Conditions were near perfect for the 29th Blairgowrie Ne’er Day fun run and walk on Tuesday.
Event records were broken all round with smiles from everybody - even the record number of dogs which took part this year.
Event director Bob Ellis said that last year’s total for walkers was 142, and this year 174 started and finished the 3.7-mile route. The number of runners was also up from last year’s 205 to 254. The number of dogs entered was 24, up by seven on last year.
“This year’s race turned out to be a little spooky with the race winner finishing in a time of 20.13 minutes,” said Bob. “There was a hurried conversation between the timekeepers to verify if all stop watches recorded the same time, and yes they did: so the 2013 race was finished in 20.13 minutes, which was 50 seconds outside the course record.
“At 12.30 off went the walkers with their dogs, some walkers, and kiddies with other modes of transport, a couple of very small bikes and a couple on scooters, but all chatting away and enjoying the bracing air.
“Amongst the walkers were people in kilts and other modes of fancy dress.
“At 1pm the runners set off and I was doing around 15 miles an hour for the first mile trying to stay ahead of the lead runners.
“David Hunter of Perth Road Runners held the lead for around three miles with the eventual winner, Neil Gunstone of Dundee Hawkhill Harriers, on his heels, and Gordon Barrie a very close third.
“Neil then started to pull away from David and finished strongly in that significant time of 20.13 minutes, with David finishing in 20.31 min., and Gordon Barrie finishing in 20.42 min.
“Next in was Dundee Hawkhill runner Craig Love in a time of 21.25 min. but what a year he has had competing in no fewer than 101 races during 2012.
“The first local runner was Robert Harrison, who runs for Perth Road Runners and is a well known triathlete. He finished in fifth place in a time of 21.58 min., with another former local lad, Iain Anderson, just 12 seconds behind.
“Louise Provan of Hunters Bog Trotters was the first lady home recording a time of 25.43 min., with local lady Meriel Young in on 26.11 min., and Miriam Rennet of Fife AC finishing in 26.41 min.”
Bob went on to praise the efforts of one lady runner in particular.
“Over the past couple of years local shop owner, Anna Bowman, has tramped the West Coast raising many thousands of pounds for charity and she decided not to do the walk but to do the run this year.
“She stuck to a reserved pace throughout and finished well under an hour. Well done, Anna!
Praising the team of volunteers who organise the event, Bob said: “This annual event could not go ahead without the assistance and guidance of a small but very experienced team.
“The Kerr family, the Watson family, two families of Martins, and my own family all work very hard in making sure that everything goes to plan on the day.
“Whether it is at registration, marshalling, making up soup and juice, and time-keeping, they all work closely together with a smile, to make sure that all the local runners and walkers as well as visitors to Blairgowrie have an enjoyable experience.”