Gala athletes show tremendous versatility

From left, Lennon Scollon, Gregor Collins and Isla Paterson.
From left, Lennon Scollon, Gregor Collins and Isla Paterson.

A large contingent of Gala Harriers was in action at the weekend across the range of races which constituted the Edinburgh Marathon Festival.

Among those getting the spectacular started were three young Gala Harriers in Saturday’s junior 5K – and what a start it was.

Gregor Collins again showed what a superb talent he is, flying to the finish line in first place to take the race win in 17:11 mins.

Not to be outdone, Isla Paterson was home as second girl and 14th overall in 19:39 mins.

A terrific achievement to have two Harriers on the medal podium, while Lennon Scollon, also ran very well for 61st overall in 22:38 mins.

In Saturday’s senior 5K race, Jan Brown ran strongly for 157th overall in 25:37 mins. In the 10K, Alister Munro ran excellently for 49:07 mins (362nd overall) and Gav Brown went well for 722nd overall in 53:44 mins.

There was an early start on the Sunday morning for the half-marathon participants but the Harriers contingent had obviously timed their morning espressos perfectly.

Darrell Hastie led the charge with a typically superb performance. His time of 1:10:52 was good enough for fourth place overall.

The strength in depth at the club was demonstrated with two further sub-1:20 times. Marcus D’Agrosa ran a half-marathon PB of 1:13:09 (12th overall), just a few weeks after claiming a PB at the full marathon distance.

Clark Scott also comfortably dipped under the 1:20 mark with an excellent run of 1:18:17 (43rd overall). There were also brilliant performances from Colin Brown (1:25:54, 187th), Neil Christie (1:30:54, 389th), Carole Fortune (1:36:05, 721st) and Eileen Nicol (1:52:51, 2945th).

The final race of the weekend was the full marathon, covering 26.2 miles of Edinburgh and the East Lothian coast.

Three Gala Harriers took on the challenge, with Julia Johnstone the first club member home in a super time of 3:39:04 (1086th overall). Completing his first marathon, Corri Campbell had a tremendous run, finishing strongly in 3:50:50. Angela Jewitt completed the trio of sub-four hour finishers with a great run of 3:57:05 and a new PB.

Young Scottish hill runners also gathered in Greenock recently for the National Junior Hill Running Champs. The event was staged by Greenock Glenpark Harriers, within its Cornalees Hill Race. The prestigious event attracted runners from all over the country from Stornaway, Gala in the Borders, and Aberdeen. Congratulations went to young Harrier Isla Paterson, who had an excellent race to finish in the silver medal position in the under-15 girls’ championship, another great performance.

The Old County Tops Fell Race covers 37 miles and involves around 10,000 feet of ascent, although the exact distance and amount of ascent are dependent on the route each runner chooses.

Run in teams of two, the race starts in Great Langdale and takes in the tops of Helvellyn, Scafell Pike and Coniston before returning to Great Langdale. Not a race for the faint-hearted.

Fortunately, Gala Harriers were represented by two of their toughest members. Kate Jenkins and Craig Mattocks completed the course in 09:37:59, finishing 60th team overall out of approximately 140 starting and 123 finishing teams.

There was a good turnout of Gala Harriers for the recent Gypsy Glen Hill Race, organised by Moorfoot Runners. On a beautiful night, the runners completed the 2.5 mile slog to the top of the Gypsy Glen before about turning and making the dash back to the finish.

First Harrier back was Graeme Murdoch, in fifth place overall (1st MV40), followed by Craig Mattocks (14th overall), James Mercer (23rd), Kate Jenkins (42nd, 1st FV40), Sam McKinnon (47th), James Purves (51st) and David Hunter (60th).

The adventurous Scottish Islands Peak Race is for teams of sailors and fell runners and is held annually on and around the most beautiful parts of the west coast of Scotland. Each team consists of five (usually two runners and three sailors).

The race starts in Oban with a short hill run, then a sail to Salen on Mull, run over Ben More, sail to Craighouse on Jura, run the Paps, sail to Arran, run Goat Fell, then sail to Troon. The race takes three to four days and caters for multihulls, racers, and cruisers.

For the second year running, Gala Harriers stalwarts Tim Darlow and Rory Campbell joined forces with their team of sailors to take on this immense challenge.

As part of team ‘Moonsong’, Tim and Rory ran extremely consistently and strongly over the four runs. The team returned safely to Troon in a total time of 57:06:16 for 25th position overall and 10th in their sailing class. Undoubtedly an experience to remember.

Elsewhere, Carole Fortune continued a streak of impressive performances at the Goatfell Hill Race. Staged on the Isle of Arran, it takes competitors from the centre of Brodick to the summit of Goatfell (15.5 km, 870 metres of ascent) and back.

Carole finished in a time of 2:06:18 for 120th overall and sixth in her category. There was great news from the Scottish Orienteering Championship for two young Gala Harriers members.

Representing Roxburgh Reivers Orienteering Club, Seb Darlow won the M10 title at the recent national championships, while Ellie Darlow took the title in the W12 category.