IN THE last hill race of the club championship, four Strathearn Harriers made the trip to Killin for the Meall nan Tarmachan hill race, in glorious Scottish autumn conditions, with wall-to-wall sunshine, dry terrain underfoot, and a Munro to climb.

The route starts at a height of about 450m up the Lawers Road and climbs the SW ridge of Meall nan Tarmachan, with a brief jaunt along the ridge before hurtling down from Meall Garbh to finish along the quarry tracks.

The race was won by Sam Alexander of Westerlands CCC in a time of 51.33. First harrier home was Aaron Dawson finishing in an excellent fifth position, in a very fine time of 57.52. Andy Gallagher continued to show his strength on the hills with a fine 1.08.46, in 23rd position, and Mark Dillon finished in 1.21.43.

The women's race was won by Jennifer Gane in a time of 1.12.07. Rowan Dillon was the sole harriers representative in the women’s race, finishing in a time of 1.42.20.

The following day was the penultimate championship race for 2016, at the Neil McCover Half marathon, organised by Kirkintilloch Olympians, and run in perfect conditions on quiet back roads round Kirkintilloch, Milton of Campsie and Lenzie. The race gave us two excellent personal best times, with Wendy Taylor leading the way in some style with a superb 1.32.38, and Lauren Fairweather finally breaking the two-hour mark with a very satisfying 1.57.44. Wendy’s time earned her fourth position in the women’s race, and first in the FV40 category.

First male harrier home was Tony Wayte, in a season’s best of 1.34.07, fourth in the MV55 category. Next in was Nicola Watson, training hard for the Glen Ogle 33 in November and with many, many miles in her legs, finishing in 1.45.17, also fourth in her age category. Mark Dillon put in an awesome effort to run, having raced the Meall nan Tarmachan hill race the previous afternoon, and finished in 1.54.07. Lauren Fairweather crossed the line to great acclaim, beating her half marathon best time by three minutes, and Colin Tipping was proving there’s life after 70 with a fine 2.17.08. Unfortunately, Aaron Dawson had to withdraw early in the race with an injured knee.

The men's race was won by Crieff 10k record holder Robert Gilroy in a time of 1.11.43.

Aaron's excellent effort at the Meall nan Tarmachan race move him into third place in the men's championship, a little over four points behind Wattie Mackay and Andy Gallagher. Mark Dillon continued his outstanding 100 per cent effort, racing all the championship races, plus his two wildcard races, for fifth position. In the women’s championship, Wendy Taylor is secure at the head of the table, with mother-and-daughter pairing of Nicola and Maddy Watson in 2nd and 3rd places.

Meanwhile, down on the Pentland Hills, Iain Thomson was taking on the Pentland Skyline race. This is one of the classics of Scottish hill running, comprising a 16 mile circuit of the Pentland Hills just south of Edinburgh, with 6200 feet of ascent and some fairly brutal ups and downs.

This year's race was won by Kris Jones of Dark Peak Fell Runners, in a new record time of 2.15.52. The harriers were represented this year by Iain Thomson, who was happy with his time of 4:12:16, beating his pre-race target by nearly 10 minutes.