Saturday, 24 October 2009

National Cross Country Relays

24th October 2009

Full Results | Senior men's results compiled into one list
Photos: Senior ladies | Senior men

My first national relays at Cumbernauld since 2005, and I was pleased to run 23 seconds faster than last time, finishing the 1st leg of the 4km course in 14:52 for 37th position.

I set out pretty steadily during the initial cavalry charge and first climb, then pretty much spent the rest of the stage catching and passing folk, so quite satisfying in that respect.

I managed to nip past Alastair McLeod (Bellahouston) and Jed Bartlett (Stirling Uni) in the finishing straight, and just failed to catch Raymond Jaffray (Teviotdale) on the line.

I handed over to John Denovan who had a solid enough run. We had then had Steffen on the 3rd leg who just held off Garscube's David Dickson and Shettleston's Marc McColl, then David Riach on the anchor leg managed to catch around 5 runners, including one of the many Bellahouston teams.

We also had Johnston and Dave Calder running in a men's B-Team, and in the ladies competition Pauline, Pat and Cat made up a team, whilst Ellie ran a solo leg with a funny felt pen race number!

Shettleston's Eritrean team won the men's race by 1 minute 19 seconds, with Tsegai Tewelde clocking the fastest time of 12:43. Second place went to Central AC after an exciting sprint finish where Alastair Hay overhauled Paul Leck of Kilbarchan in the final few metres.

Central AC took the ladies' title after Morag MacLarty established a healthy lead on leg 1 with the fastest ladies time of 14:47.

Thursday, 22 October 2009

Inov-8 X-Talon 212

X-Talon product page

My latest shoes are Inov-8 X-Talons from Run4It.

Dave Woodhead's photos from the Keswick Commonwealth Mountain Race show that nearly all the top runners are wearing these shoes, so I thought they were worth giving a bash.

The first thing you notice about the X-Talons is how super-light they are. So light in fact that you almost feel like you're running in bare feet. I wasn't too sure about the widely spaced laceholes and funny shoelaces, but am getting used to these now. My first race in the X-Talons was the Two Breweries, but I hadn't laced them up properly so this wasn't an ideal test.

Last weekend I used them for the Dunbartonshire Cross Country relays at Garscube. They were perfect for this course and helped me clock the fastest and 2nd fastest veteran male laps.

The following day I used them for the FRA Relays near Ennerdale, and once again they felt good, with excellent positive grip on steep grass.

The X-Talons are of course much lighter than the Inov-8 Mudclaw 330, and also have the advantage that with the studs more widely spaced they don't get so clogged with mud or pick up stray stones.

So all in all, a phenomenally lightweight hill shoe with excellent grip that makes use of Inov-8's special sticky rubber compound.

Sunday, 18 October 2009

FRA Relays

18th October 2009, North West Lakes


What a difference a day makes!

Yesterday glorious sunshine; today utter pish.

An early start from Glasgow saw us eating al fresco breakfast in Cockermouth at 8.30am. Then down to Kirkland where the weather was already looking grey and dismal. By the time the race kicked off at 10.30am the clag had descended and smirry rain had moved in.

David and I took over from JD to run Leg 2 with plenty of teams to chase. We set off steady and passed about 20 teams before hitting a fence junction. I was utterly confused... There was a marshal and dibber boxes, but it wasn't our checkpoint and the marshal gave no clue as to where we were or which direction Checkpoint 1 on Leg 2 might be.

We didn't realise at the time, but in our haste we had completely overshot the point where we should have branched off towards Gavel Fell, but in thick clag we didn't realise this and now by trying to cut across the hillside we were only making matters worse by going even further off course. My head was spinning from the exertion, and I couldn't make any sense of the compass bearings or where on the map we could possibly be, since now we had flipped over onto the other side of the hill, we were in fact running away from Gavel Fell.

If we hadn't bumped into Jane Robertson and Lorna Ascroft, I don't know where we would have ended up, but instead we doubled back and climbed what I thought was Gavel Fell only to discover we were on Blake Fell, which had no marshals or checkpoint. Thoroughly cold, wet and fed up we then headed back to our previous point of confusion to pass the marshal at the fence junction a second time, and finally found our way up Gavel Fell after adding on an extra 2 miles.

From here the route was pretty obvious and we passed around another 10 or 15 teams, some of whom we were passing for the second time. We caught all 3 Carnethy teams and also passed the Westerlands ladies Cat and Ellie who seemed amused that we were appearing from behind!

The moral of the tale is to get the map and compass out sooner and actually use them, and don't just blindly follow folk up the obvious path.

Saturday, 17 October 2009

Dunbartonshire Relays

17th October 2009


Results: Senior Men | Senior Women

Great sunny autumn weather for this afternoon's Dunbartonshire Relays.

We just about managed 4 Westerlands teams, albeit by Hamilton and myself running twice, and borrowing Elke Schmidt who arrived for a chat but ended up running the fastest ladies time by more than 2 minutes.

The men's A-Team of myself, Ken Macmahon, John Denovan and David Riach finished in 5th place behind Garscube, VPCoG, Glasgow Uni and possibly Kirkintilloch.

I ran the 3.85 km route twice, clocking the fastest vets time of 13:54 for the Westies A-team, then the 2nd fastest vets time with 14:25 on my second lap for the B-team. The second time was more fun since I overtook about 10 people, whereas the first time round the only person I passed was David Houston of Glasgow Uni.

Pollok Parkrun No.44

17th October 2009

Parkrun website

Here are some photos from this morning's Pollok Parkrun. The race was won by Andrew Wright of Carnegie Harriers in 15:49, closely followed by Kevin Kane in 16:00.

