Strath Har­ri­ers ace Com­rie Re­lay Huge suc­cess for lo­cal team in fundraiser

Strathearn Herald - - MOTORS - Ross Gar­diner

Strat­hearn Har­ri­ers hosted another suc­cess­ful Si­mon Wake Com­rie Hills Re­lay on Sun­day.

The event raises money for pan­cre­atic can­cer char­i­ties and is named af­ter Si­mon Wake, a keen run­ner and Har­ri­ers mem­ber who died of pan­cre­atic can­cer in 2008.

The race takes a de­mand­ing route from Com­rie up Glen Led­nock via var­i­ous twists and turns, as­cend­ing Crap­pich Hill and Ben Chonzie be­fore fin­ish­ing back at Lag­gan Park via Lord Melville’s Monument and the De’il’s Caul­dron.

The whole route cov­ers 43 kilo­me­tres with 2110 me­tres of as­cent, and is a ma­jor event on the hill-run­ning cal­en­dar, at­tract­ing teams from all over Scot­land.

Weather on the day was chal­leng­ing, with strong winds, rain and poor vis­i­bil­ity, which caused some sig­nif­i­cant nav­i­ga­tional con­se­quences, par­tic­u­larly on the tougher Legs 2 and 3.

With a new look team of young­sters, Strat­hearn Har­ri­ers took the hon­ours in the men’s race, with a very good time of 3.42.00, while the Har­ri­ers Ladies team won the women’s race.

For the men, Aaron Daw­son put in a very solid shift on Leg 1 in 52.46, with club cap­tain An­drew Aitken and Leg 2 spe­cial­ist Phil Mestecky mak­ing good use of lo­cal knowl­edge on the tricky Crap­pich Hill leg to take the lead at the half­way point.

Ben Mur­phy had the stern task of the steady pull up Ben Chonzie and ran well for his time of 1.19.15 in third place. Scot­tish un­der-20 cham­pion Sol Sweeney had some time to make up on HBT and Ochil Hill Run­ners, but did so in some style to fin­ish the fi­nal leg in 41.54, just six sec­ond shy of the record for the leg.

In the women’s race, Sonja McFadden set the tone with the fastest women’s Leg 1 in a very good time of 59.02, hand­ing over to Ruth Clark and Emily Greaves.

Lo­cal knowl­edge again played a part, with Ruth and Emily also set­ting a fastest leg time be­fore send­ing Greta Dargie on her way up Ben Chonzie.

Greta made full use of her strength on the hills to record an ex­cel­lent 1.22.33 to over­haul Car­nethy and put the women’s team in first place. Greta also set a fastest leg time. Maddy Wat­son took over the last leg and set yet another fastest leg time to bring the women’s team home in 4.20.20.

Strat­hearn Har­ri­ers also took first place in the Mixed Vets event and sec­ond place in the Mixed event, where ladies club cap­tain Ni­cola Wat­son led the way with a solid 1.07.53, hand­ing over to Doug Flint and Jim Alexan­der on Leg 2 – set­ting a sec­ond-best leg time.

Hill vet­eran Iain Thom­son worked hard for his Leg 3, hand­ing over to late stand-in Ja­nine Grant to bring the team home in 4.50.55.

An­drew Irvine led the Mixed team with an ex­cel­lent 57.42 on Leg 1, hand­ing over to the ex­pe­ri­enced pair of Fran Loots and Rachel Gal­lagher on Leg 2.

Andy Gal­lagher took on Leg 3, with Lau­ren Fair­weather fin­ish­ing the race, mak­ing up nearly eight min­utes on the team ahead, which just hap­pened to be the Har­ri­ers Mixed Vets team. Seven sec­onds sep­a­rated the two teams at the fin­ish.

There were Har­ri­ers race de­buts for Ben Mur­phy, Sol Sweeney, Greta Dargie, and An­drew Irvine who all per­formed with great com­mit­ment and set some crack­ing times for their legs.

Other lo­cal in­ter­est came with two team from RTS Forestry, with some fine runs and a good race be­tween them­selves to fin­ish just three min­utes apart.

Race or­gan­iser Kerry Sweeney ex­pressed her thanks to ev­ery­one who helped with the event.

She said: “With­out those who run it, mar­shal it, mark it out, break it down, cater and or­der food for it, strim the bracken, trans­port the es­sen­tials from the lock up, time it, com­pile the re­sults, pro­vide the PA, bake for it, man the park­ing for it, cheer the run­ners on and the landown­ers who al­low us to use their land the race would just not hap­pen.”

A club spokesper­son said the Har­ri­ers were very ap­pre­cia­tive of the sup­port given by the landown­ers, res­i­dents and The Fa­mous Grouse for their sup­port.

See www.strat­hearn­har­ri­ uk for full re­sults.

• Pics: Cathy Til­brook/ Mirela Macinnes.

Quick­est time Fastest Leg 2 run­ners Phil Mestecky and Andy Aitken

Suc­cess The win­ning men’s team in the Si­mon Wake event

Shield The win­ning ladies team in the Com­rie Hill Re­lay

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