Harriers eat up the capital miles

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A HEADY mix of road races in Edinburgh at the weekend and the charming Gypsy Hill Race near Peebles last week saw a good number of Gala Harriers putting their training to the test over a variety of terrain and distance.

The Gypsy Glen Race enticed Rachel Fagan and Derrick Brydon to don their fell shoes and race up and down a hill at a cracking pace, finishing 22nd and 23rd in times of 39 minutes and 35 seconds and 39.56 respectively.

The Edinburgh Marathon Festival mounts a range of road races over the course of a long weekend and, in contrast to the past two years, Saturday and Sunday on the city’s streets were wet, cool and extremely windy.

Sinclair Hill sped efficiently around the 10k distance on Saturday in 39.38, achieving 14th place out of 1,242 runners.

The next day, half-marathon runners started at 8am and the line-up included seasoned Scottish internationalist Dianne Lauder and first-timer Vicky MacDonald. Lauder put in another great performance in 1.19.58, coming home as the first Scottish woman, while MacDonald was equally chuffed with her personal best time of 1.57.39.

The roads were cleared for the next onslaught of full marathon and Hairy Haggis marathon relay teams. Streets congested with the thousands of runners from both events meant that the first miles were more like a slalom, but six Harriers managed to make light work of it and progressed over the 26.2 miles to excellent times in the difficult conditions.

The strong following wind on the way out meant that most had a very favourable first half, but the turn into the relentless gales for the tough homeward miles mitigated against personal best times for many. Harriers results: Calum Stewart (3.05.54), Mark Bryson (3.10.45), David Moffat (3.14.19 pb), Carole Fortune (3.34.59), Dave Nightingale (3.41.18), John Cairns (3.45.26).

The club had entered three mixed teams in the relay over the marathon distance and, spurred on by the promise of a President’s Prize for the first team home, 12 runners (pictured) blasted their way around the three handovers, all to finish well under the 3.5 hour mark. Eileen Nicol, Rachel Fagan and Derrick Brydon handed over to Dawn Grant, David Hunter and Fiona Shepherd, who in turn passed the baton to Billy McCulloch, Paul Daly and Malky Gowans, and the final glory legs were run by Rosi Capper, Lisa Daly and Anne Purves.