Weekly Race Report
Club championship points were at stake last weekend again, so a group of Linlithgow Athletic Club Members put aside thoughts of winding down last Friday evening and headed off to Fife for the now extremely popular Black Rock ‘5' race. The ‘5’ in inverted commas is there to inform use the race is around 5 miles.
There was a record field again with 1,018 finishers at this highly novel event. Runners start in the village of Kinghorn and pound the pavements along the sea front for the first mile before taking to the beach! No time for swimsuits as the competitors head out to sea, firstly over some very tricky soft sand at the beach head then across the wet sands and tide pools towards the famous Black Rock. A piper greets them at the turn, where they head into the shallows to circumnavigate the famous rock. Then it's hell for leather back across the sands and up through the village to finish on a very steep hill, where it seems that most of the village turns out to cheers the runners to the finish. Another of the quirks to this race is that all finishers over the age of 18 are handed a bottle of beer.
First home for Linlithgow was favourite David Marshall, transferring his recent 10k road race form to the trickier sandy surface. David finished well up the field in 36th place with a fantastic time of 26minutes 58 seconds. Next home was Gerry McArdle, another in-form athlete. Gerry claims his fast time was partially due to Angus Gallie chasing him up the beach and through the village. Then followed Darren Dick, continuing to show his marathon training form. Alison Marshall was first LAC lady home, showing that she has made a full recovery from the London marathon. Jill Horsburgh was next lady, using the event as training for an upcoming 'marathon' weekend festival of running. Jill's son Iain finished a few minutes ahead of his mum, and no doubt he'll get a mention in the Lothian Runners' report! Rosemary Gallagher was the third lady home, close on Jill's heels, and later state that it felt longer than five miles; it's a long way out to that rock! Linlithgow AC times and positions as follows: - David Marshall, 36th, 26:58; Gerry McArdle, 100th, 29:38; Angus Gallie, 107th, 29:51; Darren Dick, 163, 31:08; Alison Marshall, 411, 35:35; Jill Horsburgh, 454, 36:31; Rosemary Gallagher, 501, 37:10.
At Edinburgh parkrun, Beverly Dodgson finished 117th female in 32:13. Over at Falkirk parkrun Roddy Simpson took 40th place in 23:19 and Alex Wood 73rd with 24:45.
There was reason for Linlithgow Athletic Club to celebrate this week as one of its members achieved national recognition with a personal best performance at the Glasgow Athletic Association Miler meet last Friday, an event that doubled as the Scottish 10k Championships.
John Redding entered the event having never competed in a 10,000m event on the track however knew he was in good form following a 10k PB at Grangemouth the previous weekend. 25 laps of a 400m track is a world apart from the 10k road races that John is more accustomed too, however he managed to carry an even pace throughout and was rewarded with a new PB of 34:12 for the distance and a silver medal in the M35 category.
On Saturday, Jill Horsburgh and Scott Cockburn travelled to Edinburgh on a gloriously sunny afternoon to tackle the Hunters Bog Trot, a hill race based around Arthur’s Seat and Salisbury Crags. This year, to avoid the preparations for another event based in the Holyrood area, the route was changed and an additional 400ft of ascent, some of which was in the first few hundred yards of the race. This would give runners some insight into what was to come over a course included over 1000ft of ascent in its 4.2 mile distance. On such a clear day though every tough climb was rewarded with splendid views of the city and even across to Fife. Jill and Scott both produced great performances; Scott finished in 37:04 however the more impressive result was Jill’s time of 49:49 which placed her second in her age category (and earned her a prize of a bottle of beer!)
Alison Marshall proved she is in great form and ready for her assault at Virgin London Marathon with a PB at the more moderate distance of 5k at Edinburgh parkrun. In what was a family affair, Alison finished at 23:35 (25th Female) with husband David pushing daughter Jessica in a buggy finishing just a second behind. Beverly Dodgson also ran at the event finishing in 31:30, 127th Female.
