Friday’s Annual General Meeting of Gala Harriers was a triumphant affair, with the club in good shape from all points of view but in particular in athletic achievement, with club captains Rachel Fagan and Derrick Brydon reporting on an excellent year of results for both juniors and seniors alike.
And just the day after, two young Harriers pulled on Scottish vests to represent their country in the Junior Home Hill Running International in Aberfoyle, Perthshire, where very tough conditions over grass and trail in the hilly Queen Elizabeth Park were made all the more difficult by overnight rain.
Louise Mercer has raced for Scotland previously but her plucky performance in the Under 19 Women of 28 minutes 13 seconds helped Scotland pick up the silver medal position with her 11th place overall and 3rd for Scotland.
This was Thomas Otton’s first outing wearing a Scottish vest and, just like Louise, he ensured that his Under 16 age group also brought home silver for their country, placing 12th in an excellent 23.41, also third for his team.
Both youngsters should be commended for their impressive performances, especially under the testing conditions they encountered.
The previous weekend, a handful of Harriers braved the unseasonal conditions in the Great North Run along with Mo Farah and 56,000 others. Supporting a range of different charities, including the Friends of Borders General Hospital, the Harriers were led home by Dave Nightingale in 1 hour 32 minutes and 6 seconds, a remarkable feat following his stunning marathon personal best in Moray just two weeks earlier. Colin Welsh and Christopher Tiemessen (both I.46) Elaine Johnston (2.12) Jill Grainger (2.16) and Anne Purves in a well-earned PB of 2.25 completed the set. The weather had been kinder for father/daughter duo of Graham and Tess Capper (Team G &T) who competed in the Cairngorm Adventure Triathlon the day before. Taking a massive half hour off their previous best time, they canoed, cycled and ran alongside the 100 teams in near-perfect conditions to complete the arduous event in 4 hours 45 minutes, finishing as15th team in the 35 mixed teams competing.
First published 22nd September 2013.