Perth Road Runners’ produced awesome displays of athleticism at the Aviemore half marathon; the penultimate race on the Championship calendar, where many debutants impressed, ‘personal best’s’ were achieved and even podium place finishes were earned.
In near perfect conditions, 865 runners from all over Scotland prepared themselves for this 13.1 mile event; as an initial 5 miles of off-road forest track gave way to the reassuring road back into Aviemore. Ewan Taylor cruised to 3rd place finish in a fantastic time of 1 hour 17 minutes 14 seconds, merely seconds ahead of Club champion Greg Simpson 1:17:37, followed by 3rd placed Veteran Linton Scarborough in 1:22:19.
The sensational pairing of Brian Cooper 1:24:24 and Colin McCreath 1:26:17 recorded brilliant new ‘personal best’ times, setting the trend for a phenomenal performance by Angela Park 1:27:23. First timer Alistair Cant produced a sublime 1:31:03, followed by a terrific displays by John Rudd 1:32:10 and Meike Cooper 1:34:55.
Bob Brown proved a class act finishing in 1:39:21, earning him 2nd Vintage male runner, with David Wood 1:44:30, Allison Brown 1:44:38, Mark Beaumont 1:47:45, Susie Lockett 1:47:52 and Tania Greenhorn 1:49:36 all inspired towards an enthusiastic and spirited pursuit.
A flurry of green vest’s managed a sub 2-hour time, with Rhona McBean 1:53:20, Dave McRae 1:54:35, Linda O’Neil 1:57:00 and Debbie Jackson 1:58:32 nipping over the finish line. Gillian Kerr defied injury niggles and training setbacks with an excellent 2:01:23; as Fiona Drimmie managed a superb 2:17:05. Nothing separated Anne Wombill and Fiona Morrison as they crossed the line together in 2:27:45, and an ecstatic Elaine Ogg completed the scenic course in 2:33:36.
Elsewhere, hot conditions failed to stifle Perth runners at Bridlington half marathon in East Yorkshire, where Mike Dales and Fiona Manson finished in 1:51:29 and 1:52:33, respectively.
The Bank of America Chicago marathon was hosted on Sunday 9th of October, with Hugh Daly crossing the pond and breezing into the Windy city to participate alongside runners from all 50 states and at least 100 other countries. Tackling 26.2 miles around the Illinois city, which sits on the south west of Lake Michigan, was a novel way of celebrating his 48th birthday but coping with the incredible heat proved supremely more problematic than acquiring enough candles. Setting off from Grant Park, Hugh raced along streets, avenues, boulevards and drives, and over numerous bridges; setting himself up for a brilliant bleachers finish on Columbus Drive in 4 hours 10 minutes.
Considerably much closer to home and in far cooler climates; a handful of Perth athletes competed in the East District Cross Country event in Stirling. The 3k course was covered twice by the ladies, as debutant Dolores Ralston completed the 6k race in 28 minutes 57 seconds. The experienced and encouraging presence of Joan Wilson followed Dolores by only a second, finishing in 28:58. The men’s race saw an increase in distance to 3 laps, and subsequently a 9k race, with a strong team representing Perth. David Hunter continued his hugely successful year with a 34 minutes 34 seconds finish, closely followed by another excellent running prospect from Perth Mark Crawford in 34:44. In a fine and welcome return to running, Neil Muir inspired with a 38:46 finish, as did a strong Stephen Ferguson in 39:32 and determined Colin Wilson in 43:12.
Next Cross Country league meeting is in Livingston on Sunday November 20th, with an open invitation to all club members to experience this fantastic, fun and challenging team event. Please contact Simon Grieshaber or Joan Wilson if any members are interested.
Preliminary results indicate some fantastic times were achieved in Aviemore last Sunday so congratulations and well done to all Perth runners; a fuller and more deserving report will be printed next Friday.
The River Ayr Challenge is a 41 mile gruelling test of stamina, fitness and endurance; recognised as the concluding race in the Scottish Ultra Marathon Series (SUMS). Events’ of this nature relentlessly question mental competence and physical ability whilst demanding an obedient focus, particularly when they are contested over eroded pathways and comprise tricky sections of navigation.
Celebrating its 5th anniversary, this exceptionally organised event saw 87 competitors embark from the Glenbuck Dam start, near Douglas, onwards to the Dam Park Stadium finish in Ayr and ‘ultra’ fame. Robin Wombill proved himself equal to the arduous task, having already successfully completed 3 ‘ultras’ this year, he paced out on that cool breezy September Saturday morning. The encouragement from enthusiastic marshals attending a multitude of checkpoints satisfactorily subsided his routine worries and concerns of sufficient training, heightened by the fact that Robin had only 7 weeks’ rest since his last ultra race. But, assuredly, Kames Car Park led into Limmerhaugh, and Sorn Bridge to Haugh Farm then Failford, and the bridges of Gadgarth and Tarholm; all indicating that progress was being made.
