Category Archives: Race Report

Hare and Hounds Highlights-Autumn/winter 2017

The first semester has seen some amazing performances from the Haries over hill and dale. We’ve missed the talents of Scott Stirling and Jimmy gone and Dunn it but Linette came back and the new starts have been fresher than ever; bringing us smiles and National titles. There a few though that still choose to race for their home clubs yet somehow think it’s ok to hang out in our tent. I don’t want to see any Fife, VP, Aberdeen or Kilbarchan vests crossing the threshold next semester. It’s not a cool thing to do.

Some hip Americans came to stay with us for a bit and a Serbian pal who loves a selfie. The racing has been as cut throat as ever with new factions formed and fantasy league points at stake. Some races have even been worth getting fired from your job for.

A few Haries kicked things off in early September with the Stirling 10k. Logan Rees came out of his summer hibernation, taking second place behind professional triathlete Grant Sheldon. Rachel Stewart smashed her 10k pb; with Stirling acting as a warm up for a sickening half marathon debut in October.

The Scottish cross country season started in earnest with the East District cross country relays. The women’s squad had been strengthened with a plethora of speedy freshers and so it proved at Glamis with fresher Anna Macfadyen helping the women’s A team to Gold. The male freshers were not to be outdone. First spotted at the Pollock relays by Rachel Stewart and described by Jimmy Dunn as having the speed of Scott Stirling and the sculpted torso of Elisha De Mello. He took everyone by surprise at the relays where he won the first leg. He hasn’t completed a race since but hopefully will make a comeback on the roads this spring. A spring back you might say. Peppercorn’s relay team finished in an eventual 5th place.

The same weekend, 17 intrepid hill runners were driven to Wales by Jacob for the British Fell Relay Championships. The Haries fielded 3 teams at the event which involved a mixture of distances and difficulties of navigation. An impressive men’s A team brought back the silver medal. For perspective, the club’s previous best result at this event was 6th 10 years ago!

The girls also ran well with Beth Hanson running the fastest women’s time of the day for leg 1 ahead of multiple British and English fell running champion Victoria Wilkinson. How do you like them apples?

Lucy Haines; Rhiannon Kirk and Katie Lowery impressed a couple of weeks later at the National cross country relays. Katie ran a blisteringly quick third leg for the women’s B team, passing over to Amy Frankland who finished it off in her usual assured style. The women’s A team comprised of Mhairi Maclennan, Rebecca Johnstone, Anna Macfadyen and Steph Pennycook took a historic second win in a row at the event, topping Central AC by almost forty seconds.

The men’s A team of Thomas Otton; Sasha Chepelin, Alex Carcas and myself finished 6th.

In a pairing with Daniel Smith, Cameron Scott made his first ever cross country appearance and it didn’t seem to put him off. He improved throughout the semester even with his final year dissertation holding him back.

My favourite race in semester one was the East league cross country at Stirling because of how many new faces there were in the Haries tent and how densely packed the Haries men were during the race. Beth Hanson lead home a string of Harie ladies including Kirstin Bamford, Holly Morrison, Arianne Holland and Katie Cutforth.

VP loyal Max Milarvie made his Hare and Hounds debut along with his Fraser Court friend Oskar Fraser Krauss. Max and Oskar first met behind the bike shed of Fraser Court and the rest as they say, is history. Fresher Daniel Smith and master of maths, Simon Mclaren both made their cross-country debut for Haries at Stirling putting in good performances over the deceptively hilly and sinuous course.

Despite the hype about Glasgow University Hare and Hounds being stronger than ever, we retained both the men’s and women’s titles at the Scottish Universities cross country Champs in Garscube on 5th November. Laura Stark won a closely fought battle with Beth Hanson to become Scottish Unis cross country champion in only her first year.

