Veganism: Q&A

Veganism is a hot topic at the moment, so to bust some myths and tackle some FAQs, we thought we’d put your top questions to some of the club’s fave vegans (past and present!). We’ve got the famous Emma Gill aka Fruits & Routes, first year athlete and physics-whizz Becky Nisbet, plus beloved alumni Sarah Douglas, GB international hill runner Beth Hanson and recent veteran of a 24-hour turbo ride, Hannah Havelock-Allan! Sarah’s sister Hannah has also dipped her toe into some of the questions, so there’s plenty of wisdom to be found.

**As a quick note: Food and body choices are entirely personal, and you should never feel compelled to make choices about what you put in your body or how you train based on what other people are doing. This article is meant to help you make informed choices, not ones that are unhealthy for you!

Why did you turn vegan?

Hannah H-A: Curiosity really, I admit it wasn’t to save the animals or the planet. But I did want cowspiracy and I have watched a fair few Earthling Ed videos and he’s really hard to disagree with (thoroughly recommend). I also think it helped me have a more positive relationship with food – that is not say veganism is healthy! And you can make it as unhealthy as you like- but it definitely gets me eating a variety of nourishing foods!

Becky N: For animal welfare and for my health.

Beth: This question is asked a lot and I often struggle to answer this, despite being a vegan for nearly 6 years now.  I had been vegetarian since the age of 7, and couldn’t justify the reasons I was being a veggie and not be a vegan. The number one reason is the unnecessary suffering of animals in both the meat and dairy industries. As I got more into veganism, I realised that there are many more reasons that I am, and will continue to be, vegan, such the ability to reduce my environmental footprint, and the health benefits of living off foods such a veggies, nuts, fruits, seeds, wholegrains etc.!

Sarah: I had thought about it for a while but grew up in a real foodie- family where being a fussy eater wasn’t an option and I didn’t want to be ‘the awkward one’. I think in the past it wasn’t recognised as much either so it would have been harder to eat out etc. My sister then turned vegan, despite being the biggest lover of cheese I know, and so I thought if she could do it I could too. My family have soon adjusted, and I enjoy having someone to share all the new tasty vegan things I find with!

In terms of was my choice for health, environment or animal welfare, I would say mostly animal welfare. I slowly started going more and more vegetarian and then realised that if I was going to be veggie I should really be vegan as the dairy industry is just as bad for the animals. However, I definitely like how it is better for the environment too.

Hannah Douglas: A lot of people I followed on instagram and respected had started going vegan so I wanted to give it a try for a month. During the month I read up on veganism and watched documentaries to educate myself. Then the moral, eco and health benefits seemed apparent. I think for me they are in that order of importance: morals, then eco then health!

Are there any club vegans not supplementing their iron? Do you think it’s necessary?

HHA: Unaware of numbers, but I’d presume Emma Gill (other vegan in the Haries) is. I think it is possible to get enough iron on a vegan diet, dark leafy green e.g. spinach etc are high in iron, but you really have to focus on it an know your sources and portions which can be a bit intensive. I think for females as well this can be particularly challenging so it supplementing with a B complex is wise.

BN: I don’t supplement my iron – and I’m a regular blood donor so I know my iron isn’t low! I’d never suggest to anyone to take iron supplements unless their doctor recommends it because excess iron has side effects, it’s not like supplementing other vitamins.

Beth: I do supplement my iron after being tested to be low at the Doctors, but I’ve always had low irons levels even before I was vegan. I don’t believe all vegans should feel the need to supplement, but it’s something to be thought about and conscious of as it is easy to miss out on some of the vital nutrients. Especially as athletes who do high training hours, I think everyone, vegan or not, should be aware of what is needed for a balanced diet.

Sarah: I have written a whole document on this which will be posted on the website! Iron is really important to be supplemented if you are deficient but is not and can be dangerous to supplement to excess so always get a medical opinion on this based on bloods tests. Being vegan doesn’t necessary mean you will be iron deficient as it can be found in lots of other foods not just meat. My iron is actually its highest ever since I have become vegan (even when I used to take supplements too!)

Do you supplement your B12? Do you think it’s necessary?

HHA: I take a multivitamin and vit D3, so no B12 in isolation. I used to supplement B12, but have been working with a dietician to help me with endurance sports and her recommendations were just eh vit D3 (which I think is wise whether you are vegan or not!) and a multivitamin.

BN: A B12 supplement is a good idea for anyone, not just vegans, it’s absolutely vital to supplement B12 if you’re vegan if you don’t consume fortified plant milks regularly or use nutritional yeast. Even if you do drink fortified plant milks, it’s still a very good idea to supplement to make sure you’re getting enough, because there are very bad deficiency side effects to the nervous system that can be critical.

Beth: Again, I do because I was tested to have low B12 levels. Really the same as above, but if you are feeling more tired than normal, struggling to recover from sessions as quickly or anything other than tip-top, definitely get a blood test done at the Doctors to make sure you are not missing out on anything.

Sarah: Yes I take Vitamin B12 Supplements and Vitamin D supplements. (but often forget). Basically, everyone in the UK should take VitD as we are all very likely deficient and is important for bone health. 

In terms of Vit B12, it is the only vitamin that you cannot get from a well-balanced plant based diet so it does need to be supplemented. However it is great that many vegan products such as cereal, milk, some soya products and nutritional yeast can have added Vitamin B12 in them! The body has large stores of it so symptoms of deficiency wouldn’t show for a very long time but would run out if you were vegan and didn’t supplement and could lead to problems later in life. Some people also have genetic medical conditions where they don’t have the enzyme in the body to absorb VitB12 from the diet and these individuals need to have it in possibly higher doses and sometimes different forms such as injections.

Best pre-race vegan meal?

HHA: Oh hard, depends when the race is! I’m a big fan of anything oat based/porridge for the morning and if it’s general carb loading I think sweet potato is a must. I usually have more thoughts about what I am having after rather than before!

BN: Pizza! Vegan cheese, tomato, maybe some tofu for that protein hit. Fact, all of my half marathon PBs have been achieved when I’ve had a pizza the night before. Coincidence, I think not…

Beth: Porridge!!!!!!!!!!! If that counts as a meal….. I’m loving all the porridge Instagram accounts. My go to is oats with almond milk, raisins, banana, cinnamon and a (probably too big) heap of peanut butter. The night before a race I tend to have pesto-pasta or pizza, always followed by some kind of dessert….

