Saturday, 6 December 2014

Water of Leith Half Marathon

Normally at this time of the year I am wandering aimlessly like a vagrant, doing plenty of running and hardly any work, complaining about the expense at this epi-centre of materialism and how the majority seem to have traded in what little sense they have and are looking for a fight or a ---- in the street. This year however I am ridiculously busy and as soon as I have finished one job (a laborious nine doors in a hallway, sanding, de-greasing and three coats each - that's 27 doors and frames lined up like an advent calendar with only the incentive that there may be a replacement bike on the other side if I can only get to the bike shop) before I wash my brush and begin the next gigantic canvas. Hence the blogs, running a week late.

The WoL race is my payback for a year of races where I turn up, run and leave without any more than a thank you to the kind folks who put out course markers, stand in the cold and supply prizes for our pleasure. It is slowly evolving from the Heb 3 related beast, but with a lot of the original aspects still in place - a handicapped point to point down the riverside trails through Edinburgh and an invite list rather than all-comers, although we are introducing things along the way, team prizes and this year, an early birds start. This recent innovation came about because Robin felt he may struggle to complete the course in the allotted 120mins, determined by the timing of the coach we provide that drops the runners off at Harlaw Rd. This year Richard, co-organiser turned up to set the early birds off half an hour before the main field, at 9.30am. 5 or 6 chose this option, giving them 2hrs30 before the pack caught them. (The only proviso being they made their own way to the start and excluded themselves from the chance to win.) 
"I just wanted to put in writing my thanks to you, Richard and everybody else who gave up their time to put on the WoL yesterday. It was my 7th and an event I love. To complete it yesterday meant a huge amount to me and not just because I was raising sponsorship whilst running it. I'm so very grateful for your flexibility in allowing the 'early start', it was great to finish in the body of the race and then watch everybody else finish........I did tire but it was Judith W and Len F who pulled me right to the finish. Brilliant day.
Thank you all again. Robin."

Len, Robin and Judith at the finish.

Neil, winning the race

Philippa and Kate, joint second

The handicapped aspect adds considerably to the essence of this race; slower runners are set off every minute or 2 after 10am with the swiftest some 40 minute later. If everyone has given a fair assessment of their fitness then all should reach the end, together at Leith, bang on midday. The size of that "if" is the size of the spread - usually about 30 minutes from 11.55 onwards. Strangely, a number of runners will tell you on entry forms how their running has lapsed of late and really they will only be doing a brisk walk and that they should be given a start time that will allow for this. Given our prize list only runs to 2 items it is surprising the amount of sob stories and outright lies "inadvertently" put on entry forms by folk who, for instance, mis-remember the time they did last year - weird how it is always in their favour as well! All this makes my life (and the start list) more complex but we try to keep a weather eye on the chancers. And there are always the properly sporting sorts who let you know correctly the time they did at a recent half (or last year's WoL) and then set out to beat it, excluding themselves from the top ten, but earning massive respect from the organisers in doing so.

Angus - gorgeous hair

Graham - fastest time of the day, 1.19.40

Another task is, the day before the event, flouring the route. Marking junctions and potential wrong turns with flour arrows to keep people right. This year the flood defences and Dean Village landslip are sorted and so for the first time in maybe 5 years we have returned to the original full course. It follows the trails and cycle path alongside the Water of Leith but there are various road crossings and side streets where it is easy to go wrong. As the paths were damp and absorbent it took 12 bags of flour and 4 hrs to cycle and mark the section I did from above Lanark Road to the finish line at Sandport Place. Richard did the first few turns in Balerno on race day before setting off the early bird runners. Runners reported the flour arrows as very useful.

The only Stornoway vest.

On race day itself I am kind of nervous and never really relax until the runners are all back. There is too much potential for accidents at the various road crossings. We post marshals at the most treacherous and this year all of our marshals actually volunteered before I had time to advertise for people to help out - what a crew! Jonathan dns-ed some weeks before the start but kept runners right at Lanark Rd where the flyover drops down towards the WoL Centre. David managed the crossing at Stenhouse and Cat also couldn't run but took photos (HERE) while directing folk across the busy road at Roseburn. Thanks also to the finish line crew, Willie and Michael G who fed the results to Richard while I took photos of the runners. We know we have got the numbers about right when nobody has arrived too much before midday. Neil from Dunbar was first to appear (see 2nd photo) closely tailed by Philippa and Kate who ran together and shared second prize. It usually works out that the winners are not the usual suspects or elite runners (as the elite know what time they tend to run that distance and are unlikely to improve upon that by 5 minutes) and this adds to the friendly atmosphere of the race. Which is not to say people don't exert themselves. 

