THE town famed for its smoked fish was the scene of racing for female Carnegie Harriers on Sunday and a strong performance ensured they were not flapping by the seaside.
Eight members of the club travelled to Arbroath for the 26th running of the ladies-only ‘Smokies 10’ road race, organised by the Arbroath Footers Running Club, which attracted a total of 294 competitors, and the Harriers came home with two titles.
Joanna Murphy was looking to defend her win from 2016 while the club was also aiming for a second successive team prize, picked up last year thanks to the efforts of Murphy, Kristin Lownie and Gail Murdoch.
Retaining both titles was going to be a tough job for the Harriers but, almost immediately, Murphy and Lownie were joined by Fife AC’s Alison McGill to break away from the crowd and set a blistering pace from the start.
With the race utilising a tough 10-mile loop to the west of Arbroath, Murphy used the undulating terrain to her advantage, breaking away on the first hill of the day at two miles and quickly establishing a winning lead which was maintained until the finish to see her defend her title, crossing the line with a time of 1:04.15.
Lownie also had an excellent race and, finishing just a few minutes behind her team-mate, she crossed the line in third with a time of 1:07.34 to complete the podium line-up, which saw McGill sandwiched between the Harriers duo in second place.
Following that, there was a nervous wait for the remaining runners to see how the club would stand in the three-runner team award, which had been won by the Harriers six times in the previous eight years.
The club are the most successful in the race’s history and, when third Carnegie competitor Angela Sandilands crossed the line in 11th place (1:14.47), it was soon confirmed they had retained their title, beating Dundee Road Runners into second place.
Meanwhile, Murdoch also had a strong race, despite recent injury, to cross the line 15th overall in a time of 1:16.10, and secure the prize for first FV50.
Ultra running siblings Fiona Rennie and Pauline Walker were using their distance training to their advantage on the tough loop by having excellent runs; Fiona would be the first of the two over the line in a time of 1:20:48, followed by Pauline (with the amazing record of having competed in all 26 ‘Smokies 10’ races) finishing a few minutes later in 1:22.22.
A successful day for the club was completed with Lesley Halstead securing 52nd position in a time of 1:23.17 and Val Macaulay crossing the line in 1:45.17.