At Falkirk parkrun, Roddy Simpson finished 41st overall with a time of 22:49. Louisa Cockburn produced another great performance to secure 4th Female spot, completing the course in 23:14. Final finisher from the club was Gerry McArdle, who produced a personal best performance with the number of excuses about how his dog, Cullen, slowed him down as he finished well outside his usual time in in 24:42. Let’s hope Cullen is still Gerry’s best friend.
With the next leg of the Club Championships being the Round the Houses 10k race in Grangemouth on Sunday, last week was relatively quiet for Linlithgow Athletic Club.
Rosemary Gallacher and David McNish however opted for something a little different on Saturday and took on the Glen Duathlon in County Donegal, Ireland. The event, held in aid of the Irish Heart Foundation, consisted of a 3km run followed by a 24k with another 3k run to finish. The terrain was a mixture of roads and trail for both the bike and run aspects and whilst it was had going in places, the contestants were treated to some stunning views as they made their way through the picturesque Glen Valley. Rosemary returned 2nd Female with her time of with a time of 1hr 33min 08secs, with David finishing at 1hr 25mins 03secs.
Seven athletes opted to take on Edinburgh parkrun, a 5k event run along the foreshore at Cramond. John Redding doesn’t often have the opportunity to run at the parkrun events but made the most on Saturday, setting a new PB of 17:05 and securing third place. David Marshall and Scott Cockburn then had a buggy smack down, each racing whilst pushing their young daughters ahead of them. Amazingly, both runners complete the course comfortably under 20mins, with David taking the laurels at 19:07 and Scott timed at 19:39. It was less surprising that both were well outside of their respective personal bests.
Charlotte Fortune returned to take yet another podium place, finishing 2nd Female in her time of 19:24. Other results from Edinburgh were Malcolm Hughes, 61st, 20:04; Louisa Cockburn, 19th Female, 22:36 (PB) and Alison Marshall, 70th F, 26:39.
Over at Falkirk parkrun, a 5k event staged in Callendar Park, Roddy Simpson took 46th place with his time of 22:49 and Jennifer Newton was 25th Female, finishing at 26:41.
The road running season well and truly started with the Alloa Half Marathon, reported here last week. Bryan Grome of Linlithgow Athletic Club decided on Sunday that he would take it a stage further and take on a Loch Katrine Marathon that he had not even entered for. Bryan was due to run the half marathon but jumped at the opportunity to step up to the full 26.2 miles on the day. The course has been described previously as the hilliest road marathon in Scotland but does reward athletes with a prime sample of those stunning views that the Trossachs has to offer. Having yet to complete his full marathon training schedule, Bryan was both shocked and delighted to finish such a challenging course in a time of 4:54, which was also a massive 45 minutes improvement on his previous marathon time.
Most athletes chose the shorter 5k parkrun events on Saturday, keeping Sunday aside for long runs as they prepare for their own attempts at the longer distances.
At Edinburgh parkrun, in a field of 595 runners David Marshall took 18th place and bagged himself a new PB time of 17:48. Alison Marshall, taking her turn to be the buggy runner, finished at position 453 in 28:37.
211 runners took part at Falkirk parkrun with Colin Hutcheon first home for the club in 20:57 for 22nd place. Malcolm Hughes was not far behind at 21:06 for 25th place with Roddy Simpson finishing the LAC trio in 22:39 for 48th place.
Kirkcaldy parkrun is relatively new having held its inaugural last month and regular parkrun tourists Charlotte Fortune and Jill Horsburgh could not resist adding the 2 and a bit laps of Beveridge Park to their parkrun portfolio. Charly has spent some time in Spain recently (some say warm weather training but in reality it was more of a holiday) however the return to a cooler climate had little impact as she scorched the competition, finishing first female in a time of 19:09. Jill’s time of 24:41 was enough to secure 13th female position.
