Galloway Harriers Amateur Athletic Club

Covering Wigtownshire and The Stewartry, South-west Scotland

Galloway Harriers Amateur Athletic Club

Recent events attended by Galloway Harriers Club Members

Mull of Galloway Marathon Trail 

30th May 2015


Long route                                                               Short route

1st  - Lucy Cloqhoun  - 3.45                                    1st  - Martin Smith  - 1.34

2nd - Gareth Steel       - 3.50                                    2nd - Ailsa Taggart  - 1.41


Stuart Templeton        - 4.18                                    Katy Nash              - 1.47

Francis Bulter             - 4.40                                    Simon Taggart       - 2.42

Mark Hannay              - 4.40


The Mull of Galloway Marathon Trail is organised by Stranraer Rotary Club.  There are 2 events that entrants can opt for: -


  • The full whack - approximately 26 miles running from the most southerly point in Scotland to the Royal Burgh of Stranraer.
  • Approximately 10 mile route from Sandhead Village to Stranraer


The event is open to runners and walkers alike who are ferried to the start of the event very efficiently in mini buses by the organisers.  This year there were about 40 entrants in total.  The longer run started at 10 am from the tip of the Mull of Galloway and the shorter at 11.30 am from the Tigh Na Mara Hotel, Sandhead. 


The route is part of a continuous trail, generally off road, although there are some on road stretches and is marked by waymarkers on posts, gates and trees which display the trail logo and a directional arrow.  The Rotary club are not experienced at this type of event but are extremely accommodating and do everything they possibly can to make it an enjoyable experience for the entrants.  There are water and provision stops along the route (bottles of water, bananas, sweeties), good toilets and showers at the finish and a barbeque with beer and wine after the event.  This year they even had an inflatable finish line - although it did deflate at one point.  First lady and first man in each event are given an engraved glass trophy.


All in all a lovely event to take part in - the weather was superb, the route picturesque and the post race hospitality second to none.  The option of running or walking and completing the long route or the short route make this a suitable event all ages and abilities and I’m certainly putting it on the calendar for next year again.


Ailsa Taggart






TROON 10K 2015

Katy Nash

I missed out on this one last year and was rather curious to see what the fuss was about.  Why did it take a standard 10k race to sell out so quick?  With a helpful reminder on the Galloway Harriers  Facebook page stating entries were now open I quickly filled out (firstly mine for selfish reasons) an entry form for myself and then Richard and managed to get a confirmed entry just hours before the race was sold out. 

Knowing we would be tight on time for travelling to Troon, Richard was under strict orders to be back at home by 5pm the latest (our race against time had already begun).  With the kids and the dog in the car we were off and thankfully found a space in the local car park before it rapidly filled up. 

William wanted to do the kids race which was also very popular.  He was hemmed in with the rest of the kids and it was a bit of a bun fight to get out under starters orders, he made it but unfortunately one child tumbled and was out of the race.  Luckily there were plenty of marshals and sympathetic parents on stand by to scoop up the fallen one.  The kids race was advertised as 2k but just after 4 minutes William was coming to the finish (even Adrian can’t beat that pacing!).  Now knowing the route William is determined to come back next year and push his position higher in the pack. 

it was time for the adult race preparation to start.  For Rich it was a dutiful jog up and down the seafront with subtle stretches, for me it is the obligatory queue for the ladies loos.  Thankfully there were lots of cubicles and friendly chit chat and the queue moved quite quickly.

Now to find the start.  Due to the 1,100 runners this was clearly marked out in 5 minute sections.  After wishing fellow Harriers good luck I walked down passing the 30, 35, 40, 45, 50 and then pausing at the 55 minute section.  It had been a while since I had ran a 10k race so I decided to float half way between the 55 and 60 minute section.  I gazed back to see if I could see Andrea to wish her luck but unfortunately I could not see her. 

Standing in the wind feeling chilly, nerves were setting in and I could feel old injuries nagging at me.  I often run with an angel on one shoulder and a devil on the other.  I tried my best to block these negative thoughts out of head.  The next thing I  knew there was some commotion at the front and in the distance I could see the lovely sight of a multitude of coloured tops bopping down the road.  The race had started and we surged forward only to stop again due to the volume of people.  This happened a few times and then we were all off.  I took note of the people around me to see how my pace compared to theirs.  I decided to take the first couple of k’s easy to see how I felt and for the congestion to stretch out.  My breathing regulated into a good pattern and I could feel my legs turning wanting to go faster but knowing I had a bit more to go I tried to keep the pace steady.  Again, reflecting why this race is so popular it hit me like a brick - it’s flat, FLAT I cry out.  Yippee!  In the distance I hear bagpipes being played and it hits me that I am in Scotland running a FLAT race!  This made me smile as hills do I am afraid beat me and at home I am surrounded by  the blasted things. 

