Islay letter with Hugh Smith

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Ardbeg half-marathon
First past the post in the island’s Ardbeg Distillery-sponsored half marathon on August 5 was Stuart Gibson of Cambuslang Harriers, who completed the course in one hour, 13 minutes and 40 seconds.

Glasgow’s John Sharp came second in 1:15:46, with Australian Michael Nitschke taking third place in 1:16:10.

Another Glasgow runner, Mary McCutcheon, took the top honours in the ladies’ section as she romped home in 1:28:03. Jennifer Read from Campbeltown breasted the tape at 1:32:07, while Joanne MacEnvoy of Calderglen followed in 1:34:12. This trio were also awarded the veteran ladies’ accolade for their winning efforts.

In the veteran men’s section, first place in 1:15:46 went to John Sharp
from Glasgow, and Peebles’ runner Craig Mattock sprinted home in 1:22:
18, just ahead of Australian Brian Watson who came third in 1:23:36.

In the super-veterans’ class, John Oates from Glasgow came first in 1:26:37, second was Calderglen’s Kenny Leinster at 1:35:14, beating Iain Shaw of Edinburgh by five seconds. Taking the over-60s veterans trophy was Glasgow’s Tommy Coyle in 1:26:8, with second place going to Ardrishaig’s Andy Law in 1:30:19 and gaining a respectable third position was Calderglen’s Allan MacLellan in 1:40:02.

Victorious local runner with a time of 1:25:45 was Josh Wood, who
also received the Jimmy J award for the youngest local course finisher. In second place was Liam Corson with a time of 1:30:13, with Roy Cameron in third position at 1:33:20.

Success smiled on local ladies with first place going to Sarah Clark in 1:48:18. In second was Cherry Faure in 1:50:26, followed by Marie
Wiggins at 2:05:07.

Local veterans completing the course were David Rountree (1:42:38), Stuart Rountree (1:42:38) and Michael Corson (1:50:29).

Terry Coyle and Co won the team event with the second prize going to the Calderglen Harriers. The Calderglen ladies also won their team event, beating Islay ladies into second.

The race, now in its 31st year, attracted more than 160 competitors from as far away as Australia, the Far East and mainland Europe. British competitors ranged from runners from the Orkney Isles to the south of England.

Weather conditions remained generally favourable and the day ended with a number of the not too footsore making their way to the Bowmore village hall where the music of the Ballochmyle Band help to ease some
of the aching joints.

Mòd Ìle
Mòd Ìle, the island’s local Mòd, is taking place this year in the high school at Bowmore on Saturday September 2, beginning at 9am.

Traditionally, the local Mòd has always been held at the beginning of June but the organisers felt that competing attractions at this particular time were beginning to affect the overall audience support.

They hope that the move to September will overcome this problem and they are more than anxious that all will turn out and give their full-hearted support to the island’s major Gaelic happening.

The programme promises a tuneful and enjoyable day and among the delights will be solo and duet singing, choral and instrumental music and bàrdachd galore, all performed before a panel of well-known Gaelic and music adjudicators who will be both constructive and encouraging in their judgements.

The day culminates with the prize-winners’ concert where the successful competitors will reprise their winning ways in the school’s assembly hall at 7.30pm.

The island Mòd was formed in the early 1920s and continued unabated until the beginning of the Second World War. It resumed in 1946 and enjoyed great support, from both competitors and audience members, during the late 1940s and into the 1970s.

Such was its impact at that time that the then An Comunn Gàidhealach officials had no hestitation in describing the Islay Mòd as ‘the best provincial Mòd in Scotland’.

So make your way to Mòd Ìle 2017 on September 2 and help recapture the glory days.

Hugh Smith, 4 Flora Street, Bowmore, Islay PA43 7JX. Tel: 01496 810 658