Sarah: Porridge. I am really bad at eating just before a run as it makes me feel sick when running but porridge a few hours before a race is always reliable. I like to mix it up with some different toppings, but banana, PB and dried fruit always works well!

Is it more expensive?

HHA: It’s as expensive as you make it. I think for people that are still heavy omnies, then all the fake vegan stuff like fake meats, and ‘mimic’ foods can be really enticing but they’re so expensive. I personally love veg, beans, pulses etc. and it’s super easy to make up a simple stew, curry, salad, etc. with stuff like lentils or chickpeas and some fresh veg. Beans and pulses are definitely a cheaper way to go to get protein in than tofu and fake meats!

BN: For me, definitely not. But if you’re buying every meat alternative and dairy free cheese under the sun, it can. I bulk buy dried beans (literally in packets of like 5kg) and soak them and cook them for an hour and a half rather than buying tins, and it’s so much cheaper. All the staples of a good vegan diet – beans, rice, pasta, fruit and veg, are dirt cheap. Veganism doesn’t have to be expensive if you know what you’re doing.

Beth: No! There’s a lot more vegan products out now than when I first became vegan, which is exciting but can be expensive if you eat that kind of stuff all the time. I tend to have basic ingredients such as beans and legumes with a carb, and leave the fancy exciting stuff for a treat or special occasion. It definitely doesn’t have to be expensive.

Sarah: It can be, depending on if you are a #basicvegan and love shopping in whole foods/ real foods and trying all the cool vegan food, It can be! But equally basic vegan staples like beans, pulses and vegetables are super cheap and even meat alternatives can be roughly the same price as meat or fish would be! I think vegan baking is more sometimes more expensive if you use vegan chocolate etc, so I spend more on that but in terms of my weekly shop, its probably cheaper.

HD: It can be if you eat all the meat and dairy replacement stuff but it can be cheaper if you eat more whole foods. I think all in all my weekly shop is about the same price as it used to be!

Do you feel it’s positively impacted your training?

HHA: I’d say my recovery is great, and my energy levels are good. I had a long summer of doing my first 100k run and then doing 7 days running in Africa within July and August, all of which were plant-based fuelled. I don’t think I would have been able to without (a) eating enough food (b) eating a plant-based diet. I also don’t get afternoon slumps from digestion of food.

BN: I mean I’ve been vegan for many years and I can’t remember being a runner before I was vegan so I can’t really comment. But I mean, I did win my first ever half marathon in the Female Under 20 category when I was 17 and I was vegan then, so I don’t think it’s made my running bad…

Beth: Hard to say really. I’ve had some really good periods of fitness whilst I’ve been a vegan, but I don’t put that down to my vegan diet really. I think eating healthily and fuelling properly is really important to any athlete, and this is something I’ve always strived to do.

Sarah: It’s hard to say as I can’t really compare the two periods of my life but it definitely hasn’t negatively impacted it. I think it has made me ensure I have a more well-balanced diet and I get a lot of fruit and vegetables too! I have a lot on energy and can do all the training I want to do, including strength training.

HD: Yes, I definitely feel fitter now than I used to but I wouldn’t solely attribute that to veganism as I gym / run more now than I used to too.

Do you think it encourages restrictive eating? Or do you find it helpful in achieving health and a balance with eating?

HHA: I think there is a definitely a trend (as seen on Instagram) of many ex-ED girls turning to veganism. That is not to say it is a bad thing though! I think an outside view is that it is restrictive or you ‘can’t eat this, or that’, but really no one focuses on what you can eat. There is so much more to food than just meat and dairy. It has allowed me to be creative and also try some amazing vegan food. Admittedly the nice stuff does require more effort to make! But I don’t feel restricted in the slightest, especially with all modern supermarkets being far more accommodating to vegan options.

BN: This is a difficult question. I don’t think there’s a yes or no answer to this, because it really depends on the person and what they like and don’t like. I’ve been vegan for many years, and then a few years ago I developed anorexia, but I’d been a happy and healthy vegan long before that and never really thought it played much of a role in my eating disorder, except in using it an excuse to avoid going out for meals. I’ve recovered from that now and I’m still a vegan and I think I have a good relationship with food – but I think that’s down to the fact that I am very used to being vegan so I don’t miss anything, but I’d certainly tell someone in recovery from a restrictive ED to avoid going vegan whilst they’re vulnerable because it could just become a tool to relapse. I feel like the people in whom it encourages restrictive eating are those who use it as a tool for weight loss, rather than people wanting to choose a cruelty free lifestyle and way of living.

Beth: No, I don’t think it encourages restrictive eating. I’ve gone through many phases of disordered eating, and it is nothing to do with the vegan diet but more my mindset into eating well. A vegan diet does mean you do have to think about food more, and how to adequately achieve nutrient goals, but for me this has only allowed a healthier balance with eating.

Sarah: This is a difficult question. Being vegan itself doesn’t lead to a restrictive diet, especially now ( in bigger cities/ towns) where it is very well accommodated, but if you are someone who has restrictive eating tendencies it could provoke/worsen them as it does limit some things you could eat. It was something that I was worried about, especially because I was injured at the time I became vegan, so this did cross my mind but I was in a better and stronger place mentally so hoped id know what to look out for if things were tending towards that.
What really helped me was 1) trying to cook and bake vegan things that other people would like and enjoying these with them, gave me a focus to make good meals and 2) trying out new and interesting vegan options and supporting small local start ups and cafes’ etc to help promote veganism and increase its availability in shops. This helped me think that I wasn’t just doing it for myself but by eating all these things I was supporting the promotion of veganism.

HD: I think for some people it can be a way to restrict their eating. However, thankfully I have never had problems with disordered eating so I find it a helpful way to be healthy as it is about so much more than just me being healthy.

Is it actually better for the planet?

HHA: Aha, well short answer I would say yes, but the scientist in me says it’s best to go research the evidence. Even the best at Oxford have published data about water usage and emissions related to different diets. I am not one to preach data or an agenda so I think it’s best for people to do their own digging and decide. Ultimately any little change that someone can contribute to the planet helps, a vegan may be vegan but drive their car to work every week, so what’s the point? A meat eater may only have eco energy at home – so there’s many factors to consider.  