The route takes us away from the sea wind, running through some residential streets with blossom on the trees, down a road with woodland either side and pass a golf course.  Kids came out on to the pavement, some proudly showing their medals from the junior race, holding out their hands for high 5s as we pass.  There was a water stop which was gratefully received and as I turned into the last k the wind was hitting back at me.  I looked to see who I could tuck behind but with the end so near everybody’s pace was picking up and my legs were beginning to protest.  The devil coming out again with thoughts of Are you mad?  Who do you think you are? You are not fit enough for this.  My eyes started to search out for Richard, wondering if he had sought shelter in the car away from the wind but no he hadn’t.  He was doing his cool down run sporting a new black and red running top.  He ran parallel to me to encourage my finish but I could not hasten my pace to the finish - I was stuffed!  I finished and thankfully the race was chipped time and was pleased with my overall effort.  I was encouraged to join a queue of ladies and was given a pink techi top with a pink bandana and more importantly a Tunnocks chocolate wafer bar which soon disappeared along with a bottle of water. 

Would I do the race again?  Yes I would, it really is worth the effort to travel there not only for a flat course but an excellent atmosphere, almost marathon like but only 10k.  Oh yes, I had cheesy chips from the local takeaway along the sea front too - an added bonus! 


Holywood Stroll 2015

177 entries

1st Male – David Sloan  27.17

1st Female – Mhairi Duff 28.39 (course record)

Eight Galloway Harriers travelled to Dumfries for the 22nd Holywood Stroll 5 miler organised by Dumfries Running Club and for most of them it was the first time they had competed in this race.   Registration took place in the club house and then it was bit of a walk to get to the start where after a short warm up we all gathered to wait anxiously for the race to begin and the levels of testosterone began to rise as the male Galloway Harriers eyed each other on the start line.

The race started quite prompt and for me it took a while to get settled as it was a bit congested and difficult to find space.  The course is fairly flat with a straight out, a loop and back in the same road but was a bit tough with the strong wind however it still proved to be a fast race with the female winner breaking the course record. 

It seemed the competitive edge of the Harriers continued throughout the race as first home was Adrian in 10th position in a time of 29.54  and a pb closely followed by Matthew in 30.01, Alex in 30.13 and Stuart in 30.18 but not far behind was Sean in 31.18.  Richard came in on 37.02, after racing at Troon and a park run last week and was followed by Martina in 38.30 and after running at Troon last week was unable to catch Richard although did manage a pb of 1min 31 secs.  Katie finished in 47.05 and again had run Troon and a park run last week.  Brilliant running from everyone and even with our top 4 males finishing in the top 20 didn’t manage to fend off the strength of the Dumfries Running Club. 


Selkirk Triathlon 3rd May 2015


David Beattie


1500m swim/40k cycle/10k run


3h 02min 44s (swim 33.34, bike 1.38.25, run 46.15)


36th out of 62 finishers (with another 20 “Did not starts” and plenty of “Did not finishers”)


Check list : trisuit - check/swim goggles  - check /running shoes - check/ rubber dinghy…….


Sometimes it’s great to run a PB, sometimes it’s great to beat someone you regularly compete against, and sometimes it’s just great to finish. Today was one of the latter. I have never been as cold and wet at any sort of competitive run/multisport event.


This is  a tough event at the best of times, with a grueling hilly bike that takes you over “The Swire”, which is similar to Cambret hill locally. I had been eyeing the weather anxiously for a few days, and it was indeed torrential rain throughout – coming down in stair rods as my dad would say.


Having spent £45 to enter, I felt obliged go anyway, accompanied gallantly by Brian, who brought along his bike in case conditions improved, and he said he would then enter on the day……aye right. We did phone the Selkirk leisure centre on the way over to see if the event was being cancelled , but were assured that it would go ahead  - hurrah!


There were indeed plenty of “no shows”, and who could blame them – pouring rain and 4 degrees centrigrade temperature. So at this point, Brian was offered a place, but probably wisely said “not on your nelly” and became chief photographer and coffee drinker for the rest of the event – his support was much appreciated.


The swim was at least indoors (possible the driest part of the whole event), though I ended up swimming 62 lengths instead of 60 (I had been swimming the whole time in front of  someone else in a white cap who was allowed out of the pool 2 lengths before me) – this does happen from time to time when a counting volunteer doesn’t do her sums right, and it’s annoying …. But what can you do.


