Edinburgh University Win First Ever National Relay Title

Written by the fabulous Amy Bristow

On a mild, autumnal day in the scenic town of Cumbernauld, history was made for the Edinburgh University Hare and Hounds. A group of strapping young Haries survived a train ride to Croy, and Rachy Stew eventually found somewhere to park her car. The tent made it out of the bag, and by some miracle also made it back in at the end of the day. Good work all round.

The tent was pitched, if a little lopsidedly, by some helpful men, whilst the ladies began to warm up for their race: for the first time this year, the women’s teams were also made up of four counters, matching the usual format of the men’s race. The 4k course was undulating, though less undulating than James Dunn would have led us to believe with his fear-mongering pre-race chat, and boggy enough that my spikes were full of water after about 1km. What a great sport running is…


The women’s race set off at 13:20, and the Haries A team dominated from start to finish. After an incredibly-timed final kick from first-leg runner Steph Pennycook, which saw her bring the team home in first place, the Haries’ lead was never rescinded.  Second-leg runner Catriona Graves put in a stormer of a run to hold the team comfortably in first, before handing over to the ever-reliable Louise Mercer on the third leg, who made sure that the lead was in no doubt when Mhairi Maclennan set off as the fourth and final runner. Despite the attempts of the race commentator to try and panic us that Mhairi was being caught by the Gala Harriers and Central teams behind her, this proved to be, quite frankly, untrue: Mhairi held strong and fast to bring the team home for a truly dominant victory in a cumulative time of 56:28. As the title of this report suggests, they won the University’s first ever national relay title! Many congratulations girls, we’re all very proud, and the result is a great reflection of your hard work as a team both in training and on race days.14693720_910012442465917_812438599281672192_n

Whilst our A team of course deserve ample praise for an outstanding result, the Haries in fact had three and a quarter women’s teams who completed the course: another amazing example of our strength and depth. The B team was made up of freshers Lydia Blythe and Rhiannon Kirk, who were accompanied by the friendly faces of Sophie Collins and Sarah Douglas, who has finally stopped running in that terrible pink and purple vest… Together they put in some gutsy runs and climbed up the standings runner-by-runner: Sophie put in a particularly quick run as she continued her recent good form. The team ultimately finished a very respectable 15th place, with a team time of 1:04:22. Our C team on the day consisted of Iona Evans, Rosie Smith, Amy Bristow and Leda Olia, running in that order. Despite ‘not feeling too good’, Iona ran a cracking first leg, and Rosie put in a similarly good time, before unfortunately handing over to myself on the 3rd leg. I tried really hard though, and Leda rounded us off for a 25th place finish in a time of 1:10:04. Due to some last minute drop outs our D team consisted solely Rachel Stewart, who quite frankly has enough sass and good-looks to carry a whole team. Due to a cock-up both by the committee people in charge of entries and Scottish Athletics (but almost 90% our fault) Rachel’s run wasn’t able to be timed. However, let it be known that it was fab.

After the excitement of the ladies’ race was over, we turned our attention to the men’s race. There were some world-class names in the men’s field, such as Falkirk’s Ben Stevenson. He gave me his autograph. In a repeat of the successful, if controversial, East District Relay victory, Scott Stirling was off first for the Men’s A Team. He held his own in a field that included some really top runners, to bring the team home in 5th place. However, the Haries had four star runners where other teams only had one, which would come to prove the deciding factor over the course of the race. Logan Rees took over from Scotty and immediately stormed past some of the now-weakened teams to move up into second place, which is where the Haries remained throughout. Logan handed over to Andrew Lawler, who has been making quite a comeback to racing recently: second place was held comfortably, and the ever-relaxed-looking Euan Gillham took over to bring the team home in a team time of 48:43. Although some tanned Olympic-boy was too far ahead to catch, Aberdeen were left languishing in third place, and  the men’s team were safe in the knowledge that their success was valid and by-the-book, even if they forgot to run in their Stormzy masks #Justice4Mike. Before this weekend, the Haries had never medalled at the National Relay championships, so to come home with a gold AND a silver medal is really something to be immensely proud of. Also I think it’s worth mentioning that we are of course a University team, and so for both our women’s and men’s teams to be beating runners with up to 20 years more experience in the sport is incredible, and points to bright futures for all!

No rule breaking the day

Once again, though, the men’s B  were out to prove that group training makes for many a strong runner, finishing in a great 12th place out of a field of 68 teams. Fresher Cameron Young, now recovered from an injury that kept him out of the ED Relays, led the team out, before handing over to Thomas Otton, fresh from last weekend’s Fell Relays. On the third leg was our favourite ‘Mr. Miles’ Jimmy Dunn, before the team was completed by Alex Muir for a cumulative time of 51:31.

Overall it was an incredibly successful day out for everyone’s favourite team in green, glittery green faces were enjoyed by many, and the Garscube Harriers charity bake sale was really greatly appreciated. Until the next time we run around a muddy field for fun – be true to your green selves.

Lots of Love, Amy.

Full results below: