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PURPLENESS AND PIPES

The race calendar is perennial,

So the Big Ben and Braemar were the pair,

The hills glowed a right royal purple,

The handsome Don Reid was there!

The massed bands came in a piping

The excited crowds, they were rare.

My ankle was quite bloody painful,

But I was racing, so I didn’t care!

And traditions they are persistent,

Which why I saw Queeny stare

And the ever Boggy, bold Dick Wall, give the V sign to the timekeepers!

 

 

Christine

Posted by Christine Menhennet on Wed 6 Sep 2017 | comments are open

Category Hill Run

Strathpeffer International 4 x about 100 m relay race

While most people we’re screaming at the TV watching GB take gold in London while heartbroken at Bolt having to pull up injured in his last ever race a MUCH more import race was taking place in Strathpeffer. A hill runners select team featuring Ross Gollan, James Espie, Myself and some French guy who seemed keen were taking on a crew of mercenary sprinters in a classic good versus evil battle. After about 30 s of baton changing practice we figured we were as good as we were ever going to be and got lined up at the start. The crowd held their breath in anticipation of the starter’s clappy thing, while a few drunken Shettleston runners shouted helpful advice to the hill runners select team. I was given the honour of the first leg, when the clappy thing went I sprinted as fast as I could but it was clear that the sprinter was faster than me. I gritted my teeth, and managed to hand the baton over to some French guy only a few seconds down on the lead. Some French guy ran a perfect second leg but and kept us in the race. A perfect baton change to James Espie helped us claw back some of the deficit, and James gave it his all to ensure the gap to first stayed below the 10 s mark. Ross took the baton and charged after the sprinters team unfortunately the gap was too big and we finish a strong second. Handshakes all round as we were very proud of our performance, and I’m not afraid to say tears were welling up in my eyes as we were handed our £2 prize money.

 

There was also a hill race… westies did well. Stand out performances from Val (1st V50, 4th overall), Gordon (2nd V60) and Jenn (Stormed pass Brian Brennan on the road to the finish)

Posted by Aron's Massive Right Calf on Mon 14 Aug 2017 | 1 comment

Category Relays

Caerketton Hill Race

Photos curstey of Barbara Caerketton Hill Race 2017

Posted by Barbara MacLeod on Thu 10 Aug 2017 | comments are open

Category Hill Race

In The Shadow of the Sun at Tebay

“As I stepped off the bus, I was struck by such heat that I could barely catch my breath. I felt that the flaming air all around would soon choke me…I knew I wouldn’t get far, but kept going, with great difficulty, lifting one leg, then the other, as if I were pulling them out of a bottomless, sucking quagmire…My ears were buzzing; the heat seemed to be growing more intense, more abominable.” – Ryszard Kapuscinski

The third British Championship counter and the third one they insisted on scheduling for a sunny day. Ten Westies, two Shetts and one dog packed in to a mini-bus for a trot round the Yorkshire dales with the great and the good of the UK fell-running scene. Sam had chosen country over club to compete in the UK Home International on Sunday (though he proved his worth with his consummate bus-driving, dog-watching, child-minding skills) but otherwise the rest of us were raring to go.

The start was manic with 400-odd runners haring across Tebay recreation ground field and then being funnelled through a narrow gate, along a road and up a small lane. When we got out on to the field the mass the mass of runners split in to three streams each taking different routes across the moorland depending on which elite competitor made the best route choice; from the sky it must’ve looked like multi-coloured Dad’s Army arrow armies moving slowly across the landscape. I had the surreal experience of being in a group crossing paths with another group going at right-angles, dodging runners the whole way.

Once you got past the open-moorland it was a case of following fairly well-defined paths along the undulating ridge-lines of the dales. I felt like a bag of tatties from the get go and the heat didn’t help; it was definitely a plod-day.  The final steep climb up Blease Fell was a nasty sting in the tail and then a couple of miles of gentle descent in to the village that seemed to go on forever before staggering across the finish line.

Some water, a beer and burger later it didn’t seem so bad, except the lingering exhausted nausea of being out in the sun for too long.

 

A quality day out and well-worth the journey to tick the British champs. Well done to all the Westies for taking part and many thanks to Sam & Alistair for organising/driving. 

