Strathearn Harriers - New Year's Day Run 2014

Simon Wake Comrie Hills Relay

Monday, September 3, 2018

A soggy Sunday saw another successful running of the club's Simon Wake Comrie Hills Relay. After last year’s multiple wins, hopes were high for more podium positions and prizes for the Harriers, but sadly, injury and navigational mishaps put paid to those hopes. However, despite the difficult conditions, a new women’s course record was set by a very strong team from Hunters Bog Trotters, from Edinburgh.

At the end of Leg 1, Corstorphine AAC had a comfortable lead of 2 minutes ahead of the  HBT Men’s A team, with the HBT Women’s A team leading the way in the women’s race. First Harriers team in to the first handover was the Men’s Vets team, with Jim McConnell running his usual strong race in 58.33. Andrew Irvine for the Harriers Men’s A team was next in, with Julia Greenlees for the Women’s B team not far behind. Race debutants Stuart McAviney and Keira Reid ran well for the Men’s B and Women’s C teams. Unfortunately, Sonja McFadden for the  Women’s A team was unable to complete her leg with an injury.

At this point, things got interesting, with navigation on the difficult Leg 2 proving to be a key factor in the way the race developed for the Harriers teams. Corstorphine maintained their lead, but with a reduced gap over the Lennox Legs, a team comprised entirely of the Lennox family, including Jethro Lennox, for many years one of Scotland’s finest hill runners. In the women’s race, Jill Stephen of HBT set a new women’s leg record in a very impressive 48.42.

The Harriers Vets team lost their position in the club standings on Leg 2 as Andy Gallagher tried some of his famous shortcuts, and rumour has it that a Carnegie runner (or was a Carnethy runner?) following Andy in the belief that a local runner would know where he was going gave up on that tactic after visiting the same checkpoint twice.

Meanwhile Al Nicholl ran well for the Men’s B team to pull them up in the standings. Rachel Gallagher for the Women’s B team wasn’t far behind with an excellent 1.01.10, and Josie Goodfellow made a good race debut for the  Women’s C team. And for the  second leg running, the Harriers lost a team when Aaron Dawson put his foot down a rabbit hole and wrenched his knee, and was unable to complete the race.

With cloud down to the 400m level on the Ben Chonzie leg, careful navigation was needed to find the first checkpoint, and this proved to be the undoing of Corstorphine, who lost their lead to HBT and Lennox Legs, while the HBT women widened their lead considerably. Gary Brock ran very well for the Harriers Men’s B team, while Tony Wayte managed to make good some of the time lost on Leg 2 for the Vet’s team. Nicola Watson and Fran Loots ran solidly for the Women’s B and C teams. Special mention needs to be made of Phil T, Liz M, Levi S and David A marshalling up the hill in particularly foul weather. 

At the end of Leg 4, HBT had widened their margin of victory, with Corstorphine pulling back into second place and the Carnethy Harriers A team pulling into third place. In the women’s race, HBT set a new course record of 3.56.55, and won by a massive 40 minute margin, ahead of Kinross Road Runners and the Carnegie Buccaneers. Iain Thomson bought the Harriers Male Vets home as the first club team in 4.58.13, just squeaking ahead of the Rowan Mestecky running for the Men’s B team in 4.59.40, with the Women’s B and C teams working hard a bit further back, with solid runs from Lynne Aitken and Janine Grant.

For Kinross Road Runners, Jillian Gordon marked a successful return to the area, having won the women's race at the Strathearn Marathon earlier in the summer and sharing in the Women's V40 prize with the redoubtable Judith Dobson and team-mates Fiona Nisbet and Lynne Hunter.

Although not in the running for team prizes after Sonja's injury, the Harriers women did themselves proud, with Maddy Watson recording the second fastest women's time for Leg 2, in 55.28, and Greta Dargie, making a very welcome return, recording the second fastest women's time for Leg 3 in 1.23.42.

Race organiser Kerry Sweeney expressed her thanks to everyone who helped with the event: “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.”

This is Kerry’s last year as race organiser, and she’s already looking forward to running in the race next year. 

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.


Men                 Hunters Bog Trotters 3.28.24

Women           Hunters Bog Trotters 3.56.55 (first women’s team under 4 hours)

Men V40         Carnethy 4.14.09

Women V40    Kinross Road Runners 4.37.19

Mixed              Slow and steady wins the teddy 4.08.05

Full results are here.