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!



Kieran Cooper





Don Reid





Neil Waslidge

Lochaber AC




Robert Hamlin





Owen Bass

Deeside Runners




Eck Anderson

Anster Haddies




Brett Stevens





Peter Midgley





David Duncan

Ochil Hill Runners




Jean Mclennan

Dunoon Hill Runners




Klaas Wynne





Marinos Calothis





Sharon Taylor






Posted by Don Reid on Fri 26 May 2017 | 4 comments

Category Hill Race

Simon Triger Memorial Handicap

There was a great turnout tonight to remember or great friend Simon. Andrew hoodwinked the handicapper with his tales of woe and was a clear winner. Gregor was fastest runner, just outside his course record.

1  Andrew McBride     51.40

2  Gordon Bulloch      56.35

3  Robert Hamlin       44.50

4  Gregor Stewart     38.53

5  Rob McQuater       55.07

6  Don Reid              49.28

7  Sarah Adam         54.40

8  Kevin                   61.28

9  Lorna Mahoney     52.38

10 Jenn Ruddick       62.10

11 Peter McNab       58.15

12 Ian Thurlbeck     50.30

13 Rod Fleming       58.40

14 Val Houston       52.41

15 John Hamer       65.20

16 David Dickson   58.25

17 Tom Finch         59.50

Brian                    79.55

Posted by John Donnelly on Wed 24 May 2017 | 1 comment

Category handicap races

Scottish Islands Peaks Race 2017

Ten moments in no particular order what so ever.


1) Taking about 15 minutes to run the first km on Arran after no sleep the night before and 20 or so hours being unable to eat or drink due to seasickness.


2) Getting a voicemail from our skipper at 14:15 on Thursday: 'Hi James, it's Alex, give us a call back - it's not all good news.' He'd taken a tumble off the pier at Oban resulting in a broken shoulder and a broken arm. We decided on Friday morning that Alex was in no fit state to go for a sail; our team would officially be retiring from the competition but could follow the fleet around the course. We'd be a man down for the weekend - a bold move by the remaining sailors and a seriously impressive effort from them.


3) Dancing down the scree on Ben More with Dr McAlinden while a crimson sunset exploded on the horizon.


4) Having breakfast with the crew of Dionysus in the posh restaurant in Troon Marina at 9am on Monday giving off an aroma of cow shit, puke, dehydrated breath and 68 hours of sweat.


5) Our Polish sailor Lucas spoke impeccable English, but had little experience with Scottish idioms. A frantic instruction of 'Lucas, gie it laldy on the jib! NOW!' resulted in no more than a bemused stare.


6) Rainbow puke over starboard coming around the Mull of Kintyre - a tasty mix of chicken stew, whole tangfastics and protein shake.


7) The miserable, grinding 10k of road at the end of the Mull run around midnight - we've still got another two f**king days to go?!


8) Leaving Oban harbour in last place but, thanks to Graeme 'One Tack' Bisset, overtaking more than 20 boats in the first hour. 


9) Stepping ashore at Jura on sea legs to find the island swaying dramatically.


10) Lounging on the back of the boat by Arran at 1am on Monday, listening to the gentle lap of the waves, looking across the water at the twinkling lights of Lamlash and serenely content at the end of the last leg.


SIPR is an amazing event; many thanks to all the marshals and organisers for making it possible. A massive thanks to the heroes of Dionysus (Niall, Graeme, Lucas and Alex in absentia) for a brilliant weekend and well done to all the other Westies taking part - looking forward to hearing about it!

Posted by James Callender on Mon 22 May 2017 | 2 comments

Category Hill Race

Highland Fling 2017

The day started like most others... Aron set about eating or something while lefty and I admired each other. After weeks of cycling we were both looking strong but lean... ready for a run. 

Aron took us up to some train station... can't remember where. But it was ace there were so many ladies checking myself and lefty out. We hit a new record of 16 swoons in 30 minutes... Today was a good day. As the race got going we got yet more admiring glances. Walter from Shettleston was clearly jealous as he ogled us for a little bit longer than appropriate. 

Heading up conic hill we decided to really show what we were made of and pushed Aron to go past a few runners... it was great giving other runners a little show as we passed. However, being this buff is hard work so lefty and I decided that a nap was needed... Aron was not happy about this! Arriving at the finish was a relief as we finally got to take the weight off.


