Round the Houses gets up and running

The 47th annual Round the Houses and 8th Jim Dingwall Memorial 10km road races took place on Sunday in dry but cold conditions.

Widely recognised as one of Scotland’s pre-eminent road races, the event is promoted by the Falkirk Victoria Harriers athletics club and Falkirk Community Trust.

Over 820 athletes from all over Scotland crossed the finish line across both the 2km fun run and main 10km race. Amongst the entrants were some of the countries finest 10km runners, charity fundraisersand those tackling their first 10km as well as a large contingent of students rin the Scottish Universities 10km Championships.

Races were started at mid-day when Provost Pat Reid and Councillor Joan Paterson, set 120 runners on their way in the 2km fun run. The traffic free routefollowed the final 2km of the 10km race on Inchyra Road and allowed the many spectators to offer encouragement to the participants before they finished on the athletics track within Grangemouth Stadium. Last year’s winner, Sol Sweeney from Strathearn Harriers, won in six minutes 50sec with Michael Swinton (Edinburgh AC)’s 7.02 in second place and Josh Abbott (Gala) 37 seconds behind in third. First female home in 4th overall with an excellent run was Falkirk Victoria Harriers’ Jessica Christie, third last year, finishing in a time of 7.42. Jessica was closely followed by fellow Vics, Scott McIntyre and Kane Elliott.

The buoyant atmosphere continued in the main 10km, and as athletes following the lead car supplied by Beancross Mercedes Garage quickly found their stride a tremendous individual competition quickly unfolded. Though temperatures remained just above freezing the pace at the front picked up, with Robbie Simpson and Neil Renault locked together 2km from the line go. Simpson’s strength in the bitter wind proved decisive as the Deeside runner pulled away to win by five seconds in 30.54. Closely behind in third place –taking the Scottish Universities 10k Championships - was Michael Crawley from Edinburgh in a time of 31.03. The leading master athlete (over-40) and returning 2012 masters winner, Kerry-Liam Wilson (Ron Hill Cambuslang) finished in 5th overall in 31.39.

Falkirk Victoria Harriers, were also well represented. Presented to the first FVH athlete home, the Dingwall Quaich was won by Ben Stevenson, 14th in 33.23, closely followed by last year’s winner Barry Paterson, 17th with 33.57. Stevenson was also representing Edinburgh Uni, who won the Men’s Team race. Kenny Rankine, a former winner of the old Falkirk People’s Half Marathon was third in the Masters’ over-50 age group, finishing in 37.20.

The women’s race was a clearer affair and produced a wonderful run from local Falkirk Victoria Harrier, Fiona Matheson, finishing 1st place with another excellent performance. Fiona recorded a fast time of 35.34with Lyndsey Morrison (Central AC) well beaten in second in 36.21 and Garscube Harriers’ Lesley Chisholm a close thrd in 36.34. Falkirk Victoria Harriers narrowly missed out in the Senior Women’s race which was won by Corstorphine AC.

Top performances from Falkirk Victoria Harriers included Julie Nimmo’s massive personal best, winning the U17 race in 41.05. Peter Moffett took 19th place in the Senior Men’s in 34.42, with Mike McQuaid finishing third in the Men’s Masters-45 race in 35.24. Gary Smith followed with 35.30, 22nd in the Senior race.

With fun and charity runners continuing to pour across the finish line up to an hour and fifteen minutes from the start, the organising and support the event had received was evident. Life Fit Physiotherapy providedpost-race massage for a donation to Strathcarron Hospice which also received a portion fromthe entry fees.

The Vics would like to thank all contributors and helpers, management and staff of Grangemouth Stadium and St Andrew’s Ambulance crew who were on hand to help. Special thanks go to Race Director, Andrew Stevenson, and his team – the race couldn’t have gone ahead without them or Thanks to major sponsors Life Fit Physiotherapy, Behind The Wall, INEOS, Tesco, Metsa Wood, Run 4 It, Lucozade, McDonald’s and ASDA for their continuing support, and also the local police who ensured the runners could complete the course safely.