THERE was a battle for honours at Sunday’s Arran half marathon between a number of Ayrshire’s leading runners with a closely contested race finishing with Irvine’s Paul Lafferty taking fourth place overall and second in the male senior category with a time of 1:19:06 behind the winner Bruce Carmichael of Bellahouston Road Runners (1:14:54).

The course, which is a loop that starts and ends at Blackwaterfoot on the west coast heading north then inland across the Machrie moor before turning back along the String road to the finish, is known for being a challenging one with a number of long gradual ascents. In a closely fought race a small leading pack, which also included local rivals, second placed Kenny Neil from Ayr Seaforth and third placed Scott Martin from Kilmarnock Harriers, pushed the pace along and only in the latter section of the race were they able to pull away from Lafferty who continued his excellent form. It is likely that battle between the trio will be re-engaged at next weekend’s Girvan half marathon which constitutes the Ayrshire Championship for this distance.

The Calderglen 10k trail race which was held on Friday evening in East Kilbride proved to be a challenging but enjoyable outing for a small group of Irvine runners. The course is a tough, technical route through Calderglen with recent rainfall having made the ground muddy in parts and a fast start through a steep downhill was followed by tight turns and some significant energy sapping climbs over the first two miles with the tightness of the trail making it difficult to overtake and the section also interspersed with a number of sets of steps which broke stride. The middle section of the race the terrain was flatter and afforded some better running before the course looped back through the narrow section of the glen prior to the finish. First home for Irvine was Mark Livingstone in 18th place in a time of 41 minutes and 20 seconds, with John Miller next to finish with a time of 46 minutes and 7 seconds for 41st place and vet 65 Peter Taylor also having an excellent run to finish in 90th place in a time of 53 minutes 29 seconds on his debut at the race. The race was won by Robert Gilroy of Cambuslang Harriers in 35:18.

There was a good turnout of Irvine runners at the Parkrun on Saturday morning.

Paul Lafferty was the first home with a time of 17 minutes and 38 seconds, which was remarkably the fourth time he has recorded this exact time, which equals his personal best, in the last three months.

Next to finish for Irvine was Alan Douglas (19:37) in fourth place with Stephen Carlyle having a fine run to finish one place behind in 19:53, and Jim Sneddon not far back in ninth place in 20:49. John Surgenor (21:34), Joe McNamee (22:10), Mike Flinn (23:15), Jim White (25:12), Liz Colquhoun (26:59) and junior athlete Lucas Anderson (35:29) all ran well to complete the Irvine participants.