Archive for May, 2009

Ben Lomond Hill race report

or “Two men and a goat”. ;)

Three intrepid tortoises headed up to Rowardennan (by a somewhat roundabout route) with a little trepidation as the forecasts had been for rain & snow on Ben Lomond. But hey, weather forecasts are usually wrong so why worry?

As we neared the hill, the top was lost in cloud and indeed it had a whitish look about it suggestive of snow but it takes more than a dusting of snow to daunt us. It was raining but surely it couldn’t really be snowing on the top?

After registering in the Rowardennan hotel (and me booking a room for the wrong night for my WHW walk) we gathered for the pre-race briefing. This was delivered by one of the race organisers who was standing on a wall. He finished by jumping off the wall and saying “go” before leading the pack up the hill.  More like a stampede really for the first few hundred metres. The path is pretty narrow at the start and if you’re serious about your hill running you don’t want to get stuck behind slower folk. No worries for us then as we dropped back and let most of the hoard gallop on. ;D

Once on to the hill I felt relatively good and pulled ahead of Alex although I had no idea where Ian was. Compared to last year the climbing felt easier (& more enjoyable) and I guess I must have stretched my lead out ahead of Alex (although I never looked back).

As we ascended, the steady rain started to turn to sleet and I was glad that I had put my leggings, jacket, gloves and hat on at the start. So, despite the driving sleet, I was reasonably comfortable and enjoying the climb. As we neared the “zig zags” the leaders were already plummeting down the hill. No other word better describes their descent. Utterly awesome to watch (and a liitle terrifying if they’re heading straight for you).

Before the zigzags the runners are diverted to the west onto a grassy slope (to avoid head on collisions with the majority of the field) and about a third of the way up there was a distressed runner suffering from dizzyness & cold. Having taken the trouble to get a phone number for the local mountain rescue team before I started, I felt obliged to try and contact them (although she already had other runner’s assisting her).

I failed miserably but then a MR man appeared (as did Alex) and I headed off in pursuit. I’d probably wasted 3-4 minutes but I was much happier knowing that she was now in the hands of the MR.

I tailed Alex the rest of the way through what was now not so much snow as flying ice particles. It felt like being sandblasted with ice and was very unpleasant in the eyes. Mind you, so’s Alex so at least it was a distraction. ;D

The conditions might have been horrible but as you often do, the worse it gets the more alive you feel and before we knew it, we were rounding the summit (which was manned by in incredible number of marshals) and heading back down the hill.

I was right on Alex’s tail when we turned but somehow within seconds, the goat was out of sight flying down the mountain. Not long after than Ian passed me too making good speed down the hill.

I was probably too concerned with self preservation as the rocks were covered with slush that constantly threatened to bring you down on you ars*. Somehow I kept upright and enjoyed being able to stretch my legs at long last and actually do some running. A couple of diversions on the descent take you “off-piste”, the second of which was carefully routed right through the middle of a sucky bog. Excellent!

Then it was back on to the path, down the “wall”, a series of large rocky steps designed to catch out the unwary. Much to the lurking photographer’s disappointment, I successfully negoitated it granny-style and carried on down.

From having been freezing on the top we were all stripping off on the descent as the air temperature rose dramatically.

At last the Rowardennan car park hove into view and I exchanged places a few times with another runner (who was even worse than me at descending) but who turned out to be *way* faster than me once we hit the road.

The last road section is only a few hundred metres long but has a slight uphill and my legs turned to jelly and I wobbled my way to the finish.

I finished in 1:54 something, about the same as last year but if I take my 3 minute stop into account, I reckon I can claim a PB. I was pleased the way that the whole race had felt easier and more enjoyable this year despite the conditions. I think my hill work on the Carrick Hills has really helped.

Not enough to beat Alex & Ian but hey, a PB *and* I had fun so I can’t complain. ;D

To cap it off there was hot soup and bread for all the runners after the race and a slab of pork pie from Ian. What a great way to finish of a hill race!

Tim Downie

My downhill was pretty good and I’ve never in a race picked up quite so many places so quickly. When we got to the top and started the descent, loads or runners seemed to have lost all confidence in the snow and ice. Me now, ah well, who wants to live forever anyway.

The only problem with my descent was a minor fall at exactly the same spot as last year, it went something like this: “Concentrate, concentrate, concentrate… You’re coming up to where you fell last year. Ignore the Mountain Rescue Team. It was they who put you off last year… That’s it, ignore them.. Concentrate, concentrate, con… oh f**k, Sh*t, Bug*er, how embarrassing” After that, my trousers started to fall down, not a pretty sight, had to hold on with one hand the rest of the way.