Taking to the hills, Scott Cockburn competed in the Ben Gullipen Hill Race in the forest roads high above Callendar. Runners ascend over 350m in this 13.5km event and Scott returned 13th in a very creditable time of 59:15.
After a relatively quiet couple of weeks, Linlithgow AC athletes put their hours of training to the test over the weekend over much bigger distances than of late.
Saturday saw the first ultramarathon of the season with the D33 race heading out of Aberdeen, Course conditions were good with the winning time smashing previous best times by over 19 minutes. All the three Linlithgow athletes competing achieved personal best times with Gerry McArdle competing for the first time at this distance leading the club home. Gerry completed the 33 mile course in 4:43:21 (87th) finishing just ahead of Johan Meintjies (91st) in 4:43:55. Gerry was buzzing after his first ultra , being thrilled both at having beaten team mate Johan in the last 500m and at achieving sub 8minute miles in the last miles of the race. Malcolm Hughes was also pleased with his finishing time of 5:17:16 (177th), with 33 miles being shorter than most of the ultras that he typically enters. 338 runners completed.
On Sunday, 15 Linlithgow athletes were relieved to wake up to fairly benign conditions for the Alloa half marathon, which was the first club championship of the season. There were some fantastic individual performances from the Linlithgow squad, with many runners recording personal best times for this challenging road race distance.
There was a ding –dong battle for first place within the club with John Smith leading Michal Sroka for the last few miles. Michal dug deep and managed to pip John to the line in a sprint battle. Michal and John were separated by only one second in 1:28:08 and 1:28:09 respectively.
Leading the ladies home and in a fantastic sixth place overall for the club was Karen Duncan, running her debut half marathon. Karen finished in 1:36:59.
Alison Marshall and Darren Dick had great confidence boosters for their London and Edinburgh Marathon training, both recording PBs with Darren finishing in 1:37:59 and Alison in 1:48:10. PB were also recorded by Ian Campbell, Rosemary Gallagher and Sarah Crewes.
Personal best times were not the only thing to put a smile on the runners’ faces this year. Following the trend of recent years for bright t-shirts, the organisers handed out shocking pink t-shirts for all finishers. Both male and female runners wore these with pride!
Finishing times and positions for Linlithgow Athletic Club members were as follows: -
Michal Sroka, 1:28:08 (170) –PB; John Smith. 1:28:09 (171), Angus Gallie, 1:30:18 (214); Paul Dudchenko, 1:34:28 (300); Karen Duncan, 1:36:59 (366) – PB; Ian Campbell, 1:37:02 (368) – PB; Darren Dick, 1:37:59 (397) – PB; Rosemary Gallagher, 1:42:54 (572) – PB; Nadine McAlpine, 1:43:47 (603); Alison Marshall, 1:48:10 (747) – PB; Sarah Crewes, 1:48:49 (778) – PB; Bryan Grome, 1:50:37 (833); Felicity Harrison, 1:53:55 (945); Jennifer Newton, 1:54:53 (982); Darren Robertson, 2:00:15 (1146). 1661 completed.
In the usual weekend parkruns, veteran runners Roddy Simpson and Jill Horsburgh competed at Falkirk, both winning their age categories by a convincing margin. Jill finished 12th female in a respectable for age 25:12, whilst Roddy continued his run of fine form and achieved yet another PB of 23:06, finishing 35th of 183 runners.
March winds were well in evidence at the inaugural running of the House of the Binns cross country on Sunday. On a morning which saw all four seasons in an hour four Linlithgow AC members assisted as marshalls and timekeepers. With a relatively small entry of 61 runners the club only fielded one competitor, Bryan Grome. Luckily the rain stayed off for the duration of the race and although the ground was very soft most finishers remained relatively clean, unlike the previous weekend’s cross country at Callendar Park. On a 5k route which climbed the hill, circled the folly and finished in front of the House, Bryan finished in 26:44.
