Tuesday, September 30, 2014
Strathearn Harriers hosted another successful race on Sunday with the latest running of the Simon Wake Comrie Hills Relay on Sunday September 14. The event raises money for pancreatic cancer charities and is named for Simon Wake, a keen runner and Harriers member who died of pancreatic cancer in 2008. The race takes a demanding route from Comrie up Glen Lednock via various twists and turns, ascending Crappich Hill and Ben Chonzie before finishing back at Laggan Park via Lord Melville’s Monument and the Deil’s Cauldron. The whole route covers 43 kilometres with 2110 metres of ascent, and is a major event on the hill-running calendar, attracting teams from all over Scotland. This year's route was a slight variation on the usual route, with fallen trees on Leg 1 forcing a beast of a diversion.
The race was won by a very strong team from Carnethy Hill Running Club, one of Scotland’s leading hill-running clubs with some very fine athletes. They took the race in a time of 3 hours 18 minutes and 48 seconds, and also set a new record for Leg 2, which follows a demanding route from Shaky Bridge over Crappich Hill, with a difficult descent to Ballindalloch and a sprint along the road to Invergeldie. In second place was the Westerlands Mens A Mens A team in 3.20.05, beating their third place position last year. Carnethy and Westerlands had a comfortable lead over Corstorphine AAC A team in third place who finished in 3.33.12. In fourth position, and first male vet team, was a strong Strathearn Harriers team of Wattie , making his race debut, Andy Greaves and Digby, Will, (not very fresh from the Helvellyn triathlon a week earlier), and men’s captain Phil T.
First women’s team was Strathearn Harriers Women’s team of Wendy Taylor, Rachel Gallagher and Rhian Evans, making a welcome return to race action, Emily Greaves, and Ruth Howie in 4.28.00. Ruth had to put in a strong finish to hold off Judith Dobson of Kinross Roadrunners, who finished just 31 second behind.
The Strathearn Harriers Mixed Vets team of Elaine M, Mark Dillon and Gordon M, Nic and Fi took the Mixed Vet prize, while the Harriers Men’s B team finished a good tenth, and the Mixed Senior team were 22nd. This was the first year the Harriers have managed to field five teams, a sign of the growing strength in the club.
As usual, there were assorted mishaps on the race route, but only one team failed to complete the race correctly, with the Carnegie C team Leg 1 runner taking a detour which baffled the race organisers. Fortunately, all runners were accounted for by the time of the prize-giving at Laggan Park in the afternoon.
Prizes were presented by Simon’s daughter Sammy, and the prize-giving was accompanied by the now-traditional barbeque, with post-race catering this year looked after by Frances Graham and Lesley Johnston. The race could not happen without a horde of volunteers to act as marshals, time-keepers and caterers, and the club is very grateful to everyone for all their efforts and in particular to the Junior members who did a superb job directing runners on the Leg 1 diversion. The club is also very appreciative of the support given to the event by the local landowners and residents, and to The Famous Grouse for their support in providing prizes.
Full results are here.