Posted by James Callender on Sun 18 Jun 2017 | comments are open

Category Championship Race

Beinn Sheann

Photos from Barbara at Beinn Sheann Hill Race

Posted by Barbara MacLeod on Thu 15 Jun 2017 | comments are open

Category Hill Race

Durisdeer

7 Westies turned up for the Durisdeer Hill Race in difficult conditions with low cloud, rain and wind. Visibility was very poor which resulted in half the field making navigation errors and generally making a hash of things.

A small field of about 40 set off up Black Hill and straight away split into numerous small groups each taking a different contouring line to the final summit path, but everyone re-grouped well before the marshalled checkpoint.  However, almost immediately after this, people were all over the place (see Strava pic) trying to find the way down to the 1st road crossing. Fortunately I could see a local ADAC runner ahead who took an excellent line which got me in front of quite a few good runners - unfortunately they all caught me up over the next few miles.

The race settled down around the back of the course, but after the 2nd road crossing more merriment ensued with people taking off in all directions and climbing the wrong hill, etc. Thick clag made for a few tense moments until the marshalls loomed out of the mist at the final checkpoint. What a relief - just a quick descent separating me from tea & cake back at the finish.

One Westie, who asked not to be named, went wrong coming down this descent and went for a tour of the local farms before arriving at the finish looking very cross (did I get that right, Gordon?).

Why this race isn't more popular is a mystery - the course is superb, organisation excellent, grub fantastic and only an hour and a bit from Glasgow.

 

Pick a route, any route!

Posted by Ian Thurlbeck on Thu 15 Jun 2017 | 2 comments

Category Hill Race

Cort ma Law

Photos taken by Barbara Cort ma Law Hill Race 2017

Posted by Barbara MacLeod on Thu 8 Jun 2017 | comments are open

Category Hill Race

West Highland Way in a Day (and a half)

Do you want to run the whole West Highland Way? Errr, yeah, why not.  Ive run 35 miles before. Once. So Im sure it will be fine.

A few weeks later I find myself in Milngavie at midnight outside a lively night club. The inebriated locals were a bit confused. So was I…..

 

After a short briefing by the race organiser, Jim, the 80 starters were away. The head torches of the front runners could be seen already past Conic Hill as I was getting round there for sunrise. All was well, running with two friends and taking in handfuls of jelly babies. Reached Rowardennan on good form.

 

The wheels started to fall off a bit on route to Tyndrum. That section after Inversnaid! My feet were objecting and I was struggling to keep up with my friends who eventually went ahead at Beinglas. Luckily at this point I met another runner, Richard (top bloke), who was happy to set off together and take a steady pace.

 

John Hamer had kindly offered to support me, so I was looking forward to meeting him somewhere between Beinglas and Tyndrum. As well as dried pears from Waitrose (highly recommend!), John arrived with foot powder and socks- amazing! I was seriously having doubts that Tyndrum actually existed after a while….must be round the corner, ok the next corner….ages later……definitely one of these corners soon…. New respect to Fling finishers!

 

Off to Inveroran, this was an enjoyable section. Steady terrain, nice views. At the Inveroran checkpoint was the culinary highlight of beans and sausages. Shared with a million midges but totally worth it.   

 

On route to Kingshouse Hotel John and I had a no-headtorch competition.  Much to Richards confusion. I eventually caved and the headtorch went on! We arrived into Kingshouse Hotel around 01:00. I was a bit cold and wet at this point and I was leaving John there. Several people that weren’t carrying on were being shown to the bunkhouse. I consoled myself with some soup then pushed off into the night.

 

Going over the Devils staircase was surprisingly ok. I have heard the views from the top are spectacular. The reflection of the head torch in the fog was good too. Worth walking 28 hours for. Reached Kinlochleven at around 05:00, slept for 20 mins on a roll mat, got a cup of tea and booted out the door at 06:00.

 

Amazing what 20 minutes of sleep can do, was on great form. The feet were tolerating the situation enough to run most of the last 15 miles. Passed a few people on the way down the forest track. I am sure no one loves that last road section! Finally got into Fort William just before 10:00 to the other runners, supporters, my two friends and John. Richard came round the corner just inside the 35 hour cut off. So proud.  

