As Ewan Crawford wiped the sweat from his eyes and tried to focus on the last mile of the Stornoway Half Marathon he allowed himself a flicker of hope that he might be on pace to set a course record.
The Hunters Bog Trotters athlete was making good pace and he was maintaining a lead over the chasing pack led by Inverness Harriers’ Michael O’Donnell in second place.
But pacing around the finish line was the proud Stornoway Half Marathon record holder, Lewis runner William Macrury who set the course best of 1:13:17 a few years earlier.
He was sitting near the finish line when Crawford’s striding form appeared in the distance as he made his way out of the Lews Castle Grounds across the Bridge and onto the home straight and the finish line at the pier.
William, who was unable to run himself due to an ongoing injury, was keeping a close eye on the time and Crawford’s pace and he was left biting his nails so much towards the final 30-seconds his stomach will need a manicure.
In the end Crawford broke the tape in an excellent time of 1:14:06 - enough to win the Stornoway Half Marathon 2019 but not enough to knock the course record out of William’s hands.
O’Donnell was second in 1:15:07 and local runner John Hamilton took third spot in 1:21:02.
Another local runner crossed home in fifth place with Mark Maciver producing a quite incredible run to leave many of his Stornoway Running and Athletics Club team mates chasing his shadow with his time of 1:22:20.
SRAC did take the title of first team due to Mark’s time alongside stellar gallops from Norman Ferguson 1:23:31; Murdo Alex Mackenzie 1:25:59 and Kyle Munro 1:25:51.
First female runner home for a well earned drink, gulp of Stornoway air and some Haribo’s was Sarah Attwood of Skye and Lochalsh Running Club in 1:26:32.
Hot on her heels was London-based runner Mhairi Hall who has recently earned a call up to the Western Isles Island Games Association squad.
Although she is based in London she was born in Lewis and she and her family have strong island ties and she was first local female across the line in 1:27:27.
Third female was Julie Beveridge of Calderglen Harriers in 1:31:17.
And much like the men, the gold gongs for the team award went to the local speedsters from SRAC as Marina Murray’s 1:36:18 and Mhairi’s time helped them to the top of the podium.
Other notable times were notched by Katie Mackinnon - another in the WIIGA half marathon squad - in 1:31:18 and Kevin Macleod who is such a natural runner than I watched as he raced onto the pier with literally seconds to go until the race began before he lobbed his jacket over a fence and started to run.
No warm ups needed when you are a natural runner like Kevin who finished in 1:35:26.
Well done to all who took park in a weekend of racing which has been hailed as the biggest ever race in Hebridean history in terms of participation numbers and action on the day didn’t disappoint.
As well as the half marathon SRAC hosted a 10K and a Fun Run which were both packed with runners, joggers and walkers.
The 10K gold gong was taken by Robbie Idle in 35:41. First female Stephanie Pennycook of Edinburgh University Hare and Hounds was just ten seconds behind in second spot.
First local male was former Stornoway Athletic footballer Gary Macleod in 43:52 which earned him 11th place overall.
First local female home was Joanna Gillies of SRAC with her time of 44:52 which earned her 14th place overall and third female to finish.