Monday, 15 October 2018

Manor Water Hill Race and Pentland Skyline summary

Well done to those running the Pentland Skyline on Sunday (16 miles, 6200 feet total climb) in a top quality race with 250 starters. Tom Hobbs had a class run claiming the 2nd M50 (32nd 2:55:27); and Alan Elder completing the whole set of 9 Long Classics in 2018. Also running was Craig Walling for his first claim club of HBT and ex Moorfoot Benjamin Hindley from Innerleithen, running for Strathclyde Uni. Unfortunately Dave Gaffney wasn't able to make the start line after a persistent illness wouldn't budge - get better soon. Results here:

On the Saturday the day before, and a slightly more low key affair was, the Manor Water Hill Race (10 ml, 2300 ft climb) at Kirkton Manor 2 miles west of which coincides with the sheepdog trials. This is how it was explained on the Carnethy website
'Storm someone or other arrived and dumped a lot of Water on the Manor, and everywhere else too. But there was no wind and it was quite warm. The forecast was terrible but the rain more or less stopped for the race, leaving lovely views of mist wreathed hills.' 
It was very wet under foot, with long exposed sections of mud to contend with.
Colin Williams was the only first claim Moorfoot in action and after a very steady outward leg picked up  speed and a few places on the way down finishing 11th, 4th M40, finishing 2nd in the local category pipped by Adam Hayward in 9th, who moved to Peebles this summer and a Tuesday night regular since then. Katie Walling, running in HBT colours finished as 4th Woman. Well done in testing conditions.
Full results here:
Katie descending (courtesy of Didgy from Carnethy)

Sunday, 14 October 2018

Magic on the golf course.......the weather that is

The Moorfoot golf outing, kindly arranged by Mike “The Smash” McGovern, took place at Innerleithen on Sunday on what turned out to be a glorious afternoon. Warm sunshine, the most gentle of breezes, stunning autumnal colours and a quiet course all contributed to the idyllic conditions. Alas not too much of the golf, played in team pairs as a stableford* better-ball , lived up to the wonderful stage.
*(For the non-golfing readers out there stableford scoring is 1-point for a bogey, 2 for a par, 3 for a birdie, 4 for an eagle. And if you don’t know these terms ah cannae be bothered explaining them so look it up!)

Kenny “Smooth-Swing” Davidson drilled his tee shot at the opening Par 3 pin high, leaving himself an 8-foot putt for birdie. But the putt was missed and in Kenny’s own words, it was all downhill from there. Team-mate Gregor “Out-of-Bounds” Nicklauson contributed little in the way of points, but easily topped the lost balls competition.

Mike “The Smash” McGovern had to play solo after his intended playing partner Simon “double-booked” Hammond called off earlier in the week, so The Smash had no back-up player for any wayward shots or holes. But his steady golf and some booming drives meant he didn’t need any such back-up and some good points were amassed (see later).

Ian and Anne Nimmo were self-proclaimed “rabbits” with Mr Rabbit even claiming, when negotiating his handicap pre-match, to have a wee touch of mixing-ma-toesies. Mrs Rabbit said she was more at home on the squash court rather than the golf course and tbh I though she must be breeding pet spiders judging by the cobwebs on her golf bag. Nonetheless, the Rabbit pair proved to be competitive.

The final team comprised a father and daughter pair of Hugh “3-Putt”  Harvie and Kate “Sair Legs” Harvie. (Sorry Hugh, I only saw you twice – 1st tee and last green - so your moniker choice was either this or “In The Burn Harvie”.) That morning, Kate had enjoyed (or rather endured) her first winter training session with Gregor’s other half Linda and her jumps group -  a very tough session of hill sprints and hill bounding causing her to be calling for her dad quite a few times towards the end. (“Hughie! Hughie”!). With legs still a bit wobbly she maybe didn’t have the best of prep for the afternoon golf but she impressed all with her technically good swing and used her handicap to good advantage to score a couple of four-pointers.

Retiring to the Corner House for soup and a toastie, Mr Smashey McGovern also proved also to be Mr Nicey McGovern by excluding his winning score of 19 points from the announcements, awarding first prize to the Harvies with 16 points and the runners-up prize to Mr and Mrs Rabbit with 15 points. Kenny and Gregor got nothing but a deserved slagging for their measly 12 points.

A braw efternin. Cheers Mike.

