Famous races attract top performances from Gala runners

Gala Harrier Isla Paterson, left, on the podium at the Great North Run.
Gala Harrier Isla Paterson, left, on the podium at the Great North Run.

In a busy period of racing for the Gala Harriers, there have been a number of terrific displays.

Great North Run – Taking place over a 13.1 mile route between Newcastle, through Gateshead and down to the coast at South Shields, the Great North Run is the biggest half-marathon in the world, with over 57,000 participants.

Three Gala Harriers made the trip south of the border to take on the challenge and they all made sure the effort was worth the journey.

Running a big half-marathon PB, Clark Scott was the first Gala Harrier over the line in a superb time of 1:16:04 and a top 100 finish.

Katy Barden ran a terrific race in 1:25:41 for 472nd overall and a very impressive placing in her category.

Finally, David Nightingale has run this race over 20 times and continued a string of impressive performances, finishing in 1:39:02.

As part of the GNR event, a number of shorter races were held on the previous day. Underlining her great talent and potential, Isla Paterson raced to a second-place finish in the GNR Junior 4k event.

Ben Nevis Race – Established in 1951, the Ben Nevis Race is a classic race in the hill-running calendar. Starting and finishing in the outskirts of Fort William, competitors race from the foot of Ben Nevis to the top, then back again, covering 14 km and 1340 metres (4400 ft) of ascent.

Gala Harriers were represented by Bob Johnson, who did himself and the club proud. Battling all the way, Bob came home in a terrific second place in the MV60 category.

Stirling 10K – Hosted by Central Athletic Club, the 18th annual City of Stirling 10k took place on Sunday, which again incorporated the Scottish Athletics 10k road race championships. The fast and flat route attracts a strong field of runners, especially in a year where it also includes the national championships.

Two athletes took to the start line in the green and white vest of Gala Harriers. Marcus D’Agrosa raced to a PB time to make the top 50 in a high-class field in 32 min 30 seconds, a superb run. Also having a great run, Julie Johnstone moved ever closer to a sub-40 outing, finishing in 40 min 39 secs and 10th place in the FV40 category.

Henderson Cup – Gala Harriers also recently held their annual Henderson Cup club race. It is run in two parts, with a one-mile scratch race on the Tweedbank track, followed by a staggered start to the 2.5 mile trail run on the banks of the River Tweed.

Well done to everyone who competed but special congratulations to the podium of Paul Golden, who romped home first, with Angela Jewitt taking second place and Grant Dilasser third. Well done also to Fiona Cowbrough, who took the prize as first Gala Harriers jogger.

The Heb – There was great success for the father and daughter team of Ian and Kirstin Maxwell as they competed in The Heb – Race on the Edge, described as an achievable, exciting, engaging, truly adventurous and absorbing journey through the most spectacular, wild and remote landscape the UK has to offer – the Hebridean Island chain off the west coast of Scotland.

Featuring running, biking and kayaking sections, the Gala Harriers duo finished first mixed team (just 48 seconds away from beating the first male pair) and ninth overall. Racing non-stop for 10 hours on day one and eight hours on day two, the Maxwell team agreed it was an incredibly tough but amazing experience. Highlights included two spectacular mountain tops and a 12km cycle along a deserted white sandy beach.

The Poacher Run – The first run of the Border Reiver Trail Series, the Poacher Run consisted of a 10km route with twists and turns through broadleaf woodland trails then straightening out along the dismantled Borders railway line out over the Roxburgh Viaduct and returning along the Teviot riverbanks. The 5km route followed the 10km course for a couple of km before dropping down for a gorgeous return along the Teviot.

Gala Harrier Jan Brown ran strongly to finish third overall and first female in the 5k race. In the 10k race, the Harriers contingent featured Billy McCulloch in sixth overall, Eileen Maxwell 30th, Gav Brown 43rd and Anne Purves 100th.