Sunday, 11 October 2009

Pentland Skyline

11th October 2009

My 8th year in a row at the Pentland Skyline, and my 70th race for 2009.

It was super-cold and windy before the start, but improved as the race went on, getting quite warm by the end. The first half was hard work with a ferocious headwind making the descent from Carnethy quite amusing, given that you had to lean sideways into the wind at an improbable angle to make any forward progress.

Given the strength of the wind, I just pootled along conserving my energy for hopefully a faster return leg with the wind on our backs.

I seemed to gain a few places after leaving the Drove Road, passing 5 folk and getting pretty close to catching Duncan Coombs of Edinburgh Uni who must have been fading fast.

The race concluded the SHR Long Classics Series. I've just posted a report on the SHR website, and calculated the final scores. Strangely enough, from the 11 races in the Long Classics series there were 9 different race winners. The only people to win 2 races were Andy Symonds (who won the series) and Al Anthony.

Saturday, 10 October 2009

West District Relays

10th October 2009

The West District Relays mark the official opening of the cross country season.

Over recent years, these relays have been held at Irvine Academy, so it was a nice change to have them much closer to Glasgow at the Strathclyde Uni Sports Ground at Stepps.

On a warm sunny afternoon we managed to field 2 teams, with Ellie, Christine and Deborah running for the women, and David Riach, myself, Steven Grant and Don running for the men's team.

I clocked 13:41 for the 3.8km course on the 2nd Leg. I set off one place behind Stevie McLoone, but dropped a place to Bryan Lamb (not John Hagemeister!) of Bellahouston Harrier, and didn't really make any ground on Stevie.

The women's race was won by Springburn Harriers with (I think) Danielle Brown overhauling Leanne Hamilton of Kilbarchan on the 3rd Leg.

Shettleston won the men's race by some considerable margin with Paul Sorrie and the Eritreans.

Monday, 5 October 2009

Lock 27 Time Trial

5th October 2009

The first running of the 4.6km Lock 27 Time Trial for a couple of years. Well done to Charlie and Nige for re-instating. Tonight I was feeling fairly tired and sore after yesterday's half marathon, but I took part anyway. I ran steadily for the first couple of kilometres and then ramped it up once I hit Great Western Road and Dorchester Avenue. I didn't see any of the runners until I was back on the canal towpath with 700 metres to go when I finally saw Gibby, and then Ellen ahead, who I just managed to catch. Well done to Pat, Pauline, Helen and Christine who'd all finished before me.

I managed 16:54 which was a good bit slower than the 15:49 I ran last time, but was still pleased to get the legs moving.

Sunday, 4 October 2009

Scottish Vets Half Marathon

4th October 2009

Results | Photos

This is a closed entry race for members of Scottish Masters Athletics, ie. old fogies who are a bit past it.

The race was supposed to be run as a handicap with each person nominating their own predicted time, but in the end all 21 runners started together to simplify matters.

The race starts at Clydebank and runs out for 6.5 miles to Maryhill along the canal towpath, before turning back the same way to the 13 mile mark, and from here it's only 0.1 of a mile to the finish, ie. about 160 metres.

I knew Paul Thompson of Helensburgh was going so we more or less arranged to run together. We set out a bit fast for the first mile (5:39), before settling into a more ploddy pace of just over 6 minute miles. Neither of us was really forcing the pace or taking the race on, preferring to stay within some sort of comfort zone.

At mile 12 it was clear the pace was starting to wind up, but I resisted making a move until we hit the 13 mile marker under the bridge, where the race had started. Suddenly from this point Paul started sprinting, so I matched him. Then Paul made his final move, which I managed to cover and then gutted myself to the line, pulling away by 3 seconds, finishing in 1:19:34. The time was nothing special, but I was pleased that I hadn't faded in the second half, like I usually do in half marathons, plus it was a fairly rare win over Paul these days.

Saturday, 3 October 2009

Ben Venue Hill Race

3rd October 2009

Results | Photos | More Photos

A new entry on the Scottish Hill Racing calendar, and the first hill race ever organised by Bellahouston Road Runners.

Extremely strong winds caused something of a headache for the organisers, and after a delayed start it was conceded that it would be impossible to run the full route since the marshalls couldn't stand up on the summit ridge in the 70mph gusts.

A shortened route was therefore used which followed an out and back course to a cairn at the 575m col west of Ben Venue.

Due to the lower shorter course I quickly stripped down to a vest before the race started. The initial section followed hard surface forest tracks up until the exit of the forest, then from that point on the course was a complete quagmire.

I plugged away trying to keep up with Bruce Smith and Dougal Ross on this steep muddy, boggy section up to the cairn. Once around the cairn, Bruce's superior descending skills meant he was quickly out of sight. Steven Fallon also soon passed me on the rough stuff, and vanished into the distance as I reached the forest again, but Dougal wasn't so far ahead and I thought I could probably catch him.

I battered down the track slowly reeling in Dougal until a slight hesitation at a track junction allowed me to pass. I then pressed on getting glimpses of Steven Fallon, and very nearly closed him down on the final section of road.

Matt Williamson won the race, although strangely Prasad ran the course as well but without a race number, and stopped just before the finish.

There was good turnout of Westies with Dave Rogers having an amazing run to finish 15th. I don't know what sort of training he's been doing lately. Ellie did well to finish 2nd lady despite running with a heavy cold. Helen MacPherson won the female V50 category, and Hamilton put in his usual steady performance.