Tuesday, September 12, 2017
Success for the Harriers at the SWCHR, with first overall team, first women's team, and first mixed vets team, and a clutch of men's and women's leg winners. This splendid report comes from Phil Mestecky, whose own strength and nous came to the fore on Leg 2 to put the men's team in a commanding position.
What a day for the club! A brilliantly organised race, happy visitors, a wonderful barbecue and home baking smorgasbord and a hatful of prizes!
Hats off to Kerry and her team who have put in a lot of work and planning to make the day safe, efficient and fun. Your work is hugely appreciated by our club and all the other clubs that came along today! Kerry, in turn would like to thank everyone who helped her put the race on too.
On behalf of myself, Em, Phil and Gordon we would like to say a big thank you to each and every one of you who contributed to the success of today's race.There are so many elements to this race and without those who run it, marshal it, mark it out, break it down, cater and order food for it, strim the bracken, transport the essentials from the lock up, time it, compile the results, provide the PA, bake for it, man the parking for it, cheer the runners on and the landowners who allow us to use their land the race would just not happen. I am grateful to the team who work with me and to my family who all add lots of support to ensure it goes like clockwork. I would also like to say an extra special thank you to those that are not part of the club but come along and give your time regardless. It goes without saying that the team captains put together a bunch of keen committed runners today, congratulations to you all.
In the race itself, the weather played its part and undoubtedly allowed us to use our local knowledge to full advantage. Legs one and 2, in particular, resembled the Whacky Races with teams spinning off in all directions at times.
For the men’s team, Aaron put in a very solid shift on Leg 1 bringing us home in 4th place in 52.46. Andrew Irvine ran strongly too to finish just 5 mins later. Sonja crept in under the hour with the fastest women’s time and Nicola led off the Mixed Vet team in 1.07.53.
On Leg 2, route choices and a fast descent allowed team captain, Andrew and Leg 2 Specialist, Phil M to overhaul the three teams ahead of them and put 5 minutes of clear water between them at the handover. Their time of 48.05 in very boggy conditions was good enough to win the stage and give Andrew his first Grouse. Doug and Jim were the second fastest on the stage finishing in 52.26 with Ruth and Emily coming home in 57.15, also collecting a brace of Grouse as 1st women’s team. Fran and Rachel chose some clever lines through the mist to clock 65.21.
For Leg 3, it was onwards and upwards into the bad weather with 30ft visibility, heavy rain and strong winds. Despite a good run from Ben (1.19.15), he was overtaken by HBT and Ochils leaving some work for Sol on Leg 4. Greta showed her strength and determination to record an excellent 1.22.33 to come past Carnethy and put our women’s team in first place and gain her a Grouse for fastest woman on Leg 3. Iain Thomson ran an impressive leg recording a time of 1.34.40 but, unfortunately, Andy Gallagher lost the path in the poor conditions and lost 5 to 10 mins as he tried to find his way back on track.
With a 9 minute deficit after leg 3, Sol had a lot to make up. His time of 41.54 was just 6 seconds short of the course record. After 12 years and many excellent teams taking part in this event, that is an incredible performance. By Shakey Bridge he was in 2nd place and eating great chunks out of the lead. By the end, Sol had eased into first place and created a buffer of 2 mins having run an amazing 12 mins faster than the HBTrotter!
Maddy could have coasted home to victory for the ladies, but she too had an eye on the whisky and duly clocked a leg-winning time of 61.30. Unbeknownst to Janine and Lauren as they were both involved in the Leg 4 mass start, they were locked in the tightest of duals between the Mixed Vets Team and the Mixed team. It came down to just 7 seconds with the youngsters (!) holding off a valiant effort by Janine. However, the silver lining was that they were crowned victors of the Mixed Vet category.
So, in all, we claimed Overall Race Winners, Women’s Winners, Mixed Vets winners, Stage 2 men and women leg winners, Women’s Leg 3 winners, Leg 4 men and Leg 4 Women winners.
Full race results are on the SWCHR race pages