On Saturday 20th June, Giffnock North AAC athletes ventured north to take part in the West Highland Way Midsummer Relay Race. The race, in only its second year, takes place between Tyndrum and Fort William and consists of 3 legs of approximately 17.5 miles, 10.5 miles and 14.5 miles. Whilst most people take an average of five days to walk the famous West Highland Way, the Relay is run along side the full 95 mile West Highland Way Race, won this year, for the third year in a row, by Paul Giblin in an incredible course record time of 14 hours 14 minutes and 44 seconds. Unbelievable!
Giffnock runners were involved in 3 teams within the relay. The men’s team, ‘Bernie’s Boys’ (named after their Coach, Bernie Campbell), were led away by Neal Gibson (a 2 time finisher of the full WHW Race with a personal best time of 18 hours 42 minutes). Neal, exhausted, completed the first leg in 2:14:52 leaving the team in 8th place. He handed over to Keir Geatrell to complete the second leg, which includes a climb up the forebodingly named ‘Devil’s Staircase’. Keir ran very strongly over his leg, and despite a minor detour, finished the 10.5 miles in 1:23:40, moving the team up to 6th position. Last away was Stuart MacDonald, a tough climb out of Kinlochleven starts this leg before the open expanse of the Lairig Mor. Stuart, literally bleeding for the team, ran exceptionally well, picking up another two places to see the team finish in an excellent 4th place, only a tantalising 53 seconds behind the team in third.
The ladies team, ‘Giffie Girls’ were led away by Sheila Lewis. Sheila, experiencing the trail for the first time, ran exceptionally well, completing the first leg in 2:29:25. We’ve yet to convince her that she enjoyed it though! Debi Scott took the imaginary baton for the second leg. Debi, also running on the trail for the first time, thankfully took a couple of seconds to look behind her at the top of the Devil’s Staircase. The views from there over Glencoe are truly stunning! Despite losing the trail just before Kinlochleven, Debi still managed to arrive at the handover point in a fantastic 1:33.57. Yvonne McNairn was the final member of the trio and completed the course for the girls. Despite a nasty fall, Yvonne completed her section in 2:20:00 to bring the Giffie Girls home in 17th place. More importantly they were the third Ladies Team!
Running in a mixed sex team called ‘Pollok Parkrun Pounders’, Giffnock members Terry Nimmo and Caroline Gibson (who has also completed the full WHW race) had good runs. Terry running the second leg in 2:04:50 before handing over to Caroline to bring the team home, finishing her leg in 2:52:07
Report by Neal Gibson