Having waited a year to race the Ostseelauf Half marathon in the Baltic coast German town of Timmendorfer Strand following last year’s failed trip due to Iceland’s volcanic eruptions, there were first time European wins for Western Isles runners Jim Bruce and Ross Munro.
The pair were originally to be part of a group of nine making the visit to meet up with German running friends, but plans were scuppered by the Icelandic volcanic eruptions.
But the trip was rearranged and the team name on this occasion changed from Stornoway Running and Athletics Club to “Clash of the Ash”! (A pun that became the team name on the entry form.)
The German press and race organisers latched onto the story of the Hebridean runners prevented from running in 2010 due to the ash cloud and now aptly named “Clash of the Ash”.
The well known Runrig song boomed out over the race sound system in the build up to the start of the race and much reference to the Hebrideans who’d arrived in kilts the evening before at registration.
Ross and Jim were accompanied by Braemar based Nisseach Bom MacKay and all three opted to run in the club’s distinctive tartan shorts rather than the kilt.
Following all the pre-race attention to the Clash of the Ash team it was finally time to see if all the winter months of training would pay dividends.
The conditions were fine 17° and barely a puff of wind. As for the course it was unusual with four lengths of the pretty seafront promenade with the most modest incline, a mere three metres. So even allowing for four lengths only a total of 12 metres, hardly a Harris Luskentyre climb.
From the start Bom and Ross were well placed in the top 30 runners and Jim appeared to be running faster than his earlier race in Inverness.
But unfortunately for Bom a persistent injury forced him to drop out at 11K. They say that “good things come to those that wait” and at the end of the race there was reward for both Ross and Jim.
Ross’s overall position from the 329 starters was 26th and Jim had knocked four minutes off his previous race in Inverness.
But better news was to come as the pair heard the only thing they could understand at the prize ceremony; their names and once again the booming sounds of Clash of the Ash.
Both delighted in winning their M50 (Ross) and M60 (Jim) categories, European road running success for the SRAC pair.
The “Clash” team that came about with the chance meeting with German hosts Ludger Schuren and Gunter Luchs at the Krackov Marathon who were great hosts.
Ludger ran 1:38 for 63rd place and 2nd in for the “Clash” with Gunter nine places behind and 8th in the M50 category.
All look forward to the next European “adventure” and tentative plans have been made for next year’s Vienna Marathon and Half Marathon.
Contributed A. Tupper