Oct 13 2011 Dumfries Standard Wednesday
IN A crowded period of races last weekend, Dumfries Running Club was represented at six different races the length and breadth of the country.
First up on the Saturday was the Coniston leg of the Lakeland Trail race series.
This event started and finished at John Ruskin School in Coniston village with a 15km circuit along footpaths and bridle-ways that takes in panoramic views of Lake Coniston and the surrounding peaks of the Old Man, Swirl How, Wetherlam and Dow Crags.
The weather was hot and humid with light rain and midges that Scotland would be proud of!
Marcus Scotney and Elisabeth Smart represented Dumfries Running Club with Marcus finishing strongly in third position in one hour and 34 seconds and Elisabeth in a respectable one hour and 43 minutes. Well done to Aran and Grace Scotney who ran and finished the children’s race and were awarded medals.
On the same morning Les Hill travelled to Strathclyde Park for a low-key 5k race as part of the Park run series of events.
Running strongly, Les was delighted to finish in 19.14 minutes, a time that was good enough for second male and first supervet that gave him an age graded performance score of 79 per cent.
Loch Ness marathon
On the Sunday, the Loch Ness race was the target for eight DRC members keen to test themselves on the shores of Scotland’s most iconic loch.
With a point to point route that has more of its fair share of climbs in the early stages, the runners aim to finish at Queens Park in Inverness and have to overcome the psychologically difficult barrier of passing close to the finish with four miles left before doubling back towards the end of the race.
Doubling as the Scottish championships, the performance of the weekend came from Lisa Finlay who ran a fabulous race as first woman to claim the national title in 2 hours 59, her second sub three-hour marathon of 2011.
In his debut at the distance at 3.52 John Green found the course tough but Gemma Leadbetter had an excellent run in 4.02. In a close run race, Tony McCluskey ran well in four hours 25, finishing 60 seconds in front of Peter McGill with the reinvigorated Margaret Gray having an excellent personal best in 4.27.
Joyce Hamilton had a gutsy run in four hours 44 and in celebrating three score years and ten, Bill Love had a very good run in five hours 22 minutes.
Dalbeattie Hardrock Challenge
This event is now firmly established as a favourite with DRC members and 18 took part in the 26-mile race through Dalbeattie forest that can be done as solo entrants or as part of a team.
The first part involves a 10 mile run, mainly on hard packed forest roads followed up with 16 miles of challenging mountain bike trails. However, pre-race rain had made some of the running routes especially muddy with difficult uphills ready to add extra strain to tired muscles.
The best performance came from David Parrish who made light of the conditions as second runner in 60.45 and combined with Ross Green set a new course record in two hours 10 minutes. Chris Woods made up for his slightly below-par Dumfries half of last week with an excellent run in 66.30, narrowly ahead of Sandy Shankland in 67.18 who headed off Graeme Cross by 10 and local runner Norman Neilson by a further 25 seconds respectively.
Sebastian Pflanz used his local knowledge to good effect in 68.02 to stay ahead of Adam Dickie by nearly a minute and combined with Craig Malcolmson the "ultra daft" team paired up as 23rd team overall.
Perhaps Craig used his speed work practice as lead cyclist for the Dumfries Half marathon to good effect.
Allan Manson ran well in 72.03 finishing over a minute in front of first junior Alastair Stapleton.
Maureen Dickson ran well in 82.07 beating Rachael McDougall by 17 and Bob Green by a further 13 seconds respectively and Marian McPhail ran well in 87.39.
Gael Moffat in 92.01 thoroughly enjoyed her run as did Sandie Donald who found 10 miles of forest runs so much easier than last week’s half marathon. Bob Quinn ran very carefully in 107 minutes on his first ever run in Dalbeattie forest.
Again on the Sunday morning, Dumfries Half Marathon organiser Danny Queen ran the Edinburgh 10k and, in finishing 187th out of 10,000, was delighted to be third in the 55-59 age category in 41.28. Jim Grierson, surprisingly, was the only DRC member to run at the Cumbrian run in Carlisle and matched his Dumfries time in 1 hour 53, to finish in 468th place out of 1,100.
Commonwealth 24 hour championships
This event was the previous weekend at Llandudno in North Wales where Paul Hart was selected to run for Scotland in the Commonwealth 24-hour championships.
Paul started steady and was running comfortably at seven miles per hour and lying in 10th place after the first quarter of the race, six hours. He maintained this steady running for another few hours but then developed stomach problems. Such discomfort in an ultra race can be very disruptive and proved to be the case for Paul.
He was unable to take food and so his energy levels dropped with a very noticeable impact on his pace. After a few rest stops to try and settle his stomach it became obvious that he would have great difficulty in running much if he carried on and so with much dismay he was forced to withdraw after 13½ hours, having done over 100 kilometres, about 65 miles. The route was a loop in a Llandudno street of just over a kilometre.
There was a bit of a stiff breeze at times but not for the whole 24 hours. It didn’t seem to affect the leading lady, Lizzy Hawker of England, as she achieved a world best for women of 246 kilometres and beat every one of the male athletes in the process
The weekend also had open races and taking a short break from supporting Paul in his event on the Friday night Les Hill did a 5K on the Llandudno promenade in 20.29 finishing 32nd in a field of over 150. He even managed to follow this with a 10K trail race on Sunday at Newborough Forest and finished 26th in a field of around 150 with a time of 45.08.