Wednesday, 19 September 2018

Q&A with Jacob Adkin

Following his 6th place in the World Mountain Running Championships on Sunday, and as he heads this week to 
Keswick to live and train (and unfortunately to race for Keswick AC), here is a Q&A with the Moorfoot Mountain 

This has been a breakthrough year for you. What has made the difference?
Ultimately it’s down to how much more enjoyment I get back from running now and having a full year free of 
injury. Previously, training could feel like a chore at times, particular when juggling university life as well, but recently
 I have been able to appreciate the sport for what it is and how much it can give back. This is both in terms of the 
physical side of running, but also the brilliant people I have met along the way. I have been very lucky to have spent 
a good portion of this summer living and training in Chamonix in the French Alps, as well as travelling to races in 
amazing places, and this has only amplified the experience. I have also been fortunate to benefit over the last few 
years from the Borders Athlete Support Programme which helped me through previous  injuries and support from 
Salomon UK.

What has it been like working with your new coach Robbie Simpson (Commonwealth Games marathon 
bronze medallist) and what have you learned from him?
I have always been inspired and motivated by Robbie’s work ethic, commitment and outlook of the sport. Having 
chatted to him at races and on trips, he has so much great advice and knowledge which he willingly shares to help 
others. As a friend as well as a coach it works really well, creating a dynamic training situation which allows me to 
adapt things if necessary, while still maintaining the quality. I have gained a lot more confidence in my running and 
racing through working with Robbie. The knowledge he has gained from racing at the very top is invaluable. 

What did it feel like standing on the start line in your first senior World Champs?
I felt a little nervous, but mostly relaxed as I knew I had done everything I could to be on that start line amongst 
some of the world's best mountain runners. Wearing your country’s vest gives you a sense of pride like no other, 
and I was just looking forward to testing myself in my first senior world championship race. 

What was your race plan and did you stick to it?
These races always start fast. Having seen most of the course in the days beforehand, and with the finish line at 
a high altitude, I knew a more conservative start was more appropriate. Sticking to this, I was able to work my way 
through the field over the first half of the race, obtaining a good position to then work hard over the last tough climb 
to the finish. Overall, the plan went to plan!

How did it feel when you crossed the line in 6th place?
It didn’t hit me straight away - I was too exhausted! From fellow GB teammates cheering me on I knew I was up 
to 6th, but I was so focussed on trying to catch the runner ahead (Norwegian Johann Bugge was first European 
home just six seconds ahead) that I finished without registering the bigger picture. Only afterwards when speaking 
to teammates and the managers did it start to sink in! 

For the running nerds out there, what did your final training week look like.
Tapering down in race week is always tricky, as the nerds will know! 
A short run on Monday after a final hard weekend the week before. Then another easy run (c.1hr) on Tuesday with 
strides. A short hill rep session on Wednesday (3min reps) followed by a short easy run on Thursday before 
travelling. A chill run on the first half of the course on the Friday, and a final easy run with strides on Saturday 
before the race on Sunday. 

And how does this compare to your average non-race week?
A non-race week would have longer easy runs, two key sessions, and a good long hilly run. So definitely more 
mileage and quality, but still just as enjoyable!

What have you learned from the whole experience of the World Champs and would you do anything 
different next time?
I have learned more than ever that even at the biggest races, it is important to try to treat it like any other race. 
Focus on your own running, rather than letting the enormity of it all get to you. This race was one of those days 
when it just clicked, but I’m sure something will come to mind in the future that I think I could have done differently!

What's next for you in the coming weeks? R&R or do you have any more races in mind?
A bit of down time with just easy running and no specific race plans until October when I hope to compete in the 
British Fell Relays, before getting into some cross-country racing. 

You are just about to move to Keswick in the English Lake District. What's behind the move?
After finishing university this year, like many I had no idea what to do. Moving to the Lake District where I’ve 
often been for holidays will be a great new place to live, work and train, and I’m looking forward to the new 
opportunities it will bring! 

And for the winter and next summer, what are you hoping for now that you have established yourself as 
one of Europe's elite mountain runners?
I haven’t set goals yet for this winter, but I hope to remain fit and try some new and some familiar races through 
the cross country season. Back in the hills next summer I’d like to be able to do some more travelling and racing 
around Europe to see new places and hopefully gain more international experience. 

Monday, 17 September 2018

Moorfoot Golf Outing

Ladies and Gents, Gregor has made a suggestion for an informal golf day and I have volunteered to organise it, subject to a decent turnout. The date will be 14th October at my home course in Innerleithen. The agenda looks like this: - turn up at 2pm ish for a 2.30pm start - we shall just play 9 holes so looking at between 90 mins to two hours, depending on the length of time Gregor will spend in the rough looking for balls. - I shall organise an informal team competition, either a Texas scramble or pairs stableford, with a prize donated by myself for the winning team. Be honest when you tell me what handicap you need 🏌🏽‍♂️ - soup and sandwiches at the Corner house hotel at the end. I can get everybody on for a discounted rate so the total cost for the golf, food and a drink should be in the region of £15 per head. Anybody interested please put your name on the doodle poll and bring a family member or friend if you want. Cheers Mike

Doodle Poll -

Wednesday, 12 September 2018

Scott wins two Scottish Titles in a week!

