Medal dou­ble

Rutherglen Reformer - - Drivetime Extra -

The Ron­hill Cam­bus­lang Har­ri­ers picked up a gold and a sil­ver at the re­cent UK vet­er­ans’ re­lay cham­pi­onship.

The club fielded an over-35 six­man team and a three-man over-55 team along with an in­com­plete over35 B team at the Bri­tish Masters Road Re­lays at Sut­ton Park, Birm­ing­ham.

The M55 race kicked off first with Paul Thomp­son on the open­ing leg. Paul was ner­vous con­sid­er­ing he had a bad ex­pe­ri­ence last year when he was forced to stop and with­draw from the race on the fi­nal leg due to be­ing un­well. On top of that he had been nurs­ing a ham­string in­jury over the last month and had not trained much.

His aim was to run steadily round the course and to hand over to Colin Feechan with­out putting too much pres­sure on his ham­string.

Paul ex­e­cuted his plan very well to run his own race and fin­ished sixth in 17:43 for the tough un­du­lat­ing three mile course. Colin had been as­signed to work his way through the field and he bril­liantly turned a 40 sec­ond deficit on the leader into an im­pres­sive 53 sec­ond lead. His clock­ing of 17:10 was the third fastest time of the day which was only a few sec­onds slower than the first two fin­ish­ers on leg one, who had the ben­e­fit of an open race sit­u­a­tion.

It was left to Iain Camp­bell to an­chor the squad to victory. Iain too was ner­vous not hav­ing raced for a year. How­ever, as al­ways he gave his usual 100 per cent ef­fort and in­creased the Har­ri­ers’ lead at the fin­ish to 74 sec­onds with a time of 17:32 sec­onds. Last year’s win­ners Wood­ford Green over­hauled Wir­ral in the closing stages to set­tle the sil­ver and bronze medals.

The fi­nal race of the day saw the M35 and M45 run­ners com­pete for their re­spec­tive awards.

The Har­ri­ers had ini­tially planned to field an over-45 quar­tet but this fell through as Char­lie Thom­son was drafted into the over-35 team from the older age group. Char­lie and Scott Hunter for the B team led off. Char­lie af­ter a long pe­riod of in­jury had been get­ting him­self fit again and had en­joyed some testing Satur­day morn­ing train­ing reps and was keyed up for the chal­lenge ahead.

Un­for­tu­nately things did not work out as planned as he fin­ished in 57th place with a time of 17:26 with Scott 69th in 18:06. Char­lie had not been feel­ing 100 per cent on the jour­ney down the pre­vi­ous evening and on the morn­ing of the race and ob­vi­ously this was a mit­i­gat­ing fac­tor.

Over three decades, Char­lie has con­sis­tently put in inspiring and gritty per­for­mances to sig­nif­i­cantly help the club win medals at lo­cal, dis­trict, na­tional and UK level. It was to be pay­back time for the re­main­ing five run­ners to get the club back into the race and then into a medal po­si­tion.

Robert Gil­roy was now to take up the daunt­ing chal­lenge of eat­ing into a 2:25 deficit be­hind the leader and 1:57 deficit be­hind even­tual win­ners Thames Hare and Hounds. Un­doubt­edly Robert was the man for the task as he sliced through the field over­haul­ing 48 run­ners to put the club into ninth place. Robert’s time of 14:47 was not only a club record tak­ing four sec­onds off John Cowan’s time but was to be the sec­ond fastest time of the day, beaten only by Mor­peth’s in-form Ian Hud­sp­ith’s 14:31 on leg four.

The club was now one minute 26 sec­onds be­hind the lead­ing club Thames Hare and Hounds. Debu­tant Frank McGowan mak­ing his come­back to the sport af­ter a long break gained 22 places for the B team with an en­cour­ag­ing time of 16:44. Hope­fully his per­for­mance on limited train­ing will en­cour­age him to train and com­pete more.

Jamie Reid’s plucky 16:16 stint, the sixth fastest on this leg, moved them up to eighth po­si­tion and closer to the teams im­me­di­ately in front although THH had in­creased their lead to one minute 57 sec­onds with Sal­ford only one sec­ond be­hind. Mick O’Ha­gan gained an­other nine places for the B squad with a time of 17:31.

By half way, multi Scot­tish Masters cham­pion Kerry-Liam Wil­son had put the Har­ri­ers into the bronze medal po­si­tion and re­duced THH’s lead to one minute 23 sec­onds, and sec­ond placed Sal­ford to 51 sec­onds. Kerry was re­warded with the sec­ond fastest time on his leg.

Iain Reid with 15:47, the sec­ond fastest on leg five, con­tin­ued RHC’s come­back to snatch sec­ond place from Sal­ford in the closing stages and to cut back THH’s lead to 53 sec­onds.

Ste­vie Wylie now set off on the last leg in pur­suit of the leader while fend­ing off an early counter chal­lenge from the Sal­ford run­ner and from the ad­vanc­ing Pre­ston Har­ri­ers. Although Ste­vie ran 15:36 and the sec­ond fastest leg as he closed the gap on THH to 24 sec­onds at the fin­ish, he had run out of dis­tance, but sil­ver medals had been se­cured in what can only be de­scribed as a dra­matic come­back.

Both re­sults were tes­ti­mony to the strong club spirit and com­pet­i­tive­ness of the run­ners. Thanks went to Owen Reid for his sup­port on the day and to Colin who dealt with the team en­tries, travel and ac­com­mo­da­tion. It also con­tin­ued RHC’s ex­cel­lent record in this UK cham­pi­onship with the club hav­ing won seven gold, three sil­ver and three bronze medals

Sil­ver stan­dard cham­pi­onship

The Ron­hill Cam­bus­lang Har­ri­ers’ six man over-35 team won the sil­ver medal at the re­cent UK vets re­lay

Flick Don’t flick the wrists at the ball as this could lead to you thin­ning it through the green

Pas­sive Keep the hands pas­sive through the shot

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