65:22, Jim Brannigan 67:47, Matthew Young 67:51, Nathalie Smith 69:43, Marianne McKay 70:31, Alan ORourke 70:33, Yvonne Prager 76:18, David Carruthers 76:52, Helen Crawford 78:56, Charlotte McKay 78:35