Harriers vs Cyclists event celebrates 60 year anniversary

Toni in running action
Toni in running action

Irvine Running Club promoted the 60th annual Harriers versus Cyclists race last Sunday.

This annual race is a fun, seasonal occasion which has been run for the past 60 years. Originally organised by the Fullarton Wheelers Cycling Club and Irvine Running Club, the race is held over Irvine Moor.

Toni McIntosh

Toni McIntosh

It is an iconic event and attracts competitors from all over Scotland. Covering a distance of five miles, the event is limited to a field of 100.

The make-up of the field over the past few years has weighed heavily in favour of the runners and it was the same this year, with the runners making up three quarters of the field of 75 competitors.

Eight Ayrshire Cycling Clubs were represented at the event and it was good to see Wallacehill Cycling Club of Kilmarnock on the start sheet, with Andrew Agnew representing this famous old Ayrshire club.

Despite the heavy rain on Saturday, conditions were reasonably firm and suited both runners and cyclists alike.

This was reflected in the times, which were faster than last year. On the day, however, it was the runners who took the first three places, with Calum McKenzie of Corstorphine Athletic Club returning a time of 26 minutes 22 seconds for the course, nearly a minute and a half ahead of second place.

Billy Richardson, of the promoting club, was the man who finished second in a time of 27:49. Billy finished in the same position as last year but well over a minute faster – although he still would have finished second with that time.

The fastest of the cycling contingent was David Hamilton, of Walkers Cycling Club of Kilmaurs, in a time of 29:22, just out of the podium places in fourth. Walkers rider Chris Shields finished eighth and ensured two cyclists were in the top 10 finishers with a time of 30:04.

Alex McAllister of Ayr Roads/Harry Fairbairn Cycling Club was just out of the top 10 by finishing in 12th place in 30:35. Alex took the first prize in his age category. Aileen Fisher, of the Roads Club, continued her winning ways by being the first female cyclist over the line in a time of 33:58, beating Lorna Sloan of the Ayrodynamic Tri-Club by a mere second. Aileen was also first in her category.

Another Ayr Roads member, Toni McIntosh, changed her cycling shoes to running shoes and took the first place for the female runners . Toni (pictured above) is a multi-Scottish Champion on two wheels but she is also a champion runner and member of Seaforth Athletic Club.

On Sunday, Toni was competing under her Seaforth colours and put up a tremendous performance to finish in a time of 32 minutes and eight seconds, which also placed her 20th overall in the field.

Meanwhile, the Roads Club was again out in force last week, at a more leisurely pace.

The midweek brigade clocked up a nice 45-mile run by way of Straiton, before taking the climb of Knockgardner Fell and the fast descent by way of Auchalton Farm to Ladyburn and on to home roads from Kilkerran.

On Sunday, ten club members recorded a 60-mile loop by way of Maybole and the Assel Valley to Pinmore.

The route was by the Byne Hill descent to Girvan and return by the coast road.