Dunoon Hill Runners Are On The Up!

DHR Vertical KM competitors

DHR Vertical KM competitors

The penultimate race in the Dunoon Hill Runners’ 2016-17 league series of 6 races took place on Saturday 4 February 2017. This was the Vertical KM – which is as the title suggests, a brutal kilometre of relentless climbing! It was held on a damp and misty morning, when hardy competitors
signed up for an all-out, lung-busting ascent of the hills above Loch Eck.

Ricky Reid

Ricky Reid takes the lead in the Vertical KM race

Competition was fierce, but the finishing order soon became apparent as the runners approached the upper reaches of the route. Continuing a string of league race successes this season, the first male finisher was Ricky Reid in a time of 7 minutes 11 seconds, closely followed by Grant Mackellar in
7:38 and Charlie Collins in 7:53. The first female was Lucie Noakes, who has also had a very successful season, in 8:29. She was followed by Kat Sims in 8:39 and Morven Walsh in 9:55.

On Saturday 11 February, a 10-strong club contingent headed over to the Pentland hills to run the legendary Craigdon Carnethy 5 hill race, organised by the Carnethy Hill Running Club. This race is renowned for its brutal conditions and this year was no exception, with officials advising that it was the worst weather in the history of the race. Undaunted, the Dunoon Hill Runners set forth and, despite very high winds and searing wind chill, outstanding performances were achieved. The women’s team came in fourth overall, with results led by Sara Cudahy whose first appearance at this race produced a highly impressive time of 01:19:12. The men’s team came in twelfth overall,  with results led by Grant Mackellar in an incredible 1:03:43. Several personal bests were accomplished and special mention must go to Bryan Fitzpatrick, who took almost 20 minutes off of his 2016 finish time, coming in at 1:18:07.

DHR 2017 Carnethy 5 Hill Race competitors

DHR 2017 Carnethy 5 Hill Race competitors

The final race of the Dunoon Hill Runners league series was the Handicap race, held on Saturday 18 February 2017 (info to follow).

Anyone wishing to join the Dunoon Hill Runners is invited to complete a membership form and bring it along to a training session, or pass to a committee member.

2017 AGM and Prizegiving – 18 February 2017

The Dunoon Hill Runners AGM and Prizegiving will be held on Saturday 18 February 2017 at Kirn and Hunters Quay Bowling Club, starting at 7.30 pm. Please forward any agenda items to the Club Secretary – secretary@dunoonhillrunners.org.uk.  Renewal and new memberships will take place at this time.

Following the AGM, a presentation of trophies and awards will be given, followed by a party (at approx 8.30 pm).

2017 Beginners’ Training Sessions Commence

Dunoon Hill Runners is pleased to welcome beginners to a training session specially tailored for those new to hill running, or those wishing to return after some absence. We will be operating an 8 week block of weekly training runs, at 6 pm each Tuesday, commencing 17 January 2017. Please advise Morven Walsh of your intention to attend, and complete a temporary membership form which you can print out and bring along to training. The cost is £3 per session. Trail shoes are recommended and a head torch is required.

Runners must be 12 years of age or over.

Please note that anyone between the ages of 12 and 16 years must run with an accompanying adult. A disclaimer form must be completed for anyone aged between 12 and 16 years.

Please also note that anyone who has recently had a baby or been through surgery will require to provide a doctor’s certificate clearing them to train.

Dunoon 55K Ultramarathon 2016 – a great success!

Dunoon 55K Wee Eck UltramarathonThe big day has come and gone with the completion of the inaugural 55K Dunoon Ultramarathon (also known as the “Wee Eck”) on Saturday 8 October 2016. By all accounts, it was a tremendous success! Dunoon Presents and Dunoon Hill Runners have been inundated with highly positive feedback about all aspects of the day – from trail-marking to marshaling to checkpoints to winners’ mementoes and goody bags … and even the weather co-operated!

