Harriers take it easy at Hogmanay ahead of big races

THE start of 2012 has seen a flurry of activity, both locally and in the Big Smoke for Gala Harriers.

The new year Scottish racing programme kicked off, for those who had a moderate Hogmanay, with the Portobello Promathon on January 1.

Fiona Shepherd and Dave Nightingale travelled up to share the four-mile sprint with Edinburgh-based Harriers Fergus Johnston and Carole Fortune, as well as more than 300 other hardy revellers. Fergus steamed home first for the Harriers in 22 minutes 50 seconds and 31st place overall, with Dave 25.05, Fiona 28.07, and Carole 28.31, all thoroughly relishing their restorative seaside outing.

The following day, almost 50 Harriers and Lauder Limpers joined forces for the annual January 2 10-mile run over the Southern Upland Way.

The friendly camaraderie of the day characterises this event – soon to be replaced by the friendly rivalry more usually experienced between the two clubs when racing schedules re-commence, as they did the following weekend with the fifth leg of the Borders Winter Cross Country series at Paxton House (see above).

Just before that, Gala Harriers of all ages were much in evidence at the BUPA Great Winter Runs in Holyrood Park on Saturday, which saw a day of district, celtic and international competition at one of the most scenic locations in the country.

Young Harrier Andrew Hogg 9.59, stormed home in first place in his age group, while sister Cara 10.36, also had a super run, as did Rory Williams 10.17 and Mark Purves 10.41, with Marshall Smith 9.36 and Jamie Kinghorn 9.46, performing equally well in their categories.

Becky Couch 22.42 and Dawn Grant 25.30, also chose to warm up for their cross-country race the next day in the senior 5km.

Later in the day, Harriers who had been selected for district representation featured in winning teams in the women’s races with Kerry Sandilands 18.31, and Lucy Henderson-Morris 18.55, helping their East team to victory in the Under-17 women, and Dianne Lauder 21.10 doing the same in the senior women’s race.

Rowan Marr, with a gutsy 23.58 in the Under-17 men, also justified his East team selection.