All posts by Sarah Henderson

Dumyat! Ascent up a hill and descent into admin error…but a celebration

Man who stand on hill with mouth open will wait long time for roast duck to drop in’

– Confucius

Sadly, as I gasped for breath at the summit of Dumyat hill after 2.5 miles of running (read: run/walking), I received neither roast duck nor other tempting food stuffs. Or respite. Or water. It is debateable whether I would have felt like roast duck given the glorious sunshine and sweat inducing temperature, but a longer break may have been nice to appreciate the stunning view which Dumyat hill race is set amidst. So thank you, Confucius, for providing enlightening hill running wisdom.

Given the stunning weather, it was hard not to get excited about the prospect of racing in such unusually nice conditions. Mike Diver kindly drove a minibus to the start which avoided having to look at Stirling campus much longer than necessary, as is the case when we normally walk there from Bridge of Allan train station. Some talk of exams and their needless infliction of pain on our lives happened at some point.

Upon arrival, race numbers were collected and then a very brief ‘warm up’ consisting of a couple of strides and dreaming of sunbathing happened. Personally, even a combination of saunas, sunburn or hot yoga would not have ‘warmed up’ my legs enough for the pain of continual ascent. Franko, Iona and Alice all headed up the course to provide much needed support. I am sorry for giving you dirty looks when ‘running’ past, hills and I have a tempestuous relationship.

The start was pretty crammed and folks jostled for position amongst a narrow, gradually ascending trail. As soon as the woods cleared, the vast stunning scenery was laid bare, but so was the rest of the necessary climb. I seriously questioned my life choices at that moment.


I lost sight of most of those running, but the men in particular ran incredibly well, gaining a fast start and holding onto it for the entire ascent and descent. Notably, ex-Harie James Waldie came second overall, an astonishing feat. A group of Harie men were soon to follow: Scott Stirling, who has had a really phenomenal season of racing, placed 7th, quickly followed by Elisha de Mello in 8th. Elisha had previously told me there “aren’t many hills in Rugby” so wasn’t sure how he would get on…Callum Smith, Will Rigg, Alex Leutchford and Andrew Lawler all followed in quick succession, placing 11th, 13th, 14th and 15th respectively. Leutch also sacrificed his hip for the cause by falling over and cutting himself, repeating last year’s self-harm through unnervingly fast descent. Jimmy Dunn and Mark Purkis swiftly followed suit, placing 19th and 27th. Mike Diver also ran very well, placing 32nd.


Georgie Cottle then stormed it and finished as first woman, and 34th overall! All those consecutive Pentlands runs evidently make you good at running hills/very good at enduring pain. Shortly behind her were Charlotte Watson and Calum McLeod, running home to place 43rd and 44th. A general theme of Harie hill racing dominance ought to be becoming apparent by now…


James Bryson then ran home and placed 66th. Which, by the laws of physics and physical stamina, was before Jack Luscombe…Ben Murphy also ran well, but for Strathearn Harriers, placing 68th. As future social sec, I hope more green vest wearing may happen next year, Ben…


Katie Reynolds, running her last race for the Haries (insert sad weeping noises here) finished one place ahead of Jack: Katie in 76th place, Jack in 77th. Next through the line was Sophie Collins, who chose to spend her 20th birthday with the most amazing people, this being us lot (ok by amazing I mean sweaty, green and a bit weird for wanting to run up a hill); I’m sure she had the best time of her life ascending that hill. She respectably placed 134th. This would have ensured bragging rights for any club entry that night, surely…Eliza Cottington, who has been training hard and performing very well after a year out last year, ran home to secure 150th position.


I came 183rd. More importantly I didn’t collapse at any point and actually completed my last Harie race. That’s good enough for me. Winning. Behind me was apparently Florence Haines; I didn’t see you at the race but I’ll trust the results (a risky strategy) and finished in a very respectable 241st. After Florence was Hazel in 249th, who rightfully pointed out that people didn’t have to cram and try and save 3 seconds when we had to cram through a narrow archway and steps. Preach. After Hazel was Jess in 285th, who bravely ran in long tights (normally it is the other way around, ‘bravely’ meaning running in shorts), as she forgot her shorts. I honestly don’t know how you didn’t melt over the course.

Post-race chat and birthday malteser cake thing was consumed, thank you Sophie! People were also very good at the catch a starburst in the mouth game, especially Franko and Scott. Hoping to see more of that talent on Harie Holiday.

We then waited for an inordinate amount of time to be told the wrong results. But instead of dwelling on that little saga, suffice it to say we are SCOTTISH HILL RACING CHAMPIONS! Again. A stupendous effort all around: from those who ran, supported, took pictures, baked, drove, or became injured in the process of running and walking a hard hill race.

It has been a phenomenal year of racing, training and socialising. The stunning weather of Dumyat and support for each other throughout the race really reiterated how fundamentally brilliant the Haries are and will continue to be. Bring on Harie Holiday; summer; and a future full of running, green, top people and top friendships.

