Kenny runs in Commonwealth HM

Heart op put Kenny on road to stardom

Written by Craig Christie

INTERNATIONAL runner Kenny Wilson used to finish last in his school sports races until doctors found out why – he had a hole in his heart.

Kenny Wilson breaks his half marathon PB in Cardiff

Kenny Wilson breaks his half marathon PB in Cardiff

Open heart surgery at the age of five fixed the problem and nearly 25 years later, Kenny could not be fitter and has established himself as one of Scotland’s best road athletes.

Last weekend he raced for his country for the third time, smashing his personal best in the Commonwealth half marathon championships in Cardiff.

Yet it could have all been very different for the Craigellachie-based Tamdhu distillery warehouse operator had a serious heart defect not been picked up by doctors back in 1995.

“I had a chest infection that wouldn’t clear and the doctors thought it was a heart murmur to begin with,” Kenny recalled. “Looking into it more they found there was a hole.

Kenny Wilson with his Scotland team-mates before the Commonwealth Championships in Cardiff

Kenny Wilson with his Scotland team-mates before the Commonwealth Championships in Cardiff

 

“I think it was the sound of the heartbeat. You had the normal heartbeat and the sound of the blood getting pumped to the wrong bit so it was off of that they figured it out.”

The news was a terrible shock to Kenny’s parents Jane and Allan, and they took their son to Edinburgh sick children’s hospital for a major operation that was to change his life.

“I obviously don’t remember but they cut me open, moved the ribs about to get to the heart, patch it up and put me back together again. I had the op on a Saturday and I was out by the Tuesday, then back to school two weeks later.

Kenny Wilson aged 5 with the operation scar he calls his 'zip'.

Kenny Wilson aged 5 with the operation scar he calls his ‘zip’.

“Straight away I was back into playing the kids games and playing football and I think everyone was scared to hit me with the ball in case something happened to me. Before the operation there’s videos of me pretty much finishing last in every sports day race. It’s changed a bit since then.

After two years of check-ups, young Kenny was given the all-clear to live a completely normal life.

Attending Knockando primary school, his talent for running was picked up by PE teacher Marjory Swinton, who coached him in his earlier years of athletics.

He joined Moray Road Runners, where current coaches Carol and George Sim took him under their wing and developed his running ability, soon attracting the interest of Scotland athletics selectors.Kenny Wilson

His past heart issues remained a secret until recently when the British Heart Foundation published his story on their Facebook page.

“I saw a few comments and it was good knowing other people with the same condition or similar things can see you can make a full recovery and lead a normal life and be healthy.

“If any young kids can see my story and see my progression and if that motivates them, that’s even better for me.”

The Northern Scot

RAM Athletics League Final – 09/09/2118

Sunday saw the RAM athletics final held at Queens Park stadium Inverness. Moray Road Runners qualified through the previous heats and were represented by the following athletes in their respective age categories, under 13 girls Eden Wojcik, Beth Urquhart, Nicole Taylor, Zara Gill, under 13 boys Roy Taylor, Lewis Paterson, Rhys Cantlie, under 15 girls Megan McKay, Ellyn Smith, Harriet Whelan, Niamh Grant and under 17 girls Beth Grant and Niamh Whelan .

The stadium was jam packed with both athletes and spectators and our juniors were competing against the following clubs Ellon & Peterhead, Fife, Forres, Elgin Athletics, Inverness, Nairn, Dundee, Banchory, Ross County, Caithness and Aberdeen

The event started at 1145 with the field events followed at 1200 hours by the track events. The weather was a mix of sunshine and showers with the wind making an appearance now and again.

All of the juniors performed to the best of their ability and a few new PB’s were obtained, they are a credit to the club and themselves and show the club in a great light.

Overall a good year for MRR at the RAM athletics, not only with the named athletes above but for all who took part in the previous events this year.

Maybe next year we may attract a greater representation from senior members.

Results

Report by:  Euan Cantlie

Deveron Valley Half Marathon – 09/09/2018

3 MRRs went along and ran this inaugural HM organised by Deveron Harriers.  It went from Turriff to Banff along quiet country roads with the final 3 miles being offroad, through the grounds of Duff House and we finished on the Running track of the sports centre.

