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Second virtual challenge after club runners miss out on London Marathon trip

By Contributor

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April 26 should have been the day of the London Marathon and a number of runners from North Highland Harriers (NHH) had been due to take part after receiving club places, “good for age” places, charity places and even an elusive ballot place.

However, instead of London, NHH members took part in the second run of the club’s virtual challenge. This time it involved a 5k for those aged 14 and over and 3k for the mini-Harriers, with a remarkable 75 participants.

First male in the challenge was second claim member Andrew Douglas, an international athlete, and he completed the 5k in an amazing time of 14.52. Second male was Kenny Macgruer and third male was David Spencer.

First lady for the second week in a row was Sophie Dunnett, followed by Hannah Paterson in second place and Martine Hughes in third.

First junior was Reece Munro (with a big 3k personal best), second junior was Andrew Stockan and third junior was Ryan McNeill.

Beth (in white) and Elsa Stockan on their 3k run as part of the North Highland Harriers' virtual challenge.
Beth (in white) and Elsa Stockan on their 3k run as part of the North Highland Harriers' virtual challenge.

With the cancellation of events and the postponement of training in person, some NHH members have been sharing their experiences of keeping focused and running amid the lockdown restrictions.

Hannah Paterson was due to run the Boston Marathon on April 20. Boston is the world’s oldest annual marathon and its “good for age” times are difficult to meet.

Hannah said: “The qualifying time for my age group was three hours 30 minutes and I was delighted to get a place at Boston with my Stirling Marathon time of three hours 27 minutes 55 seconds. When the marathon was postponed, I decided to still do something to challenge me and ended up running 20 miles in my garden, going round and round and round on uneven grass which proved to be a bigger challenge than the marathon.”

Hannah plans to run at the rearranged Boston Marathon in September and will continue her training to ensure she reaches Boston in the best fitness.

Fiona Bremner is a teacher at Thurso High School and has been using the time that she would normally spend driving to work to run. She has been going off-road using a cliff-top course close to her home, helping her to strengthen her ankles.

Fiona said: “We are so lucky to have a beautiful landscape on our doorstep and at this time I am appreciating it more. There are lots of people out walking and running and I always make an effort to say ‘hi’ – social distancing doesn’t mean you can’t exchange a friendly hello.

"All this extra running means I will need to treat myself to a new pair of trainers soon.”

A number of Harriers have been taking the opportunity to do the important cross-training which often gets missed when training for big events. People have attending classes virtually, such as Amy Sutherland’s Dawnbreakers class, as well as cycling, turbo training and walking.

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