‘It is one of the blessings of friends that you can afford to be stupid with them’

Ralph Waldo Emerson




*As a post script… in terms of results, placings rather than times seem more apt, due to the inaccurate nature of the chip timing results (resulting in a marshal initially winning the hill race, an impressive feat of phantom running and persuasive hypnosis…). It therefore seemed fairer to runners to state where they placed as opposed to the time they got. For timings the results are up on files on the facebook page:

Scottish 5k Road Champs

Report by Alice Florence Orr

‘A PB’s a PB, No Matter How Small’

‘You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose.’ – Dr Seuss

Out of all the moments in our lives, it is clear some are more important than others. Starting primary school; handing in final dissertations; our first Garmin. There are others, while less momentous, that are still significant, like my discovery that the majority of Dr Seuss quotes are highly accurate for university runners. Friday’s race was one of those occasions – although not high priority on the running calendar, the conditions and energy of the day led to force of PBs and memorable performances, and not least from Elisha getting his photo taken.*

The 5km course took place on Cramond Beach promenade, a picturesque spot made even lovelier by the group of green vests preparing to run the greatest 3.107 miles of their young lives. Everywhere I looked, there were men and women much fitter than me. Yet I stumbled up to the start line content in the knowledge that every finisher received a medal regardless, which wasn’t the only reason I signed up, promise. The winds were calm. The road was flat. And everyone ran the absolute green eggs and ham out of it.

    Scott Stirling flew around the course, coming 5th with a ridiculously fast time of 14:50. I’m pretty sure he’d finished before the back of the group had even made it off the starting line. Steph Pennycook, running for Fife Athletic Club, ended with a personal record of 16:34, making her 1st fastest U20 female. An incredible achievement echoed by Elisha de Mello, who’s result of 15:03 made him 3rd fastest U20 male, and ensured we had to stand around for half an hour after the race for him to get his special medal. It was worth it however, as he, Callum Symmons (who was 3rd Harie across the line) and Ali Masson (who ran a personal best) turned out to be 1st U20M Team, snatching it from the grips of Central AC when they were incorrectly announced as the winners. I can’t say we didn’t enjoy that.

Before I continue, I’d like to stipulate that there was controversy with the timing system, as the results recorded by the chips are different to those that showed up on the clock (and my watch, for the record). Combined with several other factors that I could list but won’t (I’ll save it for writing to my local MP), it made for tense chat as we tried to figure out if Matthew Rallison had managed his sub-16 minute target. He did, marking a great end to his Captaincy, and joining the PB crew along with Ben Murphy (who knocked off an entire minute), Mike Diver, Rachel Stewart, birthday girl Iona Evans, James Bryson (at least that’s what his Strava told me), Sophie Collins, Craig Campbell (4th Harie to finish), and Tim Morgan. Hazel ‘Beth’ Murray, Linn Gjesdal and Catriona Graves all ran some impressive seasonal bests, and despite unfortunately having to pull out, we all know Emily Kearney will be back on form in no time, as her racing this year has been on point.

Emily R tells me I shouldn’t be too down on myself in race reports, despite the fact I tell everyone and their mum every time I improve, so I’ll quickly say that I also PB’d, which was ace and I treated myself to a Clif Bar afterwards. #sponsorusplease

On a bittersweet note, it was Kathryn Firth’s last race for the Haries. Again, I defer to wisdom greater than my own: ‘Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.’

As the sun set on Cramond Beach, it also brought to a close the race season for many of our club members. For those not running Dumyat on Wednesday, I hope your year was sick and your mileage was high. And to the brave souls tackling the 5-mile hill run, Dr Seuss has my back once more –

‘Oh the places you’ll go, today is your day! Your mountain is waiting, so get on your way!’

Stay groovy. Alice xo

*Note: these haven’t been posted on the photographer’s website. Conspiracy?

**Extra note from Sarah: The photos from the website wouldn’t allow permission for downloading; photos can be viewed via this url:

Round the Houses 10k: the Dreamers of Dreams

“If you want to view paradise, simply look around and view it.” – Willy Wonka, probably while running Sunday’s course.

Approaching the imposing grey towers of Grangemouth, a small but high spirited group of Haries travelled in style to the 50th Annual Round the Houses 10km Road Race. The clouds of inevitable climate change that flumed upwards from the chimneys were like a dystopian Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. The delicious golden coins we won turned out to be made of metal. And I tried my best to think about Johnny Depp’s face rather than focus on our less than inspiring course.

The mixed race kicked off at 12:30pm. The weather was ideal, the roads as flat as I expect my abs to be after one session of Alistair’s circuits, and there was a genuine possibility we would dominate in several categories despite the fact Elisha was MIA. It was prime PB circumstances, and a chance to win trophies and cash, as Captain Matty kept reminding us. #forthemantlepiece

It was a truly decent performance from everyone*. The Haries men came second in the Overall Scots Unis team result due to “black magic” and possible chemical inhalation. Not even the good kind either. However, second is ace. Everyone should be extremely proud. If only dissertations were this easy to smash. The women (all three of us) were not to be outdone and placed third overall for the Scots Unis result, earning us each a rather spangley bronze medal. I could really get used to this winning thing.