 

Sasha Chepelin took bronze with a hugely powerful performance in such a stacked field and Come Back Cal demonstrated just why the eponymously named Instagram account  was justified with a heroic 4th place. He said afterwards that it came close to the heady heights he achieved at Nationals 2016. Jacob Adkin had an equally strong cross country comeback, finishing in 8th place and earning his first Scottish Unis vest. It’s worth mentioning the man from West Palm Beach, Owen Hayes who ran this tough course only the week before his marathon in Athens which he went on to complete in 3:13.

The same weekend, defending universities cross country champ Logan Rees hopped on the bus down to Leeds for the Abbey Dash 10k. In his first appearance for Scotland on the road; Logan finished 6th in a time of 29:28, the fourth fastest time by a Scot in 2017. It’s been pointed out to me several times that Logan’s 10k pace is the same as my 1500 pace.

In the same race, Mhairi Maclennan ran 33:55-the fifth fastest time run by a Scottish woman in 2017!

The short course cross country champs were up next over a fast and fun circuit in Kircaldy. Hometown hero, Steph Pennycook finished less than a minute behind Olympian

Laura  Muir and was followed by Anna Macfadyen in 4th who took the U20 title. The quartet of Steph, Anna, Laura Stark and Katie Lowery won team gold. Alex Carcas was first home in the men’s race, justifying him a place in the Scotland team for Liverpool and a nice bronze medal in the U20s competition. There was an exciting battle between flatmates Paul Morrison and Andrew Johnstone with Andrew delighted to come out on top.

Then back home for Braids on 18th November- as deputy head of the marshals, it was fantastic to see a huge turnout of Haries in both races. Capitain Ben Murphy made his Braids debut along with Euan Gilham who took the race on from the gun. Emily Payne came back from Bologna especially.

The Liverpool cross challenge was successful for a number of Haries; in particular, Mhairi Maclennan who was 4th U23 and with it claimed an automatic qualifying place in the GB team for the European Cross Country Championships. Alex Carcas ran well but was disappointingly beaten by his younger brother. Sasha cracked the top 100 in the senior race and Lydia Blythe packed in as many Beatles references as she could into an excellent race preview.

Colds, injuries and exams decimated our squad at the East District cross country championships, resulting in several drop outs. Despite the loss of fresher’s rep Arianne Holland, Jennie Glass, Carolyn Cameron and Rhiannon Kirk rallied for a fine fourth in the team competition of the U20 race. In the U20 men’s race, Alex Carcas won by a significant margin; his second individual gold medal at the East District cross country championships. His orienteering friend Jack Leitch finished just outside the medals in 4th despite needing the toilet for most of the race. Oskar Fraser Krauss was an ecstatic third counter in the winning team and Mathew Felbaum ran well in only his second cross country appearance of the season.

In the women’s race Steph Pennycook took a convincing win-her first in the senior women’s category. Captain Sophie Collins was next Harie home in 14th. Eliza Cottington, Kirstin Bamford, Alexandra Morgan and Eilidh Macquarrie all enjoyed their race while Christine Irvine, known for her aptitude with puns, commented that it was “hard for several reasons”. Not quite the witty retort I was hoping for when I asked the pun queen herself for a post-race quote. Sasha Chepelin suffered from no post exam trauma as he finished in 14th. His flatmate Ewan Davidson, on similar flying form grabbed a top 20 finish. A prominent showing from EUOC at these champs saw Alistair Masson and Tim Morgan both running strongly.

Even though Captain Ben sounded as if he was about to breathe his last breath as he headed towards the start line, admirably he did not give up and completed the race in sub-zero temperatures. Simon Mclaren continued to prove his worth on the individual fantasy league table and showed growing aptitude for cross country.

Last but not least, Mhairi Maclennan’s amazing run in more foreign but no less chilly Samorin In Bulgaria at the Euro Cross. Mhairi on her debut for the GB team won a gold team medal in the U23 race. Congrats.

The second semester will surely be even more exciting and successful than the last with BUCS XC and Isle of Man to look forward to. Word on the street is that Elisha De Mello will make a return just in time for Broxburn XC…

My New Year’s resolution is to be more on it with race reports in semester deux.