 

Definitely some ups and downs but something I’d recommend anyone to have a shot at.

 

My take home messages:

It is possible to eat too many jelly babies

You can never have too many Waitrose dried pears

Don’t massacre your own toes with tape

Beans and sausages: the food of champions

John Hamer is a legend

If you keep moving, you will get to the end!

 

 

Posted by Charlotte Heath on Mon 29 May 2017 | 3 comments

Category Ultra

Brack Attack

Stanley was always going to be up against it, putting on a hill race after a Scottish championship counter counter on a dreich wet claggy Sunday. However, to only get 14 entries was a real shame. However, it did allow some of us mere mortals to get up the sharp end for once, but more of that later.

First, let me describe the route. This really is a fabulous little event and would make a great championship short race (SHR committee members take note for next year!). The race starts on a forest commission road and undulates up and down for about 0.5k before gradually rising to the point where you turn on to the narrow trod leading up to the Brack proper. Unless you are superman, you can pretty much forget about running much from this point onwards, and it gets progressively steeper the higher you go. Over the summit and down a narrow steep trod that funnels you through bum slide gully and down to a little lochan. Run round this and then back down beside the burn to re-join the steep path lower down. Then it back down to the road for the run in to the finish.

So how did it pan out? Standing on the start line, I quickly identified 4 young guys who made up the fast pack, and sure enough, they quickly cleared off along the road. This left me and Neil Waslidge duking it out for 5th place. As we started up the narrow Brack path, I got occasional glimpses of the young guns up ahead in the mist, but catching them was never going to be an option – or so I thought! I was more interested in staying ahead of Owen Bass of Deeside who was making a determined attempt to catch me.

Over the summit,  I had gained a narrow lead over Neil and was looking forward to the steep technical descent – this is my territory now. Bum-slide gully passed without incident, but as I got to the point where I should be able to see the Lochan, the marking was sketchy and the alarm bells were starting to ring. Then I heard young Sam shouting guidance through the clag and all was well. Round the loch I went, and  as I was charging down the slippery vague path by the burn, 2 runners loomed into view. It was 2 of the young team.  I belted past hoping that they would not latch on, thinking to myself ‘crikey I’m up to 3rd’. Then as I came out of the mist, I met Stanley sweeping the course who shouts to me, ‘Don well done – you’re 2nd.  This excited me, confused me and scared me all at the same time. I was thinking – I’m going to hit the road with 3 fast guys gunning me down! On to the road, and it’s a miracle that I did not dislocate my neck due to the number of times I looked back. However, it transpired that I had a good lead and need not have worried. Young 17 yr old Kieran Cooper, arguably the least experienced runner in the field made the most of the difficult conditions to win with a time of 59.41. And yes, my first second place ever in a hill race at the ripe old age of 59.5 – you could not make it up! I will leave it up to the other westies to chip in their thought on this great little race.

The results are below, but before I finish, I would like to point out that Stanley and his family went to a great deal of effort to organise this event. There was tea, coffee and fabulous home baking + everybody got a prize of beer or Wine. I would be very surprised if Stanley broke even on this event. I think the club should adopt and promote this great  little race and, if necessary, subsidise Stanley if he is out of pocket. I’ll get off my soapbox now!

 

1

Kieran Cooper

Unattached

M

00:59:41

2

Don Reid

Westerlands

M50

01:04:23

3

Neil Waslidge

Lochaber AC

M50

01:06:11

4

Robert Hamlin

Westerlands

M

01:07:04

5

Owen Bass

Deeside Runners

M50

01:08:26

6

Eck Anderson

Anster Haddies

M

01:12:58

7

Brett Stevens

Unattached

M

01:15:02

8

Peter Midgley

Westerlands

M50

01:19:17

9

David Duncan

Ochil Hill Runners

M60

01:26:02

10

Jean Mclennan

Dunoon Hill Runners

F50

01:26:59

11

Klaas Wynne

Westerlands

M50

01:28:48

12

Marinos Calothis

Westerlands

M40

01:45:11

13

Sharon Taylor

Westerlands

F50

02:21:09

 

 

Posted by Don Reid on Fri 26 May 2017 | 5 comments

Category Hill Race

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