Mike Christoforou ended his phenomenal effort with a dramatic sprint finish, coming second overall by a tiny margin (literally 1 sec), in a time of 31:04. I’m told it was a photo finish. Scott Stirling secured his title as a multi-discipline Scots Unis Champion (!) with his result, placing ninth with a time of 32:25. An incredible achievement, well deserved. He also inspired me to do a sprint finish – not an easy task. Back from illness that hampered his target time at the Isle of Man 10km, Callum Symmons knocked over a minute off that time, winning first Junior and was the third Harie across the line. Fourth counter for the Men’s Overall Team – who won a sizable trophy by coming FIRST – was Matthew Rallison with a PB of 34:19. Fraser Drummond managed a cracking sub-35-minute time – we never doubted you for a second (or three, as it turned out). Hot on his heels was Alex Leutchford who set a new PB. He may have been even faster if we hadn’t head-butted each other twenty minutes before the start. Mike Diver utterly smashed his PB with his performance. Along with providing transportation, he really put in a good show. His veggie moussaka at the potluck was also notable. Despite looking pained afterwards, Jack Luscombe ran a super race, and even without a Haries vest, Euan Miles put in a great effort for us. We all know our hearts are green, even if our shirts aren’t. He also managed an exceptionally good race photo. I demand to know his secret. Ben Murphy, probably the most upbeat runner I know, did a great sub-40-minute time along with James Bryson, both running better times than their excellent IOM results. Bryson now has a faster 10km time than Captain Bronagh.

Euan Miles at Round the Houses 2016
A very happy Ben Murphy
Mike Diver at RtH 2016

In her second ever 10km race, Sophie Collins ran incredibly well, taking 6:38 mins off her result! She is well on her way to smashing her sub-40 target we all know she’s capable of. Slightly less capable of choosing a photo filter though. Kathryn Firth also ran well, and received her first medal in her last year of running for the Haries, a really fitting achievement and nice way to go out. Another great result came from alumnus Pat Gie, who came seventh overall. A huge shout out to YP too, who came along to cheer us on. His encouragement certainly got me through that seventh kilometre. I owe the man a pint. Ben Stevenson made an appearance at the end to announce some results, it was great to see a familiar face. And finally: me. The highlight of my race being the moment I high-fived two small children, I managed to be a whole 68 seconds slower than the IOM 10k. Uninjured. On a flat course. In perfect weather. But if I forgot to mention it previously, I got a medal so all criticism is currently bouncing off me like the sunlight glinting on my well-deserved bronze disk.

Sophie Collins at Round the Houses 2016

Sophie Collins at Round the Houses 2016
Ladies who run…

After the race, a bunch of us hit up a potluck and went full Augustus Gloop on the delicious creations. A whipple-scrumptious performance from everyone, once again the Haries should be chuffed. As much as I like bling, being part of a team that’s worth being proud of is better than any medal.

Yeah, I went there.

Stay groovy. Alice xo

*Except me.


National Road Relays

A select group of intrepid Haries new and old ventured to Livingstone North for the National Road Relays on 3rd April. With one full men’s team and women’s team, as well as a team of two for the women’s B team (consisting of the dream team Rachel Stewart and Linn Gjesdal), the Haries put in a solid performance amidst a very strong field of relay teams. The race actually made history, as it was the record turn out for the number of runners participating since the event began 24 years ago.

Unlike the Isle of Man 5k road relay, both men and women ran relays, and started in a massed start. #equality. For the women: a team of four were to complete alternating legs of 5 and 10k. The women’s full team consisted of Sophie Collins, Emily Kearney, Holly Palmer and Sarah Henderson. Despite having Isle of Man, Northern Road relays and Edinburgh’s Toughest soreness still in the system between them, the team ran incredibly well over the undulating course, managing to place 12th out of 29 full teams. Sophie Collins ran the first 5k leg in a strong time of 20:05. Following her was Emily Kearney for the first 10k leg, completing the leg in 37:12: FGW! Holly Palmer, aka Edinburgh’s Toughest mixed team champion, ran the second 5k leg, finishing strongly in a time of 24:04. Completing the relay with the second 10k leg was Sarah Henderson, in a time of 40:39. No one threw up which was also a positive. Although not a complete relay team, Rachie Stew and Linn ran incredibly well and were the dream pairing. Plus, Rachel and Linn’s hair looked fabulous. Rachel took on the 5k and finished in a solid time of 25:56, passing on to Linn, who completed the 10k in a time of 45:09. FGH!!

The men ran well amidst some formidable competition, placing 20th out of 55. The team consisted of alternating 5 and 10k legs, as with the women, but was made up of 6 counters. First up for the Haries was Mike ’email organiser’ Diver, completing the 5k leg in 18:52. Itching to get out of the blocks next was Euan Gilham who completed the 10k leg in 29:25. Epic performance from Euan, and a time which was the 8th fastest 10k leg of the day. Just thinking about that time makes me feel physically ill. Following Euan was Fraser White under the pen name Euan Smith, running strongly with 18:54.  Alex Luetchford ran the next 10k leg in a speedy time of 34:22. James Bryson ran the final 5k leg in a solid time of 22:05, on a course becoming progressively muddier (despite being called ‘road relays’). Bringing the team home was Andrew Lawler, in a very strong time of 31:15. FGM!

Other Haries were dotted about sans green vest. Notably: Ben ‘soon-to-be epic social organiser’ Murphy ran for Strathearn Harriers; Steph Pennycook for Fife; Eve Mackinnon for Cambuslang; Amanda Louise Woodrow for Edinburgh AC; ex-Harie Kyle McLennan for Cambuslang; and Pat Gie for HBT, which had a decent turnout of ex Haries running.