BN: I definitely think so. More animal farming means more land is also needed to grow crops to feed them, which leads to more deforestation, greater global warming, water scarcity and species extinction. By being vegan you’re reducing the demand for animal agriculture and eating the plants directly, rather than using animals as a “middle man”. That’s not to mention greenhouse gas emission from particularly beef farming.

Beth: Yes!!! For many reasons. The animal food industry causes deforestation to make land for livestock, the vast volume of water needed for animal agriculture, the pollution of the water systems from the pesticides needed for animal grains, the huge generation of animal waste and pollution, and the transportation of animals and meat to get to the supermarkets…….to be brief!!!

Sarah: Yes. It is now well known that the vegan diet is better for the planet. Animals themselves release greenhouse gases and keeping them causes deforestation. Despite a lot of vegan products being made from Soy, which is notoriously bad for deforestation and demand on the land, the majority of Soy is made to feed animal and actually only a very small proportion is for human consumption. There are however those who are ‘vegan’ purely for the dietary choices they eat but also those who follow the lifestyle that is associated with ‘veganism’. This encourages using local and ethical produce, recycling/ upcycling and low plastic waste, which is definitely much better for the environment, and something that we should all try to follow, despite eating vegan or not.

HD: Yes, it definitely is.

Fave vegan scran in Edinburgh?

HHA: Brekkie has to be Brochan- I still miss that porridge so much! For lunch/other food- Beetroot Sauvage.

BN: Giant nachos in The Auld Hoose pub… they’re giant, and unbeatable.

Beth: Oh man, herbivore kitchen was just the BOMB when I was there, I literally lived above it for 2 years and I was known as the cinnamon bun girl as I went in so often for one…………….nothing has compared to them…… I also loved Paradise Palm (the best vegan burger ever)….. and Lovecrumbs do such amazing cake. On my most recent visit to Edinburgh I literally did a vegan cafe crawl…. So many good places.

Sarah: Hula, Brochan or Beetroot Sauvage (I love  a brunch :D) Also good to know that many of Edinburgh’s top restaurants offer Vegan menu’s ( Castle terrace, the Kitchen, Timberyard etc!)

HD: Paradise palms!!

Top vegan influencers/ instagrams?

HHA: @fruitsandroutes for sure – an a Harie nonetheless! @lucybartholomew (not strictly influencer but amazing vegan runner)

BN: I love @DeliciouslyElla on Instagram. Also, check out @thehappypear, @wickedhealthy.

Beth: Ofc @fruitsandroutes!!! Also really enjoy the influencers @stephelswood @zannavandijk and @gracebeverley.

Sarah: Venetia Falconers. And of course our fav local celebs @Scran-in-the-city and @Fruitsandroutes (and @bright_copper_kettles if I am allowed to plug myself!!)

HD: Venetia falconer, Zanna van Dijk, Grace Beverly & Steph Elswood.

Can you be vegan and normal?

HHA: No, you have to be a bit of a weirdo I’m afraid. (Who wants to be normal anyways? Normal is boring!).

BN: I’m vegan and I’m a highly abnormal nerd so I don’t think I can comment… but I know many vegans who are just quietly vegan and are pretty “normal” people!

Beth: Can anyone be normal? I think being vegan shouldn’t change anyones life too much- especially now there is so many options. Even the main chain restaurant has amazing vegan options- so no need to miss out on the fun!!

Sarah: I have been told I am ‘the least annoying vegan’ by my friends and work colleagues as I actually don’t really like talking about it as, as bad as it sounds, I hate the stigma it has.  I would love others to be vegan but I think showing them life isn’t much different and it can be easy is the best way rather than going on about it and preaching it to them every day! However I wouldn’t have become vegan if I didn’t see some posts and films about animal agriculture and the dairy industry etc so I think it is important people are informed of these things as we do live in a very blinded society, but preaching and posting about this daily isn’t the way to do this as it may just put people off instead. We need to appreciate every little change or vegan meal someone makes is better than nothing and is a step in the right direction😊

Do you crave meat? What do you think of meat alternatives? (original question: How can you live like that? I need steak pie. Also: How do you resist caving for a greenmantle burger after 3 days of veganism?)

HHA: At the beginning I did for sure, but there are substitutes. If you are feeling fancy, you can go and have a vegan burger, there are some decent ones out there. But I mainly got over the craving and found it was more a craving for salt – which I strongly substitute with marmite!

BN: I used to eat meat every day because that was just “normal”. After about a week of being vegan I just stopped craving it and I’ve now been vegan for nearly 4 years and I genuinely never walk past a sausage roll van and think “damn I want a sausage roll”, I just don’t feel I need or even want meat anymore, I’m very averse to the idea of eating meat now, and don’t think I ever will (intentionally) again.

Beth: Nope not at all…………….!! I’ve been a veggie for so long I don’t know no different. I do enjoy the fake meats, but see them more as a treat than on the regular as they are a little more expensive. I do love a vegan burger!!

Sarah: I loved chicken and fish. I would literally eat cooked chicken as a snack…. But then is started cutting down on meat and then became vegan and I have never looked back. I joke that I would have been vegan ages before if it wasn’t for my love of Greek yoghurt! I don’t miss anything really and enjoy trying more things and also cooking vegan for others and showing them it can be tasty and not just leaves! There are some great meat alternatives out there. I haven’t tried that many of them as I prefer to not have them as they are slightly ‘processed’ but I am a fan of some of the fake chicken and of course Linda McCartney anything basically!

HD: No I don’t crave meat at all. Its been 2.5 years now and now knowing what I do about the meat industry I find it quite frankly gross. I like meat alternatives, I never stopped eating meat because I didn’t like the taste of it. However, I am trying to limit how much of these I eat from both a budget and health point of view as obviously these are more processed food items.

Scottish Virtual Road Relays

Thank you to everyone who took part in our virtual relays this week! It’s encouraging to see so many runners get behind this and staying healthy in these difficult times. 

We had an incredible 132 teams enter with a total of 540 finishers! 

