The first stage of the series saw 24 brave Hares and Hounds take on the Braid Hills outside Edinburgh. The race is best described as a “very hilly” cross country, most likely due to the actual hill situated in the midst of each lap. After the distressing two lap affair that was the men’s race, Grant Boyne was first in for Glasgow with a comfortable lead over 2nd finisher, Myles Bax. Ruben Lopez took third, while I took fourth having sneakily attacked Chris Clarke in the run up to the line. In the women’s race Lauren Quee finished 1st, again with a healthy lead to our 2nd finisher, Neah Evans. Lisa Christy and Ellie Waugh finished a mere second apart, taking 3rd and 4th respectively. Harriet Whitby-Tillot finished soon after to take 5th.
SSS XC Championships
The second stage saw us journey up North to Aberdeen, for the Scottish Student Sport cross country. It’s likely it was the appeal of a particular post race event and the following night out that made this our most popular race of the race series, with 26 entrants making the trip. Myles took 1st finisher, however Grant was close behind in 2nd, leading to a joint first place position in the overall series. Peter Bowman made an appearance to take 3rd, with Ruben taking 4th. Chris was back on form, leaving me in the distance as he secured 5th. Lauren ran a fantastic race to take first women overall, along with her second 1st place finish for Glasgow. Kathryn Pennel was not far behind, taking 6th overall and 2nd finisher for Glasgow. Neah also ran a strong race to take 3rd, whilst Mella Slattery took 4th. Harriet maintained good form to secure 5th. Unfortunately for Adam Stark, the additional post race event is not part of the race series.
The race series’s third stage saw the Hares and Hounds descend on Clydebank for a fast, flat 5k. Changes were to be expected in the series standings with Myles out with an injury, and Ruben’s return to Spain. Grant fought with Dave Houston to take first finisher by just two seconds. With some improved form I managed a comfortable third place, however old “rival” Chris was close behind to take 4th. Adam took 5th along with a new PB, as did many other Hares and Hounds. Natalie Sharp took first finisher for Glasgow, alongside an impressive overall victory in the women’s race. Kathryn ran another strong race to take 2nd Glasgow finisher. Despite much pre-race self doubt, Karolina Kivimaki took 3rd, surpassing Harriet and Ellie for the first time. Harriet and Ellie both put in solid performances to secure 4th and 5th respectively.
The fourth stage was a fast, completely flat, and amazingly dull 10k. Few other races can rival Grangemouth’s awful scenery. The race organisers had titled the race “round the houses”, which it turned out was a painfully accurate description of the course. Despite the abysmal views, I managed to to take 1st and secure my dream of a sub 35 10k. As you’d expect, Grant was not far behind to take 2nd, and Chris put in a fantastic effort to take 3rd. Mark Sutherland secured a strong time to take 4th having improved dramatically since the first term. Adam put in another strong performance to take another 5th place finish. Karolina’s improvement resulted in a well deserved first finish for the Hares and Hounds runner of the year. Ellie took a convincing 2nd, while Cassie Patterson ran a great race to finish 3rd and Courtney Gunn took 4th.
Dumyat Hill Race
The final stage of the race series was the Dumyat hill race at Stirling University. Annoyingly, Andrew Foggo’s description of the race as “half rock, half grass” was pretty much spot on. Myself and Mark fought it out on both the ascent and descent, however thanks to a conveniently positioned tarmac road, I was able to stretch out a narrow lead to take first. Simon Gardner secured a strong third place finish in what was his first race series outing, likely due to Dumyat being the only race in the series vaguely comparable to orienteering. Adam took 4th, rounding off a strong finish to his race series while Ben Mclennen took 5th. Ellie ran a great race to take her first, 1st place finish of the series. Kirsten Somerville took 2nd, Fiona Mcgruer took 3rd and Sara Cameron took 4th.
Grant’s consistent strong performances in the first four races of 1st, 2nd, 1st and 2nd, led to a first place series standing with only 6 points. I ended up not far off in second with 9 points, largely thanks to 1st place finishes in the last two races. Chris’s strong performances throughout the year led to a third place series standing with 17 points. Mark and Adam were close behind to take 4th and 5th respectively. Ellie was rewarded for her good results throughout the year with a first place series standing. Great results in the last two races led to a convincing lead with only 12 points. Karolina Kivimaki took 2nd with 20 points thanks to her continued improvement throughout the year and stronger performances in the latter stages of the series. Harriet took third overall with 14 points thanks to strong finishes in the first three races. Lisa was only one point behind in 4th and Courtney took 5th.
Congratulations to Grant Boyne and Ellie Waugh, winners of the Des Gilmore Cup 2013/14! It’s also worth commenting on the excellent turnout to all the races throughout the series. Well done to everyone who participated, there’s just too many of you to mention in this already far too long review. I’d also like to apologise for saying “strong” around 50 times. I’ll use a thesaurus next time.
You can find the full standings of the race series here.
Words by Alastair Thurlbeck