A wet and cold Saturday 8th October 2011 saw the start of the cross country season and a small band of harriers heading up to Dundee’s Camperdown Park for the East District Relays. Following a route within the park then out into the surrounding woodland, running first were the girls team made up of Emma Grieve, Ishbel Inglis and Louise Mercer. For Emma and Ishbel it was a bit of a baptism of fire at their first ever relays as due to having only 3 girls available on the day to run all three were very young in their respective categories. Emma Grieve newly turned 11 years old ran the first leg in U13 category, Ishbel Inglis also only 11 years old ran the U15 category and Louise Mercer stepped up to run the last and fastest leg with the U17 girls. All executed themselves well and gave their best, with Louise gaining 7 or more places in the last leg. The times recorded for the girls were Emma 12.13, Ishbel 11.01 and Louise 8.55.
For the boys team it was a family affair and also debut event for brothers David and James Mercer running the 1st (U13) and 2nd (U15) leg and Keith Learmonth the 3rd leg as U17 male. As with the girls the boys gave it their all and produced times of 11.05, 9.41 and 9.19 respectively.
For the junior/senior ladies and men the route was similar but increased to 4,000m. First off for the ladies was Donna Inglis recording a time of 20:56, with Sylvia Grieve finishing the second leg in a time of 22:00. For the senior men the times recorded were Alan Inglis 15:06, Gareth Mayze 14:21, Bill Knox 18:28 and Alan Coltman 16:01.
The first Penchrise Pen Hill Race was held at Stobs on 18th September with 25 runners assembling for the 8k run with total ascent of 280m. The threatened rain stayed away and conditions couldn’t have been much better for the runners or indeed those who turned up to help out and support the race.
Moorfoot took the honours with Darin Dougal first home in a time of 35:23 and Julia Connor first lady in 41:30. Darin was chased home by 19 year old Rory Anderson from the host club Teviotdale who also had Craig Grieve in 3rd place. 2nd lady home was Jane Chalmers (unattached) and 3rd was Lindsey Knox of Teviotdale. Darin was also first in the M40 category although the prize for this moved down to Colin Nichol while John Tullie (M50) and Barry Spence (M60) gave Teviotdale a clean sweep in the age group categories. Special mention to Owen O’Neill of Westerlands who despite arriving late, dashing from the car to start over 3 minutes behind and then finishing with only one shoe, managed to work his way through the field into 10th place just over 5 minutes behind the winner.
Although a low turnout the race proved successful and hopefully this will be the first of many races here. Thanks to all who made the effort to come along, both runners and helpers, and hopefully we will see you all again next year.
Torrential rain greeted Craig Grieve on the morning of his first attempt at running Ben Nevis. Conditions improved as the race start got nearer. Craig met up with former harrier Billy Fraser who was also competing for the first time. Both Craig and Billy looked good after the first mile on road before they started the climb onto the Ben. Craig reached the summit in 1hr 19mins and Billy around 1hr 27 mins. There was little visibility on top and the descent was very slippy. The winner Finlay Wild completed the race in a very impressive 1hr 29mins. Craig looked strong as he made his way back down the road and finished in 100th place in 2hr 3mins. Billy also looked well as he completed the last ½ mile and finished 181st in 2hr 17mins. 480 runners completed this epic run and most will try again next year.