Tuesday, 2 October 2018

Weekend Roundup 29-30 Sept

High Fells of Thrunton
Andrew Dancer had a storming run at the High Fells of Thrunton 15 mile trail race in Northumberland where he finished second in a really close race, just missing out on the win by 8 seconds in a race that lasted 2 hours. You can see how close it is in the video. Cracking run! Results here:

Penchrise Pen Hill Race
The event has been a popular hunting ground for the Moorfoots in the past with Darin Dougal and Julia Connor winning the inaugral race in 2011, Andy Cox finishing in top spot in 2013, and Lucas Cheskin winning 2016
However this year it was won by Colin Donnelly (who is over 55 and World Masters Silver medallist) covering the 8.4 km course (280m Climb) in 33.55 and breaking Lucas's course record by 26 seconds - what is it with these older runners
Good performances from Darin Dougal, 5th and 2nd M40 in 36.04 with Mike McGovern 9th, and 4th M40 in 36.56 - well done.
Results here:
Full photo album
Sandstone Trail Race in Cheshire
I (Colin Williams) was visiting friends and family and took in the Sandstone Trail Race in Cheshire this weekend. This is a great event which has run for 40 years and a really nice 17 mile route across the Cheshire Plain joining up the hills. Tried to run a steady pace. 26th, and 14th M40. I ran it 13 years ago when I was 30 and went faster this time.
There was a slight confusion at the finish line when I came into view and speaker announced me as a Warrington Road Runners who have the mirror image vest to us!

Moorfoots in an alternative universe - Warrington Road runners

Monday, 1 October 2018

Super Scott’s triple gold - Great Scottish Run 2018

Scott McDonald won the Scottish Half Marathon Championships in the over 50 class at the Great Scottish Run held in Glasgow on Sunday, in the outstanding time of 1:13:58, with a winning margin of one second shy of 2 minutes. This scintillating run also send Scott to the top of the UK rankings, a goal he had set himself as a new year’s resolution.

This has been a simply spectacular year for Scott who now won the gold medal and Scottish titles in three events, with the half marathon win to add to 10km road champs in Stirling, 10km trail champs in Fife he won earlier this summer, and not forgetting a silver medal on the track over 1,500m too!
Words like incredible are overused but that run was simply that with an average pace - 5:39 minutes per mile / 3:30 minutes per kilometre and split times of 5k: 17:25; 10k: 35:01; placed him 58th overall. Results here:
The last few years has seen Scott regain his running prowess – in the late 1990s he was a serious contender and tried to gain Commonwealth Games Selection. He was a sub 30 minute 10km runner, and in 1997 won the bronze medal Scottish 5,000m and raced the Olympic Champion in the elite start in the Great North Run half marathon clocking 1:04:07. Scott stepped back from competitive racing until he starting training hard again in the last three years. Since then his performances have got better and better he seems to be getting faster with age.
Here is Scott’s report on the race:
Travelling to the race, my wife Katrin and Maja gave me a lift to North Livingston station while they went out for a fun day at The Almond Heritage trust.
The train ride was relaxing and easy, arriving at the start with 50 min to spare I headed over to bag drop off and then onto the white zone with 30 min to go. Using a bin bag to keep warm it was freezing I eased my way to the front of the white Zone behind the top club runners who have run under 80min and the Elite.
Gun went off with over 8,500 runners I believe, first km is up hill and passing 5km in 17:25 in a pack of 5 we all running efficiently and relaxed at pace for the next 5km hitting 10km in just over 35 min while slowly gaining on a few runners blowing. The pack all seemed to be at the same pace and effort till 16km. At this point the stronger runner Chris from Aberdeen running club  broke away splitting the group and I found myself running the same pace all the way to the finish line with a new Age PB almost 5 mins faster than my time from the Great North Run from this time last year.
It was a great organised race, it was windy at times but being in a pack I tucked in and paced myself well with the last 5km having the wind from behind and great crowd support.
Fast course with nippy little hills in the first half but a few little down hills and flat on the return leg.
Last November I set a goal to hit the top of the rankings Men’s 50 age group for the half marathon in UK for 2018 and this was achieved yesterday in the Great Scottish Run, in a time of 73:58 58th overall and First M50.
Yours in Running

Friday, 28 September 2018

Cross Country Season almost upon us – Are you interested in the Borders XC Series or National XC relays?

Entries for the Borders XC Series (which includes the Moorfoot organised Peebles race at Haylodge) will open on Monday morning 1st October at 6 am.

The 2018/19 series has the following races:
4 November : Lauderdale Limpers
18 November : Dunbar Running Club

2 December : Moorfoot Runners
16 December : Tweed Striders
13 January : Norham Running Club @ Paxton
3 February : Teviotdale Harriers
17 February : Chirnside Chasers
10 March : Gala Harriers

Cost for all 8 races in the whole series = £16 for seniors, £10 for juniors – bargain.