Well done to all who ran: it was a tough race, especially after a hard semester of racing. Yet the Haries still put on a good show, ran hard, then went home. HFG!




Nationals: cross country season is finissimo (for now)

A young woman once told me: ‘I’m looking forward to reading the race report for Nationals!!’. [Hint. This woman was at the pub last night and has red hair]. Well, this innate excitement reminded me in my brain addled state that there was a race which needing reporting on; so hereon follows the report of a race where the Green was Mean, and National Relays were stormed.

A multitude of Haries signed up to spend their Saturday racing in the beauteous Falkirk. In Scots this is pronounced ‘Fawkirk’; the town is twinned with Odenwald in Germany (for those who have recently adopted Germany as their temporary home), as well as the towns of Creteil AND Quimper in France: evidently Falkirk is well known and very popular in France. It is also the hometown of Hazel ‘I JUST WON LOADSA MONEY FROM HBT’ Murray and Scott ‘Shrek’ Stirling. What a place.

With trepidation and incredulity at the unexpected nice weather, the Haries arrived at Callendar Park. First up were the U20 women, who were to race 4.8k. They continue to show pride in wearing short shorts and donning face paint, naturally. Looking at the results, it is apparent that the Harie women made up the majority of the field, because #miles #domination. A strong performance from all women involved and one which all can be proud of: no matter the time, the effort and team camaraderie is highly inspiring. Steph Pennycook, whilst running for Fife AC, had a stormer of a race to continue her impressive season, winning the race in a time of 18:16- FGW! Not far behind her was first female Harie home Louise Mercer running in a time of 18:41. The next two women who made up the counters for the team placing were Catriona Graves and Amy Franko, both having great races in times of 19:21 and 20:39 respectively. With such a performance the Harie U20 secured stirling silver place!!

Next up were the senior women who had to race 8k. The field was considerably larger with no less than 265 women racing! Mental. First Harie home was Katie Reynolds with an impressive time of 34:06. Overall, the harie women were slightly more outnumbered in this race, yet still managed an impressive 14th place out of 29 in a very strong field; counters making up the team for this placing were Katie, Jo Smith, Christine Watson and Hazel Murray (it really was Hazel’s day). Great effort all round!

Following on from the women, the U20 men were next to race, and also had to race 8k. Interesting stat fact: the field for the U20 men was 1/10th the size of the senior men. Yet the calibre of athletes was strong. Five of our finest U20 male runners raced in the U20 category, with Andrew Lawler being first male Harie home in a time of 28:41. Following him home were Elisha de Mello, Fraz Drummond, Callum Mcleod and Euan Smith. Solid effort from all the U20 men in a small but strongly competitive field!

Finally the senior men were released from spectator duty, but at the price of having to race 12k. Ouch. No less than 633 MEN RACED!! AND DESPITE THESE NUMBERS WE PLAVED 7th. What a team and race! Michael Christoforou, Scott Stirling, Jimmy Dunn, James Thomas, Calum Murray and Alex Leutchford made up the men’s counters. Dream team. This follows from all the hard persistent training in horrendous Edinburgh weather which the men continually put in. However all men who raced in such a large and strong field ought to be rightly proud of their own racing efforts. HFG!

Sadly that is the one of the last cross country races of the season! Some of the questions you many now be asking may be ‘How will we cope for a few months without mud focussed races?’ or ‘What will I do with my time on the weekends?’ The answer to the former: embrace the road and ice your knees. The latter: freedom is a wondrous but dangerous thing. Use it wisely and greenly.

Keep running, keep it green. I’ll miss the race reporting scene.

HFG, all the acronyms etc. You are all wonderful, and I’m lucky to have had the pleasure of reporting on your running goings on (provided I remember).





BUCS 2016: Big. Mighty. Quizzical….Bring it.

Waking up at the actually surprisingly godly hour of 7:30am, a fine array of 44 Haries gathered at the beautiful Appleton tower to board an amazingly prompt 8:30am coach. We were well prepared for 7 hours of travel to the south. Clouds were gathering, and that was before the advent of fun and games on the coach. Such portentous weather did not diminish any spirits, maybe because none of us knew the extent of the conditions we were to race in. But that is for later on in the BUCS saga.

The moment we had all been waiting for arrived after approximately 2 hours of travelling…the much anticipated quiz of the year, devised by Mr. M. F. Diver. Quiz Mistress Bronagh (that doesn’t sound odd at all???) kept us amused by questions such as what is the closest country to Isle of Man and what did Nicola Sturgeon study at university. Scotland and Law respectively for those interested. Both may be helpful allies (or enemies) to know on Isle of Man 2016. The real excitement came with a tie-break question set by…Bronagh. We phoned you Mike but got no response, so sorry that your quiz couldn’t be finished with a suitably Diver style question.

mike diver Feat. Mike Diver. Facebook profile pic worthy.

Sadly the quiz was finished fairly soon and after this we had to entertain ourselves for another 4 hours, although Matty attempted to provide more entertainment on the bus, but no one wants to know the details of that. Let’s say I will have to get my brain lasered to erase certain images. But thankfully we found the hotel not too long after 6pm. With a big race ahead but the need to stretch out the legs, various Haries went yogging of varying distances, according to ability to keep a sense of direction in a town that all looks the same at night (sorry Emily Kearney for my inability to know where I am going and making our run slightly prolonged, I’m not an orienteer). Having accomplished this, we decided more carbs after a bus journey of cake was definitely a requirement, so we found some pizza/pasta/chips at different locations before getting an early night.