Here is one well-known Scottish ultra runner’s race report – Fiona Rennie’s “Dunoon ‘Wee Eck’ Ultra”, with a small extract here:

“For an inaugural race there is always a possibility of some wee teething problems but if there were any I was not aware of them, a class event from start to finish, complimentary breakfast at both registration and race start, enthusiastic friendly helpers and marshals throughout, a stunningly beautiful well marked route, great reception at the finish …”

Photos from the day can be found at:

Alan G Forsyth Photography – Dunoon Hill Runners photographer
– First album – The Start
– Second album – Ardentinny Road
– Third album – Benmore/Loch Eck
– Fourth album – The Finish, Dunoon Pier

Ken Clark Photography – Dunoon Presents photographer
First album
Second album
Third album
Fourth album

A date has already been set for next year – mark your calendars for Sat 7 October 2017! Watch this space for more details.Loch Eck - Dunoon 55K Ultramarathon

Completing the West Highland Way Foot Race

by Richie Longster

West Highland Way Dunoon Hill Runners

LtoR: Kevin Nairn, David Wilson, Richie Longster, Ricky Reid

In a moment of madness I entered the West Highland Way Foot Race, which consists of 96 miles of hill and trail. I had never run anywhere near 96 miles throughout my training and on 18 June 2016, the day of the race, I was filled with doubt that my legs would carry me through the next 2 sunrises. My attempts to convince my fellow comrades Ricky Reid, David Wilson and Kevin Nairn that I wasn’t sure if I really wanted to do this fell completely on deaf ears!

As the start bell rang at 1 am, and with the tremendous support of family and friends, all 201 runners from all around the world excitedly set off into the night towards the first stop, Balmaha. At this point I was thinking, “It’s OK, Richie, you can pull out of this any time you like”. It wasn’t long before I watched the sun rise over the picturesque Conich Hill and I descended into Balmaha. I was feeling good but remained mindful that I had the same distance to do another 3 times over and the route was only going to get tougher.

Pressing on to Rowardennan, the terrain and miles weren’t the only battle, the midges became intolerable. There were clouds of them and not even the elite racers could out-run them! It was a tough section as the pesky midges remained an unwelcome distraction all the way to Inversnaid.

Beinn Ghlas was a welcome sight and this is where I was met by my incredible support crew including my wife, support runners and our amazing local physio Elaine Graham of Cowal Physiotherapy, who strapped up my knees as they were beginning to ache. After a bit of grub, I hit the trail once again.

51 miles had passed, another 45 to go, and I met up with my first support runner, Linda Good ,who helped me push on to Bridge of Orchy to meet Lisa Marshall, my second support runner, who kept my spirits up with her good banter.  By this point I had developed the mother of all shin splints and I knew from here on in there would be little running. Having made good progress until then, I could theoretically walk to Fort William within the required timescales but I knew my success would depend on a positive mindset. On arrival at Glen Coe Ski Centre, 71 miles in, I was greeted with a much longed for fish supper, and the queen of pain relief, Elaine, worked her magic on me again!

Ian Marshall and Richie Longster

Ian Marshall and Richie Longster

Night was creeping in and I was down to my last section, only a marathon distance to go! I knew if there was ever a man who would get me through this next section it would be Ian Marshall who was my third support runner. My calculations were indicating that, at my current pace, it would be 9 hard hours incorporating the infamous Devil’s Staircase and the climb out of Kinlochleven before I passed that finish line. It was a daunting prospect because by now every step was painful and slow.

Through the night, going over the Devils Staircase and down into Kinlochleven tested all my mental and physical strength and, with the sun rising for the second time, I had 14 miles remaining. From here on in my memory is vague, mostly due to lack of sleep but what I do remember is that I spent my time concentrating on simply putting one foot in front of the other.

The last few miles were on tarmac. It was relentless but the extreme exhaustion I felt was soon replaced with euphoria as I was met by the cheers and support of Dunoon Hill Runners as I crossed the finish line in Fort William at 7am.

Would I do it again? Absolutely! But not next year!