The first big event of 2018 takes place close to home. The ‘killing fields’ of Holyrood Park will host the Great Edinburgh Cross country event, next weekend on 13th January where there will be a large Haries presence. Good luck to those running for the Scottish Unis team; Team East; Team West; Team North; Mhairi for GB and the plastic bag wearing marshals around the course.

ATFB

Cam x

East District XC Champs > Exams

This Saturday, I missed the fun part of these cross-country excursions which is meeting at Waverley and queuing for the ticket machines as a team.

I was in an exam hall until 11:30 debating whether I should go to Livingston instead of concentrating on the paper in front of me. The exam didn’t go too well so I thought I’d cheer myself up with some East District cross country action.

Arriving at the course behind Deans Community High school; I caught the tail end of the U20 women’s race and Naomi Lang striding down the hill to claim an East District bronze medal for Aberdeen. This still doesn’t make it ok to wear an Aberdeen vest. Jennie Glass was first counter for the Haries in 12th followed by Rhiannon Kirk and Carolyn Cameron in 14th and 16th respectively. It was so cold, Carolyn had to get her Dad to take the pins off her vest. Thanks for the pins by the way. Arianne Holland, our newly elected freshers rep was also running but disappointingly had to pull out due to illness. Disappointing as she’s in my fantasy league team.

When I arrived at the Haries tent, Oskar exclaimed that I was “a legend” for hopping on a train to Livingstone post exam. However, I was unworthy of such legendary status as I threw in the towel after just one lap. I was very much a loser.

In the same race, Alex Carcas dominated from the gun to take his second East District cross country title. Jack Leitch, touching cloth for the duration of the race finished in an impressive 4th despite the odds stacked up inside him. Oskar Fraser Krauss was third counter for the U20 men who took team gold on the day. Not satisfied with his race, Oskar and the rest of his team followed it up with a supplementary session. Solid effort ladz. In a rare cross-country appearance, orienteer Mathew Fellbaum took 16th in a stacked field.

The terrain was still solid with no churned-up mud in sight by the time the senior races came around. The firm ‘racing track’ seemed to suit the talents of Steph Pennycook as she took a convincing win-her first in the senior women’s category. Sophie Collins was next Harie home in 14th. Eliza Cottington, Kirstin Bamford, Alexandra Morgan and Eilidh Macquarrie all enjoyed their race while Christine Irvine, known for her aptitude with puns, commented that it was “hard for several reasons”. Not quite the witty retort I was hoping for when I asked the pun queen herself for a quote.

Sasha Chepelin suffering from no post exam trauma, scored me a healthy number of fantasy league points as he finished in 14th. His flatmate Ewan Davidson, on similar flying form grabbed a tantalising top 20 finish. A prominent showing from EUOC at these champs saw Alistair Masson and Tim Morgan both running strongly. The orienteers did well considering the course was more like a “road race” according to Sasha.

I discovered another of Captain Ben’s admirable traits at Livingston: He doesn’t give up like I do. I watched him jog over to the start line; in the holds of a cold, sounding as if he was about to breathe his final breath. He used the little oxygen he had left in his lungs to complete the three laps in sub-zero temperatures. Nice one Ben! Simon Mclaren continued to prove his worth on the individual league table and showed growing aptitude for cross country.

It’s worth mentioning Mhairi Maclennan’s amazing run in more foreign but no less chilly Samorin In Bulgaria at the Euro Cross. Mhairi on her debut for the GB team won a gold team medal in the U23 race. Crazy and inspirational stuff. Congrats.

We are the best at cross country running in Scottish academia

Always a highly anticipated race with Scottish Unis vests up for grabs and organised by our very own Jimmy Dunn. Dunn’s Craigmillar creation from last year provoked feelings of dread and so Glasgow uni decided to map out a considerably flatter course. In theory, Garscube park could be a lovely venue for a cross country race with some soft trails and suitably steep fields. Max Milarvie regularly runs here so he delighted in showing us all the possibilities on our cool down after the race. A race which utilised none of the lovely bits. Road crossings; a dusting of bark at an incorrect angle across the tarmac and a labyrinth of route choices were presumably put in place to thwart the Haries.

