Sunday, January 22, 2017
Strathearn Harriers at the Devil’s Burdens hill relay
Strathearn Harriers got their hill-racing year underway at the weekend with four teams competing in the Devil’s Burdens relay race on the Lomond Hills in Fife. This 20 mile race is run in four legs, starting from Falkland and run anti-clockwise via changeover points in Strathmiglo, Kinnesswood and Maspie Den, with a finish back in Falkland. Two of the legs, over West Lomond to Kinnesswood and back from Kinnesswood to Maspie Den, are run in pairs with navigation skills needed to negotiate the best lines on difficult terrain. Runners from all over Scotland make the trip, including some of Britain’s best hill runners.
Running conditions on Saturday were good, with low-lying fog giving way to bright sunshine on the hilltops. There were a record number of teams running in this increasingly popular race organised by Fife Athletic Club, with five teams from the Harriers.
The men’s race was won by an outstanding team from Shettleston Harriers, repeating their 2015 and 2016 victories in a blistering time of 2.32.47, while the women’s race was won by a strong team from HBT in 3.16.29. Strathearn Harriers Womens’ A team (Strathearn Swans) improved last year’s 7th position in the women’s race to take 6th position this year, in a fine time of 3.52.35. The team, consisting of Sonja McFadden, Emily Greaves and Rhian Evans, Wendy Taylor and Maddy Watson, and Cathy Tilbrook ran a consistent set of legs Emily and Rhian putting in a terrific effort on the difficult Leg 2 with the 4th best women’s time of 1.19.11.
Strathearn Harriers Men’s A team (Strathearn Stags) were first Harriers home, repeating last year’s 12th position in the men’s category in a time of 3.07.39. The Stags team comprised Duthac Mardon making his Devil’s Burden’s debut with a fine run on Leg 1, Will Manners and Roger Goddard, Ben Murphy and Levi Sweeney (also making his Devil’s Burdens debut) and Phil Mestecky.
Next Harriers team in was the Men’s B team (Strathearn Stallions) in 52nd position overall in a time of 3.40.30. The Stallions team comprised Charlie Grimson, Andy Aitken and Doug Flint, Jim Alexander and Andy Gallagher, and Will McLean, another Devil’s Burden’s debutant.
The first Harriers mixed team (Strathearn Squirrels), of Gill Mardon, Gordon Morrison and Iain Thomson, Ruth Clark and Wendy Howell, and David Alexander (also making his Devil’s Burden’s debut), were 7th mixed team, and 66th overall in a time of 4.03.06. The second mixed team (Strathearn Stoats) of Ali Manners, (stepping in at the last minute), Gary Brock and Mark Dillon, Julia Greenlees and Lynne Aitken, another Devil’s Burdens debutant) and Rowan Dillon, all ran well to finish in 103rd position, in a time of 4.29.28.
It was particularly good to have three young runners making their transition from the Juniors to the Seniors. Duthac Mardon, Levi Sweeney and David Alexander all put in a great effort racing alongside their elder and more experienced team-mates, and are all to be congratulated on their contributions to the teams.
Full results are here.