Dunoon Presents the “Wee Eck” 55K Ultra Marathon

Wee Eck Ultra, Dunoon

View of Loch Eck from Wee Eck Ultra trail

Dunoon Hill Runners are delighted to support Dunoon Presents in the introduction of the “Wee Eck” Ultra Marathon to be held on 8 October 2016, possibly the most scenic ultra in Scotland, and in our very own back yard!

Entry is now open at Entrycentral.com.

The Dunoon/Loch Eck 50k Ultra Marathon will start from the famous RBGE Benmore Botanic Gardens and will take you through some of the area’s top beauty spots. Climb up the gorge path through magical Pucks Glen and then race along the forestry trail and climb high above Loch Eck. You’ll be treated to fantastic views north and south of the loch, particularly as you reach the highest section of the run 600m above sea level. Descend through Glenbranter Forest and return south on the west side of Loch Eck. Then it’s back to Dunoon through the forest trails and natural woodland of Bishop’s Glen. This last mile stretches north alongside the beach giving you beautiful views of the hills above Wemyss Bay, Inverkip and Gourock. Don’t be tempted to cool off in the water! The finish at the iconic Dunoon Pier is just a sprint away.

Entry is £33 (early bird discount is £23 for the first 100 entrants, £33 for 101-200). This includes:

  • Tea, coffee and fresh croissants at registration
  • Coach transfer to Benmore Gardens (15 minutes)
  • Changing facilities
  • Full event support including electronic chip timing, check points, drop bags and food/water stations, full first aid back up and at the finish, a fantastic “Ultra cool” goodie bag as a memento of a great day, full of high quality gifts.

Registration for the Dunoon Ultra will be at the Dunoon Pier at:
1900 hrs – 2000 hrs on Friday 7th October at Dunoon Pier
0800 hrs – 0930 hrs on Saturday 8th October at Dunoon

Enter online.

Facebook public group page.


2016 DHR AGM and Prizegiving

The DHR 2016 AGM and Prizegiving was held on Saturday 27 February at Kirn and Hunters Quay Bowling Club and was very well attended by both existing and new members. Proceedings commenced with the AGM, the minutes of which can be found here [PDF].

The Prizegiving ensued and the following trophies were presented:

  • 2015 Summer Series Handicap Race Winner – Kate Mcghie
  • 2015 Summer Series Vertical K Race Winner – Grant Mackellar
  • 2015 Summer Series Senior Female Winner – Lindsay Moss (not in attendance)
  • 2015 Summer Series Senior Male Winner – Iain Cairns
  • 2015 Summer Series Senior Veteran Female Winner – Lisa Marshall
  • 2015 Summer Series Senior Veteran Male Winner – Roger Stewart
  • Most Improved Female (as voted by members) – Kristine Stewart
  • Most Improved Male (as voted by members) – Bobby Good
  • President’s Trophy for Most Inspirational Runner – Kristine Stewart

Other prizes were also awarded:

  • 2015 Summer Series Handicap Race First Male Finisher – Kieron Fitzpatrick
  • 2015 Summer Series Handicap Race First Female Finisher – Kate Mcghie
  • 2015 Summer Series Handicap Race Overall Winner – Grant Mackellar (16:51.8 – Course Record)

Medals were presented to all members who had participated in at least two 2015 Summer Series events, and a special commendation was given to Isla Witherow for being the only member to participate in all 6 events.

Congratulations to all the prize winners!

The 2015 Dunoon Hill Runners Trophy Winners

The 2015 Dunoon Hill Runners Trophy Winners: (L to R) Iain Cairns, Lisa Marshall, Bobby Good, Grant Mackellar, Kate Mcghie, Roger Stewart, Kristine Stewart

2016 Carnethy 5 Hill Race Report

by Lucie Noakes

Some of the DHR teamOn Saturday the 13th of February 2016, eighteen intrepid Dunoon Hill Runners set off to attempt the infamous Carnethy 5 hill race. There was excitement, there were nerves, but little did we know that the conditions were going to make for an even more interesting afternoon on the hills.