National XC relays, Cumbernauld on Saturday 27 October

Each lap is 4km and if you break 15 min you are going very well. I have heard that this is great event and last year the overall entry figure hit a quite remarkable tally of 2600 in 568 teams!

Senior and V40 (or combined) teams need 4 members whereas V50 needs three runners to make up a team. At the moment we have one provisional M50 team of Kenny Davidson, Scott McDonald, and Tom Hobbs lined up but looking to see if more are interested?

You need to be a Scottish Athletics member to enter.

Please respond if you are interested in being in a relay team by Friday 5 October as entries close on Thursday 11th and there will be a bit of do to pull everything to together

However a fair bit of info is missing so probably better to look at 2017 info here: 

Just so you are aware it's the day before Jedburgh Half Marathon/10km and the day of the Jedburgh 3 Peaks Ultra.

Thursday night club training – Meeting at 7pm Kingsmeadows Carpark, Peebles. Starting Thursday 4th October

Club Training Sessions are commencing on Thursday nights starting Thursday 4th October, in addition to Tuesday nights.

The key info is:
Runners meet at 7pm Kingsmeadows Carpark in Peebles on Thursday nights.

Runs will cater for runners who can a run for 60 mins. The format of the run will be flexible and set by that week’s run leader but will typically be a continuous run with regroups if necessary (as opposed to the structured timed intervals that the Tuesday night sessions take).

The details of that week’s run type will be circulated in advance in a weekly email to membership and facebook post and will include the minimum information so that runners know how long they will be out and what shoes and terrain encountered, although more often than not the run will be taking advantage of the fab trails in the Tweed Valley.

The rota of run leaders is:
1st Thursday                                  Amy Alcorn
2nd Thursday                                 Alan Elder alternating with Paul Nichol
3rd Thursday                                  Lucy Colquhoun alternating with Kenny Davidson
4th Thursday                                  Andrew Dancer
5th Thursday (when it happens)    Dave Gaffney

The rota for the whole of 2018/19 is can be viewed here:

Occasionally a run may be proposed where the runners hop in the cars and drive to a different location for variety, but the meeting time and place will be 7pm at Kingsmeadows car park as normal.

Details for the Thursday October 4th

Run Leader – Amy Alcorn
Meeting at 7pm Kingsmeadows Carpark, Peebles.
Route - From there we will be running out to Lyne Station on the right hand side of the river following the old railway line, crossing the bridge and heading back through the estate until we hit the Sware, then back down towards the car park.
Trail shoes would be the best option and if you have lights, please bring them
It's approximately 6.5 miles, taking about 1 hour. 
See you then, Amy

A photo from a Tuesday training (with Jacob after returning from the Worlds in Andorra)

Tuesday, 25 September 2018

2018: Two Breweries - 3 Vieweries

Alan’s View

In its 35th incarnation, the Two Breweries Hill Race is no less appealing, enjoyable and downright brutal where you least want it. It’s one of those runs, where as you are hobbling back to where the hot soup lives, you curse every hill and skinny contour, every ill placed stone and reedy bog, as you lament over ill-chosen lines – and you swear (quite audibly) not to venture this way again!
But there is something decidedly lifting to have finished a big, bad one like this. There are bigger and badder ones – but as local ones go, this is quite substantial.

It’s an uncomplicated run (though many who had a mystery tour of Whitelaw Hill this year would disagree!) – One of two halves , the major ascents and descents leading down to Glenrath Farm, then the matter of the firebreak. Once the break is broken – the second half is underway and then you have Trahenna to consider – but that can wait, as you have a long drag through Tarcreish before the heather wall appears!

Once Trahenna has been overcome, there is then the maddening, wonky camber and heathery channels that lead to the top of Ratchill Hill, down which quivering quads succumb to Ratchill's rake. Topped off with a couple of kms of tarmac, this is a long haul for a bottle of beer!

It’s all pretty much run on visible tracks – with three major ‘what’s my line’ sections.

1.     Birkscairn to Glensax
2.     Stob Law to Glenrath
3.     Boat House to Trahenna

But which line? – the routes are well reccied, descents tried and tested, measured and timed and endlessly discussed over ales. Each is open to preference – Heather-louping, grassy ankle-buckling thrashes, grouse butts, fencelines or marsh-wrestling.