In the women’s race, there was a pleasing green swarm at the front of the race but with fewmarshals and a disappointing lack of tape no one was really sure when to leave the rugby pitch!

Beth Hanson took charge up the first hill and was soon joined by Laura Stark. A thrilling battle then ensued with the lead changing hands several times over the two laps. Laura came out strongest with a powerful surge in the closing kilometres to take the Scottish Unis title in only her first year at uni. 

Amy Frankland completed the winning team, finally getting her hands on a gold team medal and helping to continue Edinburgh unis unbeaten streak in the women’s race. James Dunn shirked his duties as Scottish Student Sports co-ordinator* to cheer Soph Collins as she finished 6th, guaranteeing herself a Scottish Unis vest. Rebecca Johnstone will also be representing the Scottish unis team at Holyrood in January as she finished 8th.

I might try and get the Herbivore kitchen to sponsor the club as they seem to be fuelling our athletes fairly well with regulars Jennie Glass, Katie Hall and Eilidh Macquarrie all putting in inspired performances. There was a tight grouping of Haries all vying for a spot in the top 20. Helen Jones and Sarah Douglas finished within seconds of one another in 17th and 18th places respectively. There were also impressive showings from freshers Louise Mccullagh, Lucy Haines and Rona Tyler. With most of the ‘John Lees Elite’ absent, the harie women still dominated, comprising 25% of the 65 runners on the start line. Linette Knudsen wasn’t hugely pleased with her race but she did win the unofficial ‘first Dane’ prize.

With Glasgow fielding the strongest men’s field in years, we had a tough job on our hands to retain the men’s title. However, not even a rogue litter bin could stop us today. We were fired up and we were ready to go.

Legs freshly shaven, Callum Symmons sprang to the front alongside Alexander Chepelin and Will Peppercorn. Elbows freshly sharpened, Ruaridh Mon Williams swiftly joined them exhibiting true tactical nous.

The first lap of the race was described by Come Back Cal as “the most fun he’s ever had in his cross-country career” with people making moves left right and centre. Sasha made one that stuck and stormed to third place. An amazing result in such a high-quality field.

Callum finished one place behind-a performance that was truly deserving of the record number of likes the Come Back Cal’s post-race instagram received. Euan Gilham’s race was ‘just a tempo’ but he still bagged himself a Scottish Unis vest with 7th place. Alex Carcas who finished 8th and 2nd U20 will also be joining him in the team. Jacob Adkin showed that he was deserving of every one of those ninety fantasy league pounds with a commendable top 10 on his 2017 cross country debut.

Some Hounds fired up

There was a good race for the final few places in the top 20 with Max Milarvie narrowly beating Jack Leitch who recovered from a spectacular fall to edge out Ewan Davidson. Nicholas Allen and Thomas Otton both cruised past me in the latter stages of the race to take 20th and 21st place respectively.

There were a host of Harie faces at Garscube including orienteer Mathew Felbaum; Álvaro Garrido; Garret Jones and Owen Hayes who was doing the classic ‘just a tempo’ before his first marathon in Athens the following week. Captain Ben was pleased with another solid cross country performance and Darko Perovic was sporting a fresh pair of Salomons with an ingenious lace garage. Wonder who sold him those?

Yes, Scottish Unis was definitely worth taking a Sunday off for…

Liverpool Preview: In My Mersey Paradise

It’s been a long cold lonely winter. Lots of miles covered, lots of gym sessions in the bag… all in preparation for Liverpool, the European Cross Country Trials held in the iconic Sefton Park every November. Training eight days a week in order to toe the line in the form of your life, Great Britain vests in contention. The Harie contingent at this years’ race is impressive. International and club athletes alike will assemble on the banks of the Mersey in that stunning shade of green. They will come together, right now, all with different goals but the unity and spirit of the Haries behind them.

