ROAD racing has started in earnest and Gala Harriers have found themselves on the starting line at a variety of races this month.
On Sunday they took to the streets of a very sunny, but cool, London. 40,000 runners of all ages, shapes and sizes turned up for what is the biggest fundraising event in the world and surely one of the most colourful events in the athletics calendar, the Virgin London Marathon.
In a dress rehearsal for London 2012, there were races within races as Olympic selection for many competing countries was high on the agenda.
Further down the field, there were also achievements to write home about as seven Gala Harriers had succeeded in securing a place, as well as one of the newest club members, Samantha Kinghorn.
Earlston High School pupil Samantha, 16, has been training exceptionally hard at Tweedbank in her racing wheelchair and over the mini-marathon distance achieved a spectacular second place, a tremendous performance in her first appearance in the capital.
More seasoned Harriers took on the 26.2 miles in near-perfect racing conditions with the crowd support better than ever this year. First home for the club was Fergus Johnston in three hours, six minutes and 10 seconds. Billy McCulloch put heart and soul into his impressive 3.22.01, with super vet Margot Crosbie flying in 3.38.39. Fiona Shepherd in 3.49 wasn’t far behind, with Eileen Nicol, a regular and successful campaigner in London, finishing in 3.55.33 after a storming first half.
Dawn Grant, who has already broken the four-hour mark in previous marathons, this time chummed up with Gina Allen in her debut marathon, both recording 4.04.08.
Earlier in the week, Monday night training was transformed into the Harriers’ handicapped Hollybush 10km, with the coveted trophy going to Jenny Forbes having returned from a clearly successful year of training in New Zealand.
Holding on to second place with a determined run was Keith King, with Colin McCall storming through the field to secure third place.
One day earlier, Gerry Moss had taken on the newly-named Rock ’n’ Roll Edinburgh Half Marathon and came home in a pleasing one hour 46 minutes 19 seconds, while the previous weekend, Steve Martin ran his first marathon in Lochaber, finishing in three hours and 35 seconds.
z Eighteen-year-old Sophie Elder from Jedburgh started her outdoor season on Sunday at Meadowbank in the senior women’s 400m with a personal best of 60.51.
Sophie, who competes for Lasswade AC, finished fourth overall, competing in a very experienced field.
The time ranks Sophie sixth overall in Scotland for the women’s under-20 age group.