With the benefit if GPS (Strava) the ‘fly by’ up Trahenna, in particular, resembles a haywire collection of jumbled, colour threads. Trahenna Routes

A multitude of simultaneous judgements, each convinced that they have the perfect line – but they can’t all be correct!

Perhaps that is the attraction in a race like this, the perfect lines have yet to be discovered and we all keep coming back in search of them – convinced that next year – they will reveal themselves!

My personal experience this year was a better than my previous ones – 15 minutes quicker than last year and a 10 minute best.

A wee mention too for Priorford’s ‘Mr Edge’ who took on, and slayed the beast in his first attempt!

Simon’s View

I'd hoped for 3.30 to 4 hours and was pretty much on target until the descent from Trahenna.  Alan and Colin's recommended line of attack up the south east of Trahenna seemed to work in as much as I seemed not to lose any more places during the ascent; but it was the descent that finished me off.  I was already running on jelly legs but had twisted my already weak left ankle coming down Hundleshope which made the adverse camber on the way down Trahenna impossible to run.  Frustratingly I lost about 10 places (and probably as many minutes) in the last 2km, incl to Craig Walling who bested his cramp to power on past me like the Duracell bunny.  The most enjoyable section was the descent down Dead Wife's Grave when the sun was shining and the gradient easier on the legs.   Other than that I can safely say my lack of preparation, partly through naivety and partly through circumstance, (incl two social events on the Thursday and Friday before the race!) let me down.    In the end I managed 4 hours 6 mins.   I did my best Steve Redgrave impression at the end and promptly told my wife she had permission to shoot me should I ever suggest running it again....only to find myself the very next day plotting how best to run it next year (I've not told her yet)!

Tom’s View

‘My one and only attempt at the Breweries in 2011 left enough scars on the memory for me to discount this most local of races as ‘too hard’ and ‘I’m probably busy that weekend anyway’ – until for some reason this year I took leave of my senses completely and entered the Pentland Skyline (two previous attempts at this in 1998 and 2004). So I thought I’d better get some racing in and there I was standing on the start line at Traquair thinking ‘it’s only 7 years ago I’m sure I can better my last time at this’ and ‘I wish I’d done a proper recce’. Still the weather was good and I was sure there’d be someone to follow.

So having watched the leaders disappear up the road at a ridiculous pace it was on with the slog up to Birkscairn which apart from the head wind passes without event and on Birks Hill I pass Mike Reid of Carnethy and think hmm I’d better ease off a bit. I find a good line off (first time for everything) but am soon passed by Mike as I shuffle down the grouse butts and on to the climb up Hundleshope where I pass Mike again and a few others as well. I continue on finding good lines all the way down to Glenrath but not before Mike flies past me down to the track and I make a mental note to do some descending practice. 

At Glenrath I stop for water and to check legs deciding that I’ve maybe gone a little too hard but too it’s late to worry now and set off map in hand up through the forest. As I approach the Dead Wives I see Mike approaching from the opposite direction and am momentarily thrown by this, stopping to scratch my head. Mike reassures me that he’s made the beginners mistake and not me and continues past retracing his steps to the Whitelaw checkpoint. That’s the last I see of him until the finish although from there he makes very good time and only a few minutes behind me in the end. All goes well until I reach the bridge at Stobo. From here I had a plan to take the same route as last time by turning right onto the track for a little way and then heading up the valley on a bee line for the sheep fold. However pre-race discussion with Alan and Mike (him again) suggested that this route had become overgrown and the wise route was to head to the left of the plantations and towards the small knoll. Good idea I thought I’ll do that then - but with no one in sight to follow I soon end up in a fight with waist high grass and rushes that I rapidly lose.

 In my dreams I eventually make it onto the easy climb to the summit of Trahenna and zoom down the near perfect single track off to the road. Actually I claw my way up wishing I hadn’t been trying to race anyone (especially Mike) and stagger and trip down the minuscule off camber trod that my memory had significantly distorted over the intervening years. Then there’s just the car dodging ‘sprint’ against the clock to the finish which I lose - finishing with my watch showing 3.20 – not bad only four minutes slower than my only other attempt. Oh but then there’s another 2 minutes to add because I had forgotten to turn off the Garmin’s auto pause –maybe not quite so good then.

As I hobble up the road to the village hall I reflect upon my plan to use this race as training and decide that the Breweries is way harder than how I remember the Skyline. Cautious that I may have the rose tinted specs on - I remind myself that I’d better check out that route beforehand’.

First Lad – Andy Fallas
First Lass – Catriona Buchanan
Results - Here

For reference…….