Scott McDonald and Pete Hall were racing at the Scottish 10km Road Championships at Stirling on Sunday. Scott had an absolute storming run to clock 34:21 to finish the fastest M50 by exactly a minute, despite clipping a verge and taking a tumble on the tarmac. This is the second national age-group title for Scott in one week after his triumph at the trail champs last Sunday. Pete had a very solid run to finish in the top half of the age field, 39th out of 79 M50s. Very well done both

Full results:
Photo of Scott here, but can't find one of Pete:

Wednesday, 5 September 2018

Braemar Highland Games Hill Race

Andy Cox was up in Braemar entertaining the Queen and the crowds for the famous Braemar Gathering Highland Games Morrone Hill Race. Here's his summary:

Lap of the park out, followed a stoney path to the top then anyway u want back down, followed the reccie route I done before the race, down through grass, bog, over deer fences, trees etc, basically the 'direct way' seemed to work picked up a few places. Great atmosphere coming into the sports ground, felt like Mo Farah with everyone cheering 😂
7th overall, and 3rd in the open race and prize money to go with it.



Cold Pea Soup served in a Devil's Beef Tub

Dave Gaffney's report from his race at Devil's Beef Tub this weekend:
21 runners took on the Devil's Beef Tub race on Saturday, the start of which is a good 10-minute walk from the registration point at Corehead Farm, itself a good 15-minute drive down a pretty rough farm road from Moffat. 

The flags marking the start line were just visible as we lined up for the off, but the one positioned at the top of the first hill, just a few hundred metres away, sadly wasn't. In fact, nothing much at all was visible up there, as we were to find out over the next half hour or so. 

The route goes straight up from the start, at a steepness that encourages the use of hands as well as feet to haul yourself up. Once you're up that first wall and round the monument at its summit, there's not all that much more to do in terms of ascent, although the very rough, tussocky and often pathless ground ensures it's no easy jaunt around the top of the Beef Tub, as I demonstrated effectively with one particularly graceless fall along the way. 

Two Carnethy runners were quickly out of sight (literally and metaphorically) but I tucked in behind the Shettleston runner in 3rd place, who seemed to know where he was going, which was a lucky bounce for me as I hadn't a clue and engaging my brain to do much more than just breathe was proving difficult. 

Me and my newfound pacer seemed to have opened a decent gap on the nearest runners behind us, and by the time we reached the secondary top of Annanhead Hill, where the route descends back to the start, we had even caught sight of the second placed runner. 
It was no more than a fleeting moment of hope, though. Glancing down at the ground ahead to avoid some rocks, by the time I looked up again I was alone and not entirely sure which direction offered the fastest or safest way down. If indeed there is a fast or safe way down. I certainly didn't find it if there is.
There was steep ground, long bracken, slippy wet rocks, and swear words galore during the next five minutes or so as I tried to negotiate my way downwards, my spirits lifting briefly when I emerged from the cloud to see two runners just yards in front of me on the race to the finish line. Then came the crushing realisation that they were not the same two runners I'd seen most recently, but a couple of Annan runners who had presumably used their local knowledge and/or descending skills to good effect on the very tricky descent.
So sixth place felt disappointing, but that was soon replaced by a sense of relief at getting down in one piece and optimism about the prospect of catching the bakers in Moffat before it closed. A very tough but fun wee race organised by a friendly bunch of Carnethies and great value at £3. Fingers crossed for a clear day next year! 


Success at the Scottish Trail Champs - Scott McDonald is M50 Trail Champion

It was a successful Sunday at the Scottish Trail Champs with Scott McDonald winning the M50 title and gold medal, almost two minutes clear of the 2nd M50. Scott was 17th overall and was only beaten by one runner in the M40 category and was the vet overall. Also running and putting in solid displays were Mike McGovern, 8th M40, 33rd, and a further twenty seconds back was Colin Williams 9th M40 and 35th. Unfortunately Pete Hall was entered but was ill and couldn’t make the trip. It was a lovely but challenging course from the historic village of Falkland in Fife. Some quality athletes at the pointy end with GB internationals battling out for the title. Susan Ridley from Peebles, who runs for Edinburgh AC won the silver in the F50 category in a very tight race, only 6 secs off the win and 2 seconds ahead of bronze. There is a full report on the Scottish Athletics website which also name checked Scott: 
The Senior Championship saw Kristian Jones (Dundee Hawkhill Harriers) and Andy Douglas (Inverclyde AC) renew their battle of the National Cross Country Championships where they finished first and third respectively. Never more than a few metres apart during the race Kristian, a British Orienteering International, edged out the British Hill International in the final run in – winning by three seconds.

Moorfoot juniors Fionn Hollingsbee (6th MU13), Shaun Pyman (13th, MU13) and Elena Lee (6th FU13) were all in action too with some strong performances
RESULTS Scottish Trail Champs
RESULTS for U13s and U11s
PHOTOS by Pete Bracegirdle

Wednesday, 29 August 2018

Andy Cox grass sledging at Grasmere!

Andy Cox was racing at the annual Grasmere Lakeland Sports in the Guides Race.  At 1.3 miles and just shy of 1,000 ft it’s one of the classics in the history of games hill/fell racing and was a highlight in the professional calendar in the days of when there was a split with ‘amateur’ racing.

This is what the website says:
The Grasmere Guides Race to the top of Silverhowe was first introduced in 1868. The current Grasmere Guides Race record of 12 minutes 21.6 seconds over the Butter Crags course, was set by Fred Reeves in 1978 and is still unbeaten today. Reeves won the Grasmere event 8 times altogether. £500 is still being offered to anyone who can beat Reeve's record.

There were 120 runners and the race was won by Nick Swinburn of Northumberland Fellrunners in 13:28 in the rain in very wet and slippery conditions. Andy finished 20th in 16:59 having been wiped out on the descent by another competitor who slipped over, but luckily for him Andy was there to take his fall but came off much the worse as a result!

Full results:
Race Video Moorfoot fame at 2:30 and 7:30