Also on Sunday, Rosemary Gallagher and David McNish contested the Lasswade 10. On a challenging, hilly, wet and windy course Rosemary was delighted to sneak in 6 seconds under the 80 minute mark. David completed the challenging ten miles in 69:37.
Other club members chose to test themselves at the popular local parkruns which are held every Saturday morning. At Cramond, running in relatively still conditions, David Marshall was first club runner home, although still well outside his PB as he was “plus buggy”. David finished 135th out of 531 finishers, in a time of 22:20. Only 30 seconds behind was Louisa Cockburn who finished 19th female and achieved a new personal best. Jill Horsburgh was 40th female in 24:12, with Alison Marshall and Darren Dick in hot pursuit. Their 24:28 finish placed them 236th and 237th with Alison being 44th female.
At Callendar Park, Falkirk three club members were amongst the 218 finishers. Malcolm Hughes finished 35th in 21:18, veteran Roddy Simpson yet again won his age category finishing in 23:22 and Gerry McArdle finished 30 seconds behind in 75th place.
Had the Scottish National Cross Country Championships been held on the traditional Saturday, the runners would have experienced somewhat benign conditions under clear blue skies. This year however the event was delayed until Sunday and the athletes had the pleasure of more typical cross country weather – wind and rain, with a little bit of sleet. Linlithgow Athletic Club sent full senior Men and Women teams to compete in what would predictably become a mud-fest.
At most cross country events, the seniors only get an opportunity to run once the course has been suitable churned up by a series of junior races. The ladies the have the pleasure of adding to this in advance of the men’s event.
The club had seven starters in the senior women’s race with each providing both support and competition to one another which proved a mutual benefit to all. Despite suffering a poor night’s sleep due to a teething baby, Louisa Cockburn was spurred on by the camaraderie and finished the 8k course first of the bunch in 40:54, for 180th place. Rosemary Gallacher, was next home in 41:36 (186th). Next up was a close run race in itself as a only a matter of seconds separated Felicity Harrison (42:52, 195th), Jill Horsburgh (42:55, 196th), Alison Marshal (42:56, 197th) and Jennifer Newton (42:58, 199th). Jennifer Grant finished not far behind in 47:03 for 221st place. In the team event, LAC women were recorded as 27th best in the country.
The final race of the day was the senior men’s race, run over 12k, including 10 LAC members and including Colin Hutcheon - competing for the first time on 20 years in a LAC vest. John Redding returned first for the club, timed at 46:26 for 140th place. The other senior men’s times were: Ian Logan (49:04, 231st); David Marshall (50:39, 284th); Angus Gallie (55:32, 428th); David McNish (57:23, 463rd); Gerry McArdle (58:00, 476th); Colin Hutcheon (58:46, 491st); Ian Campbell (59:26, 498th), Darren Dick (1:00:09, 504th) and Graham Burrows (1:04:36, 546th). In the team event, the men were recorded as 30th team in the nation.
David Mason chose to avoid the National Cross Country and instead entered the Bowhill Duathlon – a cross country event partly on bike and partly on foot. The event comprises a bike ride on fire roads and narrow trail followed by a run through woods, across streams and boggy ground with the addition of a few fallen trees to clamber over. Dave is known to have a liking for the two wheeled events but found conditions tough on the MTB ride and was ultimately glad to be able to switch to two feet after completing the bike section in 47:44. A technical cycle was followed by an equally technical and challenging run, however Dave held on for 21st place overall (8th vet) in his time of 1:43:20.
Finally, at Edinburgh parkrun, Darren Dick finishes in 26:26 for 283rd place. Roddy Simpson ran at Falkirk parkrun finishing in 23:28 for 54th place.
Last weekend was relatively quiet in the racing calendar with many Linlithgow athletes either putting in long training miles for spring marathons or gearing up for this coming weekend’s National Cross Country Championships. For most club members the competition did not extend beyond testing themselves in the popular parkrun series.