Registration went well in the Sports centre in Banff, we were given our numbers and then a bus took us to the start in Turriff, unfortunately the buses let us all off in the wrong location, but after some conversation, everyone walked to the start about a mile away

MRRs running were Steve Reeve, Sally Bruce and Robert Bruce

This is a challenging course and it undulates for most of the way, so a pb is not on the cards for this course, after the morning being very wet and raining, at the start the sun came out.  We had really good running conditions.

Steve came in at 1:32:25 and finished in 6th position

Robert came in at 1:52:13 and finished in 28th position

Sally came in at 2:08:09 and finished in 52nd position

This is a good HM and will challenge you if you run it.  I would recommend giving it a go

Report by:  Robert Bruce

City of Stirling 10km

Some great running by our 3 guys at the Scottish 10k in Stirling.

The rain just stayed off but the wind certainly didn’t.  The race was stacked at the front with some of the top playing cat and mouse for the first mile.  Kenny finished a good 5th in 31.05.  New recruit Ewan ran a new pb in 32.38 and James ran a super race in a new 39sec pb of 33.11.

Race was won by Kris Jones just under 30 mins, 2nd Grant Sheldon and 3rd Euan Gillham.

Just ahead of Kenny was Ali Hay.

Well done guys🌟👍🏻

Results

Report by:  Carol Sim

Scottish Selection for Kenny Wilson

Congratulations to Kenny Wilson who is in the Scottish squad for the Commonwealth Half Marathon, that is incorporated in the Welsh half in Cardiff, on Sunday 7th October.

Another well deserved selection for Kenny after pbs in 5k, 10 mile and half marathon already this year😊.

Good luck to all in the Scottish Team👍🏻

You can read the news article below:

Scotland name team for Commonwealth half marathon

Photo: Bobby Gavin

Steph Twell will race for the first time in five years over 13.1 miles in Cardiff.

Scotland has named a team of six athletes to represent the nation at the inaugural Commonwealth Half Marathon Championships in Cardiff on Sunday, October 7.

Following the announcements from England and the hosts Wales, Scottish Athletics revealed it’s two teams of three athletes, with British 5000m champion, Steph Twell, stepping up in distance to lead the women’s trio.

Twell hasn’t raced the half marathon distance for a number of years, but after a fine track season, that included appearances in the 5000m final at Gold Coast 2018 and the European Championships, should be well capable for the challenge ahead.

Joining Twell in the Scotland selection are Fiona Brian of Metro Aberdeen and Annabel Simpson of Fife AC.

The Scotland men’s team has a strong North district presence with Kenny Wilson of Moray Road Runners and John Newsom of Inverness Harriers. They will be joined by Mike Crawley – the Corstorphine AAC athlete who has raced for Great Britain over 50K.

The event currently holds an IAAF Silver Label. The route for the race is near identical to the one used for the IAAF/Cardiff University World Half Marathon Championships in 2016. On that day several national records were set for both half marathon and 15km.

The race route is flat, fast and currently holds the British All-Comers Record for women set at 65.52. In addition to the individual championship races, the first three finishers for each team shall score. The team results shall be decided by the aggregate of times recorded by the athletes of each team.

The championships will be incorporated into the Cardiff University Cardiff Half Marathon on Sunday 7 October at 10am.

Great Aberdeen Run HM and 10km

Several MRRs were through at Aberdeen and racing in both races.

In the 10k – Kenny Wilson finishing 2nd in a course pb for him. 31.27.

For those who haven’t read Michelle’s story I have put it below 🙈

Great Aberdeen Run 10k…a lesson in how not to run a race! Arrived at 9am to find the race was just starting (not at 10am as I had thought)!! 😱 Bumped into Carol Sim who said there was still time as the JS group was away to start, so a mad dash to pick up my number from race tent and begged them to look after my stuff, stripped off in the street and had a tourist help me get changed, charged down to race line and joined the end of the last start group. Straight into the race with zero warm up, was at the front of the group by the time we got to the harbour with nobody else to run with, but found another guy who had also started late, so we raced each other round. 10k in 43.12mins…what a carry on! 😆 Good route, not a flat course, but I really enjoyed it, despite the chaos at the start! One of these days I will get my act together, but not today…

.#greataberdeenrun #ontheballasalways – Michelle

Martin Bain smashed his half pb by 5mins 1.22, just beating Alasdair Campbell.

