Archive for March, 2009

Criffel Hill Race – Tim Downie

The best hill races to run are the ones you’ve never run before. That way you have no expectations for your time and you can just enjoy the run.

I must admit I couldn’t quite believe that there could be such an imposing hill so far south but Criffel stands high over the Solway Firth and dominates the skyline over New Abbey. (Well worth a visit BTW. A small village with a large ruined abbey and lots of interesting houses – and pubs

We registered in an area that could best be described as the “town square” and the race starts just a few feet away. The first half mile or so is on road/track before it turns into rocky trail and then into a mud fest.

By all accounts this is the driest it’s been for a very long time but “dry” is a relative term. I sank up to my knee at one point!

On the way up it’s a steady trudge and I tried hard not to let Alex disappear too far into the distance. By the time I circled the summit cairn I was probably no more than 30 seconds behind him.

Of course, descending is where Alex really shines and I quickly lost sight of him. I was passed by a couple of runners on the way down but worked hard to out distance another runner on the second ascent of the minor peak and then chased another lady down the hill until I could pass her on the “flat” (i.e. not quite so steep).

I managed a few good falls, one time scubbing my right side through somevery dry and woody heather, one time ending up on my hands and knees in a soupy peaty bog and one classic “hill runners fall” where I rolled and was back on my feet running without losing any forward momentum.

The race finishes on road (giving me a chance to make up slightly for my abysmal hill running) and I was happ enough to only finish a couple of minutes behind Alex.

All in all probably one of the most enjoyable hill races I’ve done. Highly recommended.

Even if you never run the hill it’s worth climbing for the fantastic views.

Alloa Half Marathon – Anne Noble

Alloa Half Marathon 22 Mar

Charlie Martin 1:28:17
Natalie Fleming 1:54:09
Hazel McFarlane 1:54:09
Anne Noble 1:54:09

Congratulations to Hazel for managing to break the 2 hours :)

Having missed out on Inverness a fortnight ago, we were really looking forward to taking part in the Alloa Half. It was great to have Natalie’s company, too.
It’s a superbly organised race and we had no difficulty in finding parking and locating the start. With friendly and helpful stewards it took us no time to get ourselves organised.
We had already decided to take it easy for the first few miles, but we couldn’t have gone much faster with quite a long section of road with speed bumps and then several small hills (who’s idea was this, anyway? ;D). Interestingly, we were passed quite early on by another VI runner and guide who were aiming for 1:45. The long downhill into Tillicoultry helped, and by this time quite a number of locals were turning out to cheer everyone on their way.
For anyone who has run this race, you will know that there is a long, straight stretch of 4-5 miles at the foot of the Ochills. We had hoped that this would allow us to build up a good, steady rhythm but in reality it meant that we had turned west into the strong wind and were struggling. (Not as powerful as Jedburgh but a pain after having had a week of really calm weather). However, Natalie was determined that we would stay cheery and was singing as she ran (this woman is definitely a great runner 8-))
We cheered as we turned south-east but, of course, then had to deal with a long, steep hill. But Hazel is nothing if not determined and we struggled onwards and upwards. Only one more hill and then everything is downhill or flat. Yipee!
Hazel rose to the occasion and stormed in with a sprint finish well under her target time of less than 2 hours (Jedburgh was 2:02).
Many thanks to Natalie who was an absolute star 8-). Hope this was a good training run for London in a few weeks’ time – good luck!
Well done to Charlie, too.
Also good to see so many other Ayrshire runners with Kilmarnock turning out in numbers and Toni taking 1st female.
Whoever had the idea of having the Club name on the back of our vests has given the Club some good advertising. Quite a few people commented on the name, saying how much they liked it, and with 3 of us running together it had quite an impact.
A tough race but definitely worth trying. Classy medal and a t-shirt, too – superb.

Balloch To Clydebank Half Marathon – Alasdair Skeoch

An unusual race with the logistics of a marathon but only half the distance!

You meet at Clydebank and are bussed out to Balloch and start at the Lochside – very picturesque.

I traveled with Kirsty and Kerry Wilson and joined a few of the lads from Killie upstairs on an old double decker bus – very reminiscent of school trips of old! The wind, sleet and snow we experienced on the bus ride gave us an indication of what we could expect and after 45 mins or so wait at Balloch we were off. Met Moira at the start and she was looking confident. Lot of water lying around and although we had a lot of ominous clouds, no real downpour during the race.

I battered through 8 minute miles and felt my hamstring if I tried any faster and finished in 1:44:20 – only real bright spot was a strong last 3 miles where I dropped to 7:30 miles and claimed a few scalps.

Moira was just behind me in about 1:47 and Kirsty not far behind in 2:09.

Few other friends of the club had a very good day. 1st was Kerry Wilson from Girvan in 1:12:30, Keith from Killie was 4th overall and 1st vet with 1:14:54 and Scott from Killie was 11th 1:17:47 and I seem to recall both Keith and Scott were PB’s which is a great effort considering the conditions.

First half marathon for 2 years and enjoyed the day but not the time. Considering my hamstring issue and the training for the WHW not too concerned about quick times, but still hanker to finish further up the field!