Arguably the strongest SRAC team for many years travelled to Fort William on Sunday, November 4, for ‘Eddies’ Lochaber Half Marathon. Andrew Joyce, Howard MacIver, Andrew King, William MacRury and Spike McIntosh all made the journey to a race that is renowned for being flat and fast.
On arrival at the Nevis Centre for the race start we learnt that Spike, having been up all night feeling ill, decided that the option of three breakfasts and an hour in the soft play was more appealing than a hard slog around the scenic route.
All warmed up and raring to go the runners were called to the start line ready for the race to begin. The starter then announced that due to road works the course had been altered slightly and therefore approximately 0.1 of a mile longer than the standard 13.1. This only seemed to spur the SRAC quartet on as they raced away. Both Andy’s, (Joyce and King) were straight into the lead group with Howie and Willie just behind in the second string of runners.
As the race developed the field started to stretch out along the out and back course but the Stornoway lads weren’t showing any sign of fatigue and at the half way point Joyce was looking very comfortable at the front with King and two others including Hayley Haining, a full GB international, just tucked in behind him. Meanwhile Howie was still looking strong eating up the miles and well placed in the top ten. Willie seemed relaxed in his pursuit of an Island Games qualifying standard of 1h 22 minutes, chatting and encouraging his teammates as they turned at the half way mark.
The race entered the closing stages and things were looking good for Andy King as he pulled away and went for home. But further down the field out of nowhere came Mark Pollard who had taken a wrong turning in the early stages of the race. The Inverclyde AC athlete whizzed past the whole field with apparent ease to take the lead and unfortunately for SRAC he managed to find his way back to claim a much deserved victory just ahead of the ever impressive 47 year old Andrew King, in second place with an incredible time of 1.15.15. Fourth place went to Andrew Joyce who is in great shape heading into the winter season with a SB 1.17.20. Third team counter and powering his way down the home straight in his usual fashion, well inside the top ten and securing the team prize for Stornoway was Howard MacIver, 1.19.34. The victorious trio didn’t have to wait long for team mate MacRury as he came sprinting on to the grass finish area crossing the line in a new PB 1.22.50.
After some well earned tea and biscuits it was onto the SRAC dominated prize giving. Andy King collected his second place trophy (and a nice white envelope) we were announced as team winners, and to his and our surprise Howard was awarded first in the MV50 category.
A strong message was sent out to the rest of the north of Scotland that Stornoway are no longer a small island club but a force to be reckoned with.