Gala Harriers’ athletes have been enjoying a busy summer in competition up and down the country across a variety of terrains and distances.
With refurbishment underway at Tweedbank from the early summer, the usual track and field training sessions were relocated to the Netherdale pitches, adding a new dimension to the sessions for both junior and senior athletes. Although the club is looking forward to returning home to the new track at Tweedbank very soon, results over the past few months on the grass reflect the hard work of the coaching team and all athletes.
The broad spread of events and locations reached by club members is far-ranging and this end-of-summer report can only hope to scrape the surface of the season’s activity.
The lovely Isle of Barra in the Hebrides hosts what must be one of the most scenic (and toughest last miles) of all Scottish Half Marathons, the Barrathon. Rory Campbell (1 hour 38 minutes and 29 seconds), Anya Campbell (1.41.49) and Kevin Stevenson (1.43.27) enjoyed their circuit of the island in late June, and finished 29 th , 40 th and 45 th respectively out of a large field of 242 runners.
Sinclair Hill led the Harriers home in the Moffat Gala Festival of Running on 9 July in a fine time of 62.26 but there wasn’t much separating the other four club runners – Martin Clarke (64.30) Rachel Fagan (64.50) Derrick Brydon (65.06) and Steve Martin (66.09).
In the Big Smoke, Dianne Lauder’s time (38.55) in the Inter District 10k Championships which are part of the BUPA Great Edinburgh Run on 14 July put down a marker for improvement over the summer months. Her East District team comfortably won the ladies event. On the same day, Jenny Forbes was putting down her own marker in the Kelso 10k, winning the ladies event in 39.54, with an excellent run from young Broc Drury who came 6 th overall in 36.34. There were also great performances from Bob Marshall (40.06) to take the over 60s prize, as well as Derrick Brydon (41.35) Rachel Fagan (42.03) Gerry Moss (48.57) and the Howel family.
Jamie McGowan (37.40) was the only Harrier in the Musselburgh 10k and Sinclair Hill a lonely representative in the steep, testing North Berwick Law Race on 7 August where he placed 17 th out of 256 men in a time of 22.19.
But the biggest turnout was for Teviotdale Harriers’ Half Marathon in late August in Hawick with 11 Gala seniors recording some great times. Dianne Lauder had a fantastic run, shaving a minute and a half off her Edinburgh 10k time, coming home as the first woman in 37.29. Kirstin Maxwell (40.11) and Rachel Fagan (41.02) in 2 nd and 3 rd places ensured a ladies team clean sweep.
A clear focus for hard summer training were the 10k Scottish Masters Road Races in Glasgow on 18 August, run by the Scottish Veterans Harriers Clubs. Graeme Murdoch (34.07) Colin McCall (36.56) and Derrick Brydon (40.16) put in strong performances, but it was the women’s team which swept the board and took top place with Dianne Lauder (37.22) Jenny Forbes (39.22) Rachel Fagan (40.42) and Gillian Duncan (43.28) all performing excellently.
Not to be outdone, there were Harriers who decided to go the distance and push themselves to the limits of endurance. In late June, Keith King entered ‘The Wall’, a 90 mile ultra race along Hadrian’s Wall in Northumberland. His time of 14 hours 10 minutes and 29 seconds in the “Expert’ class gave him 73 rd place out of 322 (and a further 20 or so who didn’t finish!) And DNF was sadly the result for Gina Allan, Joeleen McKean and Nicola Porterfield who were doing well on the gruelling 43 kilometre Lairig Ghru Race in the Cairngorms when Nicola fell and sustained an injury. Both her running mates also pulled out of the race to support her – very much to their credit – and there’s always next year girls!! And Anne Purves completed the Northumberland Coastal Run on one of the hottest July days of the year.
The most recent triumphs were at the Moray Marathon in early September: Jenny Forbes stormed home as the second woman in a superb time of 3 hours 7 minutes and 51 seconds. Dave Nightingale, a veteran over the 26.2 mile distance was only about 2 minutes behind in 3.09.55 and took the 2 nd male supervet prize. Both times were massive personal bests.