This included some very rapid times with Grant Sheldon taking the fastest male leg in 13:38 and Beth Potter taking the fastest female leg in 15:23! 👏

Big well done also to the winning teams with Dundee Hawkhill Harriers taking the Men’s title, Metro Aberdeen Running Clubclaiming the Women’s, Wuhan Clan coming first in the Mixed category and Bearsden’s Little Potters winning the Open category! 🏆

(We will endeavour to give these four teams, along with the fastest legs, their pineapples at the earliest and safest convenience, but can’t guarantee this will be anytime soon. 🍍)

A round up of the top 5 in each category and individually, along with some interesting stats about the event are shown below. 

We hope you enjoyed our event and hopefully see many of you again at more of our events in the future! 

Full Results:

Stay safe 💚


Yoga 101

by Mhairi Maclennan

Floating to the surface of consciousness, battling with the urge to fall back into a sweet slumber for another 30 minutes, but knowing you have to summon the strength to peel back the covers and get ready for… oh… wait, nothing.

Perhaps you are working from home, possibly you are one of the country’s treasured and vital front-line workers, but just as likely, you find yourself at a loss with what to do for the next 3, possibly more weeks ahead, of uncertainty. Regardless of what your new role is during this world pandemic, the following might help lighten your load, literal or metaphorical.

It’s very easy to flounder with a lack of routine, especially when there’s an overwhelming sentiment that the world around you is crumbling. Many of us foster our identity and sense of self from the things we do each day; our job, our hobbies, our friends; with these elements of our daily routine removed it’s perceivable that we might feel a little lost.

However, this is an opportunity. Let us not dwell negatively on the things that have been taken away, but to appreciate the opportunity to learn new skills and take a step back to appreciate the things once taken for granted. Devise a new routine for the time being, follow government guidelines and marvel at the endless prospects now available to you.

Never been one for yoga? Always thought you weren’t flexible enough or that you couldn’t concentrate? Well, now is the time to use it to try and vary the “workouts from home” videos that are crowding your Instagram feed.

Put on some music, nothing too loud, something that makes you feel calm or positive; perhaps some Jack Johnson, or Juke Ross, just to fill the void. Get a space that you are able to move around in freely, and get read to limber up. Starting is a daunting prospect, try watching Youtube videos for some basic yoga positions (I can recommend Yoga with Adriene). Don’t set yourself a time limit or expected duration, just do it for as long or short a time that makes you feel good; stretch away that anxiety in child’s pose, feel the stress dissipate with downward dog.

Don’t feel the pressure to try and connect to some higher spiritual field, or even feel expected to hum and Namaste at the end; yoga is yours, do with it as you please.

National XC 2020: The Green Train

I really wish I could say the sun was out and everyone was excited to get stuck into the 2020 edition of the Scottish National cross-country championships. Sadly, it was freezing, blowing a gale and very rainy! The first challenge of the day was getting to Falkirk. Our first train was cancelled but luckily a few of us managed to jump on the next train and made it to Callendar Park. Sadly, for the later risers (the boys) there was a (classic) Scotrail power cut at Haymarket, meaning no trains were coming or going. The boys ended up getting a very expensive Uber to the race, whilst others chose to get a bus which arrived 15 minutes before the start of their race – something very similar happened last year when Central were worried we were going to win the East League title… hmm!

The next job was getting the tent up, which proved rather difficult in Storm Dennis. Thankfully, a tent-erection expert from another club could see we were struggling and quickly stepped in and helped us. That was us, good to go, ready to race!

First up were the senior women, who ran in, potentially, the worst conditions of the day, putting up with strong hail and sleet into their faces for the majority of the race. Ex-Harie Mhairi MacLennan, running for Inverness Harriers (I’ve heard that’s the place to join now ;)) took the win, covering the 10km course in just under 40 minutes, and another ex-Harie Steph Pennycook wasn’t far behind, finishing in 4th place. The first green vest over the line was Cat Graves, who continued her great run of form, she finished in 9th place in 42.49. Katie Lowery was next home in 18th place, it was a remarkable performance over 10k from the 1500m, track runner! Polly Edwards had a great day out and didn’t let the weather dampen her spirits as she “really enjoyed it” and finished in 27th place, which was just the 58 places better than last year!! Rhiannon Kirk was next over the line, just 20 seconds behind Polly. Laura King finished in 42nd place in a just over 46 minutes flat. Captain Lydia rounded off the counting team of 6, finishing in 63rd place, resulting in the girls winning the bronze team medal, massive well done! 

Photo Credit: Dan Smith Photography

Helen Ockenden finished in 111th place in 50.39 and Sally Stewart continued her fine form finishing just over 30 seconds behind. Louise Adams, who was sporting some very cool orienteering shoes, finished in 147th place in 53.10.

The U20 boys were up next, the race was pretty slow from the start. Despite the sun now being out, the conditions under foot were unfavourable, with a 3ft deep muddy puddle halfway round the course and thick mud throughout the rest. Much loved Freddie Carcas outkicked Hamish Hickey and blew him a kiss on the home straight, making it back to back wins at Nationals. First Harie home was Rob Sparks, who put in a big shift and for one of the first times this winter, finished a cross country race! He finished 15th in just over 25 minutes. Max Bloor was next home, sneaking into the top twenty with a 19th place finish. Fraser Roach continued his injury comeback with a great run, finishing in 24th position, improving upon his 26th place finish in 2017. Josh Liddle rounded off the team, finishing in 28th place, helping the boys to a 3rd place finish, getting beat by strong Central and Dundee Uni sides. Alex Bell transferred his indoor track success onto the mud, finishing in 31st position, bettering his 53rd place finish last year. Ifan Oldfield had a great run, finishing in 38th place and Aiden Horner forgot to wear his timing chip so sadly didn’t make it onto the results.

On the girls U20 side, Inverness Harrier Megan Keith won the race in 25.52, a time only 20 out of 73 boys bettered, running just 7 seconds slower than Max Bloor… Holly Page finished in 3rd place in 27.30 – although she sadly came up 15 seconds short of beating Ifan’s time. Harie, but not Harie Holly Little finished 5th in 28.39, managing to run half the race with only one shoe on! Zoe Pflug wasn’t far behind and finished in 6th place, exactly the same spot as last year. Carly Cameron had a great run, finishing in 20th place, 5 places better than last year and rounded off the girls’ team, helping them to the gold medal. Roanne Lilley enjoyed her run, finishing in 31st place.

