Harriers are off and running

Galloway Harriers at the Castle Douglas five miler
Galloway Harriers at the Castle Douglas five miler

Summer has been a busy time for the Galloway Harriers, with many races at local gala and civic week celebrations as well as further afield, in both running and triathlon.

With holidays and visitors, representation at the various events has been varied but at least a handful of black and white vests have been seen trotting up and down the roads and hill representing the club.

As some of the races are smaller events, we do not have the usual detailed results for some races.

Wigtown offered a 10k race as part of its Community Festival Week for the second year. A fairly small field of competitors took part, across an undulating route, with a long climb to finish. The Harriers had five athletes participating, with Ross Bark coming home first male followed by local Wigtown lad and fellow Harrier Matthew Robinson. Paul Cleer was next home, closely followed by mum-to-be Jemma McNeill who was first female. Martina Moore followed a few minutes later to complete the group. A very friendly and well organised event. The Harriers hope to see more participants support it next year.

Next on the race agenda was Castle Douglas five miler. A circular loop that goes out to the south of the town towards Gelston and loops back into the west of Carlingwark loch. A very popular midweek race, it was very well attended by a strong field of local club runners, including 10 from the Galloway Harriers and two junior Harriers in the youth event. The winning time came from Dumfries Running Club in a blistering time of 28 minutes. First home for the Harriers was Rick Williams, followed closely by Matthew Robinson, with John Plumridge a short way behind. Kerry Maxwell was first female home for the club, chased by Peter Horsell. Paul Cleer and David Beattie continued their ongoing rivalry, with Paul coming out on top this time. Simon and Ailsa Taggart followed next, with Marie Horsell bringing up the rear for the club beautifully.

Roon the Watter at Gatehouse of Fleet continued the theme of midweek racing the following week, with its annual six-mile event. Always a well attended and organised affair, this year was no exception. Despite the very damp and chilly conditions, 125 athletes tackled the course, which takes in the beautiful scenery either side of the Fleet to the north of the town with Mark Ince coming home first in a speedy 34:52. The testing course was taken on by 14 Harriers and one guest Harrier, with local man Jim Haworth being first home for the club in 37:01. Jim collected the prize for first local male and second male 40-54 for his efforts.

Matthew Robinson followed a couple of minutes later with a great sub-40 run to finish in 39:48 and claim second male 17-39. Paul Cleer pipped John Plumridge (first supervet) by five seconds for third Harrier home in 42:50 with Peter Horsell (second supervet) just a few yards further back in 43:01. Kerry Maxwell proved her continuing form with a 44:26 and first female Harrier home, with David Beattie running a solid race to earn a 44.53 finish. Jemma McNeill paced her sister, guest Harrier for the night, Shelley Hardwick, to an excellent 46:50 time, beating Hardwick’s husband’s time last year by nearly a minute. Great bragging rights!

Triathlete Brian Harrison produced a 48:20 with Stranraer Harrier Allan Strang, who has been lying low of late, coming to the fore with a 49:27. Emer Beattie ran strongly to achieve a 52:42 with Simon Taggart behind at 53:30 and wife Ailsa on 54:47. Sarah Haworth proved her mettle once again to finish in 57 flat. Emily Cleer (first girl), Ruairi and Bronagh Beattie also took part in the youth event.

Turning to the other end of the mileage calendar, Chrissie Vincent and sister Pat Bennett took on the challenge of the Salisbury 54321, a 50K race that takes in 5 rivers, 4 hills, 3 country estates, 2 castles, and 1 cathedral. As part of their training for the River Ayr Way Challenge, which they plan to compete in later this month, they took on this race, their first over the ultra running distance (anything over marathon distance). Despite injury for Chrissie and a nasty knock on the knee in a training run for Pat just weeks before they event, the siblings completed the race in a very respectable 6:16:24. Well done girls! Some 118 started the race and four did not finish.

Finally, eight Harriers took part in the Great Scottish Run in Glasgow on September 2. With 8731 athletes taking part in the half-marathon and 7776 in the 10k, Glasgow was a busy place for runners that day. Just two Harriers took on the 10k, with Lorri Graham coming back from injury to post an excellent 56:08 (2453rd) and Lindsey Clarke in 1:06:21. Junior Harrier Emily Cleer achieved a fantastic third place in her junior run the previous day. In the half-marathon, six Harriers raced with some fantastic results for such a large field. Matthew Robinson (834) took two minutes off his PB to run a fabulously fast 1:37:21. John Plumridge (1052) also ran excellently to produce a sub-1:40 with 1:39:17, followed a couple of minutes later by Paul Cleer (1464) with another great run – 1:42:38. Adam Green (1488) proved that youth can run without training to run a fantastic 1:42:50, followed by George Winchester (3480) in 1:55:10 and Ailsa Taggart (5335) who, as ever, crossed the line with a smile in 2:05:36.

The club’s triathletes have also been busy with races in Cumbria, Northumberland and closer to home at Crossmichael. David Beattie has been a busy athlete fitting in the Prince Bishop Triathlon on August 12 and Lakeland Standard Triathlon on August 18.

The first included a very tough cycle and rather extreme off-road run, but Beattie battled well to finish in 3:02 (48th out of 72 starters). The second event offered less of a challenging course, although was marred slightly by marshalling errors on the run section. Beattie’s race was unaffected but to try to make it fair for those who had run further, the overall placings ignored the run times, meaning Beattie’s placing doesn’t reflect his strong run element. However, it was a solid race of 2:52 (166th out of 269 starters). Four of the club’s multisporters took on Crossmichael’s reinstated triathlon on September 2 with some excellent results. Galloway Harrier Ian Hannah had a brilliant race to win the event in 2:31. An outstanding result for a very talented and dedicated athlete. Jim Haworth followed in 2 48 and an almighty tussle, which ebbed and flowed throughout the event, continued between David Beattie (2 57) and Brian Harrison (2 59).