VIDEO - East Dunbartonshire half marathon and fun run

RUNNERS of all ages and abilities took to the streets around Kirkintilloch and nearby villages for the Neil McCover Memorial races.

In Sunday’s half marathon more than 340 participants enjoyed the perfect, cold morning to compete in the second running of the race.

Neil McCover Memorial 1/2 Marathon'Ladies members of the Kirkintilloch Olympians racing club in full force , supported by EDC P Una Walker'7th October 2012'Pic: Roberto Cavieres

Neil McCover Memorial 1/2 Marathon'Ladies members of the Kirkintilloch Olympians racing club in full force , supported by EDC P Una Walker'7th October 2012'Pic: Roberto Cavieres

It is held in memory of Neil, the former chair of Kirkintilloch Olympians and serving police officer, who was tragically killed in a cycling accident in 2010.

Many of Neil’s former colleagues participated in the event and the race was supported by Strathclyde Police who helped in ensuring the safety of all the runners.

The race was won by Robert Gilroy, one of Scotland’s top distance runners. He finished the 13.1 miles in 1 hour 11 minutes, nearly a minute ahead of Andrew Little.

In the women’s categories, Claire McArthur was a clear winner; her time of 1 hour 23 minutes being three minutes faster than Ann Hood and local runner Alex Lamond who battled for the second and third places. All the main winners were presented with their prizes by Provost Una Walker.

This year’s race also saw the British Masters Athletics Federation bring their half marathon championship to Scotland and, along with the Scottish Veterans race, this was the first occasion in recent times that East Dunbartonshire has played host to such major events.

Race organiser Robert Rogerson, from the Kirkintilloch Olympians athletics club, was delighted with the turn-out and the high quality of the field.

He said: “Across most age categories there were some real battles and the athletes had to work hard on this exacting course to achieve their goals.

“It was great to have runners from across the UK come and appreciate a warm welcome from local people.”

Many runners were able to take advantage of the conditions and the excellent support along the course to set best times.

Ollie Scott, one of the runners from Lenzie, described the morning as “an amazing event”.

“It was my first half marathon ever and I was very pleased with my time,” he said.

Ewan Jack, from Central AC, who last year set the Guinness World Record as the fastest doctor at this race, showed that without his white coat and stethoscope he runs faster! Ewan finished in ninth place, in a time of 1 hour 16 minutes.

The day’s events were not only about fast times. During the half marathon, the family 3k attracted more than 40 runners of all ages, with Aidan Kane winning in a time of 10 minutes three seconds.

And in advance of the half marathon, Margaret McCover and her friend – a former colleague of her husband Neil – walked and jogged the half marathon, finishing in time to welcome runners at the finish line.

Margaret also presented the special trophy donated by Strathclyde Police for the fastest serving or retired officer who completed the race. For the second time, Cameron Wilson was the recipient of the Neil McCover Trophy. See next week’s issue for the results.

See next week’s Herald for more coverage and results.

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