As the day progressed it was great to hear about all the achievements that we inspired. Alex after glimpsing us at the start managed to run sub 10, Niall chasing us for most of the day was just over 10, Maya (who we suspect is in love with us) ran a fantastic 11hr14, Carol (also in love with us) was not far behind in 11hr25, Ali wasted a bit too much energy admiring us at the start and suffered later finished in 11hr47, Elizabeth (again loves us) got in at 12hr06, John (who we'll admit it has good calves, just not as good as us) was 12hr27, Gillian and Helen (who ran together so that they could discuss how magnificent we are) finished in 13hr14 and Claire so inspired by how stunning we are finished 40 minutes faster than last year in a time of 13hr41.

Posted by Aron's Massive Right Calf on Tue 2 May 2017 | 2 comments

Category Ultra

Gwyn takes on London

Gwyn has secretly run the London marathon, posting an amazing time of 2h 33 min 46 sec and finishing 122nd!!

He did one bad thing and didn't run under the Westies banner, he was clubless..... Excluding that one miscalculation, well done Gwyn on a superb run :)

Proof of result

Gwyn's Game Face

Posted by Sam Alexander on Mon 24 Apr 2017 | 4 comments

Category Marathons

Anniversary Waltz

Thought i'd give a little post-race report on the Anniversary Waltz wot took place over the weekend.


It were right hard.


Got passed by a Carnethy type on the climb to High Spy.  Bugger!

Got passed by two Bog Trotters on the meander down toward Cat Bells.  Bastard!

Managed to overtake an injured runner just before the finish line and haul myself potentially into the top 300. 'Ave it!


Posted by Grant Thomson on Mon 24 Apr 2017 | 7 comments

Category Fell race

Random Japanese Marathon (Nagano)

Before I left Scotland in February I said to a few people that I was running a marathon in Japan and I'd write a race report.  So here it is, apologies for dirtying these pages with talk of road running. 

  I entered the Nagano marathon as I had read a book about Japanese running so decided to enter this marathon while we were here. After paying the £80!?! entrance fee I quickly forgot about it until it was time to book accommodation. It turns out that it's quite a popular event and there aren't many hotels in Nagano so resorted to a number of begging emails to hotels to find us space. My wife was really appreciating the slight diversion to our itinerary for this random marathon of mine by this point....    Anyway,  prior to going to Japan we were spending some time in India so the bulk of my training involved running up and down the beach in sweltering heat. I managed a few decent length runs but it was a bit of a struggle and I found myself dreaming of a bit of Scottish drizzle. The Westies top got a few runs so the word has been spread to India.    We had to register the day before which was pretty interesting.  Lots of signs that I didn't understand and not a great deal of western faces.  I started to panic that people might start to think I was some kind of elite runner only to disappoint when they saw me running.  Also,  the Mizuno stall was selling shoes based on the time you wanted to finish.  If only I had known it was that easy...    Race day arrived with an 8.30am start time. I  didn't really have any great expectations due to the sporadic training and just set out to enjoy it. The whole event was amazingly organised and the Japanese participants all looked the part. People getting taped up in places I didn't know you could put tape and a bit of communal chanting and the race started by some kind of celebrity.  The route seemed to take in all of the venues from the 1998 Nagano Olympics with some bits skirting around the city.  It was really scenic for a road marathon as Nagano is surrounded by the Japanese alps so plenty to look at. The first half went by with a decent pace but nothing too crazy knowing I have always struggled in the second half in the past. Lots of gels were being consumed by others  as I ate my chocolate fudge bar as we  went to the second half of the race. My knee was giving me a bit of trouble but I tried to ignore it and just enjoy it. The crowd was really good,  the joy on an old ladies face when someone collapsed with cramp will stay with me forever! The last 10km was a bit of a struggle as the lack of training caught up with me but staring at the mountains in the distance kept me going. The Japanese runners seem to love a dramatic collapse so it was like a scene from Saving Private Ryan near the end but I managed to finish in 3.42 which is a PB.  I was happy with this given the lack of `proper ' training.    My Westies top was out in full glory and being the best small to medium sized hill running club in the west end of Glasgow expected numerous shout outs from others.  They are obviously not well versed in Scottish hill running over here any no one battered an eye lid!   Enjoy your running over the new season. I'll be missing the hills! Westies in Japan

Posted by Russell Crane on Tue 18 Apr 2017 | 5 comments

Category Marathons

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