Saturday 31st March was a day and a half, to remember. Team Harmeny trekked out to deepest, darkest East Lothian for the annual John Muir Way Ultramarathon and relay.
31 miles along the coast from Port Seaton to Fox Lake Adventures near Dunbar. After a strong club showing last year, an enlarged contingent battened down the hatches and headed out into the growing gloom. The weather forecast was for rain, possibly sleet or snow for most of the day, with a strong headwind. As it was, the forecast was largely right, but it wasn’t until the racers headed out onto the exposed coast towards North Berwick into a wind that was straight out of Vladivostok, that we realised how big an ask the day was going to be. The race’s first half was defined by the searingly cold head wind, the second half by the mud-bath it was. It was most definitely a day that had to be, ‘toughed-out’.
Lucy Marshall had hoped to be part of a winning formula with Phil Buckley as a mixed relay team, but was laid low with lurgy in the run up to the race, but in the story of the day Sandra Beattie stepped into the breach to form Harmeny AC’s very own ‘Torvill and Dean’ dream team, and smash out a sterling second place onto the podium. Just back from a long lay off with injuries, Sandra ran a storming first leg to unleash Phil Buckley to banish his demons from last year and put them to the sword on the long leg into Fox Lake which he ran like they’d just sounded, ‘Last Orders’. Team Rutherford came in 13th, and Team Sandeman came in 16th. The photo of the day (see below) belonged to Team Scaife/Laidlaw with a relay handover, that just epitomises this club.
All for one, and one for all.
In the women’ race, Caroline Cole continued her good results with a 31st place, with Pam Williams returning to quash her disappointment of last year with 36th. Kim Kenny shepherded newbie ultra-runner Hannah Walsh to thoroughly respectable 38th and 39th places respectively.
The men’s race was an, ‘eye-balls-oot’ extravaganza right from the get go. In the end Angus Robertson (nee Maloney) claimed tenth place, followed closely by Sam Walsh in 12th. Graeme Stewart climbed one place from last year to break into the Top Twenty by the skin of his nose. Paul Campbell came in 24th, Keith Paterson in 25th, then the, ‘Big Man’ David Alexander came in 30th. Gary Connelly finished in 60th place and Donald, ‘Enter the~’ Sandeman came 63rd. Alan Hardie came 70th and Ian Smith came in 92nd.
My apologies if anyone got missed off, I had to go with the ones that were entered as Harmeny in the results. It definitely wasn’t a day for PB’s with most folk just glad to finish without dying, but huge congratulations to all who finished and to our podium ‘poster-team’ of Beattie-Buckley. There was club encouragement and support in abundance, and most often at some of the lowest points making it all-in-all a great day to be part of our club. Like Jedburgh, this race is more than likely going to become a firm favourite with our members and at the request of the race organisers the Club Development Officer, Graeme Stewart is stepping up as the living embodiment of the race meme. So watch the race webpage and social media for beardy-shenanighans.