A weekend at the races

The weekend of 21-22 May 2016 was packed full of races for the Dunoon Hill Runners, who were seen wearing the vest locally and further afield – all the way to the Lake District and Copenhagen! Congratulations to all who successfully completed the following races:

Morven Walsh at the Keswick Mountain Festival 50K Ultra Trail Race

Morven Walsh at the Keswick Mountain Festival 50K Ultra Trail Race

Lucie Noakes, 3rd Senior Female at Goatfell Hill Race, Arran

Lucie Noakes, 3rd Senior Female at Goatfell Hill Race, Arran

2016 South Cowal 10K

South Cowal 10K

Roger and Kristine Stewart at Copenhagen Marathon

Roger and Kristine Stewart at Copenhagen Marathon

Race Report: Hoka Highland Fling Ultramarathon Relay Race 2016

Hoka Highland Fling 2016 Relay Team

Michael Tweedley, Ian Marshall, Grant Mackellar and Roger Stewart (l to r) of the winning Dunoon Hill Runners relay team – Hoka Highland Fling 2016

by Ian C Marshall

For once the night before the HOKA Highland Fling was a relaxed affair. Between myself and Secretary Kenny, we had the relay team prepared. Emails had been sorted, team legs agreed, registration complete, numbers and instructions given. All I had to do was complete 12.5 miles on leg 1 of the relay then I could settle back and watch the result unfold and cheer on Kevin Nairn and Ricky Reid in the full event. I had publicly stated that I’d be delighted with a top 10 finish while secretly hoping for a top 5 – after all, I had 3 other runners who were strong. Up until seeing Elaine (of Cowal Physiotherapy) the evening before, I was still having doubts about my own fitness, having torn my tensor fasciae latae 5 weeks before, and latterly suffering from ITB issues as a result. I shouldn’t really have been running (having been told to take a minimum of 6 weeks off). However, after Elaine’s specialist intervention, I awoke at 4 am with no pain – a first all week.

Leaving home at 4.30 am, we arrived at Milngavie at 6.01 am and saw the last of the solo runners disappearing. The start line looked quite different with only a hundred or so people milling around, and not the familiar buzz and excitement of hundreds of runners ready to go. 7 am arrived quickly and after checking with Scott Hill, I decided to stick with his brother who was aiming to run a sub 8 minute/mile pace. Given my fitness concerns I thought it wise to run with him and see how long I could hang in.

Seconds before the start horn sounded, I found myself right at the front of 52 other runners, all sense and sensibility seemingly gone and my race brain had taken over. Even as I found myself being pulled along with 4 other runners establishing a quick lead, thinking I’m going to struggle to maintain this and hearing Iain Cairns’ voice telling me his relay team account, I didn’t slow down (my heart rate monitor will confirm this, having peaked at 177 bpm in the first 5 minutes!). It’s amazing, however, that despite fitness and injury concerns, the responsibility you feel for the team overrides everything. I had managed to get to the 10k mark in a shade over 45 minutes, climbing around 500 feet, when I found myself sandwiched between second and fourth place with only around 30 seconds between us. There was no way I was letting this place go and it was as early as then that I thought a podium place was possible given the quality of runners I had waiting in the team. I’d set off hoping to get in under 1:45 and found myself handing over to Roger in 1:34. It’s the first time in any race I have ever done in my life that I was happy with my time.

With no time to waste, Roger was off and, with the thought of the iconic Conic Hill to climb, we headed to Balmaha to pick up Mike to take him to Rowardennan where Roger would hand over to him. Everything was going smoothly and we were enjoying the 11 mile single track journey to the third hand-over point when Mike exclaimed he’d forgotten his watch! Not to worry, we had a spare one (albeit a brighter colour) and duly handed it over. Seconds later, and following a few expletives, Mike proclaimed he’d forgotten his trainers!! A quick u-turn, a little bit of Hamiltonesque driving, shoes collected and we were back on course for Rowardennan.

Upon arriving, we had time to enjoy some of the “extras” put on at the race (OK, I had a massage) while Lisa and Mike helped out at a water station (lol). Just after 2 hours, handing over to Roger, we spotted the distinctive club colours and excitement overcame us again. We had seen the relay teams come in, including one with David Millar (a sub 35 minute 10k runner). It was great seeing Ricky and Kevin (looking forward to their race reports!), quickly followed by Roger. After a slick hand over, Mike set off in fourth place but only seconds behind third. We were still on course for a podium slot. First and second place were at least a good 8 to 15 minutes ahead. Back in the car, we were Beinn Ghlas bound, a good 90 minute drive due to single track and a congested Loch Lomond road. I was beginning to worry I’d miss the last hand over to Grant. With 2 miles before we turned at Tarbet for Beinn Ghlas, Grant was calling. Great, he’s arrived at his checkpoint, I thought. “How far is it from Luss?” Grant asked. Aargh!!!!!!! (and a few other things) passed through my mind. Grant was lost. After he was headed back in the correct direction, I was now stressing that Mike would be standing waiting for him  and the hope of a podium place was dissolving.

