It is a tribute to the stamina and determination abounding in Scottish running that any run is a good run despite the conditions and so, proving this point, competitors and marshals alike turned out to attend the sixth Annual Inveraray Jail Break on a windy, rainy freezing spring day. The marshals booted and suited up in waterproofs and winter clothes cheered, encouraged and supported the frankly soggy runners every step of the way. The point-to-point 4.5 mile race leaves the Jail in Inveraray and finishes at the Castle with a wee hill in between to challenge the legs. The wee hill is Dun na Cuaich standing at 250m above the Estate grounds and the town itself. Despite the weather children and adults stiffened their sinews and did what runners do best and went for it in fine style. The joy of this race is the “races within a race” as each runner tackles their own challenge albeit a PB, a course record, getting up and down in one piece or just beating that guy in front. The event has become a real community race with more locals entering each year and carrying off some of the prizes.
The race is sponsored locally by the Jail and the Duke and Duchess of Argyll kindly provide the lovely hill and finish venue. The race was dominated by last year’s winner and course record holder Michael Deason (Shettleston Harriers 26.50) who was 2.22s ahead of Thomas Smith (Lochaber Athletic Club 29.12) who was second over the line and first male V40. Third runner in was Michael Sweeny (Helensborough Athletic Club 29.56).
The first female down the hill and over the finish line on the castle grounds was Emily Bowie who was also first junior female, (38.35) setting a new record, the only record to fall in the senior race on challenging conditions underfoot. Sandra Houldsworth (Renfrewshire 38.56) was close behind winning the female senior category beating local runner Penny Hawdon (Inveraray jogscotland 39:49).
Penny in addition to her second female senior place was first local female. The third senior female, from Perth was Lisa Blackley (40.06).
Freya Corner from Inveraray jogscotland was second Junior female (41.12). The first local male over the line was Duncan Pepper (Inveraray jogscotland 34:39) . The first male junior was Callum Clement (Tyndrum 39.57). The V40 male category as ever was very competitive with second over the line Thomas Smith winning followed by Roger Stewart (Dunoon Hill Runners 34.24) and then Mid Argyll Triathlon and Cycle Club’s Ian MacNicol (36.38). There was an enthusiastic reception to the winner of the female V40 Liz Taylor Feeney (Jogscotland Mid Argyll and Inveraray 43.28), second V40 was Heather Gorman fresh from the Gigha challenge (43:42), and another popular prize going to Morag MacNicol joining her husband as third in category. Paul Honey won the V50 for the home crowd (Inveraray jogscotland 43.03), second was Jim Cunningham (Prestonpans-44.05). The V50 female category was won by Mid Argyll jog leader Elaine McCann (43.49), second place was Fiona Corner (46.44) race organiser and Inveraray jog leader, Margaret Sinclair (Campbeltown running club 49.20) took third place. This year the organisers introduced a team prize accumulating three runners’ times to give an overall total. Team Awesome (Thomas Smith, Paula Laidler and Derek Laidler) set an impressive bar to beat of 1:50:06. The most obvious race within a race was won by 7 Scots Alisdair Bisset (33.12), the regiment follow the training route of their forebears who ran the hill as training during the time they were stationed in Inveraray in the second World War.
If the records were hard to beat in the wind and rain lashing the top of the hill the younger athletes were making mincemeat of all the previous records in the junior runs. The Junior Jail breakers had a 3-mile course with a 70m hill to tackle. Last year’s winner Cameron Campbell (Campbeltown Junior Running Club 16.15) took 54s off the course record he set last year. The female winner Cara Gorman (19.29) from Gigha also beat her last year’s course record by 2s. The second boy down was Gregor McGeachy (Mid Argyll Athletics Club-18.48) joined by fellow club member Joseph Harper (19:02). Second girl was also from the Lochgilphead athletics club Rachael Johnston (21:03) very closely followed in by Niamh Evans (Dunoon Hill Runners 25:05).The first local boy in the JJB was Glenn Agutu (19.02) and first local female was Iona McCulloch (26.26) The youngest competitors held their own over a stony, wet 1.9 mile course with a 30m elevation. Overall winner was Gregor Campbell (Campbeltown Junior Running Club- 12.15) again taking the course record down as did Eilidh Cameron (Inveraray Kids on the Run Club 14.16).
Eilidh was first local female in this race and Archie MacColl Smith a popular runner with the Inveraray Kids on the Run Club was first local male (20.41). Second male in the KOTR was Daniel Teape (Taynuilt (12.40) and third was Euan Charlwood, another Campeltown Junior running club member(13.28). Yet another Campeltown runner was second girl Violet Campbell (14:58) with Jilly Lefebvre from Mid Argyll Athletics Club third (15:13).
Fiona Corner, race organiser would like to thank everyone for the participation and help. The conditions were really dreadful but everyone was fantastic, stayed safe and very encouraging.