Now for the one we were all waiting for. A winter of grind, grass, mud, mileage, Twitter spats and rivalries all came to this day. The day where we tried to stop Central winning their 10th National XC in a row. Jack Leitch lead the Haries contingent and finished in 9th place in 36.37, improving upon his 24th place from last year. Eddie Narbett was next home in 16th place in 37.01 and Alex Muir was next over the line just 11 seconds later, followed by Elisha De Mello who was another 11 seconds behind. A further 13 seconds back Alex Carcas and Max Milarvie crossed the line together – packing at its finest. Sadly, we came up slightly short and Central took the win. In the words of Gregor: “2nd maybe wasn’t what we came for today but keep your heads held high! If someone told me 4 years ago [in first year] that the Haries would be on the podium at the National XC, I’d have laughed at them – it shows how strong we’ve been! 1968 was the last time the Haries medalled at the National and the last time they were runners up (1965) they went on to win 3 in a row…”. It really was special to watch, and the support the boys received from all the other Haries round the course was second to none and likewise the grit and determination every single runner showed was huge. This really is not the end and we’ll definitely be back next year, 11 in a row? We don’t think so.

Photo Credit: Bobby Gavin

Tam Wilson was 7th Harie home, he finished in 31st place and ran the race very well, picking up places as the race went on. Dan Stansfield was next over the line, finishing in 44th place in 38.51. Triathlete Nick Allencontinued his fine form, finishing in 47th place in just over 39 minutes. Gregor Malcolm wasn’t far behind, finishing in 57th place in his senior Nationals debut. Cameron Young ran his last cross-country in a Haries vest, finishing in 64th place, a great return to form after an injury-strucken start to the year. Captain AJ finished in 76th place, finally finishing his first National XC as a Harie, as well as taking fellow North boy James Wilson on the line. Dan Smith had a cracker of a run, finishing in 122nd place, despite wearing a funny looking PH Racing vest. Nick Bennet continued his return from injury taking 171st place and Alasdair Bisset struggled on the mud but finished in 186th place in 43.21. Andrew Carrick finished in 238th place and Jackson Woodruff wasn’t far behind in 261stplace.

The Home Run: BUCs 2020

The day we had been waiting for. It was finally here. 8000m worth of tape, countless course recces, many BUCs prep runs on a Wednesday, many a wristband sold and many a stressed Gregor! 

The sun was out, and the runners started to arrive. The Men’s B-race got the day off to a hot start, particularly for Dan Ashwood who, sporting Tartan leggings, did a ‘banter start’ and led the race for the first 500m, much to the delight of the fans. Hundreds of Haries, new and old, took on the 8km course round Holyrood Park, and the first man home was Harie Alumni Ben Cole, who finished in 8th place in 26.58. Mike Crawley finished 28th overall in 27.42 – placing Ben and Mike first and second in the alumni race. Ex-captain Alex Leutchford was 114th in just over 29 minutes.

Callum Tharme was first current Harie home, he finished in 42nd place in exactly 28 minutes, but was slightly disappointed with his run. The brains behind this whole escapade, Gregor Malcolm, finished in 58th place, just 17 seconds back from Callum – this was pretty impressive considering Gregor was at the course till 8pm the night before and there again at 7am the morning of the race – massive kudos and thanks to Gregor for all his hard work over the past year! Triathlete Nick Allen was next home, finishing in 65th position in 28.34. Next up we had three orienteers all finish within 15 seconds of each other, with Max Bloor, David Bunn and Boyan Ivandjikov in 66th, 71st and 75th place. Joe Battershill was next over the line in 79th place, 3 places lower than last year, he surprised not only himself but lots of the other haries with his run! Joe and his course-mate, Lewis Khan had a good battle, with Lewis finishing just behind in 84th place just four seconds back. Ali Thomas was next home, cracking the top 100, finishing in 96th place. Dan Stansfield, despite a slight banter start also, finished in 103rd place. Captain AJ was next up in 105th place, with Fraser Roach making a solid return from injury with a 119th place finish. Josh Liddle was next Harie home, finishing one second behind Fraser in 29.23. Alex Bell showed fine shape finishing in 145th position in just under 30 minutes, managing to hold it together well after a fast start! The boys team finished in 13th place.

Noah Howlett made his Haries debut but struggled with DOMS after doing a big gym session the day before but finished in 167th place. Alasdair Bisset was next up, finishing in 171st place, running the 8km course in 30.13. Pedley swapped maps for cross country once again, finishing in 183rd place. Triathlete Ollie Teenan was next up, finishing in 186th place. Robbie Peal made a return to running, after only running twice in January, and ran well finishing in 187th spot. Tom BonnorDan Smith and Tom Corlett all finished in close proximity to each other, with Ben Murphy, Ifan Oldfield and Jackson Woodruff not far behind. 

Alvaro Garrido Perez was the next Harie home, finishing in 31.29. John Macleod and Rian Cook were next home in 274th and 299th place. Andrew Carrick put in another solid performance, finishing in 307th place, as his consistent cross-country season continues. Dan Ashwood slowed slightly after his 500m of fame at the start, finishing in 324th place. Aiden Horner was next up finishing in 33.10 for 349th place. Tucker Owens had another fancy dress costume on the go today, thankfully for everyone it was duck pyjama bottoms, which covered a lot more than his Isle of Man outfit did – he broke the top 400, finishing in 397th place. Orienteer Matthew Fellbaum finished in 401st place, just one second back from Tucker. Harry McCaughey, Ben Orton and Ben Dorin battled all the way round the course, finishing in 411th, 412th and 414th place. Samy Zebda was next up, finishing in 422nd place. Calum McLeod finished in 35.27 and in 458th place and made another batch of cracking chocolate brownies for after the race! Angus Pope, Billy Franks and Matthew Pender rounded it off for the Haries in the B race. 