After managing to blag the official to let 2 of our vehicles in without a pass, Grant and I got to the hand-over point. Phew, no Mike! The team who had led from the beginning were there – “11 minutes ahead”, one of their runners said. I quickly recognised the yellow vest of the team who were in second and suddenly Mike storming by him on the straight leading to the changeover! Mike had had the run of his life and,with the slickest changeover of the day, Grant was off, leaving only a trail of dust. We were now in second place! We were 13 minutes behind with 12 miles left to run. I turned to the first placed team and said, “That’s just over a minute a mile quicker that we have to go …”. We each looked at one another knowing that potentially a huge upset could be on the cards. My only slight concern was that Grant had no idea what position we were in, yet I knew he was so fired up after his detour and, coupled with his desire to win, I silently believed for the first time we had a genuine chance to win this.

Arriving at Tyndrum, I met Grant’s family and stressed that they should be at the finish for no later than 2 pm as I expected Grant to be in not too much after that. We all assembled at the red carpeted finishing straight, where there were flags, spectators cheering, whistling and cow bells clanging. The digital clock hit 8.00:00 which meant we had been on the course for 7 hours. I’d hoped for a sub 7:30 finish. There was no sign of the first placed team finisher and they were predicting that their runner would come in any minute – then there he was screaming down the finishing straight as though he was running a 100 metre race. The crowds reacted to his effort and speed – yet it wasn’t their runner, it was ours! The bright black, yellow and red of the Dunoon Hill Runners vest was crossing the line! We had just come first in one of the most prestigious ultra races in the UK which was also this year’s host to the UK and Scottish Ultra Trail Running Championships. To top it off, not only did we win, but we overhauled 13 minutes and finished 10 minutes ahead!

Our team, made up of Ian Marshall, Roger Stewart, Michael Tweedley and Grant MacKellar, had each run the race of their lives and brought home a fantastic piece of silverware!

More winning from DHR – Inveraray Jail Break 2016

Inveraray Jail Break 2016

Lucie and Roger break out of jail

Following on from the great DHR success at the Hoka Highland Fling race on Saturday 30 April 2016, we had more winning runners on Sunday 1 May – this time at the Inveraray Jail Break race. Congratulations go to Lucie Noakes for coming in as first Senior Female, Niamh Evans as third Junior Female and Roger Stewart as third Male Vet. (It should be noted that Roger was one of the DHR relay team who won the Hoka Highland Fling Relay Race the previous day!). What a weekend!

Inveraray Jail Break 2016 - DHR winners

Roger Stewart, Lucie Noakes and Niamh Evans

Dunoon Hill Runners Relay Team win Hoka Highland Fling Relay Race!

Dunoon Hill Runners Relay Team

Ian Marshall, Michael Tweedley, Grant Mackellar, Roger Stewart (l to r)

Huge congratulations to the Dunoon Hill Runners relay team for coming first in the 53 mile Hoka Highland Fling Relay Race on Saturday 30 April 2016. An incredible achievement for team members Ian Marshall, Roger Stewart, Michael Tweedley and Grant Mackellar.

Kevin Nairn and Ricky Reid

Kevin and Ricky

In addition, a big well done to Ricky Reid and Kevin Nairn who successfully completed the Hoka Highland Fling 53 mile ultramarathon race.

A great day for the club!

Dunoon Hill Runners - first in Hoka Highland Fling relay race

Dunoon Hill Runners – first in Hoka Highland Fling relay race

Dunoon Ride and Run 2016

Team Dunoon Hill Runners
Many Dunoon Hill Runners were involved in the second Dunoon Ride and Run, a multi-stage enduro-style event incorporating a 34-mile cycle and 9-mile run broken down into eight timed sections with a break or ‘transition’ between each section. Those who weren’t participating were busy marshalling and cheering on competitors along the various stages.

And Dunoon Hill Runners took top spots in the Run Only, with Kenny Taylor coming in as winner, Roger Stewart as third overall and Lucie Noakes as first female (and sixth overall). Iain Cairns was fifth overall in a change of discipline in the Ride Only. Charlie Collins came in fourth overall in the Ride and Run, and Kate Mcghie was third female in the Ride and Run.

It was great to see some of our newer members doing extremely well out on the course too.

A big well done to all who took part, and all who supported!

Official event photos can be found here.

Roger Stewart, Lucie Noakes, Kenny Taylor, Sheila Ireland

Roger Stewart, Lucie Noakes, Kenny Taylor, Sheila Ireland

Lucie Noakes and Kenny Taylor

Lucie Noakes and Kenny Taylor



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