The penultimate race in the Scottish Hill Running Championships (SHR) took place last Saturday over 33 kilometres of the Ochil Hills near Stirling. It also doubled up as the 2018 Scottish Athletics(SA) Hill Running championship so SA medals were at stake as well as pride and the usual beer or two.

As the name suggests competitors had to negotiate a linear course taking in all of the Ochil hills over 2000ft. Much of the route follows a flat and at times vague ridge line and despite the almost constant presence of a path navigation in the mist can be very tricky. Consequently there was much talk about the weather forecast pre-race but mercifully the early morning clag lifted and apart from a stiff headwind and some drizzle in sections the going was very favourable.

A slightly depleted Shettleston contingent of 10 hopefuls boarded the bus at Stirling Uni heading to Glen Devon for the 12 noon start time. Sadly, not a single female Shett was competing for the club again!!

After much toil and only a couple of minor route choice errors a full compliment of relieved Harriers crossed the finish line at Stirling University having enjoyed some much needed encouragement and nourishment along the route from fellow Shetts turned ‘domestiques’ Peter Mackie and Alastair Pringle. Peter had set up shop (quite literally- enough nuts, sweets and drinks it seemed to feed the whole field of 133!) at the foot of the last climb up Dumyat, a graveyard for many a descent hill runner!

The race was won by Andy Fallas from Carnethy in 2hrs 53ms and 1st lady was Catriona Buchanan from Ochil Hill Runners in 3hrs 20ms. Not for the first time this year the stand out performance for the club came from the young Alastair Thurlbeck who romped home in 3rd place (1st u23) in a time of 3hrs and 4ms. He was closely followed by the evergreen and consistent Kenny Richmond in 4th(1st vet40) in 3hrs 6ms. With strong performances also from Mathew Sullivan(14th) and Grant Boyne(15th) the club were able to secure 2nd place in the senior mens team competition which leaves Shettleston top of the team rankings going into the final race at Ben Resipol.

Not to be outdone the old boys (Bill Breckenridge 21st, Stephen Winter 25th, John Connaghan 28th and Walter Henderson 29th) packed well slightly further down the field to secure top points in the vet40 team category. That also leaves them in top spot for the end of year SHR team prize. Brave runs also from Iain Pender 59th and Ross Cruickshanks 60th completed the crop of Shettleston runners.

Full results here…Ochil 2000 results

Well done to everyone and of course to Ochil Hill Runners for organising a great event, it  must be the best value race on the calendar!

The last race in this year’s Championships, Ben Resipol, takes place on Saturday 15th September. It promises to be a sociable affair as the SHR annual awards dinner is being held after the race. Although the club occupies top spot in 2 of the team categories only 1pt separates us from 2nd place Carnethy. No doubt they will be gathering their troops to make a last minute steal so if you haven’t entered already please do so, as always the more the merrier!

Details here…Ben Resipol details

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