Next up was the women’s B-race, first home was Amy Frankland finishing in 8th position overall and first place in the Alumni race – green still suits you best Franko! Cat Graves finished in 19th place in 23.45, which is great to see after a long struggle with injury. Katie Lowery took the mud and water jumps in her stride, finishing in 26th place in just over 24 minutes. Niamh Carr was next over the line, just 15 seconds behind Katie, covering the 6.4km course in 24.23, helping the girls to a 7th place finish overall. Polly Edwards was next home and finished in 36th place, in her last BUCS as a Harie. Rhiannon Kirk continued her fine form, finishing in 48th place. Captain Lydia was next home, finishing in 74th place, smiling her way round the course in just over 25 and a half minutes. EUOC Captain Laura King was next home in 91st place and was followed closely by Katie Rourke and Carly Cameron. Rosina Graham was next across the line, in 102nd place. Alex Kiltie wasn’t far behind, she finished in 110th place, which is very impressive, especially considering she ran with bronchitis! Abi Plowman swapped mountains for cross country, finishing in 132nd place in just under 27 minutes. Alexia Preston, who is here from America for the semester, got to experience BUCs, and finished in 137th place. Sally Stewart wasn’t far behind finishing in 139th place, and Niamh Hunter finished in 141st place. 

Georgia Freeman-Mills finished in 149th place in 27.16 and orienteer Mairi Eades finished just two places and one second back. Josephine Edmunds made the trip back from her year abroad to run and finished in 157th place. Eliza Cottington was next up in 159th place. Arianne Holland finished in 165th place and Helen Ockenden was following closly in 185th place. Tara Chintapatla cracked the top 200 nicely, finishing in 197th place. Meera Al OmraniRoanne Lilley and Marine Soudais finished in 223rd, 235th and 244th place, and were all within 21 seconds of each other. Louise Adams was next to cross the line in 282nd place and Freya Shepherd made her Haries debut finishing in 326th place! Sophie Jacobs was next up finishing in 332nd place, in just over 30 minutes. Edinburgh local girl, Caitlin Beagan, was next up in 343rd place and Marina Abello was just 12 seconds behind her. Tara Kursinsky, Naomi Duran, Andrea Fehrman and Lucy Haines rounded it off in the B race for the Women.

The next race was the Woman’s A race, who were racing the same course as the Men’s B – 8km. The race got off to a quick start, with Danish runner Anna Moller taking a commanding lead, making it fast from the start. The course was getting very muddy now, so that certainly added another element of challenge for the girls. Quick shout out the Edinburgh AC athlete Eloise Walker, who, running for Glasgow Uni, finished in 8thplace, in her first ever BUCs and qualified for the GB team at World Universities cross country! Holly Page was first Harie home, finishing in 18th place, almost matching her 17th place last year, but arguably in a stronger field this year – as well as outkicking her clubmate from back home! Harie but not Harie Holly Little finished in 27th place, covering the course in 31.52. Zoe Pflug was left disappointed after a tough run, but still finished in 34th place, again almost matching her placing from last year. Rebecca Johnson finished in 51st place in just under 33 minutes. Ella Revitt rounded off the girls A team, after a last-minute call up due to Constance Nankivell sadly picking up an illness. Ella did great finishing in 80th spot, after an injury-stricken winter. These performances gave the girls a 10th place finish overall! 

The last race of the day was the Men’s A race, which was set up to be a cracker. It was now ridiculously muddy, but the boys were ready for battle. Sasha Chepelin took the race on from the start, putting in a 20m gap to the rest of the field after about 500m, which got the fans going. Sadly, Elisha de Mello wasn’t quite fully healthy after struggling with illness, and dropped out. 

Jack Leitch continued his unreal cross country form this season, finishing in 12th place, covering the 10k course in just over 33 minutes. This performance has put him first reserve for the GB team at World Universities cross country. Sasha didn’t quite manage to hold onto his lead but he did run well, finishing in 24th place just over 30 seconds behind Jack. Mudskipper Alex Muir continued his fine form, finishing in 37th place in 34.20, another class and consistent performance from the PHD student. Eddie Narbett struggled from 2k to 8k, but managed to get a second wind, which helped him catch Alex Carcas, setting up for a delightful sprint finish. The results say Eddie came out on top, but Alex, Eddie and all of the spectators beg to differ! They finished in 59th and 60th place in 35.01. This helped the guys to a 5th place team finish, improving upon their 8th place finish in 2019. 

Living(ston) the Dream

Livingston was the place to be for the third instalment of the East District League cross country, incorporating our very own BUCS A team trials. The girls set off first, on a two lapped 6.4km course through a bit of grassy trails and then through a wooded trail – where Scotland’s most famous UFO sighting occurred!

The gun went and they were off – a Metro Aberdeen runner set off flying, putting time into the field right away, leaving the pack of haries behind. After some thumbs up and smiling for the camera Zoe Pflug went to the front of the race along with Holly Page and Becca Johnson. It was neck and neck the whole way, with Becca falling behind towards the end of the first lap. Zoe and Holly battled it out, both knowing BUCS A team selection was secured and Zoe powered on to victory, with the help of all her little Gala Harriers cheerleaders, in 23.41. Holly was just 4 seconds behind – I hope Holly enjoys her forfeit of eating a banana! Becca rounded off a Haries 1, 2, 3, finishing just over 20 seconds behind Holly. The BUCS A team was rounded off byConstance Nankivell, who covered the 6.4km course in 23.45, finishing in 6th place on the day. Despite eating 5 packets of strepsils pre-race, Ella Rivett made her return to cross country – first time in 2 years – finishing 11th in 25.14, well done Ella! 

Orienteer Helen Ockenden finished in 33rd spot in just over 28 minutes. Eliza Cottington finished in 39th and Mairi Eades wasn’t far behind in 41st. New Zealander Alexia Preston made her haries debut, finishing in 50thplace in 29.14 and I’m sure the highlight of her day was trying Telfer’s battered Sausage. Louise Adams was next across the line in 63rd place and in 30.05, taking over two minutes off her time from last year! She was followed closely by Roanne Lilley, who was three places and 13 seconds behind. And rounding off a great day for the girls was Laura Chiron who finished in 74th position and in 30.49. The girls won first team on the day by a wide margin, over Fife and Gala Harriers.

As for the boys… well we needed a miracle – to finish 1st-6th – if we had any chance of retaining our league title. Sadly, that wasn’t to be today, but 2021 – it’s coming home, along with club of the year ;). 