RACE DAY…we were all psyched for the race. Absolutely buzzin’. A quick pre-race breakfast to calm any nerves was consumed before walking to the train station…in stormy and wet conditions. Edinburgh had followed us all the way to Cheltenham, how kind. We all began to understand the reality that this was going to be a cold, wet and muddy experience; who knew. The Captains and Hazel ensured we had our train tickets and got to the course…which turned out to be the MOST EXCITING COURSE I HAVE EVER SET MY EYES UPON!! Ok no. The Uni of Gloucestershire had managed with months of planning to set a course…around a sports field, with only a few portaloos for company.  And no hills. Which didn’t please some of the orienteers who had decided to become Haries for BUCS. Yet with camaraderie and British stoicism, we all got inside the sports hall to keep warm and don green face paint (Calum’s green feet and Alice’s hare and hound were stunning works of art worthy of a place at the Louvre).

Some face paint.

After much anticipation and weather avoidance, we all prepared to support the Men’s A squad. Squad goals being to dominate the course and not look in pain/hating the experience. The former was definitely accomplished; the latter, debateable.  The atmosphere was electric, only punctuated by gale force winds. Onlookers could barely believe that the race was going ahead, but for us hardy Haries, it was never in question.

Look how buzzin’ we are.
JT was also buzzin and is learning to take pictures on a goPro.

With supporters and racers set, our mens A team sprinted through the quagmire of mud. We shouted till we were hoarse and were able to sprint around the various points of the course to cheer on through the gales. With such a strong field and stormy conditions, the mens team raced incredibly hard and well, putting in one of the most enduring and admirable performances to date. The team was made up of Euan Gilham, Scott Stirling, Andy Lawler, Callum Symmons, Jimmy Dunn and Logan Rees. Even with the strong field of runners, our men were able to nab 9th place out of  54 teams!! HFG!! Euan, Scott and Andy all managed a sub 33:15 time!! :O How any of the A team produced such a fine result is testament to the hard work and training they continually put in to reach such levels of fitness. Cracking effort!! Well earnt and a proud day to be a Harie.

Some course action. Serious stuff.

Having watched the men’s A team enjoy their race, the women were next to line up on the quickly disappearing start line. The starting straight had become a bog yet undeterred, Bronagh led the women in chanting HAAARRRIEEES at the start line, which was much more original than St Mary’s ‘We are the blue and white army’, basically just dressing up a fact as a chant. Having managed to survive the first corner which became as congested as the queue for the Big Cheese, our women put in an astonishing effort. Such effort was rewarded in an incredibly strong field with 4th place. FGW! Steph Pennycook finished just one place behind Jess Judd and was first Harie home in a time of 22:21: insane! Following her and completing the women’s A team were Hannah Viner and Louise Mercer, completing the course in 22:55 and 23:19, only just behind Loughborough Uni, who no one knows about anyway. All our women battled hard through the increasingly deteriorating course and all who raced can be incredibly proud of their efforts. I have never experienced such awful racing conditions or race in general, and felt very proud of all the women. Respect.


Having watched our fine women race in the mud with short shorts, the men’s B prepared for making the field a trench in equally short shorts. It was also deemed the men’s ‘short’ race by BUCS officials, which it was anything but: nothing about that course was short at all. Haries chanted and cheered, and the men’s B race got underway (and under mud). Such a stellar effort and field of men was never before seen by Haries and runners across the land. Captain Matty still wore the shortest of possible short green shorts, and pretended to be Scottish by raising the Scotland flag over the finish line. Other runners lost their shoes, and I also met Ben Murphy’s sister Alex whilst supporting and she is lovely. Our men managed an absolutely incredibly 12th place out of 99 teams!!! YES. Counters for the team were made up by Andrew Christy, Eliza’s love (and who also seemingly out of nowhere completed a phenomenal time of 25:59 and was first harie home, where the heck did that come from???!!!), Jacob Adkin (Pablo) (26:44), James Thomas (26:46) and Alistair Masson (26:49). Monumental effort! All of our men endured the now completely brown and lake filled field to work incredibly hard and put in great performances. All should be incredibly proud (even if it wasn’t a pb day, except in the sense of peanut butter). HFG!!!!

bucs mens b

Showers and endless tea was enjoyed in the warm warm warm hotel rooms after the long walk back from the results announcement, course and train station. Personally I became best friends with my foam roller and woolly jumper for the best part of an hour whilst other folk enjoyed watching Scotland begin to get pummelled by England in the rugby (no bias here. Though the newly Scottish Matty was probably raging about this).

Prior to going out we enjoyed a slap up meal at Zizzi’s and luxurious cocktails in the Executive Committee Suite. I’m sure beer and prosecco will soon catch on as a cocktail in bars near you; for future reference, it’s called a Hazel-No-Gary cocktail. A much enjoyed social was had in the evening at a club named MooMoos. We were the best dressed there and also the best dancers, as Social Sec Eliza will elaborate on I’m sure.

The next morning and all too quickly, as well as in glorious sunshine (much irony here…), it was time to leave lovely Cheltenham with its pencil shaped bollards and Harry Potter colleges. Thankfully, just as we were getting very worried that there would be no on board entertainment, Scott produced another quiz: the Haries Grandslam. As well as some talk of swans. Once finally back in Edinburgh, we dispersed and reflected on the amazing feats of the weekend.