Although most members stuck to the familiarity of their local run at Falkirk, Gerry McArdle made the long journey north to the Hazelhead run just outside Aberdeen. In a relatively small field of 80, Gerry completed the woodland trail in 19:49, finishing in 8th place overall. More locally, Darren Dick returned to his Fife roots by running at the inaugural Kirkcaldy parkrun in Beveridge Park. The Kirkcaldy course is the 17th parkrun in Scotland and the inaugural event attracted an amazing 264 runners. Darren enjoyed the 2 lap, slightly hilly course completing in 21:58 which placed him 36th overall.
Meanwhile several athletes opted for their home parkrun at Callendar Park, which also gave them the option to check out this weekend’s national championship course as a cool down run. First runner home was Malcolm Hughes in 31st place (21:33). Ian Campbell completing his first run at Falkirk finished 55th overall in 22:49, closely followed by veteran Roddy Simpson in 23:19, 63rd place. Felicity Harrison finished 10th female and was thrilled to get a 5k personal best of 24:26, especially over such a hilly course. Bryan Grome finished in 100th place in 25:34 closely followed by veteran Jill Horsburgh in 26:05 which placed her 20th female. 208 runners completed.
This weekend will see a record number of competitors from all over Scotland descend on Callendar Park for the National Cross Country Championships. Linlithgow AC also has a record turnout of 22 athletes entered.
At this time of the year, many from Linlithgow Athletic Club are putting in the miles in training in advance of attempts at half and full marathons in the Spring. Darren Dick is no exception to this, however he chose in addition to take in the final event on the Frostbite Trail Race Series on Sunday even though he had completed his longest ever run just the day before.
Having started the race with tired and aching limbs, Darren must have been overjoyed to encounter the water crossing on his first loop, which was deeper than in previous events as the organisers had dammed the stream and would therefore surely have provided some soothing qualities. The course also includes the odd log obstacle with Darren leaping over the first like a gazelle although having subsequently admitted that later attempts were less graceful.
Darren finished 43rd out of the 126 runners on the day, timed at 27:21, and 39 overall over the four race series.
The club had four runners at Falkirk parkrun. First home was Roddy Simpson with a new PB of 23:14 after finishing in 69th place. David Marshall returned not far behind at 25:33 (104th), reportedly having been slowed by pushing his daughter in a buggy on a day that she was not to be rushed! Jill Horsburgh returned at 25:39 as 19th female with Alison Marshall 22nd lady at 26:10.
Last weekend was relatively quiet in terms of races for Linlithgow AC athletes, with most of the action taking place at local parkruns. Three hardy members made their way to Cramond for a run along the promenade which was icy in patches leading to slightly slower times than usual. Mark Anderson was 187th runner home in 24:01, with Ian McMahon ten places behind in 24:24. Darren Dick also completed the run as part of a longer training run and came home 270th out of 519 finishers. Gerry McArdle and Roddy Simpson chose to run at Callendar Park which can be less icy, but challenging in terms of hilly stretches. Gerry followed his cani-cross debut of last week by running with his dog Cullen. The pair finished 48th in 23:50, well outside Gerry’s solo PB time. Roddy followed only two places and 9 seconds behind. 171 runners completed.
With fellow club members reluctant to compete in the Scottish masters cross country at Kilmarnock, Jill Horsburgh chose to run second claim with her old club, Lothian . With athletes from as far afield as Aberdeen and the Highlands the course had all that is required for a decent cross country course-snow, mud, ice, sand and a short stretch of pot-holed tarmac and gravel. After an icy start the day turned relatively mild and Jill finished 10th in her age group, covering the boggy and hilly 4 miles (more generous than the advertised 6k) in 36.04. Unfortunately, as the youngest team member pulled out through injury the Lothian team did not have the required 3 finishers for a team placing.
Other club members took advantage of the snowy conditions in the Pentlands to gain some valuable winter hill training.