Sasha Cheplin lead the boy’s home, despite wearing a Carnethy vest. He covered the 3 lap, 9.6km course in 31.22 and was followed very closely by our much loved Elisha De Mello – he managed to not tie his laces correctly and then ran into a cone but other than that he was well chuffed with his run and podium finish. Alex Carcas was next up, finishing in 7th place in 31.50, Alex had a look behind him with 100m to go and it was great to see how much securing his spot on the A team, for the fourth year in a row, meant to him! After much pre-race stress about spike length for the race, Eddie Narbett was next home in 9th position, sneaking under the 32-minute mark. Mudskipper Alex Muir was next home, one spot and 11 seconds back from Eddie. Next in was Callum Tharme, finishing in 32.38 and 14th position; finishing 4 places better than last year. Boyan Ivandjikov was next up and he actually stopped for a poo during the race, so major kudos to Boyan for keeping going and finishing in 20th place! Gregor Malcolm, sporting a stunning headband, was next home in 33.44, running nearly exactly the same time as last year – 3 seconds out! David Bunn had a great run, finishing in 34th place in just over 34 minutes. He was closely followed by Josh Liddle, who was 9 seconds behind in 34.18. Fresh from his big performance at EUOC Xmas Weekend, Kai Hugtenburg was next across the line in 41st place. Captain AJ was next home in 46th place and 34.56. American Jackson Woodruff had more suitable footwear for this visit to Livingston this time around and finished in 84th position in just under 37 and a half minutes. Tom Corlett produced a magnificent sprint finish, outkicking everyone, to finish in 90thplace in 37.58 and was followed closely by Andrew Carrick, who finished in 97th spot. This resulted in a second-place finish for the boys on the day, and a second place finish for the boys in the league. Don’t worry, its coming home in 2021.

East District Champs – Piperdam 2019

The Haries headed to Piperdam, which was hosting its first ever cross-country event. After a bit of a struggle finding the registration, we finally got our numbers and were all set for the first race of the day, the U20 men. The course looked good, a few zig zags around the driving range, then up and down the edge of the fairways of Piperdam golf course and repeat. The boys were ready to go, Boyan Ivandijkov and Finn Lydon were looking sharp in their one arm sleeve each outfit combo, and the race soon got underway. Fans favourite Craig Morris, fell at the first hurdle, decking it on the first corner. Callum Tharme went out hard and took the race on from the start, he struggled towards the end but came home in a very respectable 6th place, in just over 22 minutes. Edinburgh boys really did pack out this race with 6 of the next 7 finishers being Harie’s, Boyan finished in 11th place in 22.32, he was followed by Rob Sparks (wearing the correct vest this time!) in 22.48. Adopted Harie Craig Morris did a spectacular sliding tackle on Alex Bell with 20 meters to go, resulting in Craig finishing in 23.01 and Alex finishing 3 seconds behind. I crossed the line next just behind Alex, in 15thplace. Josh Liddle was next home, in 17th and David Bunn, finished 21st – a respectable finish after a week of illness. Ifan Oldfield managed to get round pain free finishing in 29th position. Aiden Horner finished just one spot behind Ifan, despite hurting his leg on the way round.

Next up was the U20 girls’ race. @flatchestedflat were going for a flat podium, but Holly Page ended their chances of this, dropping out after the first lap. Zoe Pflug had another solid performance, breaking away from Constance Nankivell with around 2km to go and pushing on to win by 36 seconds. Hannah Morrisonfinished in 6th position in just over 26 minutes, resulting in Edinburgh Uni winning the team prize. Hannah was followed closely by Sarah Calvert, who made her haries debut in her first race back from injury. Katie Rourke continued her 2019/20 cross country season with an 11th place finish and Niamh Hunter improved on her Braids placing, finishing in 13th.

On the senior’s woman side, Rhiannon Kirk lead the Haries home, covering the 8.6km course in 35.39. Captain Lydia had another brilliant performance, finishing in 39th place, in 39 minutes! Helen Ockendenwasn’t far behind, finishing 30 seconds later. Eilza Cottington finished in 49th place in just over 40 minutes. Louise Adams was next home, covering the now muddy course in 41.48, finishing in 61st place.

On the men’s’ side, Eddie Narbett went off rather rapidly, but sadly illness got the better off him and he dropped out… Alex Muir produced potentially the performance of the day, coming home in 11th place, in 29.01 in a stacked field – Alex is certainly one to watch at BUCS and National cross next year! Alex Carcas was next home in 22nd position, whilst also winning outfit of the day, with his green Ireland shorts. @marchmontmandem had created some more pre-race hype, this time for the race between Pedley and Paul Morrison, with Paul getting the better of Pedley by 18 seconds. Dan Ashwood was once again in the mix, hunting Pedley down over the last lap, but finishing four seconds shy of him. Andrew Carrick rounded off another great day of cross country with another solid performance, finishing in 110th position.

Braids 2019

The stage was set for another epic edition of our very own race, Braid Hills Cross Country. Massive shout out to Abi Plowman, race organiser, who did a fantastic job, and thanks also to the marshals and committee members who helped out on the day.

It was a nice, crisp day, the classic route was slightly muddy and slippy underfoot, but nothing a good pair of trail shoes couldn’t handle. The 5k got underway, with 233 runners finishing the race. It was lead home by George Grassly, of Durham University, in sixteen minutes and ten seconds. It was an extremely tight battle for medals, with Tom Berry (Dundee Uni) and Sam Sommerville (Sheffield Uni) both crossing the line at the exact same time, just two seconds behind the Grassly. On the female side, Helen Thornhill, of Leeds University, lead the way finishing in just under eighteen and a half minutes. She was followed closely by ex-harie Amy Frankland and Juliet Downs (Sheffield Uni) was third in just over nineteen minutes.

On the haries side, there was a tasty battle for first fresher boy home, Robert Sparks (he may have had a funny coloured vest on) came out on top, finishing 5th in 16.36, beating Josh Liddle who finished 3 seconds later. Fourth year Ruaridh Mon-Williams made his injury comeback, finishing in 17.19 and 16th place. Andrew Lawler, of De Mello AAC, finished 18th in just under seventeen and a half minutes. Ifan Oldfield finished just two seconds behind Lawler. Matt Leitch finished in 23rd place in 17.54. Matthew Scholescrossed the line in 33rd position. Robert, Josh, Ruaridh and Ifan contributed to the haries finishing 2nd team.

Rona Tytler was first Harie girl home, finishing 49th overall and 5th female in 19.16. Ella Rivett made her injury comeback, finishing just over 20 seconds behind Rona. Polly Edwards came home just three seconds behind Ella. Carly Cameron was fourth Harie’s counter, helping the girls to victory in the team compeition.