An immense effort from all involved: to those who featured high up in the results, to the captains and committee, to the new members, to those who have been injured, to those who have never raced, to those who baked many wonderful baked goods. It takes a lot of team spirit and camaraderie to get the most from such a weekend, especially given the absolutely horrendous conditions: no-one became scrooge, instead only rightly having a wee moan before getting on with running. Which is what we do best. After experiencing four years of BUCS, the spirit remains strong and green!! Keep it that way wonderful Harie people.


Br-br–brr-rrrr-rrrrrr-Broxburn East Districts

For many, snow elicits one of two responses. One: it’s flippin’ freezing, I’m staying indoors for as long as possible, and I’m using the library as my heated igloo. Swag. Two: great, SNOWWW!!! I’ll spend half an hour embracing the cold and having an impromptu snowball fight with my friends/peers/neighbours’ cat. Then I’ll probably go for a sunset walk around Arthur’s Seat before heading home for a cup of tea and slice of cake because, you know, winter requires lots of fuel (wishful thinking on my part.)

However, the Haries do not ascribe to the societal norms we are told to adhere to. No. We love doing bonkers things in crazy weather. Obviously the best thing to do if/when it snows is to go for a hard run and race in short-shorts against like minded individuals and wear as much green as possible to scare the opposition into walking. Provided you aren’t injured (I was thinking of you all as it snowed, whilst ensconced in the warmth of the library labyrinth).

Naturally, good balance and coordination is required to prevent falling over in the snow (*coughcough Christine Irvine/Callum McLeod…). Yet much more importantly, grit and sheer bloody mindedness are needed to block out the cold and run hard despite the elements, whilst in your mind you doubt why you chose to spend your Saturday nearly getting hypothermia. So to all who raced, well done for sticking at it and getting gutsy; a very strong effort from all involved!!

With many Haries racing, the results were a great start to the New Year, and indicate strong performances in the lead up to BUCS. The women’s race was set at 5.4k; the mens’s just shy of double that at 8.1km.

Our women were, unlike Elsa from frozen, completely unaffected by the cold. Although split into junior and senior categories, they worked together. Because we are a nice club like that. Sophie Collins was first female home for the Haries, competing in the Junior category, in an icily speedy time of 23:34. Swiftly skating behind her were: Amy Frankland; Christine Watson; Iona Evans; Hazel $ Murray; Holly Palmer; Leda Olia and Christine Irvine. A strong team effort in evidently hard and frankly UNFUN conditions. Go team!!

Next, the men, who were as keen for twice the distance as Olaf’s desire for a nose. (i.e. obviously very keen).  An incredibly strong effort ensured a second team place overall for the Broxburn race in the tripartite League!! Nor were the men outdone by their female counterparts in their acute need for shorts-wearing. Captain Matty, as usual, donned the shortest green shorts around with matching sparse vest attire. QVC channel would secure doubled ratings overnight with you presenting such luxury items on it, Matty…

First home was Michel Christofou in a time which did not reflect the hard conditions in the slightest: 27:34. EPIC. Shortly he was followed by the next three males who made up the counters for our silver position: Elisha De-Mello (28:05); Sam Woods (28:07) and Andrew Lawler (28:15). Top notch. Hopefully there were shower changing facilities available after the race, Lawler. Yet such is the team spirit of the Haries that more fine males struggled through the conditions and complete the course. Following on, Haries came home in a flurry: Logan Rees; Jimmy Dunn; Calum Murray; Craig Campbell; James Thomas; Mark Purkis; Matty Rallinson; Jack Luscombe; Alex Leutchford; Calum McLeod; J. Solinsky; M. Stark; James Bryson; and Mr M F Diver. As you can tell, this is an amazingly extensive list of fine men who completed the course and provided great support to all on the day for those running. Absolutely mental, and evidence of the hardiness of the Haries; no matter the conditions, we will be running. Standard.

Overall a great effort from all and an epic start to the New Year!! Keep it green, get those running shorts cleaned and ironed for BUCS and warm up those frostbitten hands with endless cups of tea over a nice film. Or work.

HFG! Xoxox



CHAMP-EEE-ONS: complete domination at Scottish Universities!

HAAAARRRIESSS!! Or “Hair-Ries”, as Captain Bronagh was keen to point out to the many Harie women who lined the start line at Stirling this weekend. It’s two syllables don’t ya know.

Sea of green and some scared Glasgow runners

Notwithstanding semantics, the Haries undeniably enjoyed multiple and strong success at Scottish University X Country championships. We also made up pretty much the whole field with over 50 entrants. Sad day to not be part of Edinburgh Uni. #domination

It was a braw day thankfully; pretty chilly but blue sky and glorious sunshine. Stoonin!

Having walked to the Stirling campus (it’s really quite a nice place) from Bridge of Allan, we all warmed up after using the extensive changing room facilities (read: what’s wrong with investing a little and building more than two loos). There were murmurs of a post race jaunt up Dumyat hill in the distance…which was taken up by intrepid peeps. I thought you were joking. Kudos (a Strava term).

