At this time of the year many people look forward to heading north in the hope of some decent skiing conditions. Johan Meintjies and Graham Burrows of Linlithgow Athletic Club instead chose last weekend to head in that direction so they could race up and down a hill in conditions that would have been far more suited to those on skis. The event they entered was the first ever running of the Gael-charn Mor Hill race, planned as a 10km out and back route, near Aviemore.
None but the most committed runners would have endured a drive at crawling speed up the A9 as the snow ploughs tried to clear the road. The runners’ dedication was rewarded though; by the time they got to Aviemore the worst of the snow on the roads had cleared up and there were some signs of sunshine. Clearer roads though do not necessarily lead to clear hills and the course was shortened due to the treacherous conditions, with runners also instructed not to leave the main path at any point. 54 runners set off on a hard 4km climb up the hill with no change in gradient and after turning the turning point they would all return the same way to the finish, trying to keep the legs turning over fast enough whilst retaining traction in the snow. Times in these types of conditions are pretty meaningless but, for the record, Johan finished in 45:42 with Graham at 47:30.
The East District XC Championships, held annually at Camperdown Park in Dundee, is not a traditional venue for Linlithgow AC, however the opportunity to be the first club members to sport their new club hoodies proved irresistible to Jill Horsburgh, Darren Dick and Bryan Grome. The races attract many of the best runners in the country and the fields of each race were strong and competitive. The wind was strong too with the course, as always, rather hilly. Jill was off first in the Senior Women’s race and completed the four miles in 35:04 for 102nd place. In the Senior Men’s race (run over six miles) Darren finished in 47:32 for 197th place with Bryan timed at 50:04, in 218th place.
At Falkirk parkrun, Malcolm Hughes and Alison Marshall ran into a big surprise. parkrun events are renowned for the community spirit and on Saturday there were smiles all round as one young couple got engaged on the finish line. The groom to be had arranged for music and a dancing troupe to greet his beloved as she sprinted towards the line and cheers echoed around the park as the young romeo announced “she said yes”. Malcolm finished with a pre-proposal time of 20:28 for 12th place. Alison’s time of 26:40 put her in 84th place, one place behind the bride to be and perfectly placed to see the action unfold. Next week at Falkirk parkrun may not be quite as eventful however there will again be a party atmosphere with a few of the Linlithgow AC runners reaching the milestone of 50 parkruns.
Weekly Race Report >