Harriers blow away the capital opposition

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Weather on the Edinburgh Marathon Festival weekend is more often than not far too hot for comfort – but this year severe weather warnings of wind and rain had been sent out to all runners for Sunday’s half and full marathon.

In contrast, Saturday’s action, which included junior and senior events over shorter distances, was fine and warm, and what breeze there was blew young Gala Harrier Gregor Collins home in third place in the junior 2km race in a scintillating 7 minutes and 13 seconds.

Also running well were Evan McConnel (8.06) and Jack McDonald (8.23) who came in 25th and 40th places respectively in a large field.

So, although dampish and overcast at the start, conditions on Sunday weren’t really far off being perfect for distance running, with a bit of a following wind for most of the half-marathon route, although it picked up later and made things testing for the full marathon runners.

Dianne Lauder put in a stunning run in the half-marathon, finishing second woman in 1 hour, 19 minutes and 9 seconds, and was well rested before the remaining thousands were lining up on the start line for the full marathon.

President Gerry Moss finished in 1.51.48.

A huge marathon field included virgin marathoner Anya Campbell, an injured Graham Manczak and Elaine Johnston, surrounded by three Gala Harrier/Gallivanter first-timers Lynne Taylor, daughter Marina and Judy Scott.

Graham, who had suffered a slipped disc which affected his training schedule, had a great first half, but a difficult last 13 miles, and did well to complete the course in 3 hours, 33 minutes, 20 seconds.

Anya loved her race and still looked frisky at the finish in 3.36.10, while Elaine will be well pleased with her 4.39.00 run this year – a grand personal best for her.

Harriers Judy Scott (4.41.01) and Lynne Taylor (4.49.52), with young Gallivanter Marina (4.40.07), did well in their first outing over the distance.

A wee bit earlier in the month, the club’s handicapped Hollybush 10k resulted in a win for Kevin Stevenson in 48.29, with June Tanish (52.50) the first lady Harrier home, with a great turnout of the Gala Gallivanters as welcome guests in the field of 37 runners.

And Graeme Murdoch used his race that night to sharpen up his legs for the Dumbarton 10k on May 21, finishing in a quite brilliant 32 minutes 56 seconds.

See page 72 for photos from Edinburgh.