Running rings around the rest

[box] Chris Clark [/box]

Glasgow University Hares and Hounds began this year’s round of Scottish University fixtures in emphatic style, being victorious in both the Men’s and Women’s races at the Scottish Universities’ Road Relays.

The fixture was tagged onto the Allan Scally Road Relays, held by Shettleston Harriers, meant that the Hares and Hounds were competing against Scottish clubs as well as their University counterparts. The men’s race consisted of 4 legs of a 4.8 mile course, with the women’s race consisting of 3 legs over the same distance. Cool and cloudy weather at the start of the relays made for ideal running conditions. However, the elements deteriorated as the afternoon wore on, meaning that 4th leg runners had to deal with gusting winds and driving rain.

The fact that the Hares and Hounds weren’t only up against the other universities did not seem to pose much of a problem, with the men’s ‘A’ Team winning the University competition, and coming 2nd overall. This strong performance allowed Glasgow to finish a cool 4 minutes and 5 seconds ahead of nearest rivals Strathclyde Harriers. Not to be outdone however, the women’s ‘A’ Team were also victorious in the University competition 4 minutes and 26 seconds ahead of the nearest rivals, Edinburgh University Ladies.

The day did not get off to a perfect start for Glasgow’s men, with an ‘A’ team that had seen some very strong runners already ruled out through injury. First leg runner Patrick Cullinane ran the second half of his leg carrying a shoulder injury, and as a result, Glasgow’s ‘A’ runners came in from the first leg in 6th place in the University competition, having been outrun by their own ‘B’ team amongst others. The tide was set to turn however, with GB athlete Derek Hawkins taking the second leg for the Hares and Hounds ‘A’ team. An outstanding run of 23 minutes and 7 seconds, matching the course record Hawkins had set one year earlier, propelled Glasgow into first place within the University competition. This run would prove to be the fastest leg of any male runner all day. Medical student Adam Peters continued his strong form this season; following a 4th place at the Kirkintilloch half marathon, running the third leg in 25 minutes and 4 seconds. The victory was sealed with yet another strong run from Michael Deason, who came home on the fourth leg in 25 minutes flat.

It was a much more straight-forward day at the office for the Ladies, led by GB U23 runner Elspeth Curran, who led the University race from the off. Curran ran the first leg in a time of 27 minutes and 28 seconds, achieving the title of fastest female for the day. Veterinary student Jessica Martin had a strong run following recovery from a long-term injury, maintaining Glasgow’s lead. The gold was sealed as first-year Kathryn Pennel finished in a time of 29 minutes and 7 seconds, continuing her impressive start to the season with the Hares and Hounds.

The day was as much of a triumph for the strength and depth that can be found within Hares and Hounds squad this season, as well as the quality that can be witnessed at the front of the pack. Glasgow were strong enough to enter 5 male teams and 3 female teams, whereas long-term rivals Edinburgh could only enter 2 male teams and one female team. ‘E’ team runner Tommy Gore was able to share his thoughts on the strength and spirit within the club this season: ‘It was an incredible turnout from Glasgow University Hares & Hounds for the race, and it made me really proud to be part of the team. The team spirit is incredible at the moment – even though I was the last runner in the whole race, everyone else in the team was either dotted about the racecourse cheering me on or waiting for me at the finish line.. I think this puts down a strong marker for the year ahead for the other Scottish Universities races coming up’.

Glasgow University Hares and Hounds train Monday to Thursday, meeting outside the Stevenson Building at 1730. The club caters for a wide variety of athletes, and all abilities are welcome! They will next be in action at the Scottish Universities Cross-Country Championships in St Andrews at the end of November.


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