I spent a lot of time in transition trying to put on warm and weatherproof gear, but it only ended up holding back the rain for a few extra minutes before being soaked to the core. Heading up the Swire , there was a river of water heading the other way; I wouldn’t have been surprised to see folks kayaking the other way…. My bike handling skills are not the best anyway and the roads were absolutely treacherous.


Several folks gave up after the bike as they were just too cold, but actually the run was great – I was desperate to warm up , and took 3 minutes off my prevous best 10k time at Selkirk. Thats the wonderful thing triathlon - you can always grasp a positive!


The warm shower at the end has never felt so good.


The Highland Fling 2015 – Frances Butler


Winner Matthew Laye 7hr04


Rick Williams 15th 8hr22

James Haworth 25th 8hr41

Frances Butler 312 11hr37

Mark Hannay 370 12hr02

Pat Benett 480 12hr 53

Sarah Haworth 14hr34


The Highland Fling is a 53 mile ultra marathon which takes in 7500 feet of elevation covering the first half of the West Highland Way from Milngavie to Tyndrum.


But really my journey started last October. Apparently the race sells out in a day, for me entering on line sort of happened by accident when I got distracted doing my supermarket shopping on the computer. Just as I was thinking I wouldn’t admit to such an error of judgement a message from Rick popped up on the screen to say how great it was that I was going to run the race - blinkin cyberspace! I have pestered Rick and Sarah numerous times quizzing them about their ultra marathon experiences and have been very grateful for their advice, positivity and encouragement. My training partner, Mark Hannay, is equally inexperienced in ultra-running but his enthusiasm, commitment to training and liking for hills and early mornings suited me. I have loved trailing after him in the hills of Galloway and he was always a willing guinea pig for my next nutritional experiment, even polite about my cheese and jam sandwiches!


My pre-race nerves were probably at their peak around the end of February, I uncharacteristically chickened out of running a thirty mile ultra in March and I have decided not to run the Fling many times. By the time I was in Milngavie on Friday evening I felt calmly resigned to my fate. I would start, keep going and see how far I got.

Jim and Sarah were their usual relaxed selves comfortable in the world of ultra, Rick was less comfortable and after great months of training had picked up an injury just the week before and was unsure about starting. Andrea was marshalling which gave Rick an option of at least starting and being picked up at a check point. It was lovely to at last meet Pat who had experience of running the race last year for the first time with sister Chrissie.


Race day requires a 4am rise, an ability to eat breakfast and be off to meet at the railway station in Milngavie for a 6am start. There were roughly 700 starters out of the 1000 entries. The race start was split into waves and Mark and I, both with no other game plan than to try and complete and enjoy the race, joined Sarah and Pat at the back of the line, Rick and Jim were at the front with very different race plans.


It wasn’t fully light and wasn’t quite raining so it was good to get going at last, following a long line of runners through Milngavie. It is an extremely well organised, well marshalled and well signed race so really apart from putting one foot in front of the other there was little else to worry about!!

The most popular bit of advice that was given to me was to make sure not to go out too fast as the second half of the route was harder than the first. I smiled as the runners slowed to a walk on the first incline, they must have been reading the same book as me! In fact walking hills is completely acceptable in the ultra-community and can be used as a time to refuel. I think Jim and Rick must have read a different book!!!


The first 13ish miles were flat and I can see why it would be tempting to race on a bit with freshly tapered legs. Conic Hill comes before the first 20 mile check point and gives beautiful views of Loch Lommond.


Self-prepared drop bags were presented to us at the four check points by amazingly helpful volunteers, including Andrea and Chrissie, who also helped us with water refilling. As per advice I tried to see the check points not as a picnic spot but more of a service station where, while stuffing salt and vinegar crisps into my mouth, I was able to restock Mark and my rucksacks with bite sized ginger cake and flap jacks.


I will spare you a mile by mile account of the race. In short, the views and terrain were ever changing, forest tracks to rocky narrow roads, hills and shores, never very far without support, waves and cheers of encouragement, even a fiddler and a piper. This really helped to keep our minds as well as our feet active and the conditions were literally perfect, some of the second half of the course which is pretty rocky could have been much trickier with a bit of rain.


Before this, 34 miles had been my longest training run and although the book said it would be ok, this was a huge leap into the unknown. I had prepared for the experience to be painful and sore but hoped that with enough will power and determination I would make it. However on the day thanks to adrenaline, lovely weather, playing it safe with my pace, a talent for eating on the go (still tolerating cheese sandwiches at mile 40) and most of all the comradery of runners, marshals and supporters, I felt happy. I was so surprised by this that I felt the need to tell Mark how happy I felt every three or so miles!!!! Just after the last check point he said that he needed a loo stop and I ran on. I figured my company might have been a bit waring by this point!!!