Followed by Graeme Stephen. Bernard Salmon also pb by 30secs. Michelle Russell 2.10. Janet May👍🏻

Results

Report by:  Carol Sim

Abernethy Highland Games 10 Miler

Fantastic running by everyone.

Good turn out of moray road runners at the Abernethy Highland Games 10 mile race today.

Robbie Paterson was 1st,

Paul Rogan 2nd and 1st old man and with Martin Bain and Shirley Moray Road Runners won the team prize.

Report by:  Kirstie Rogan

The Aberlour Strathspey Highland Games 10 Mile Trail Race

The Aberlour Strathspey Highland Games 10 Mile Trail Race (to give it it’s full name) is still very much in it’s infancy, being run today for only the second time.

With my training being very much focussed on the 5K distance for the last few months, it was with some trepidation that I signed up for this ‘big’ one. However, being based in Dufftown for work last week gave me the opportunity to recce the course on my mountain bike.  Not sure if this was a good idea as the big hill scared the hell out of me! It was useful though, as I was able to decide that road shoes should be the footwear of choice.

Arriving nice and early at the Games Arena I was pleasantly surprised to see so many yellow vests, all chatting nervously at the registration area. I counted 12 in today – apologies if I missed anyone.

The half mile walk to the start line, up above the High School, had us all nicely warmed up and the starter hooter got us on our merry way at 12 noon.

The first couple of miles can best be described as ‘brutal’ – a steep, winding single track road heading up sharply towards the dark clouds above. James had set off like a mountain hare and was very quickly becoming a very small yellow dot, disappearing into the distance.. The road soon became a forestry track and then narrowed to a rocky footpath, taking us up through the trees and into the heather. Wiping the sweat from my eyes at top of the climb I was rewarded with a wonderful view across to Dufftown and beyond.

The descent took us through the pine trees and then, suddenly, opened out to a very green grassy area. It was like running across someone’s’ lawn, albeit at a 45 degree downward slope.… Great fun!

Arriving in Dufftown the sun made its’ appearance, we turned left and ran on the road briefly, passing the railway station and then veering off road again onto the Isla Way. Only 6 miles to go! A fast downhill stretch followed – all the way to Craigellachie – where we joined the Speyside Way towards Aberlour. Past the Telford bridge on our right and then tantalisingly close to the beer garden at The Highlander. From there it was just a two mile ‘sprint’ and into the Games Arena for half a lap of the track to the finish, to the adulation of the large, enthusiastic crowd!

As with most Highland Games races, arrival at the arena can be ‘hit or miss’ – get it wrong and you can end up having to weave through the massed pipe bands. All the MRRs finished unscathed with great performances from everyone.

A special mention to James for taking 1st place (and subsequently 1st place in the 880 yards and mile races too). Well done!

The course was well marked and marshalled and we were spoiled by having three water station en route. Thanks to Marie and the team of organisers and volunteers for making this such an enjoyable race. With 9 entrants last year, and 31 this year, the event is sure to go from strength to strength in future years.
And deservedly so.

Results

Report by:  Simon MacDonald

Don Ritchie obituary

Ultra-long distance runner known for setting several world records, including John O’Groats to Land’s End in less than 11 days

Don Ritchie ran his first marathon at the age of 21
Don Ritchie ran his first marathon at the age of 21

Everyone has been there — they set off in plenty of time, but something goes wrong. And Don Ritchie was in a good old Scottish fankle, stuck in a traffic jam for an hour and half on the M25, en route from Guildford in Surrey to Milton Keynes in Buckinghamshire. When finally reaching the open road his driver hit 95mph, while Ritchie climbed into the back of the car and changed into his running gear.

He arrived five minutes before the start of the race, with no time even to visit the lavatory. Ritchie was, in his own word, “agitated”. He was soon running at less than eight minutes a mile — a respectable pace for a 5km park-run race, but this was a race against the greatest ultra-long distance runners.

