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
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