The weather was kind to the 103 Inveraray Jail Break competitors ranging from six years upwards for the 2017 race. In fact a little too kind as the adult runners wound their way up to the top of a very warm Dun na Cuaiche. The race is quite unique in featuring a start line with elite Scottish hill runners setting off with very young athletes possibly in the first mixed terrain race of their lives.
There was a great turn out from local athletes and those from a little further afield. Ward Linney from Herefordshire Wye Valley Runners competing for the third time was the furthest travelled as far as we could tell. There is always a story for each competitor and this year was no exception. The adult race had the largest start line so far with 74 runners. Michael Deason of Shettleston Harriers (MS) won the 4.5 mile race with an elevation of 250m for the fourth time in a time of 26:25, James Espie (27:22) from Deeside Runners almost didn't make it to the start line as he hadn't realised pre registration was necessary. However due to our policy of preferring to transfer withdrawals he was entered and ready for the challenge. Jon Hammerman (29:24) was also a late entry (there may be a pattern here!) only signing up two days before the race when his daughter Abi (winner of the Junior Jail Break) also got a place. In the V40 category Martin Beastall from Jura (31:43) was taking no prisoners as he improved his time from last year by a massive 3 minutes 15s and his position from second to first. James Speakman was second over the V40 line in 33:02 with a long time Jail Break competitor Roger Stewart from Dunoon Hill Runners matching his last year's place but improving his time by 59s. Runner Neil Muir (32:50) of Perth Road runners was clearly first MV50+ with Neil Anderson (34:39), Linlithgow another late entrant scooping second MV50+. Mark Doyle, 7 Scots followed in 37:43.
The female senior competition created a double for Shettleston Harriers with Jessica Martin not only scooping up the first prize but a new female record of 31:54. Not content with the prize haul so far Shettleston Harriers took the team prize and the course record (01:28:36) with Jessica, Michael and Aden Peters. The second senior female was Rachel Newstead 43:03) with Joanne McEvoy (34:35) from Calderdale Harriers third. Local (well, Lochgilphead) girl Ailsa McCrae (44:29) took the FV40 crown ahead of second place runner from Loch Tayside Kate Foster. Lynne Zabeck (46:57) was third and thrilled! In the V50+ race Frances Ferguson (37.23), Calderglen Harriers was placed first with Jocelyn Richard (39:34) a popular Campbeltown runner in second, almost local girl Angela Wilson (43:56) Dunoon Hill Runners was third. The 4th female to cross the line overall was Cara Gorman competing in the adult race for the second time and a former Junior Jail Break runner winning the junior category. First locals home and very happy with a fishy prize with Garret Corner (38:08) and Gillian Tierny-Clark (42:52).
Andrew Wallace was first member of the 7 Scots battalion over the line winning the Quaich again in 32:57.
The children's races had an amazing turn out with Callum McDonald (16:11) taking first Junior Jail Break prize, first local male and a new record to boot. Jake Gillespie (16:53) was second followed by Andrew Winter of Inverclyde Athletic Club (17:01). The girls were not to be outdone with Abi Hammerman (18:40), Inverclyde Athletics Club following Dad onto the podium with Rachael Johnston (21:21) in second place and Aoife MacGuire (22:34) in third place. Izzy Crawford (25:54) was first local female.
The Kids on the Run race was as usual fast and furious keeping the time keepers on their toes with winner Kyle Danson running the 2km course in 12:57, Finlay MacLean (13:25) was second and Andrew Nicol (13:39). Just behind Finlay came our local girl Eilidh Cameron (13:20) who has been competing in the KOTR race since it started winning first female and, second was Kirstie Renton (14:50) from Campbeltown Running Club and local runner Ashley Lindsay-MacDougall (18:09) was thrilled to be third. Also deserving of a very honorable mention are Tam Campbell of 7 Scots and Catriona Semple who were the Top Marshals choice for the smiliest runner spot prizes, a prize well worth winning!
For the more geeky amongst us and that includes me, the stats are that we had three Shettleston Harriers including two winners, five Calderglen Harriers, three Dunoon Hill Runners, three Falkland Trail runners, two Inverclyde Athletics club (and two JJBs) two Perth Road Runners, two Lomond Hill Runners, two Lochtayside runners and TEN inveraray jogscotlanders.