This was my first ever hill race so I was nervous and unsure but I knew everyone was very encouraging and made me feel at ease. I had no idea what to expect but just went with the flow and hoped I would survive to tell the tale!

The journey consisted of compass lessons (yawn), map reading lessons and the general consensus that there is “no going back”. I think everyone was just buzzing for the disco bus!!

Looking promising ...

Looking promising …

We had our first pit stop at Costa Coffee to catch up with the others and fill up with caffeine and buns. A short while later though, there was a realisation by some that topping up with coffee was not necessarily the best idea before boarding a bus that was lacking in the toilet department.

Penicuik was eventually found and we arrived at the school meeting point in thick snow, the biggest snowflakes I have ever seen. A foretaste of what was yet to come! Once I was race ready with my number and all-important Sealskinz socks (courtesy of Michelle), I actually realised that I had to do it.

Standing at the start line my toes were numb and the snow was falling thick and fast. The peaks were nowhere to be seen, completely hidden by a thick blanket of snow and low cloud. The lone piper created a fitting atmosphere before we set off like warriors, going to battle the 5 peaks.

The ascentThe ascent up Scald Law was intense. Below the hips everything was aching. My view wasn’t pretty as I followed other runners one by one in a line up the hill on a narrow snow covered path. The top of the hill was well hidden but I knew I had reached the summit when I was suddenly blasted by even more wind, hail and snow. Pretty nasty! Clare’s jacket had completely frozen by that stage!

I stormed on over the next few summits (the easy ones allegedly). At each corner I turned my sight was temporarily blurred from the mass of snow hitting my face. Sandy’s idea of bringing sunglasses was a good one after all!

The ascentCredit goes out to the marshals, a large number were spread out across the hills (armed with ski goggles and their very best waterproofs). Giving out positivity and encouragement in those conditions couldn’t have been easy but I’m glad they were there. I would have been a big lost snowman without them!

I don’t remember every detail of the race – I was just concentrating on moving forward – but at one stage I found myself sliding down the hill on my bum. I wasn’t the only one! It seemed like the only way down at the time. It was great fun too!

I kept wondering when I would get to the last hill and only realised I had got to the top when I saw the tents in the distance. It was such a relief but I still had to get myself down the hill. This was more challenging than I’d imagined. The faster runners had already loosened the rock so it was only a matter of time until I landed on my backside! Several falls later the hill levelled off and I could see the finishing flags. I was so happy! I got through the bog and over the finish line with a big smile 🙂

There was an incredible amount of effort put in by all runners. We had 8 new to the race including myself, Roger, Sandy, Clare, Christopher, Ali, Charlie and Grant. Four runners (Ricky, Lisa, Kieron and Kirsty) even managed a PB despite the Arctic conditions. Although unable to finish the race, Ali reached the Arctic summit of Scald Law. I admire her determination and think she is a fantastic role model! First Male and Female were Grant and Lisa – so speedy, everyone was just brilliant!

DHR Support Team

DHR Support Team

Our very own DHR support crew – Kenny and Michelle were there from start to finish and a very important part of the team. Fortunately, they left the pom poms at home but they did manage to safely protect Kirsty’s Sloe Gin which proved to be a very important and much appreciated post-race medicinal potion. They even managed to avoid the temptation of a quick trip to Harvey Nicks in Edinburgh whilst guardians of Roger’s wallet. Although, perhaps he should wait until his credit card statement arrives!

The bus home was a great laugh and included some well-deserved beverages. Bryan, Ricky and Kieron managed to persuade Coach, Roger and Charlie to stay out for a few more. I was just disappointed that there were no disco lights 😉

Roger, Lisa, Clare and Lucie

Roger, Lisa, Clare and Lucie

It is hard to put into words how much I have loved being part of such a supportive and encouraging club. Morven has been like my Running Mum from day one, always looking out for me. Lisa too, always giving me great advice. I feel like part of a large family 🙂 Well done again everyone and thank you to each and every one of you for making my first race really special. It turned out to be an amazing experience and I cannot wait to continue this hill running adventure!

See you next year Carnethy. A bit of sunshine wouldn’t go amiss – please?

Lucie en route

Lucie en route

Well done 2016 Carnethy 5 runners!