Isobel - also appeared in last week's Nottingham report.

Gav knows how to make a finish look like a victory.

The highlight of the event has to be the catering supplied by Eric and Lynda. We bribe them to support us and they travel a long way to provide "exceptional" soup and homebakes at the end. They arrive with a car full of stoves, tables and very fine food and drink which is really appreciated by the runners, once they have caught their breath. After expenses we give any profit generated by the race to their Eric and Lynda's chosen charities.

Great to have a legend along.

Ellie had work obligations so had to miss the race. 

took a hit but kept running

Back markers (and Jonathan on bike sweeping,) enjoying a good reception.

Borrowed this one from Louise as it is a better shot of Lynda and Eric than I had.

1.  Neil Jones  1.47.21
2=  Kate Fraser  1.51.52
2=  Philippa Iveson  1.51.52
4.  Ian Cadogan  1.43.44
5.  Angus Thomson  1.31.05
6.  Keith Martin  1.35.31
7=  Judith White 2.26.51
7=  Len Friday 2.26.51
7=  Robin Wombill  2.26.51
10.  Roddy McRae  1.30.37
11.  Mark Hartree 1.34.40
12.  Fiona Carver 1.43.03
13.  Finlay Slane  1.42.08
14.  Stuart Duncan  1.47.14
15.  Phil Young  1.31.21
16.  Sheila Morrison  2.28.24
17.  Graham Nash  1.19.40
18.  Gordon Cameron  1.33.42
19.  Shona Young  1.41.55
20.  Nicola Freedman  1.47.08
21.  Martin Caldwell  1.35.10
22.  Alan Yardley  1.42.14
23.  Steve Best  1.25.21
24.  Andy Whitmey  1.26.25
25.  Val Herring  2.29.32
26.  Vince Fraser  1.37.42
27.  Brian Reid  1.36.54
28.  Paul Young  1.32.58
29.  Alan Inglis  1.30.01
30.  Ruth Paterson  1.43.23
31.  Seona Burnett 1.45.27
32.  Sandy Wallace  1.3830
33.  Douglas Graham  1.36.42
34.  Barbara Livingston  1.44.47
35.  Jim Alexander  1.55.49
36.  Drew Sharkey  1.20.52
37.  Helen Falconer  1.38.53
38.  Simon Axon  1.40.04
39.  Scott Craighead  1.24.05
40.  Crawford Allan  1.39.17
41.  James Robson  1.33.35
42.  Alistair Ross  1.51.46
43.  Anya Powers  1.54.07
44.  Frank Ovens  1.50.44
45.  Steve Crane 1.30.59
46.  Graham Henry 1.35.15
47.  Isobel Burnett  1.40.23
48.  Louise Provn  1.43.32
49.  Mike Lieberman  1.40.35
50.  Robin Livingstone  1.40.36
51.  Neil Burnett  1.31.52
52.  Nicola Nash  1.51.23
53.  Alex Hilliam 1.32.39
54.  Tim Hyatt  1.41.56
55.  Lucy Colquhoun  1.37.03
56.  Gav Brown  1.36.09
57.  Max Scharbert  2.02.21
58.  Simon Smith  1.54.37
59.  Martin Macintyre  1.39.10
60.  Jim Salvage  2.07.27
61.  Dean Friday  1.51.40
62.  Scott Balfour  1.39.32
63.  Stewart Roxburgh  2.11.07
64.  Derek Henderson  1.58.54
65=  Louise Kay  2.16.02
65=  Sue Kingston  2.06.02
67=  Margaret Douglas  2.16.06
67=  Maureen Macleod  2.04.06

Team Results

1.  Fuds
2.  2.5 Men
3.  Laddies who Lunch
4.  Dogs Bollocks
5.  Boyz n Hoods
6.  Souper Vets
7.  The Odd Bods
8.  PortoNethy
9.  Shanks' Ponies
10.  Charlie's Angels

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