The finale of the Scottish Hill Racing championship saw 11 Shettleston Harriers making the trip to the market town of Moffat on Saturday. Legend has it that in 1865, the Devil’s Beeftub, a 500ft dramatic hollow with four surrounding hills, saw an escaping John Hunter being shot by chasing dragoons after failing to successfully outrun his chasing party, up the steep side of the Beeftub. Fortunately, there were no angry parties brandishing guns at the weekend, though there were perhaps a number of failed attempts trying to run up the Beeftub.
The race, a mere two miles, and probably one of the shortest in the hill race calendar, packs in c1,000ft of climbing, half of which is in the first 1/4 mile. A great race to watch if you were a spectator, effectively you could see the whole race unfolding before your eyes along the skyline. It was a spectacle to see the whole field of 113 runners, snaked along a bard wire fence in one single line before the start and then charging through deep bracken and straight up the lung buster Beeftub. Novelist Walter Scott famously quoted it as ‘A damned deep, black, blackguard-looking abyss of a hole it is.’ If you managed to make it to the top, you could at least pay homage to poor John as the race circuited a monument in his memory. I’m sure a few people also felt like dying at that point. Anyway, onwards and upwards for another mile and a half before a similarly ridiculously steep 800ft descent to the finish. And then it was all over.
The race itself was won by HBT’s Murray Strain in a time of 21.55. Despite only recently returning from injury, Shettleston Harrier, Robert Simpson had a great run to finish 2nd. This was enough to lift Robert to 4th in the overall senior men’s SHR standings. Tom Martyn of HBT took 3rd place.
In the MV40 category, John Connaghan was beaten by just 6 seconds by Stewart Whitlie of Carnethy to take 2nd vet place (6th overall) cementing a 3rd place podium in the SHR championships. In the MV50 category, Bill Breckenridge kept the wolf pack at bay to finish 3rd MV50 on the day (15th overall) and in doing so, securing a well deserved 2nd in the Championships.
Some good runs from David Houston (13th), Stephen Winter (22nd), Walter Henderson (32nd) and myself (12th) all of whom finished respectably in the Championships. The men managed to scoop some race prizes on the day, with the MV40 team doing enough to finish joint 1st with Carnethy in overall SHR standings. The senior men, with noticeable absences this year, managed a credible 2nd behind Carnethy who were crowned champions.
Despite Ross Gollan’s absence, he also managed to wrap up the MU23 SHR title for the club. We also had Lennox junior in company as well, Moray finishing strongly in 16th place.
In the ladies, Shona Robertson left it late to claim the SHR FV40 title and 1st FV40 on the day (30th place). Stephanie Provan of Deeside was first lady home in a time of 24.40, followed closely by Miranda Grant and Jill Stephen of HBT.
Some great runs from Victoria Leiper (74th), Myrtle Breckenridge (88th) and Susan Brekenridge (99th) to lift the senior ladies to 2nd place in the championships. All of the girls made the top 20 in the overall standings as well. A fantastic result for the ladies. A special mention to Clara Horswell for her efforts throughout the season who couldn’t race on the day and missed out on completing the series. The highlight of the day was Myrtle landing the FU23 SHR title, a tremendous result.
The race results and overall SHR championship standings can be found below.
If the thought of dipping your toes in the mud, or scaling the odd hill has whet your appetite then the British Fell and Hill Relay Championship are being held in Llanberis this year on 15 October, bringing the curtain down on the season. Shettleston Harriers have entered three senior teams and spaces are filing up fast but please get in touch with Shona Robertson, shonaoff70@hotmail if you are interested in running. We are particularly keen to hear from any ladies. More details can be found below.
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