Congratulations to all the Dunoon Hill Runners who took part in the 2016 Craigdon Carnethy 5 race – in what were some extremely challenging conditions. A snowy white-out and biting easterly winds were the order of the day, requiring great fortitude and tenacity – and that was just to stand at the start line! A strong contingent of Dunoon Hill Runners participated, with several running this race for the first time. A big well done to all, including the DHR support crew! Surely next year will be easier 🙂

Race results are here.

Summer isn’t over!

Just when you thought summer was a distant memory (or even a distant hope), Dunoon Hill Runners is bringing it back! Two further races will take place to complete the 2015 Summer Series in order to determine final placings. Details are as follows:

  • Saturday 20 February 2016 – Royal Botanic Gardens, Benmore at 9 am. Vertical K sprint. Tea, coffee and cakes afterwards.
  • Saturday 27 February 2016 – Glenkin at 9 am. Club Handicap race. The final sprint for glory!

Club members only.

Morven Walsh

Morven WalshHow/when did you start running, in particular hill/trail running?

David (husband) suggested it and I don’t think he even guessed how much I would fall in love with this sport. I had never run so, nearly 7 years ago David suggested we go  for a run … of course this was not on the road or flat but up Glenkin. To say I found it hard was an understatement, but it pushed me more and more. When I could run Glenkin all the way, I then joined the all female running group in Dunoon and met my lifelong friends, Jean Bryson and Kirsty Mundell. The rest as they say is history as I then found my passion in trail and hill running with Dunoon Hill Runners.

Why do you run?

Because I am lucky to be able to, and it’s my passion, my freedom, my time out, my head space. It’s my challenge exploring new trails and hills that you can only reach on foot. Oh and I love rivers and mud and being out with my buddies – Jean, Michelle, Clare and Kirsty have joined me on many runs where laughter is very much on the agenda. When Ricky joins me on long runs he just wants to bury me with a shovel and leave me on the trail!! Think my enthusiasm grates after 20 miles …

What is your favourite running route?

In Argyll, we are so lucky to be able to enjoy what is on our doorstep and it is all beautiful. I never tire of the Loch Eck loop.

What have been your favourite races?

The Devil o’ the Highlands Ultra – 43 miles from Tyndrum to Fort William, a stunning route where you are running through what has got to be the most magical place, Glencoe.

The Cateran Trail Ultra – 55 miles through the Scottish Highlands (even though Jean said my feet looked like tripe at the end!).

The Carnethy 5 – a mad 6 mile hill race in the Pentlands.

What is your greatest running achievement?

I ran my first marathon in Lochaber with Jean Bryson in memory of my mum Violet who sadly lost her battle with Ovarian Cancer 11 years ago. I ran for the charity The Eve Appeal and raised nearly £2,000. Since then I have raised money for Breast Cancer and Cystic Fibrosis charities all from my running.

What are your goals/ambitions?

To run my seventh Ultra but my first solo race in a few months in the Lake District. As Bryan said to me, I’ll always find someone to talk to and I love that I return from every race with new friends. Also running with our club and enjoying old and new challenges together.  Watching our club grow and develop and having this amazing bunch of friends who really are the best.

Who is your running hero?

I admire anyone who gets up one day and takes action, pulls on their trainers and starts running because that really is the hardest part.  I also love Simon Pegg who plays the character Dennis  in the movie “Run Fat Boy Run”. It tells the tale of what every non runner goes through to become a runner and the challenges faced – and also because his shorts are more micro than our very own coach’s! You have to watch,  and run with the coach in the summer 🙂

What is your most essential piece of kit?

My shoes – I have a lovely variety for all different terrain (say nothing, Pup!), Shock Absorber bra ( girls know why),  my mobile phone in case Ricky did take me out with a shovel, snacks and £10 just in case – although on a beautiful hot race last July in the Lakes it almost got spent as Jamie and I passed a beer garden and the temptation was nearly too much!

Do you have other interests/pastimes?

My brilliant family and watching my daughter Bethany develop her own love for running. Our working spaniel, Jess, and friends and our running club. I’m happy being with them all and having fun on my runs.