Jim and Rick had a very different agenda, not a day out with the sole aim of completing, they were going to race it! Jim has experience of racing The Highland Fling, he knows the course and knowing that he hadn’t put in as many training miles as last year knew just how far to push. For Rick it was all or nothing, no playing it safe, no cheese sandwiches but pushing the boundaries, testing the limits as far as he dared and oh boy he nailed it with a pace of 9.26 minute miles. Simply amazing. Oddly enough Jim and Rick claim to have enjoyed the race too!


The finishing goodie bags were right up my street with a bottle of Prosecco – even free beer at the end but this was a step too far even for my constitution, I will work on that for next year ;)




Montane Trail 26 Grizedale – 23rd February 2014

1st Male

1st Female

1st & 2nd FV50

Jamie Luxmoore

Mel Price

Pat Bennett & Chrissie Vincent

Sarah Howarth





Somehow ‘Lake District’ and ‘February’ failed to raise alarm bells when the three of us decided that this would be a good way of getting in one of our long runs in preparation for the Highland Fling. With two days to go the weather forecast was horrific, but it was too late to back out. 

The start was delayed because a crucial junction on the M6 was closed and also the organisers had to relocate the parking because of fallen trees, so those of us who arrived on time had to stand around in the rain for longer than we liked, but eventually we set off with virtually everyone wearing the full body waterproofs that were part of the compulsory kit list. 

The route for the marathon was a figure of eight, with two 13.1 mile loops; the half marathoners only had to do the first of these, and some of the full marathoners also called it a day at that point. Needless to say we Harriers were made of sterner stuff, and carried on to the second, and harder, section. The terrain was everything you would expect in the Lakes; steep ascents and descents, strewn with boulders and running water, wet grass, mud, sheep, and the odd bit of tarmac. 

The first half went east towards Coniston Water and was easier going, with a lot of it on tracks through Grizedale Forest, but the second, west towards Windermere, was much hillier and more technical. There wasn’t much opportunity to admire the views because mostly you had to watch where you were putting your feet to avoid breaking something. 

The last few miles were particularly hard, and not just because of the miles we’d already covered; every time we thought we’d surely done the last big hill we found ourselves at the foot of another, and gradually it dawned on us that this was going to be more than 26.2. Afterwards there was free soup or pasta, and pork pies, which went down surprisingly well. 

There were 278 entries, and only 200 finishers, although it isn’t clear how many people actually made it to the start, and how many just didn’t turn up because of the weather forecast. Stranraer Half Marathon 1st March 2014 Fourteen Galloway Harriers, both old and new members and their supporters came down from the hills for this lowland gathering – January and February’s focus on elevation gave a feeling of uncertainty about road race form and all sorts of excuses and modest predicted times were offered before the race. 

On this occasion the weather was not one of them and it was a beautiful spring day, perfect running conditions that saw both the male (1hr 08) and female (1hr 18) course records broken. Ian Hannah and Jemma McNeill were the first harriers back. Ian in 1hr 28, first in his age group, Jemma with a time of 1hr 33 got a podium place for third female. 

Paul Cleer who is in marathon training finished in 1hr 38, mere seconds away from his personal best which he was not expecting and had he known he might have run quicker! Frances Butler benefitted from the pacing of Adrian Leach, a true professional, who managed to coax her round in 1hr 40, beating her personal best by nearly 5 minutes. Chrissie Vincent who last Saturday completed a mountain marathon, literally, found a great pace to finish in 1hr 41. Ryan Jones, a new member finished in 1hr 43 a fraction ahead of John Plumridge also in 1hr 43. 

The steady stream of Harriers continued with David Beattie in 1hr 46 and Martina Moore in 1hr 49 who was delighted not to be 7 seconds slower! Norma Gillon put in a lovely personal best with 1hr 54 and the female Harriers continued to storm past the finish line with Emer Beattie in 1hr 59, Gail Muir, another personal best in 2hr 00 and Ailsa Taggart in 2hr 10. 

The prize giving was dominated by Galloway Harriers and was a true reflection of all the hard work put in through the winter wind and rain. The 45 – 49 age group was a clean sweep with Martina 1st, Norma 2nd and Emer 3rd, and another Galloway Harrier double when 1st local male and female prizes were won by Ian and Frances.

The cherry on the cake was Jemma, Frances and Chrissie winning first female team ahead of Dumfries Running Club (for once!), a great achievement.

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