Monday, 22 May 2017

Magnus and Paul do the first Stirling Marathon

Magnus Skea and Paul Nichol took part in the inaugural Stirling Marathon. The course is a bit undulating so not exactly a PB course. Magnus clocked 3.19.20 and less than a minute behind Double Commonwealth gold medal winner and running legends Liz McColgan (OK she's getting on a bit now but sounds good!). It’s fair to say Magnus hadn’t exactly done the amount of training you would expect in a typical marathon training programme so he was delighted with the time which wasn’t far off his PB set last year.

Moorfoot marathon fan Paul ran his second marathon in month having raced London last month and set a time of 4.00.39, just outside the 4hr barrier and unsurprisingly slower than his London time.

Congratulations both of you
Paul looking far too happy for a someone running a marathon!!
Magnus looking rather happy after the marathon with his Stirling gin!

Thursday, 18 May 2017

Gypsy Glen Hill Race 2017 report

The race was a success and described in nut shell by Mike Pearson as:
Nice evening, good run, great atmosphere, everybody happy!
Many thanks for Mike Pearson as race organiser again, and Peebles Community Council providing marshals and registration, and the other Moorfoots helping with the event - Alan MacDonald, Eddie Balfour, Lucy Colquhoun, Ruth McKean, Kenny Davidson, Colin Williams as course setters and start and finish line crew.

Mhairi, Alex, Pete, Alan and Donald after the finish

The 2017 Gypsy Glen Hill Race had an outstanding entry of 73 runners and was won by Tom Martyn of Edinburgh based Hunter's Bog Trotters who broke the course record, set only last year, going under the 31 minute barrier for the first time ever to clock 30:46. First woman home was Peebles' own Susan Ridley, Edinburgh Athletic Club, winning the woman's overall title for the 5th time in 9 years, as well as being the first female veteran. Lots of clubs represented with the largest contingents from Portobello, Moorfoot Runners, Pencuik Harriers and HBT.  Full results here

Out of the Moorfoots in action this year, Mike led the way and was first home closely followed by Darin (3rd and 4th Vet respectively). Dave Gaffney had his first outing as a Moorfoot with a solid performance and Mairi Wallace placed as first female senior (3rd Female overall) with the stand out Moorfoot performance in her first race on the course. Alan, Pete, Donald and Alex were all very close with the order changing depending on the part of the course they were on (up vs down vs trail vs road) with Alex placing as third F Senior so great result for the first time at the race. Mairi Davidson did very well on only her second hill race ever so congratulations.

Place Runner Category Cat Place Time
7 Mike McGovern MV 3 35 : 36
8 Darin Dougal MV 4 35 : 53
20 David Gaffney M 9 39 : 7
32 Mairi Wallace F 1 41 : 29
39 Alan Elder MV 22 42 : 56
41 Peter Hall MV 24 43 : 18
42 Donald Mitchell MV 25 43 : 31
43 Alexandra Nisbet F 3 43 : 42
72 Mairi Davidson F 9 54 : 13

Lots of pictures from Colin here:
and on the Moorfoot Facebook Group page:

Mike and Darin leading the charge

Dave Gaffney - so quick he's blurred

Finish line crew prep huddle!
Lovely evening for a lung buster - the view from the top 

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Gypsy Glen Hill Race Tomorrow Wednesday Night - see you there?

Moorfoot organised annual hill race in Peebles through the Gypsy Glen and up and round Craig Head.
Race Date  Wednesday, 17 May 2017
Registration in Gytes Leisure Centre EH45 8GL from 6pm.
Start Time  7:00pm
Race start and finish south of the Tweed in Victoria Park.
£5 Enter on the day
Distance  8 km
Climb  305 m

Monday, 15 May 2017

Loch Leven Half Marathon report - Carol Moss breaks age-group course record

Also this weekend Carol Moss and Ian Munro took part in the Loch Leven half on Saturday. Carol had a record-breaking performance claiming the W50 record that had stood for 20 years - massive congratulations.

Here's Ian's report:
A near perfect day for running - bit gloomy with no direct sun, almost no wind and a slight hint of rain. Superb event organisation.

 Some great running - producing quite pedestrian times - won in 1:14, only 6 folk broke 1:20, only 36 broke 1:30 - out of 500 odd finishers. First woman was 1:26.

Great running by Carol to claim 1st V50 lady and 7th woman overall in 1:33 - breaking the V50 record for the course - which had stood since 1997. Ground out a 1:38 (involving an 11th mile of abject misery!!).

 This was a really tough road run on all sorts of counts - it's a lousy course in a beautiful setting.
 Plenty of apparent interest - quiet roads, lots of variation and challenge but that's where the good bits stop! Any idea that it's around a loch (which it is!!) is lost - the loch is never nearer than a full field away and mostly out of sight. The course is full of very long boring straights. Almost one at every corner.

 Really attritional running - thus the times - the hills are all long and slow and just wear you down (well, me any way).

