The day dawned bright, cold and clear for the Stranraer 10k on Saturday.
For those athletes feeling the chill, the infamous Galla Hill soon sorted that out, just a couple of miles in and runners were rewarded with breathtaking – in more ways than one – views over the Wigtownshire countryside.
It was a very well attended by the Galloway Harriers, with 17 runners taking part in the club’s most local 10k event. With new members and old, there was fantastic strength in depth with a strong prospect for some good results.
The race was hotly contested at the front by Mickey Breen from Corstorphine AAC (32:37), Kyle McLellan from Nithsdale AC (32:49) and Robert Gilroy from Ronhill Cambuslang Harriers (32:57) with just 20 seconds separating these first three men. Regular winner Kerry Liam Wilson (33:20) had to settle for fourth overall and first M40. First female home in another incredibly fast finish was Jennifer Emsley of Arran Runners, who was a superb seventh overall in 36:46. Her long limbs saw her knock more than seven minutes off her nearest female rival.
Ross Bark (38:04, eighth male) was first home for the Galloway Harriers in 11th position overall, a fantastic run after very little training due to his flourishing children’s entertainer business. He was fast enough to claim first local male for the sixth year in a row. There was a great inter-club tussle along the route between fellow team-mate Adrian Leach, who ran an excellent race to come home just six seconds behind Bark in 38:10, claiming third place in the M40 and 12th place overall. Club endurance hero Rick Williams proved that he’s not all about long distance with a superb PB run of 40:09 for 17th place overall and first M45.
First female home for the Galloway Harriers was Kerry Maxwell of Gatehouse, who continued her excellent season with a 44-minute dead run to claim second female and first F45, 36th overall. She was followed just 12 seconds later by club stalwart John Plumridge (44:12), who ran a fine race to claim first M60 and 38th overall. Plumridge was to have the upper hand over Peter Horsell in another inter-club rivalry, as Horsell followed home in 45:01 for second M60, 46th overall. Brian Harrison was the next athlete to cross the line and in a PB time of 45:04 to boot. He took 48th overall and seventh M40 for his efforts.
In the third of the unofficial inter-club competitions, Paul Cleer took advantage of David Beattie’s post-holiday form to finish in 56th overall, eighth M50 in 46:40 with Beattie following in 47:32 (64th overall, 10th M45). Adam Green, on leave from the Royal Navy, enjoyed the race around his home town and completed in 48:05 for 69th overall and 30th Male.
Chrissie Vincent was second female home for the club with a 48:17 finish, claiming second F45 and 70th overall. An excellent race for Vincent off a season of endurance work. Sister Pat Bennett, who has been doing the endurance races with her sister, followed in 100th place overall and second F50. Local GP Emer Beattie was fourth lady back for the Harriers, a minute behind Bennett in 53:24, 4th F45, 112th overall. Jemma McNeill and her pregnant bump were next to cross the finish line for the club in a respectable 56:31, 128th overall and 11th Female – definitely the last race for the unborn McNeill.
Ailsa Taggart finished in a good time of 56:47 for the hilly course, taking 131st overall and fourth F50, a great race to add to a strong season’s performances. Marie Horsell took the honours of gracefully bringing the club home with a 1:02:47 for 168th place, fourth F55. If only they had a F60 category, surely the glory would all be hers!
Not only content with a haul of individual trophies, the Harriers claimed second men’s team prize for Leach, Williams and Plumridge, only to miss out on first place due to late registration by Ross Bark, meaning her didn’t qualify for team prizes. The ladies did the double, scooping first and second team prizes with Maxwell, Vincent and Bennett in the first team and Beattie, McNeill and Taggart in the second.
A fantastic day’s racing for all Harriers, coming away with eight individual trophies and three team trophies, on top of a couple of PBs.
Anyone keen to join in, visit www.gallowayharriers.co.uk.