 Starting with the boys, in the under 20 race we have Alex Carcas, donning a Scotland vest at this years’ trial off the back of his third place position at the National Short Course Championships. The real weight Alex is bearing on his shoulders isn’t the potential for a GB selection, but the imposing threat of his younger brother, Freddie, racing each other for the first time. Alex had better be on his toes as Freddie’s first semester training in Loughborough will see his arrival in Liverpool a statement to be feared. Get back to where you once belonged.

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Sky of Blue, Sea of Green: Braids 2017

Braids 2017 certainly didn’t disappoint. The entire day, utterly spectacular. Faith in the running community didn’t once waver, as the determined hill lovers among us basked in the winter sunshine and left their all on the Braids Hills Golf Course. For a race that has been running annually for at least 15 years, both veterans and freshers assembled at King’s Buildings on that iconic November Saturday morning to get their hands on a number and equally as importantly, a ticket entitling them to dance the night away at the ceilidh. With less than 200 competing across both events in the first race in 2002, Saturday saw a considerable increase in the number of participants, with over 500 runners enjoying, embracing and exhausting themselves at the mercy of this picturesque golf course.

Buzzing – KB house filled with athletes fit to burst.

Raring to go – Warm ups completed, it was time to race.

All the spectators – keen to see who will come out on top.

Incline – putting fitness, tenacity and mental strength to the test.

Downhill – the final kilometre, an all-important sprint for the finish keeping the audience on their toes. Who is it flying through the trees?

Smiles – all round after crossing the line having given your all. Satisfied. What a run.

Posers

Continue reading Sky of Blue, Sea of Green: Braids 2017

Braids Buzz: A Preview for Tomorrow’s Action

The excitement has been building. The competition growing all the more fierce with each day, getting closer to the pinnacle of the Haries racing calendar:

IT’S BRAIDS!

Saturday morning will see the arrival of Britain’s finest university running clubs and local club runners alike to take the Braids Hills Bridle Path by storm. For most Haries, a run round Braids is a crucial part of the week’s training – this race allowing the hill-lovers among us to flourish on a ‘proper’ cross country course, the altitude factor in abundance. Also, perhaps the wind factor, the mud factor and the ‘dig-deep’ factor. There’s something for everyone along the way, be it the rapid start, the incline, the technical descent…

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National XC Relays 2017

The national cross country relays-one for the big hitters. Even world championship athlete, Jake Wightman made an appearance. He was a bit of an embarrassment though and looked a bit on the chubby side. Andrew Lawler and his friends Elisha De Mello and Michael Christoforou Kangaroo also turned up. It was a nice treat to see them.

Camaraderie within the team was high and it was great to see a mixture of experienced campaigners as well as a fresh batch of Haries in attendance. It was evident that the team was bursting with freshers as it took nearly twenty minutes and nearly twice as many people than normal to put up the tent.

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East District XC League-Stirling

A sunny Stirling awaited us as we stepped off the train, eagerly anticipating a Saturday of proper cross country racing. Rachel had painstakingly planned for us to get off at Bridge of Allan and get a bus from there. Instead, we endured a 3 mile trek from the station to the university. Best laid plans and all that.

As we approached the course, the weather turned sour. True to the climate data for Stirling where the month of October experiences near peak rainfall of 157mm, we experienced a fair few of those millimetres.

Continue reading East District XC League-Stirling

British Fell Relays 2017

Parting from the safe confines of George Square on the same morning, a Haries Division instead turned southbound away from the smooth grass of Glamis and towards the knee-deep bog and ankle breaking terrain of Wales and Snowdonia.

Tackling the British Fell Relays Championships last year with one men’s team after a prolonged absence from the event, this year saw the club send three teams (two men’s and one women’s) to this exciting race.

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“When the hurlyburly’s done, when the battles lost and won”-East District Relays 17

For this year’s bout of race reports, I will be delving into the world of graphs, charts and infographics. There will be no Jacob Adkin style ‘hashtagging’ in these reports. These stats will build in complexity throughout the academic year but for the first race of the cross-country season, I will start off simple:

Continue reading “When the hurlyburly’s done, when the battles lost and won”-East District Relays 17