Helix Pond Road Races: Falkirk Victoria Harriers' inaugural home event enjoys a successful start

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A ne w road race event organised by Falkirk Victoria Harriers enjoyed a successful start last Friday evening.

The inaugural Helix Pond Road Races event, which offered road racing over one mile and 3k, was attended by athletes of all ages and abilities from across Scotland.

The loop round the Helix Pond was nearly half a mile long and ideal for road racing, with a flat smooth tarmac surface and no sharp bends, and Falkirk Vics’ officials decided to get the loop officially measured and certified – with the goal of being able to offer competitive road racing in the area, with proceeds going to help the development of athletics locally.

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Friday was a bright, clear evening and the Helix Pond area looked magnificent, albeit with a very stiff breeze for the runners to deal with. The first ever Helix Pond event was split into two races over one mile and two races over 3k.

The Helix Pond Road Races took place last Friday (Photo: Alan Ramage)The Helix Pond Road Races took place last Friday (Photo: Alan Ramage)
The Helix Pond Road Races took place last Friday (Photo: Alan Ramage)

Despite the wind there was some excellent running and fast times, with Rory Muir of Cambuslang Harriers and Kelly Taylor of Bellahouston Road Runners winning the one mile event in times of 4:27 and 5:31 respectively.

Over the 3k distance, the winners were David Wright of Lothian Running Club and Kirstin Maxwell of Corstorphine AC in 9:06 and 10:37.

Prizes were also awarded to the highest age graded runs and these were won by John Thomson of Fife AC (5:39 for 86.17 per cent) and Mary Western of PH Running Club (6:02 for 97.45 per cent).

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There was a large number of Falkirk Vics in action with 17 in total taking on the home road race.

Falkirk Victoria Harriers duo Karen McAllister and Danielle Callaghan (Photo: Alan Ramage)Falkirk Victoria Harriers duo Karen McAllister and Danielle Callaghan (Photo: Alan Ramage)
Falkirk Victoria Harriers duo Karen McAllister and Danielle Callaghan (Photo: Alan Ramage)

Danni Callaghan and Niamh Brown were second and third in the one mile, separated by one second only in 5:43 and 5:44.

Not to be outdone, the Vics’ men in action were also placed second and third, with Scott Burton in 4:47 and Andrew McKechnie in 4:55.

Euan Martin was also second in the 3k, finishing in 9:16.

Karen McAllister (7:01) had the second highest age grade on the night with 86.36 per cent.

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Fast times were also recorded over one mile: Scott Ballantine (5:32) Euan McCallum (5:49) David Bunyan (9:03).

In the 3k event, fast times included: Gary McKenna (9:53) Jonathan Shepherd (11:24) Andrew Marr (11:41) Chris Torbet (11:54) Derek Esson (12:35) Jason Sinclair (12:39) and Debz Graham (14:25).

Speaking to the Falkirk Herald, race director and Falkirk Vics ace Grant Matheson hailed everyone for helping kick-off the new road race in style.

"The event was well marshalled by club members and volunteers, who were essential to the safe running of the event, but none more so than the club member Dougie Hill who had to deal with an errant swan wandering onto the race route just before one of the races,” he said.

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"The Helix Pond Races could not have taken place without the generosity and co-operation of Falkirk Council, especially Lynsey Gow, Falkirk Football Club and Stadium, Ronhill Specials for providing the prizes, Julian’s Veg for supplying the post race bananas and oranges, and the Helix Junior parkrun for loaning emergency equipment.”

Matheson also hopes that the event will become an annual fixture in the athletics calendar going forward.