All in all, another great day out and even with the appalling weather, there were times on the way up the hill that a quick glance showed Loch Lomond laid out in all its beauty.

Alex Drain

24th Troon 10K 6th May 09

was a wild night in Troon for the 24th Troon 10K but that didn’t stop Shettleston Harriers scoring a 1-2 with Tsega Tewelde in first place (30:45) and Amanuel Woldeselassie in second place (30:47).  David Phee (Giffnock North) followed up in a time of 32:04.   First lady was Toni McIntosh of Ayr Seaforth in 36:05, Kara Tait (Kilmarnock Harriers) in second (39:04) and Emma Birnie (Bellahouston Road Runners) in third(39:54) .

David Phee | Amanuel Woldeselassie |Tsega Tewelde |Toni McIntosh | Kara Tait | Emma Birnie

Results Excel file Web page

Kenneth Phillips pictures here

Well done to all who braved the elements.

Troon 10K

Who cares about the weather – it’s the Tortoise 10K!

Troon Tortoise’s 10K certainly lived up to its reputation as being the biggest and one of the best organised mid-week races in the country.  It even underpinned its status as an international event with competitors from all four home nations as well as the USA, Africa, Asia and the Isle of Man!

Last year’s winner, Amanuel Woldeselassie, was beaten into second place by his club mate Tsega Tewelde.  Both Amanuel and Tsega are former Eritrean international runners who now run for Shettleston Harriers.  Whilst last year it was a clean sweep by the former Eritreans, this year they didn’t get it all their own way with third place being won by David Phee of Giffnock North AAC.  The first Ayrshire athlete was 2007 winner, David Millar of Irvine AC in fourth place.
First lady home was defending champion, Toni McIntosh of Ayr Seaforth.  Whilst Toni was reported to be suffering from an infection, she didn’t let that or the weather dampen her spirits and was quicker by over a minute on her last year’s time.  Kara Tait of Kilmarnock Harriers was second lady with Emma Birnie of Bellahouston in third.

David Phee | Amanuel Woldeselassie |Tsega Tewelde |Toni McIntosh | Kara Tait | Emma Birnie

This year there was a special award sponsored by The Scottish Building Society.  Whilst the Society has been a major sponsor of the Tortoise’s 10K for many years, the sponsorship package was enhanced this year with the donation of a trophy, The Scottish Building Society Community Cup.  The cup will be awarded on an annual basis, to a local person who has overcome barriers or a specific challenge to participate in the race.  The first winner of the SBS Community cup was Hazel McFarlane of Troon, who completed the run in a very respectable 51 minutes – despite being blind.   Hazel ran the race with Guide Runner, George MacGregor, a fellow member of Troon Tortoise Running Club.

“I am delighted to be the first recipient of the Scottish Building Society Community Cup and think it is a great idea to recognise the effort and sacrifices that people do make to get out and run and to get fit.   The club members here are great to run with and there is never any shortage of volunteer guide runners to run with me,” said Hazel.
“Hazel is an inspiration to us all,” commented Scottish Building Society Troon Branch Manager, Frances Milroy.    “It is a daunting thought for most of us to participate in a 10k road race, but Hazel has shown real strength and determination and we are delighted to have such a worthy winner to launch this new trophy.”

Frances Milroy, Manager of the Troon Branch of the Scottish Building Society is pictured here presenting the cup to Hazel after the run.



1st Tsega Tewelde 30:43

2nd Amanuel Woldeselassie 30:45

3rd David Phee 32:03


1st Toni McIntosh 36:03

2nd Kara Tait 39:02

3rd Emma Birnie 39:47

Vets men (40-49) Graeme Croll 33:29

Vets women (35-44) Emma Birnie 39:47

SuperVets men (50-59) Paul Thompson 36:47

SuperVets women (45-54) Jacqueline Cowan 42:06

Men (60-69) Andrew Rennie 39:57

Women (55-64) Linda Young 49:25

Men over 70 William Lusk 53:00

Junior Male (15-17) Callum Mclennan 42:08

Junor Female (15-17) Sarah Munn 40:28

Over 60 Andrew Rennie 39:57

Over 75 William Lusk 53:00

Troon Tortoise’s would like to thank all of their sponsors as well as South Ayrshire Council, North Ayrshire Council and Strathclyde Police.