It was 1990 and Ritchie was 45 years old. After an hour he was in eighth place; after four hours he had taken the lead. He ate every hour, alternating a slice of white bread and a ripe banana. After some 12 hours, 56 minutes and 13 seconds he had broken the world record for running 100 miles. But he was only half-way there.

As Ritchie noted: “With about five hours remaining, I began to get twinges and pains in my lower-right quads. However, these did not become any worse so I was able to continue jogging. I was very tired and found the last three hours rather hard, so I was very relieved when the finish came.”

After 24 hours of continuous running Ritchie had covered 166 miles and 429 yards, beaten the runner-up by more than ten miles and set another record.

Ritchie was a pioneer of ultramarathon racing — running distances longer than the conventional marathon of 26 miles and 385 yards. Because ultramarathon running was in its infancy when he began, he was 39 years old before he got his first Scottish vest and 56 when he ran his last race for Great Britain. Those ultra distances included the 846.4 miles from John O’Groats to Land’s End, which he completed in a record ten days, 15 hours and 27 minutes in 1989. On this occasion the normally phlegmatic Ritchie sprinted the last stretch to the cliffs and looked like he might not stop, before yelling out and punching the air in sheer relief. He had run the equivalent of three marathons a day for ten days, but it took its toll. “[A] cold soon developed into bronchitis and this, together with stomach pains, intestinal blood loss, a sore mouth, regular nose bleeds, chest pains and torrential rains led me to feel very relieved when I reached Land’s End,” he said. He took five months to recover.

Donald Alexander Ferguson Ritchie’s working-class family came from the Govan area of Glasgow, but he was born in Haddo House, Aberdeenshire, a stately home that served as a wartime maternity hospital. After the war his father worked on farms in the north of Scotland and Ritchie’s first memories were of life in a cottage at Inverlochy, near Fort William, without electricity or a bathroom, where the lavatory was “a pail in a narrow wooden pillar-box- like structure”.

He left school just before his 15th birthday and took a job in a sawmill before training in radio and television servicing. He also began running with Aberdeen Amateur Athletic Club, competed in the Scottish cross-country championships and ran his first marathon at the age of 21. “Soon I was finding even marathons were not long enough for my liking, so in my late twenties I turned to ultra-distance running,” he said.

In the late 1960s he began an electrical engineering degree at the University of Aberdeen, which led to work in the oil industry. In 1975 he fell 33ft into the North Sea during bad weather. Not only was the water freezing, but he could not swim. He was rescued, but the accident made him reconsider his life choices. He became a physics teacher at Lossiemouth High School, where he met his wife Isobel, who survives him with his daughters: Anna, who is a teacher; and Claire, the mother of six children. His grandchildren include Sunny McGrath, who has already represented Scotland at youth level.

Ritchie later lectured in electronics at Moray College, in Elgin, and he ran regularly with Forres Harriers and Moray Road Runners.

With his receding hairline, beard and relentless, metronomic style, Ritchie became an iconic figure on the longest running courses and set world records for several distances. He said that to run ultramarathons a runner needs the right mental attitude, “ie, you must be a little crazy”. He retired from running in 2011.

Ritchie, who enjoyed hill-walking and socialising, developed late-onset diabetes and heart and lung problems. “My irregular heartbeat and atrial fibrillation are probably the result of decades of high mileage running,” he wrote.
Don Ritchie, MBE, ultramarathon runner, was born on July 6, 1944. He died on June 16, 2018, aged 73

The Times Newspaper

Dufftown 5 Hill/5 Mile Run

There was a great turnnout of dayglow vests for the Dufftown 5mile/5hill race.

A total of 7 MMRs were running and those were:

Clare Bufton, Sam Inch, Marin Bain, Steven Morrison, Kirstie Rogan, Robbie Paterson and James Wilson

There were wins for James Wilson and Kirstie Rogan.

Robbie Paterson 2nd and Steven Morrison 5th.

Great race and super turnout🏃🏼‍♀️🏃🏻‍♂️

Report by:  Carol Sim