The women’s race, starting at 12:15, was due to start before the men’s; our men henceforth went to great vantage points and did a spectacular job of spurring the ladies on. Mike Diver’s cheer of “potluck” was greatly appreciated and definitely motivated me, as did coach Alistair Russel who supported the Haries throughout the whole day.

With 22 Harie women lining the start, we chanted and then sprinted away. The course was laps, and the women were required to do 2 laps to make up the 6.4k race. Men had to do 3 (but onto them in a little while). 2 felt like enough whilst running around.

Firstly, huge congratulations to Steph Pennycook who had a stormer of a race and beat the rest of the field by over 30 seconds, finishing strongly with an astonishing time of 21:30. What an achievement! Certainly great inspiration for us all. Yet the success for our women did not stop there. Our women are *drumrolllllll* SCOTS UNIS CHAMPIONS!! With our top three women Steph, Louise Mercer (22:10) and Emily Kearney (22:22), first place for the women was never in doubt. Ultimately, all of our women put in gutsy strong performances and should be very proud of their result, regardless of position. Without the camaraderie and support for each other, we would not be as united or strong a team.

Not long after (and whilst the women cooled down and found equally epic vantage spots; the playing field stiles were a favourite amongst the ladies), the men lined the start for their race. Glasgow tried to chant their way into history but , as with Braids, it did nae help (they also tried to lick their wounds after the race by stripping half naked and pretending they were at a football match. Amateurs.) In fact, one fine man from City of Glasgow College did his best to upset the teams by putting in a strong performance and finishing second.

Dem green shorts. Haries prepare to tackle the course!

HOWEVER…this did not prevent our men from working hard and beating Stirling over the course of the final lap of the race. It was a hard fought battle and tense to watch (James Jarvis was certainly on edge), but they dug deep and put in some cracking performances. Scott “Scottish Unis winner” Stirling made it clear that it was his swamp, and was decently ahead of the field for the race, finishing half a minute ahead of the rest of the field. Shrektacular.

Scotty well ahead of the field

Yet it was not an easy win for the men’s team. Andrew Lawler, Elisha de Mello and Callum Symmons worked incredibly hard to fend off Stirling, particularly in the final lap. It was in this final lap that the results were decided, and all of our cheering became a little frantic as we realised how close it was! However, as with any victory, the more hard fought, the sweeter the taste. What a result for the Haries, and what a monumental effort by all the men who raced! Undoubtedly we had the largest and evidently best team out there. HFG!!!!

Well done to all who braved an early start on a Sunday, lavish Scotrail trains, walking to and from the course, getting through the pain of racing after Braids and most importantly,  cheering each other on as best as possible. I am sure that Captains Matty and Bronagh, whose effort at marshalling the team and keeping up the spirit, are very proud; and their efforts are certainly bearing fruit. (I also think Bronagh is doing the wrong degree and should switch to Illustration following her face painting expertise).




Such an effort from everyone and a well deserved victory! Everyone’s hard training from the semester has evidently paid off and regardless of time or where an individual is in their running, participating in such a convincing way at Scottish Universities must be a highlight of the semester. A well earned victory to be sure; but a confirmation of just how supportive and strong the Haries are as a club.

Keep it green!! Xoxo

P.s Look how much fun these guys had. Silverware has never been better used.

                                                          Sass and swag in equal measure.

Braids4Braids: The Hill race to end all Hill races!!

A wonderful woman once said: “I’ve been discussing Haggis options for 3 weeks now. Braids has been my life for the past few weeks and months. What am I going to talk about now that it is all over?” That is a very good question. A question posed by race-organiser extraordinaire Christine Irvine. And it is not surprising given the exciting pre-race hype, which included certain posing and baring of svelte running physiques…

….as well as a Braids4Braids plea by Christine herself, swiftly taken up by many women. Men could have done this but weren’t so sure, as Alex exhibited here…

With preceding weeks and months of planning and discussion going into what was an EPIC Braids race and social this year, it is unsurprising that nerves and excitement were bound into a mass of uncontrollable energy. And a touch of trepidation. For the first time in Braids history, the race allowed entrants of both sexes in both categories (5 and 10k). Unless of the nutter disposition like some HBT folks who decided to enter both races, this suited individual ability and preference. With the weather set to “remnants of storm Abigail”, Haries prepared for the worst…only to be pleasantly surprised by tropical conditions akin to Jamaica. Or thereabouts.

Happenings kicked off at 11:30 in KB house, where Manchester were incredibly early and keen to register before registration was even open. Everyone arrived and prepared in numerous ways. Some ate some lunch. Some braided their luscious locks. Whatever your pre-race ritual, it happened. Christine and senior committee were also working their butts off to make sure things ran as smoothly as possible. They ran as smooth as YP’s bum due to Christine, James “organised Braids 3 years strong yeah” Bryson and our motivated Captains Bronagh and Matty.

Up at the start line, men and women warmed up (OFF THE GOLF COURSE). Motivational chanting began in earnest. Glasgow proved they cannot move on from basic rhyme or stereotyping. Before we all knew it…the 5k was about to start!!! I was impressed by the speed and simultaneous ability of men and women to not get knocked flying by the massed sprint. As is depicted below….

