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Looking back on the day "The Hareys" came to Pitlochry.


writes Shane Fenton

Many of you will recall that in 2018 the athletic events at the Pitlochry Highland Games were boosted by the participation of around 30 competitors male and female from Cambridge University Hares and Hounds AC.
They were in the Highlands for a training camp which coincided with the games. With not much happening at present i decided to look back on that day and i have found some interesting follow up and feedback.

The groups star performer emerged as Ollie Fox, Wells City Harriers AC. Ollie won the SHGA Scottish 1600 metres Championship as well as the 3200 metres handicap from the 30m mark, this must have been the most runners in a 3200 metres handicap in the history of Highland games!.
What i didn't know until the other day, is that within a a couple of months of Pitlochry, Ollie went on to represent GB & Ireland in both the European and World Cross Country Championships in Holland and Denmark repectively.  Sadly, the 22 year olds promising future GB career is on hold due to an illness.

I also found a blog of their Highland adventure, and no doubt their highlight was, the Games, descibing the atmosphere as incredible.[Where have we heard that said about Pitlochry before]. They found the races different to anything they had previously participated in ''with some harsh handicapping''. Below is the excerpt of the blog from their day at the Games.

The weather for the week was suspiciously good, with bright sunshine, mild temperatures and such limited rainfall that you would forget you were in Scotland if it weren’t for all the kilts, bagpipes and haggis.
Saturday was the day of the Highland Games, starting with a pipe band procession through the streets of Pitlochry. The atmosphere was incredible, with 3000-4000 spectators over the course of the day, but somewhat different to most races we had ever participated in, not least because of the announcement on arrival that all the races were moved forwards by 90 minutes. They were all held on an unorthodox 320m grass track, and many of the races took a handicap format with athletes starting at different distances in front of the fastest on paper.

Ollie Fox ran every event ranging from the 90m to the 3200m (with some harsh handicaps) and won three races (the 3200m, the 4x160m relays and the scratch (no handicap) 1600), earning himself the title of Champion of the Highlands over 1600m, and a good bundle of cash. Dom Jaques did almost all the events but missed the start of the 400m, while James Ackland won the handicap 1600m. Joe Massingham and Niamh Bridson Hubbard took second and third in the 3200m handicap race that saw Nancy Scott, MacGregor Cox and fresher Phoebe Barker take the last three money prize winning places. That evening we celebrated by making 15x Delia Smiths recipe for pancakes, and made a trip to the local pubs to splash some of the cash we had earnt (always putting back into the local economy).


Published: 2020-04-21 13:43:39