Orienteer Niamh Hunter completed the 5k course in just over 20 minutes finishing in 63rd place. Captain Lydia had a big battle with her Dad, Colin, getting the better of him by 5 seconds! Josephine Edmunds made the trip back from France (or Spain… not sure cuz she blocked me on insta lol) to race Braids, finishing in 21.22. Mairi Eades and Helen Ockenden weren’t far behind, squeezing in the top 100. Elizia Cottington crossed the line in 114th place. Mhairi Wallace finished in 124th spot and was followed closely by Emma Hield and Caitlin Beagan. Joy Archer was next up finishing in 170th position, breaking the 25-minute barrier. Tara Kursinsky’s Wednesday Haries Gym sessions are clearly paying off, helping her to a 178th place finish. Yasmin Hitchin broke the 30-minute barrier finishing in 225thplace.

The 10k had one of the most stacked fields ever, with defending champion, GB International runner and orienteer Kris Jones, completing the course in 29.58, sliding under the 30-minute barrier for the second year in a row. National XC Medallist and St Andrews Uni student Kevin Wood finished second, just over 90 seconds behind. Ewan Brown of Corstrophine rounded off the podium finishing in just over 32 minutes. On the female side, Jemima Elgood (Leeds Uni) took the gold medal in the female race, finishing in just over 36 minutes. Jill Stephen (HBT) – a regular on the Scottish running scene – was second female just over a minute back. The podium was completed by Hannah Stroud (Manchester Uni).

Finn Lydon (Harie but not really a Harie) finished in 5th place. Elisha de Mello crossed the line just seven seconds behind Finn. Eddie Narbett finished in 9th, with Ali Masson and Max Bloor not far behind. Tam Wilson was next harie home in 21st spot, just a second ahead of Cameron Young. Fresher orienteer David Bunn had a great run, completing the course in less than 35 minutes. Thomas Otton was next back missing out on sub 35 by just 5 seconds. Elisha, Eddie, Max and Tam were the four counters helping the lads take home the team prize.

There was some more Instagram @marchmontmandem hype for the battle between Pedley and Dan Smith.Pedley took the win… just like the fans predicted, beating Dan by 23 seconds. Dan Ashwood also wasn’t far behind, running 35.59. Nick Bennet finished in 54th spot in 36.16. Joe Battershill shins held up, and he “jogged” round in 37.22. Jackson Woodruff combined the 10k with his long run for the week and finished in 102nd place.

Catriona Graves was next Harie home, finishing in 105th position and an agonising one spot off the female podium. Andrew Carrick was next home, with Calum McLeod not far behind. Ben Orton finished in 134thplace, in 41.23 and was followed closely by popular fantasy league pick Aiden Horner.

Rosie Wright finished in 154th and 14th female and last year’s race director Arianne Holland finished in just over 45 minutes and in 176th place. Joshua Fogg was next home in 189th and was closely followed by Louise Adams and Nicholas CannyCatriona, Rosie, Arianne and Louise finished second team on the day.

Thanks again to everyone who made the visit to Edinburgh to race, see you all next year!

Braids Hill Race 2019 – Results!

Yesterday saw yet another hugely successful installment of our annual Braids Hill Race, with runners gathering in force to tackle the 5k and 10k courses. Huge thanks to everyone who ran, volunteered, spectated and ceilidh-ed late into the night! Biggest thanks also to the amazing Abi for all her hard work in organising such an amazing event.

The results are now live HERE!

Short Course Cross Country

The cross-country season is well underway, and the Haries headed to the Lang Toun, (Kirkcaldy, #fifeforlyfe) for the National Short Course cross country. The 4k course was walked and everyone was super happy to see an insane amount of mud, spikes were lengthened, and the girls were ready to go.

In a stacked field, Holly Page ran the 4k mud fest in 14.15, finishing 5th overall and in the bronze U20 medal position. Zoe Pflug finished 13 seconds later, in 8th place and 5th U20. Constance Nankivell continued her good form finishing in 13th position in 14.43. Katie Lowery had another class run, with a top 20 finish, resulting in the girls winning yet another national gold team medal.

Laura Stark continued her racing comeback covering the 4k course in 15.25. She was followed closely by Polly Edwards finishing 4 places and 2 seconds behind, which shows how packed the race was. Eilidh Jaffary had another solid run, finishing in 42nd and 11th U20. Carly Cameron enjoyed the 4k course and finished in 52nd place, in just under 16 minutes. Katie Rourke was next over the line, finishing just 10 seconds behind Carly. Braids Race Director Abi Plowman put planning Braids on hold for just over 16 and a half minutes with a solid first xc race of the season. Captain Lydia had another great run, completing the course in 16.42 finishing in 80th place. Elodie Chatel wasn’t far behind, finishing in just under 17 minutes. Orienteer Lucy Haines was up next finishing in 171st position. Hannah Pettigrew rounded off a great day for the girls finishing in 229th position. 

On the boys side, the race was hot with Max Milarvie taking the race on from the start, heading off in front of Olympian Andy Butchart. Jack Leitch was first Harie home, covering the 4k course in 12.22, finishing in 13thplace, just 30 seconds behind the leader, earning a well-deserved Scotland call up for Liverpool next week. Elisha De Mello remembered to register for this one and had a good run, finishing in 29th position in 12.47. Just over 10 seconds behind Alex ‘cross train’ Carcas put his cross training to good use, outkicking Callum Tharme. Callum finished 11th U20. Dan Stansfield, rocking the SIAB shorts, finished in 45th position in 13.10. Orienteer Boyan Ivandjikov finished in 58th place and was 19th U20. Ali Thomas produced another good performance finishing 13.41 and 29th U20. Adopted Harie Craig Morris had a great run, finishing in 13.48. 

Photo by Bobby Gavin

Nick Allen continued his good form, squeezing in the top 100, in 98th spot. Nick Bennet made his injury comeback finishing in 14.13. Alex Bell had a great run, crossing the line with Nick. Dan Smith backed up his big chat and won the battle against Matt Dailey. Jackson Woodruff put in a Harie of the Week Worthy performance finishing in 14.28 and Andrew Carrick completed the course in just over 14 minutes, breaking the top 200 and finishing in 198th position.