Full results at:

Sunday, 14 May 2017

Weekend Round up - Penicuik 10k, Broughton Hill Race inc UK Inter-Counties & Selkirk 'Ultra' & Half Ultra

While the juniors were competing and winning medals at the East District Track Champs at Grangemouth it was again another weekend where keen Moorfoots were spoilt for choice for races.

Penicuik 10k
Three Moorfoot runners took part in Saturday's Penicuik Harriers 10k race. The field was strong once again, with several young runners taking top places; the overall winning time was 34:46. Finishing in 38:08, Scott McDonald he raced for the first time since turning 50 (having spent his birthday in A&E with a infection) and duly won the male master 50+ category, coming 16th overall. Darin Dougal was not far behind with a time of 38:23 and 18th place (3rd M40). Robert Wilson ran a strong 48:20. The challenging undulating route was not made any easier by the windy conditions, but overall the weather wasn't too bad. The race was once again very friendly, with lots of support enroute, and plenty of delicious refreshments afterwards.

Broughton Heights Hill Race
At the snappily titled "Broughton Heights Hill Race - Incorporating UK Inter-Counties Senior Fell/Hill Running Championship" three Moorfoots were in action - Scout Adkin, the reigning Scottish Hill Champ, Lucas Cheskin, who had gained selection for the East Scotland District as the U23 pick, and Andy Cox racing as a Moorfoot as the race was also open to all.

The race was 9.6km, 600m (6 miles, 2000ft) and was won by Scottish and GB senior hill international Andy Douglas in 40:24 running for East Scotland.
Scout was in the mix with the top women but unfortunately had to pull out with the flair up of chest pains - a result of an old injury when we fell badly in a championship race.
Lucas was 41st and 9th U23, and beating Last year's SHR U23 champion in the process clocking a time of 47:00. Andy Cox was 56th overall in 49:30 and took the scalps of many of the county vests in the process.  Some  very steep climbs and descents by Andy's strava. Results here:

Selkirk "Ultra" and "Half Ultra"
Alan Elder and Lucy Colquhoun were in very impressive action in a new event from the organisers of the Selkirk MTB Marathon. These were tough routes from Bowhill and up onto the SUW with lots of climb. The use of term "Ultra" was rather liberally used as the long course was bang on the marathon distance of 26.2 miles although with 4,312 feet of climb.
Alan excelled only a week after Stuc a Chroin and was 11th and 2nd Male Super Vet (M50) in a time of 4:25:37.
In the half course (14.4 miles, 2,000 feet) Lucy again showing no signs of fatigue from her Kintyre Way Ultra win was 1st Female, 1st F Vet and 5th overall in 2:05:12. Details here:

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Pete and Alan do Stuc

Stuc A Chroin 5000 was a race I ran last year and had, as a consequence of the brutality involved, decided not to do it again. However, at some point (possibly a moment of madness) late last year, I thought I would run all long classics in 2017. So I signed up again for Stuc A Chroin.

The plan was a good one - until I missed the entry cut-off for Jura (one of the 8 other long classics). Having tried again recently to get in to a ‘withdrawal place’ and been unsuccessful – I wasn’t too mithered about the Stuc run.

But…Pete H had signed up and asked if I was going. I wasn’t…. until the Friday night before. This was due to a number of reasons including upcoming runs, a dented knee gained the week before, from a fall at the end of a 22 mile off-road run, dread at the thought of running/clawing my way up 5000 feet (not to mention the downward 5000!) and, very importantly, my new off-roadies were still in the post.

Saturday morning and the sun is shining. Pete’s car is loaded and we are off to Strathyre. 

We stop for cake and caffeine and are in the town with a good hour and a half to spare. There is glen to glen sunshine but kit check insists on full body cover and gloves and a hat.

This year’s run is a UK Championship counter and the town is full of vests from all over the UK. Pete and I park and grab a pre run cuppa and watch as the nation’s hill running talent passes by. Pete’s goal for the day is to reach the summit in 2 hours 15mins. Mine is to finish in a time with a ‘3’ at the start. Last year, I had a ‘4’ at the start. Nothing against ‘4s’ – just feel I deserve a ‘3’ on my second visit.

The 1.00 p.m. start nears and we make our way to the starting area. We decide to begin at the back of the pack – work our way through…ahem!. Some brief instructions are uttered and the hooter sounds. A cleated clan of 359 attempt to negotiate the single track that runs up through Strathyre Forest. With the large number of runners, there are numerous bottlenecks – and opportunities to catch a breath – before some mushy traipsing to the steep corner at Tom na Moine. This is followed by a deceptive 350ft climb by Meall Mor. Around this point, I pass an ‘older’ runner. It turns out to be Hill Running Legend Wendy Dodds (she has completed the 3 Peaks Race 33 times!) – she returns 12 minutes before me. Respect.
Both have in-cheek Jelly Babies - I reckon she has two. (Courtesy Matt Curry)

From this side of Glen Ample, it is a 650ft drop to the valley floor with a 1400ft climb on the other side to the top of Beinn Each. This is hard work! The downhill drains and the uphill siphons fluid from within. Fortunately, there are numerous marshals with water nearby. I take a few sips from each as I pass them. Nearing the top of Beinn Each, something seems wrong and I find myself travelling with an unhappy stomach – verging on nausea - from then, until getting back to the car park as things worked out. I can still run but breaths become shallower.

