Friendly rivalry at one of the oldest events on the cycling calendar

Simon Woodliff leading the Runners on Irvine Moor.
Simon Woodliff leading the Runners on Irvine Moor.

One of the oldest events in the Ayrshire calendar took place on Irvine Moor on Sunday. The first Harriers vs Cyclists Christmas event took place in 1958, when the late Will Fulton, MBE, of Fullarton Wheelers and a keen follower of both sports encouraged Ayrshire cyclists to compete in a new event.

Almost sixty years on, Irvine Running Club has promoted an event that continues to be well supported by runners and cyclists alike.

This year’s event favoured the cyclists, with Brian Yates taking first place for Carrick CC, in a time of 25 minutes 16 seconds, Steven Currie of the Ivy CC, 2nd and JP Baxter of Ayr Burners 3rd. The first Harrier home was Richard Mair of Kilmarnock Harriers.

This year’s event had seven Ayr Roads members competing, with five cyclists and two of the club ladies running. The Roads did well in their respective categories with Iain Fisher, Alex McAllister and Bobby McGhee all taking a first place. Scott Knox finished in the top third of the field. The best placed Roads rider was Simon Woodliff who was eighth, in a time of 27.32. Simon has had a quiet road racing season this year, but is hoping to return to form in 2017. The club’s ladies, Toni McIntosh and Beth Macrae finished in the second half of the field, having chosen to run.

On the club run scene, Roads club members have been racking up social miles. Last week, three groups clocked up nearly 200 miles with runs taking in the northern roads with their destination Lochwinnoch by way of Irvine, Dalry and Glengarnock. Much cycling camaraderie was enjoyed with fellow club cyclists from the Johnstone Wheelers and Glasgow Ivy CCs at the cafe stop at Dunlop, before taking the homeward leg by Beith and Kilwinning.

Two mid week runs took in the Eastern byways to Muirkirk returning by way of Dungavel and Galston, with another along the Girvan Valley, returning by the coast road.

With the Christmas and New Year breaks, taking in two Sundays, the next big run will be to First foot the County Headquarters at the club’s Pinwherry Club hut on 8th January, where club members will be treated to their annual Christmas welcoming fayre, provided by Vic Possee, Gwyneth Rixon and young Iona Fisher of Carrick Academy. Iona is assisting the club as part of her Duke of Edinburgh Award’s project.