The westerly way was blessed with pleasant sunshine, descending upon the vast moorlands which gradually became chiselled gorges and blended into thick woodlands. The picturesque scenery formed an ever-changing background for the 15 mile battle of wills’ meted out by Robin and a few other runners. Robin’s grit and mettle held true, having overtaken his younger rivals and passing through the final checkpoint of Auchincruive, the deep lungful of sea-air meant he was bearing down on the Ayr finish. Cheers of encouragement and the reassuring sight of his ever supportive Anne signified ‘only’ 1.5 miles were remaining. With tired legs and gritted teeth, Robin imagined a solitary lap of the North Inch in Perth and produced an incredible finish, completing the 41 mile race in 8 hours 34 minutes 24 seconds.
There is no mystery or enigma to the legend of Loch Ness, for those seeking to witness the incredible need only spectate the prestigious local marathon. Legend Kenneth Stewart received a trophy commemorating 10 years of dedication and effort of epic proportions to the event, ironically one of only ten similarly committed runners.
Amazingly consistent to competition and lore, Kenneth defiantly donned his trusty kilt and ran the Baxter’s Loch Ness Marathon in 3 hours 34 minutes 47 seconds, finishing a formidable 4th in his category, despite brief periods of rain which burdened his uniquely Scottish running attire with increased weight. Bob Brown managed a 12th category position completing the course in 4:03:55,
followed by a fantastic 2nd place performance by Fiona Hair in 4:23:33 and a sensational Susan Smith in 4:39:04.
More monster efforts were recorded in the 38th Berlin Marathon, as Linton Scarborough lined up in the German capital, in an Eastern European adventure measuring 26.2 miles. Linton hurtled past cultural and historical landmarks such as the Seigessaule, the
Fernsehturm, along the Karl-Marx-Allee, and reduced the Potsdamer Platz and Reichstag to a peripheral blur, concluding the race, just beyond the Brandenburg Gate, in a phenomenal time of 3 hours and 10 seconds.
Over 5,500 runners participated in the Great Edinburgh 10k, as the slightly hilly route was embellished by the iconic structures of the Capital. Competitors fled the Holyrood Park start, passing the Castle, the National Museum and Art Gallery, Scott Monument, and even Greyfriars’ Bobby statue, finishing between the Scottish Parliament Building and Holyrood Palace. Steve Bonthrone managed a terrific sub-40 minute time, finishing in 39 minutes 47 seconds, followed by a superb Simon Grieshaber in 41:49. The ‘Auld Reekie’ event saw Robert MacDonald record a great 48:35, while a dynamic Gemma Simpson and energetic Allison McArthur crossed the line in 52:35 and 59:21, respectively.
The incredible running exploits of a few dedicated Perth runners proved a bountiful fortnight as the running calendar competitively intensifies.
The inaugural Carthes half marathon in Aberdeenshire brimmed with personal best potential, as the relatively flat 13.1 miler was hosted in near perfect weather conditions and incorporated a couple of off-road sections for variety. Rhona McBean completed the maiden event 2 hours 1 minute and 2 seconds.
A Perth quintet were among the 866 competitors ensuring that Stirling 10k celebrated its eleventh event in grand style. James Fotheringham produced a sublime 39 minute 24 seconds finish on this Riverside route, which is also favourable for PB opportunity.
As the course rarely strays from the River Forth, Alistair Cant and Dolores Ralston were on target with fantastic 41:22 and 44:33 finishes, respectively, followed by Robert MacDonald in 46:13 and Debbie Jackson 51:10.
It was destination South Shields for a trio a Perth runners competing in the Great North Run, relishing the company of over 38,000 participants at the Newcastle start. As the myriad crossed Tyne Bridge and swept throughout the North East, it was estimated that a record crowd, exceeding 150,000, encouraged the Sunday morning runners. A terrific Tyneside performance by Lenny Burnett saw him finish in 1 hour 28minutes 26 seconds, leading the way for Wendy Burnett 2:03:35 and Maureen Summers 2:14:28.
Last Sunday saw the East Neuk 10k ‘out and back’ race fiercely contested and well represented with over 270 runners in attendance.
