From the Pentland Road to London and on to the Autoban - Stornoway Running Club athletes set a blistering pace at home and abroad recently.
The weekend started with athletes Donnie MacLeod, Michael MacMillan, Connor MacLean and coach Ross Munro being invited by the Comhairle to a civic lunch in recognition of the athletes’ national and international running achievements.
Donnie MacLeod won the indoors 800m title, which sees his name on the same winner’s record sheet as Tom McKean, Brian Whittle and many more.
Connor MacLean won both the national track 1500m and the Under 17 national cross country titles and along with Michael MacMillan (Euan Campbell and Hugh McKenzie) were runners up in team event at the national cross country championship.
Lunch was shared in the company of swim sensation Kara Hanlon and coach DR.
The next day the MacLeod and MacLeod Pentland Road 5 and 10K took top billing. The races are known to be the fastest 5 and 10K races in the Isles and times posted throughout testified to that fact.
Race favourites, or at least those who would be expected to contest the early stages of the race, were blown away both physically and mentally by race winner Connor MacLean. His opening kilometre of 2 minutes 43 meant he almost disappeared from his opponents’ sight.
However the following pack of Murdo MacKenzie, Willie MacRury and Michael Macmillan were assured good times if they dug in to the task of holding onto the Scottish vested leader.
Last year’s race winner Michael MacMillan and Willie MacRury had another 9K to fight it out in the first head to head on the course.
Though Macmillan had opened a small lead, MacRury worked on closing the gap across the Pentland Road and for the first part of the Castle Grounds. But at about 7.5K, MacMillan ‘kicked-in’ raising the pace and the distance between the two for the final 2.5K to the finish.
Connor MacLean blew the course record of 32.06 set in 2012 by North Uists’ Iain MacCorquodale apart. MacLean took a new course record of 31 minutes 25. A time that would rank third in 10,000m track running for senior Scottish runners. MacMillan who had won last year in a time of 32.58 also ‘bagged’ a very impressive new Personal Best time of 31.57.
Third place MacRury’s efforts were rewarded with a new PB as was Murdo MacKenzie in 4th with a new PB of 32.57.
In the ladies category there was also PB’s as winner Alanna Goddard bust through the 40 minute barrier.
Alanna’s impressive run saw her pace 7th overall with only veteran runners Howie MacIver, 5th and Andrew King, 6th ahead of her. Second placed lady was U20 runner Peigi MacKellar and third Katy MacKenzie.
The 5K race did have a much smaller entry list, but like the 10K did not disappoint in quality performances.
The race winner was Eilidh MacKenzie with a time of 16 minutes 54, a minute better than her win in 2013.
The other very notable performances were from SRAC’s developing Under 17 male and female runners. Kyle Munro was first male across the line and even though carrying an injury he clocked a great time of 17 mins 28 with one of his training partners close behind running 18.13.
Saturday’s big event was the Highland Fling. A 53 mile trail run which Jonny Pritchard has been running hundreds of miles to prepare for. This year the event was also the Scottish Ultra Trail Race championships.
Jonny took 8 hours 27 mins to complete the race. He finished 40th overall and was 15th veteran runner from the 650 entrants!
The next morning saw SRAC’s 4th event of the weekend, the London mini-marathon. Chosen to run for the Scottish Under 17 men’s team was Euan Campbell.
The Scottish team placed 9th in the British Athletics team championship and Euan finished 28th as the teams second placed runner.
Euan clocked a time of 15 mins 12, only eight seconds behind lead Scot Aidan Gilbride.
A little later in the day the main event took place. All 26.2 miles of the London marathon. SRAC’s Stephan Smit, Peter MacInnes and Andy McMahon all ran with Andy running the race in full boxer’s apparel.
Andy was the fastest SRAC finisher with a time of 3.24.21. Stephan and Peter were a little further back.
Meanwhile, SRAC’s weekend of running extended to Europe, as seven SRAC members were amongst the 20,000 runners participating in the 30th Hamburg marathon in Germany.
Ever since Ross Munro and Jim Bruce befriended Ludger and Gunter at the Krakow marathon in Poland in 2008, there has been a growing annual meeting of SRAC at different European marathons.
Ludger and Corinna both live in Hamburg, and provided superb hospitality to the SRAC visitors.
The fastest of the SRAC team in Hamburg was Gerald (from Linz, Austria) in 3.09.15, followed by Alan Inglis again beating the 3.30 mark in 3.27.15.
Ludger was next home in 3.43.32 with Gunter (from Cologne) in 4.26.51 and Corinna in 4.35.30.
The event also included a relay, and Jim Bruce and Donna Inglis ran with a German friend (Doris), in 4.05.08.
The next SRAC venture to Europe will be in October for the Ljubljana (Slovenia) marathon, half, and 10k.