Picture above shows the Stuc 975 m (3,199 ft) – small pimple in the middle of two rounder hills on the left. The steep climb to the summit not visible from this angle. Clambering runners can be seen in a line above the forest to the right. (Courtesy Matt Curry)

Close up of crag on top right of pic above. 4km to the Stuc from here and 11km from there back to the finish! (Courtesy Matt Curry)

The route and profile

The run along the ridge is a challenge and there are ample opportunities to ‘come a cropper’. Much of it is rock hopping and falling would certainly result in a trip to the nurse's office. Around 9K, there is a tough slog to the top of the Stuc – a quick view check from the cairn and it is 360 degrees of king-sized dramatic scenery- Fantastic…..and now down again.

I wasn’t sure, until the descent, if Pete was in front or behind. However, as I head down, we exchange words and he sounds ‘uncomfortable’ as he heads up to the peak.

Descending feels good for a change, but after another 2km of jumping and climbing rocks, my thighs become strained and I find myself starting to deal with cramp. I quickly ingest a gel and some fudge. It seems, eventually, to help. I am soon on the traverse that leads to the track at the bottom of the final ascent out of Glen Ample. A quick top up on water and off for the dreaded final climb.

It is an arduous, knee-pumping, mind-over-matter, thigh flog (though not as bad as last year) to get to the top. I feel better knowing that it is mostly downhill from here. There is some rough terrain to cover and I tuck in behind a Cheshire Hill Runner, who is not grinning, but struggling along. I follow him ‘off piste’ but after some back-tracking, we find the path again.

Here, it’s a fine line between pushing on and invoking crampy spasms in the hamstrings so I pick a steady plod. On the final homeward stretch, one of the swampy-moss, forest-carpet monsters steals a shoe and after a soggy rummage, I am reunited and off again. I am at the point where I just need to finish as the nausea I have been carrying around is getting very unpleasant. The finish line appears and I am soon over. Relief! I find somewhere shaded to lie down and wait on Pete coming in.

He’s not far behind. We have a brief post run chat and make our way to the car. Cramp arrives in spades – inner thighs and abdomen at the same time. Not pleasant! 

And this is what we do for enjoyment!

Pete must have been close to his 2.15 to the peak target and I managed a time with a ‘3’ at the beginning (even managing to take 25 minutes off my previous time!) So job done!

Not sure what caused the nausea (heat/dodgy coffee/T/Water/sheer effort) but Pete had a similar experience and had to take a few moments on the way up the final climb.

Finlay Wild was 11 seconds of beating the existing record. Phenomenal running! 

A record 359 started. 16 didn’t finish – evidence that this is a beast! (I heard chat at the end, putting this run in the top 5 or 6 toughest runs out there. Another saying that, even though shorter, they found this harder than The Two Breweries)

Alan -  3.53.17

Pete - 4.02.48

The trip home was quite ‘eventful’ too – but that's a story for a 'first Tuesday pint'.

Full Results here :

Fortunately, the day went from pain to pleasure. The new off-roadies arrived while I was away! Mmmmm…..Shoes…

For info:

Meall Mor – Great, bare, lumpy, rounded hill
Tom Na Moine – Small, rounded, mossy/boggy hillock
Stuc a Chroin - Peak of harm or danger ( I would agree with that!)

Monday, 8 May 2017

More Moorfoot Action - weekend round up

In addition to the success at the Junior Hill Champs there were lots of senior members taking part in a whole host of events over the weekend:

Lucas Cheskin set a new P.B. clocking 16.28 as he ran in the Scottish 5km champs and finished 77th at a windswept Silverknowes on the Forth coastline on Friday night. The race had a record entry numbers hitting the 600 capacity. Results:

On Saturday Lucy Colquhoun ran in the Kintyre Way Ultra, with another 62 hardy soles completing the gruelling 35 mile marathon which includes a 1300 metre ascent set against the idyllic backdrop of the Kintyre peninsula.
Lucy recorded the hugely impressive time of 5:18:05, winning the woman's prize and finished second overall! Info here: and results:

Elsewhere Alan Elder and Pete Hall took part in the Stuc a' Chroin 5000 race, a British and Scottish Hill Champs counter race. 359 runners set off in the races largest turnout ever for it's 29th edition.
Alan clocked 3:53:17 and Pete wasn't far behind in 4:02:48 in 22km race with a brutal 1,500m of climb. Details here:

Gala Harriers staged their annual 10K event on Sunday and the race doubled up as the East District Road Champs for the distance.
Darin Dougal, Mike McGovern and Iain Roberts were all in action. Darin was 5th M40 not far off the medals in 37.16, with Mike close behind as 6th M40 in 37.55 and  Iain set a new PB in 42:20