Jostling for position and mud slips notwithstanding, it was a cracking race!! Over 262 entered the 5k!! Stunning effort. I have never seen so many bodies vying for so little space on a hill or field. Scotty was well ahead of the field which is not surprising given the fact he finished the race in a time quicker than that of a younger James Jarvis, with 15:37: this was twenty seconds clear of the rest of the field. Nor was Captain Matty far behind, and demonstrated that the captains shorts really are SHORT…Our women proved their mettle too, with first Harie home Emily Kearney leading the way. Such an array of shorts and mud was a beautiful sight to behold. The 5k requires real grit and some elbow shoving when flying down the hill after the steep incline, and the Haries proved they have this in spades; both our Men and Women WON the team category, with HBT also coming 2nd in the women’s race. As HBT frequently cheered on whilst running, tip top running! [As an aside; whilst scrolling through the results, be it a real name or not, “Manny Man” from Manchester University wins the prize for best race entry name…]


  Above: Scott Stirling Left: Emily Kearney                   

After such an epic race it was only right and proper to take a pic of our beautiful women at the finish (some of whom were waiting to compete in the 10k but small details)…


Buoyed on by the success of the 5k, the 10k was set to kick off; we all looked very happy to be there…

Amazingly, the 10k had similar entrant levels to the 5k, with over 250 entrants. Neither did this prevent it being a very quick field, with many coming in in under 35 minutes! Andrew Lawler was the first male Harie home, with a lightning time of 32:52. First female Harie and second female overall was our own Orienteer Charlotte Watson, with a time of 38:52!! The Haries dominated once again winning BOTH male and female team categories!! What a result!! Evidently allowing women and men to participate in either distance has really suited our runners; demonstrated the mettle of the Haries; and done Auld Reekie proud. It certainly made me quite emotional.



LEFT: Charlotte Watson

BELOW: Andrew Lawler; First lap of the 10k!!


And of course, it would be remiss to not include a pic of our men after both races…

Many thanks to all the committee who helped out; from providing laptops, setting out the course and providing the results. And also major thanks to those kind souls who volunteered their help as marshalls, photographers, and/or hosts for other universities. Without all of the support and help, Braids would not be the epic event that it is! Keeping it green, training hard and supporting fellow runners was there in spades at Braids, and it is this ethos which makes the Haries such a brilliant club.

A social did happen in the evening. I don’t remember all of it that well, but suffice to say Eliza did a smashing job and much beer and haggis was consumed. Some people danced very hard in the Ceilidh…and our men’s A also WON the boat race!! (Doesn’t matter who was in Alehouse A, a win is a win)…and our women came 2nd!! Stunning. Our own Mook Attanah has provided a picture of our boat racing efforts:

Work it team.


That’s Braids over for another year!! :( :( But at least Christine will be able to have her time back now.

HFG; FGH; Peace Xoxo

Short, sweet, scary: mud bath does nae deny strong running

In case you hadn’t noticed, it has rained recently. Quite a lot. So much so that pictures from the Glasgow Short Course depict scenes similar to Jurassic Park. For those uninitiated in Jurassic Park, below is a picture of a scene depicting strikingly similar weather conditions to Glasgow. Note the potential similarity of T-rex and hangry runners/runners being forced to run through mud on a cold Saturday lunchtime…

That’s one fine looking Central AC runner. And a scared man.

Jurassic aside,  the Haries braved the elements and raced hard in undeniably difficult racing conditions. As Kathryn Firth mentioned to me on Sunday, it was like running through a bath. With mud. And with rebellious “I don’t want to run” legs. I’m in awe of you gal.

With a total of 339 male runners and 173 female runners, the field proved a large and strong one. Finishing 11th and 7th teams respectively, what was demonstrated was steely grit and determination to run as hard as possible.  Both our male and female teams showed some cracking times, irrespective of the conditions. Andrew Lawler, Calum Murray and James Thomas were our first three men home in an incredibly strong field, with times of 12:40, 12:48 and 13:36 respectively. Peter Foster also ran well, finishing well within the top third with 15:20. FGH.  Lawler proved too fast for a well timed still photo, shame.

 Ou est Lawler? (Pardon my French)

Nor were the women outclassed. Laura Muir was racing yet again, showing just how strong competition was for us Haries. Her time of 13:16 is actually incomprehensible. That said, our Steph Pennycook finished 5th, with a time of 14:19. That is actually crazy, hard work pays dividends! Eve McKinnon, Sophie Collins, Lise Theron, Eve Sealy, Christine Irvine, Kathryn Firth and Rachel Stewart all faced the mud swamp, helping our ladies secure 7th place. Eve and Sophie’s times of 15:26 and 16:16 respectively helped secure the position, with Lise, Eve Sealy, Christine, Kathryn and Rachel all working incredibly hard and racing well. Great team effort ladies! FGW. Unlike the men, however, our ladies were very happy having their photo taken, and look ready for the red carpet.

 Fells for heels#greenvestdress

Overall twas a great day for strong running. Who needs a spa when you can gain mud wrap therapy in Glasgow for free? (OK, don’t suggest that in Glasgow at night, it may not end up with a happy result). I hope everyone luxuriated in the hottest shower and cups of tea afterwards. If not, what are you doing with your life aside from running?

Harie love and congratulations Xoxo


P.P.S Hosts: tell fellow runners that the chippy closes earlier in Scotland. Nothing worse than hangry drunk runners at 3am. Or hungover runners remembering that you didn’t tell them about earlier closing times.