David Hunter excelled over the East Neuk multi-terrain course with a 7th place overall finish in the tremendous time of 37 minutes 7 seconds, and an impressive 45:16 time for Calum Fletcher, clipping over 2 minutes off his Foffar 10k time from only last month.
A terrific turnout for the club’s annual Target Zero competition saw 19 runners apprehensively guess their finishing time on a clandestine course around Moncrieff Hill. Careful consideration was required as muddy stretches, tough undulations and forestry work blighted sections of the 5.25 mile route.
Nicola Crowe’s shrewd prediction of 44 minutes 44 seconds meant she recorded the closest winning deficit by 52 seconds, meriting a bottle of fine champagne and the accolade of the first female name ever to be engraved on the trophy; her actual time was 43:52, securing yet another victory this year. Erni Hamilton’s efforts and Steven Bonthrone’s speed earned them the respective titles of fastest female and male, with each being awarded a bottle of wine for their rapid performances. The club is appreciative to all who attended and equally grateful to the voluntary efforts of Richard Lockett, Grant Wooler and Stephen Ferguson.
“Magnificent” is the most appropriate description of the performances by Perth’s elite runners at the 30th annual Moray Marathon running event. Brian Cooper produced a sublime PB performance as he cruised around the 26.2 mile loop in 3 hours 4 minutes 39 seconds, achieving a 13th place finish from a field of 173 runners. Following this awe-inspiring path home, Colin McCreath equalled
the PB achievement with a fantastic 3:13:35 run, with debutant Allison Brown excelling with a brilliant 3:50:49 finish. A fine and welcome return to running saw Neil Muir complete the 10k race in an outstanding 40 minute 25 second finish, placing him in 15th from a teeming pack of 319.
Marianne McLevy marvelled in the recent Gateside Gallop, a tough and challenging 4 mile multi terrain evening race which boasts serious initial climbs, in 38 minutes 53 seconds. While the short ferry crossing over to Isle of Cumbrae 10 mile race failed to affect the sturdy sea legs of David Hunter, who achieved a new PB in 62 minutes 40 seconds, and a tremendous 10th place finish from a field of 99 competitors.
Running tangent from the club’s championship competitions, a number of Perth’s elite proved size doesn’t matter, as they excelled in a variety of personal challenges and race distances. Firstly, an apology to Debbie Jackson who was accidently omitted from last weeks’ Perth 10k results; she completed the local race in 51 minutes 51 seconds.
As testament to his relentless training and commitment to Kirkcaldy’s 5 race series, Grant Strachan was awarded 2nd place in the Male Senior category, after running the final Beveridge Park 5k race in 20 minutes 50 seconds.
A slight increase in distance, as 156 runners participated in the Graham Clark Memorial 3.9 mile race, which consists of three laps of the Knockhill circuit. A quartet of Perth runners was led by Mike Dales, recording a fine finish in 27 minutes 53 seconds, followed by Hugh Daly in 28:34. Fiona Manson sped home in 29:53, as Debbie Jackson chalked up a new course PB in 31:14.
Upping the mileage again and heading north, as the annual Forfar 10k and its 236 competitors were “blessed with perfect day”. This event is a looped course, beginning from Farmington Football Club Market Muir and circles round the rear of Lunanhead and onto the park finish. New club member Callum Fletcher posted a terrific 47 minutes 23 seconds while the experienced Bob Brown secured a 49:04 finish.
Glasgow hosted another fine spectacle, as the ‘Great Scottish Run’ accommodated for 7,448 10k and 8,473 half marathon runners; opting for the former, Robert MacDonald enjoyed a terrific race in 47 minutes 4 seconds. Negotiating I-pod shufflers and St Vincent Street strollers, David Hunter and Kevin Judge only really began to stretch their legs over the Kingston Bridge, ensuring a tight neck-and-neck rivalry up to mile 8 in Pollok Country Park. An inspirational performance by David Hunter earned him a 4th junior and 119th overall position in 1 hour 23 minutes 49 seconds, with 128th Kevin Judge a mere 13 seconds delay finishing in 1:24:02, and a tremendous effort by Chris Paton saw him finish in 1:51:08.
Worryingly, an unusually high number of runners required medical assistance during and after the race, due to the increasing midday heat. Thousands of runners are deeply indebted to the volunteers and people of Glasgow, who supported, soaked and refreshed the mobilised masses with an abundance of water bottles, sponges and garden hoses. Perth’s ladies also displayed fantastic form and similar close contest’s, with Debbie Jackson narrowly leading the green vest home to the Glasgow Green finish in 2:01:17. Hot on Debbie’s heels was the near unshakable Rhona McBean and resolute Susan Smith in 2:01:50 and 2:02:14, respectively.
