Top turnout for Stornoway Half Marathon

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The weather was kind to the many runners who took to the streets of Stornoway and the Castle Grounds for the Co-operative Half Marathon, 10k and family fun run.

Grounds for the Co-operative Half Marathon, 10k and family fun run. Cool but dry with only a light wind it couldn’t have been much different to the 26 degrees the athletes had to endure last year.

There was a good entry for all three races, with runners from Ontario, Nashville and Germany making the journey to join the many local and mainland UK runners hoping to put in a good time.

This years event also incorporated the North District Half Marathon Championships (NDC).

After a few words of encouragement, Steven Cooper, manager at the Co-op’s Macaulay Road store, set the Half Marathon off from the Castle College car park. As the runners left the Castle Grounds Rupert Shute of Reading road runners had already established a gap over Stornoways Andrew King and the rest of the field, and at two miles had pulled away to what looked like a commanding lead.

The opening miles of a race are not Andrew’s strongest though, and by the time the race re-entered the grounds at almost mile seven he had pulled level with the Reading runner and was looking comfortable. From here on as the tough hills and trails of the Castle Grounds took their toll on Rupert, Andrew increased his lead to win the race in an incredible 1:14:59, the fastest time ever by a local runner at The Stornoway half, also securing him the North District Championship!

Rupert came in in 1:17:37, followed by Donald Maclellan of Brighton Hove in third place with 1:22:01. Fourth over the line was SRAC’s Duncan McKellar, a superb run from the 17 year old in his first Half Marathon, finishing in 1:24:37 and placing him second in the ND championship.

The ladies race was won by Amlia Lloyd of HBT in 1:31:03, with Morina Macdougall of Highland Hill Runners in second and winner of the NDC with SRAC’s Doleen Galbraith crossing the line third (second in the NDC) in 1:32:53.

There were also strong local performances from Roddy Gillies (1:26:48) Alistair ‘Rocket’ Lockett (1:29:13) and Neil Macrury (1:35:17).These strong runs from the SRAC team secured both the ladies and gents team trophies.

Mention should also be made of 61-year-old Sam Gordon, who was running the race for the first time and raised over £8,000 for his chosen charity!

As ever the 10k proved popular with many local runners, some doing the distance for the first time, some looking to improve their previous times, some just happy to finish! There was a good turnout from Daliburgh Jog Scotland and strong performances from the Clean Squad Fight team.

The 10k winner was Christopher Payne of Edinburgh AC in 40:30, with Allanah Goddard winning the ladies race. Christopher Graham was the first local home and strong runs by Gary Maclean, Kenneth Macsween and Rebecca Munro secured the winning team prize for SRAC.

As always the Fun Run attracted a good crowd of Runners of all ages, shapes and sizes. As the gun went off they set off up the hill towards the college, some pushing buggies, some with toddlers, some with dogs and some in fancy dress - it was after all supposed to be a “fun” run! Soon things

began to settle down and all sorts of races within races developed,with runners trying to be the best in their age group, first in their school or just finish ahead of their mates or even just finish!

At the front of the field John Angus Bain (u13) from Back started to pull away from the Nicolson duo Kieren Bell (u15) and Cameron Thompson (u15). These three slowly eased away from the chasing pack with John Angus pulling clear of his older rivals to win comfortably in 12m 27s - a superb time for an 11 year old over this tough 2 mile course. Next home were Alasdair Binns and Scott Maciver which gave them second and third place in the u13 age group, strong running from these young athletes.

Next to catch the eye was Sir E Scott’s Aodhan Finnegan whose sub seven-minute miling saw him finish in 8th place and win the u11 age group - impressive stuff from the 9 year old.

Not far behind were Stornoway Primary’s Andrew Mackay and Scott Macleod.

The first two ladies exhchanged positions in the last 300m with Laxdale’s Ellie Maclean (u13) finishing really strongly to come from 20 metres behind to take first place by 6 seconds from the Nicolson’s Catriona Bain (u15). Jane Macinnes ran on well and was third in the ladies race. Davina Markoff of the Lewis Independent Christian School finished just inside the top 30 overall to take second place in the u13 girls section from Stornoway Primary’s Katie Hall.

The under 9s boys section saw strong runs from two young runners - Tolsta Primary’s Calum Mighton (8) won in 14m 22s with Tong’s Keith Bray (7) only 20 seconds behind. Just outside 7 minute miling and top 20 finishes at that age bodes well for the future. John Maciver made it two out of three in this age group for Tolsta as he ran really well to take 3rd place. It was a similar story in the u9 girls section with Tolsta runners Any Macmillan and Mairi Maciver coming in first and third with Sgoil an Taobh Siar’s Kirsty Maclean taking second place.

West side runners dominated the u11 girls section with Carloway’s Hannah Myers coming out on top, with two Sgoil an Taobh Siar runners, Joanna Macleod and Darcy Macintosh, taking second and third place.

There was a really good entry in “Fastest Team in the West” competition with 10 primary schools having the required four finishers (the top four places from each school count). Well done to all those who made the effort to have your school represented in the competition. Congratulations go to Stornoway Primary who had four runners in the top 15 places which made them clear winners with a total of only 40 points. Second place went to Tolsta Primary (112 points) by only two points from Tong Primary (114 points) with Laxdale Primary only 7 points further back in fourth place.

Full results for all the races including the North District Half Marathon championship can be found on the SRAC website

Stornoway Running and Athletics Club would like to thank the many people who supported and helped out with the event. Main event Sponsors The Co-operative for once again providing huge support with sponsorship, goody bags, water and lending us their staff for the day! Event Supporters Run4it, Mackinnon Self Drive, Charles Macleod buthchers for the black pudding prizes, Lews Castle College, The Stornoway Trust, Northern Constabulary for all their help on the day, Breedons for providing cones and barriers, Ann Maclean and her helpers for once again laying on an impressive post race buffet which was hugely appreciated by the weary runners, Dr Louise Scott and Dr Brian Michie of the Group Practice for providing medical cover and last but a long way from least the small army of marshalls and volunteers who gave up their time to make the event such a success.