Harriers take on the sublime to the ridiculous

THEY say variety is the spice of life and Gala Harriers sure know how to mix it up.

Last weekend saw a range of racing opportunities on offer and Harriers were spotted locally in deerstalkers and a lot of muddy water, as well as in Aberdeen across an ultra distance – with some more conventional events in between.

Early Saturday morning, some runners who feel that a marathon distance is just a bit too short travelled to Aberdeen for the Deeside Way Ultra Run, a 33-mile race following the River Dee for 16.5 miles before turning for the same distance back again to the city. Carole Fortune, a loyal Harrier based in Edinburgh, pulled on her new green and white vest to show a clean pair of heels over the gruelling distance in just over five hours.

Later that day, having enjoyed their deerstalking experiences so much in previous years, Matthew Purves and Lisa Hogg scrambled, waded and slogged their way around the loosely-measured 5km Deerstalker event above Innerleithen, with Purves returning after 1 hour, 11 minutes and Hogg (1.18.05) not terribly far behind.

Not to be outdone, two junior athletes travelled to Rouken Glen Park for the Scottish Athletics Junior Road Race Championships on Sunday morning.

Katie Browne ran a well-judged race in the Under-13 girls’ 2,500m to finish 34th out of 82 in 10 minutes, 48 seconds. Rowan Marr in the Under-17 men’s race, over double the distance, finished in the first half in 17.30.

The Alloa Half-marathon is an iconic race in the athletics calendar and is excellently timed to capitalise on the strength gained during the cross-country season and to build on this for road running during spring and summer.

Six Harriers tested out their winter training over the 13.1 miles to good effect, with Mark Bryson leading them home in 53rd place out of 1,111 runners in a fine time of 1.21.12.

Chasing him down hard was Colin McCall (58th in 1.21.36) with Graham Manczak (1.23.16) and Sinclair Hill (1.25.06) putting in solid performances.

Ally McGilvray (1.43.51) and Dawn Grant (1.45.55) should also be well pleased with their day’s work.