Twenty eight years ago, friends and families, debutants and athletes, local heroes and international representatives made up the 600 plus runners who embarked on a 6 mile jaunt round Perth. Admirably Bill Crabb, then race organiser, deemed the distance achievable and banded the rewarding themes of improving community pride and morale with the fun and simple promotion of running in fair city. Whilst G. Bell, of Invergowrie, annihilated the 6 mile course in a seriously phenomenal 31 minutes 30 seconds, the challenge was also accepted by a cross-dressing contingent from the Sandeman Library and a gorilla-suited runner, by the name of K. Kong, who aped around the North Inch race.
Nearly three decades later, in an audaciously exhaustive and exemplary fitting display of cross disciplines and close communal connections, many of Perth Road Runners elite can brag monster efforts, verging on the mythical, as they dragged themselves over the George Duncan track finish last Sunday.
Perth’s green vests rarely shirk a challenge; so when a Saturday morning cycling of 50 to 100 miles was organised on their Scone doorstep, naturally Nicola Crowe, Helen McLeod, Claire Douglas, Angela Park, Nicola Lessells, Erni Hamilton, Tania
Greenhorn, Karen Walters, Kenneth Stewart, Colin McCreath, Anthony Jackson, Greg Simpson and Kevin Judge couldn’t resist this local Highland gauntlet. Possibly not recommended preparation for a 10k race, but despite heavy legs and strong winds, the club’s biking Bravehearts tackled the Perth event with incredible August gusto.
Race director Steven Bonthrone, indebted to race day volunteers, ensured a fine fair city run, which lapped the athletics track twice before descending past Jeanfield Swifts Riverside stadium and linking onto the cycle path towards the North Inch. A double lap of the Inch saw enthusiastic crowds cheering and encouraging over 300 runners back to the grandstand finish.
Ewan Taylor excelled on home turf; with a sensational 3rd place finish in 35 minutes 8 seconds, followed by a fascinating duel between top guns’ Greg Simpson (7th) 36:56 and Linton Scarborough (10th) 37:16. Kevin Judge capped his usual weekend heroics, managing a super 38:19 finish, meanwhile a fantastic James Fotheringham achieved yet another PB in his spectacular season with an amazing time of 39:16.
With next week’s Moray Marathon in mind, both Brian Cooper and Colin McCreath produced fine 40:17 and 40:38 finishes respectively, while solid showings by David Burrows 40:42, Derek McIntosh 40:50 and Simon Grieshaber 41:32 proved an inspirational pack for Alistair Cant who claimed a new PB in 42:04.
Nicola Crowe taught the competition a running lesson; in a triad of accomplishments she was awarded the 1st Local Lady Trophy, merited with full points as 1st Female Perth Road Runner and achieved a new PB in 42:42. Reflecting upon an incredible week of cycling excursions and running awards, a victorious and exuberant Nicola, was overwhelmed by the support and the efforts of all runners, considering the windy weather conditions and weary legs.
Next home was Perth 10k first timer John Rudd 42:48, who led the way for seasoned pro’s David Norrie 43:21, Kenneth Stewart 44:06 and Robert Thornton 44:52, as Allison Brown 44:48 and Joan Wilson 45:58 proved a flying female duo, swooping round the track finish marginally ahead of another grizzled performance by Bob Brown 46:15. Twelve seconds separated the efforts of Derek Belford 46:30 and David Wood 46:42, while promising new club member Chris Paton, debuting at this distance, secured a fantastic 46:52.
Stuart Wylie 47:07 swiftly led a trio of female green vests to the blustery finish, headed by Elaine Laidlaw 49:40, Tania Greenhorn 50:09 and Marianne McLevy 50:13. Notable friends and family to the club recorded rare race times, where a cool Meike Cooper breezed home in 45:13 and an ecstatic Kevin Greenhorn 47:05 stormed to a new PB finish. The defiantly close-knit grouping of Linda O’Neil 52:03, Fiona Hair 52:13 and Rhona McBean 52:34 steered around the track, heedless of the full exposure to gale force cross winds, and leading the way for a ‘PB’ performance by Allison McArthur 54:30.
The atmosphere within the stadium was elevated by the finishes of Nicola Lessells 55:33, Sally Newton 57:26 and Fiona Morrison 1:05:01, where appreciative applause from the family, friends and fellow club members’ resonated upward whilst perfectly
encompassing the true spirit of effort and fun beheld by the original race.