What is your favourite inspirational running quote or piece of advice?

“It’s  just a wee tootle” and, “It’s just round the corner”. You’ve all heard them and you’ve all said them back 🙂

Annual General Meeting and Prizegiving – 27 February 2016

The Dunoon Hill Runners AGM and Prizegiving will be held on Saturday 27 February 2016 at Kirn and Hunters Quay Bowling Club, starting at 7 pm. Please forward any agenda items to the Club Secretary – secretary@dunoonhillrunners.org.uk.

Following the AGM, a presentation of trophies and awards will be given. Renewal and new memberships will take place between 7 and 7.30pm.

Beginners’ Disclaimer

Please take note of the following conditions before joining any Beginners’ runs.

  1. Each runner will be provided with a JogScotland Membership Form. This is free to join and will provide a stepping stone to the Dunoon Hill Runners, but it does have a Par-Q attachment which MUST be completed and returned to Kirsty Mundell. This highlights any medical conditions that any of the leaders need to be aware of. If you are unsure if this affects you, then please contact Kirsty. This information is confidential and will not be disclosed to any other member unless they are leading a run. When/if you decide to join the Dunoon Hill Runners, this information will be destroyed and you will then fall under the Membership Rules of Dunoon Hill Runners. Leaders are not permitted to accommodate anyone who has recently given blood, had a transfusion, given birth within the previous six months, attended the dentist and had a tooth removed within the last 7 days, or had any recent surgery. There are varying other reasons, so please ask Kirsty if you feel you fall into one of the categories either mentioned above or you have a condition you feel may put yourself or other runners at risk.
  2. If these forms are not completed and returned, you will not be allowed to join in any run.

Dunoon Hill Runners 2nd Annual Charity Quiz Night

The Braes hosted Dunoon Hill Runners 2nd Annual Charity Quiz Night on the evening of Saturday 14 November 2015, which again was a completely sold out event! The club, now boasting nearly 70 members, enjoyed a fun-packed evening involving 20 teams all aiming to be crowned champions and, with last year’s winners present, it was going to be a close run affair.

After 2 hours and 9 rounds of hilarity – sorry, questions, plus the need for a tie-break question to split the top two teams, surprisingly it was the smallest team on the night that emerged the winners! Iain Cairns of Argyll Financial Services proudly stepped up along with his wife and in-laws to collect their prizes. Some would say his team had a distinct advantage as they had a retired geography teacher on board, given that Kenny Taylor who set the questions is also a geography teacher. Last year’s winners placed 3rd and, interestingly, they also had a geography teacher in their midst!

Teams also enjoyed a curry and their generosity was plentiful as they delved deep into their pockets to buy up large amounts of raffle tickets with over 20 prizes on offer, the greatest majority of which were kindly donated by local businesses who were nothing short of generous and supportive to the club.

The two charities chosen this year lie close to the club’s heart as both affect some of our members on a daily basis. The first charity chosen is Samuel’s Smile; it aims to help children diagnosed with rare forms of life limiting diseases. Founded by Samuel Bell’s parents, Samuel himself was born with an extremely rare disease called Total Interstitial Hirchsprungs disease and now at 17 years old is the oldest surviving person in the world with this condition. More information can be found here. The second charity to benefit is the local Multiple Sclerosis Society. Dunoon Hill Runners recognises that sometimes local charities can get lost amongst their bigger counterparts and, being mindful of this, we remain determined that monies raised would also benefit those locally affected. A grand total of £876 profit was raised on the night allowing the club to donate £438 to each of the two nominated charities.

Dunoon Hill Runners would like to extend their thanks to everyone who paid a ticket and attended the night; it is only through your continued support and generosity that makes events like this possible. We also wish to acknowledge all of the local businesses that kindly donated the raffle prize gifts, Argyll First, Bookpoint, Cothouse Garage, David Shields Joinery, Elite Clothing, Juno, Kennedy Chemist, Lorraine Community Fitness, Pink Fizz, Timothy Sharp Jewellers, Walkers Garden Centre and West Coast Motors. Thanks also to Jennifer and her staff at the Braes for their patience and great hospitality.