Strathearn Harriers got their hill-racing year underway at the weekend with three teams competing in the Devil’s Burdens relay race on the Lomond Hills in Fife.

This 20 mile race is run in four legs, starting from Falkland and run anti-clockwise via changeover points in Strathmiglo, Kinnesswood and Maspie Den, with a finish back in Falkland. Two of the legs, over West Lomond and East Lomond, are run in pairs with navigation skills needed to negotiate the best lines on difficult terrain and at times in poor visibility.

Runners from all over Scotland make the trip, including some of Britain’s best hill runners.

The race was won by an outstanding team from Shettleston Harriers, in a blistering time of 2.35.18.

Strathearn Harriers men’s team were first Harriers home, finishing in 15th position in the men’s category in a time of 3.03.04. Wattie Mackay got the team off to a storming start to come in in eighth position on the fast Leg one, handing over to Will Manners and Roger Goddard for the long hard Leg two from Strathmiglo to Kinnesswood.

This leg finishes with a steep descent into Kinesswood, and Leg three has the same equally steep ascent before the challenging cross-country section to Harperlees Reservoir and a steady descent down into Maspie Den.

Leg three for the men was looked after admirably by Andy Greaves and Sandy Storey, making his Devil’s Burdens debut, with Charlie Grimson also making his race debut for the short sharp belt up and down East Lomond on Leg four.

The women’s team finished in 4.00.08, in eighth position in their category.

Maddy Watson, in her first year as a Senior runner, ran well on Leg one, handing on to Ruth Howie and Rhian Evans, making a welcome return to racing after injury.

Ruth was another one making her race debut and thoroughly enjoyed her outing, showing again her strength and commitment which the club has come to learn as being a hallmark of all her endeavours.

Experienced orienteers Cathy Tilbrook and Fran Loots took over for Leg three, handing over to Rachel Gallagher for the glory leg to the finish.

The mixed team had to undergo some last-minute juggling with Ruth Clark stepping up to take on Leg 3, and Maddy Watson doubling up from her efforts for the women’s team to run Leg 4 for the mixed team.

Fiona McDonald led out with a fine run on Leg 1, handing over to veterans Jim McConnell and Tony Wayte on Leg 2.

Jim and Tony started a few minutes behind Ruth and Rhian in the women’s team and almost closed the gap, with the two teams finsihing withion seconds of each other at Kinnesswood.

Julia Greenlees and Ruth Clark took over to the run to Maspie Den, and the race was competed by Maddy Watson with the performance of the day to bring the mixed team home in 4.06.11. The Harriers Club Championship kicks off on March 1 with the club 5k race. If you’re interested in running and want to know more about the club, visit the website at strathearnharriers.org.uk.