Thursday, 23 May 2019

Roslin ‘Scurry along the Esk’ trail race, Saturday 18th May

Mike McGovern and Colin Williams took part in the inaugural ‘Scurry along the Esk’ trail race on Saturday 18th May.
There were two distances to choice from 10 or 15 mile:
The 10 mile route is a fast and relatively flat Scurry from the start up from Roslin Glen Country Park along the beautiful Esk to Penicuik and back with the 15 mile route adding in a scenic and more adventurous undulating 5 mile trail loop within the Penicuik estate. The routes are shown below
After a glorious week it was drizzly for the race but a lovely route none the less, even after the shock of descending into Roslin Glen and climbing 72 steps out the other side before you got to the disused railway!
Mike and Colin both had good runs – Mike was 2nd in 10 miler and 1st M40, while Colin was 3rd in the 15 mile and first M40 too, although 10 mins behind the winner! The fields were pretty small as it’s a busy time of the year with about 40 runners in each distance.
A big thank you to the marshals out and organisers. It only took 30 mins to get to so maybe one to get on the list for next year.

Goatfell Hill Race 2019

Andy Cox, Kenny Davidson, Alan Elder and Dave Gaffney headed to Arran for the Goatfell Race. It is a 15.5km classic with a bit of everything : road, trail, rough hill track, and scrambling up steep granite boulders to reach the 870m summit. Then a tricky descent and fast run off to return to Brodick. A drizzly wet morning with low cloud shrouding the island meant the boulders on the descent would be slippery and dangerous, giving the already daunting challenge an extra edge...

Andy had another strong run and another top 10 finish, maintaining his good form shown at Ben Lomond the previous weekend.
Kenny and Alan both went well covered the course in 1:49:16 and 1:54:00 respectively, meaning all three finished in the top 80 of the 180 or so runners who started the race.
Bad luck for Dave who was back running and racing for the first time after more than a month off with a foot injury. He had a strong climb, especially considering the lack of training, however on the descent Dave stopped for a few minutes to assist another runner who had had a bad fall, with a bashed and bloodied head. Dave sacrificed his headwear to help stem the blood flow and then set off when more qualified help arrived in the shape of a medical student. However the mountain didn't repay his good karma and a couple of minutes later Dave twisted his ankle badly and had to limp down to the Mountain Rescue landrover, where he was reacquainted with his newfound injured pal and his bloodied Buff! Wishing Dave super quick healing ligaments!
Despite the various scrapes and falls it was a fabulous day out on a great route with thanks to Shettleston Harriers for their wonderful organisation and plentiful post race refreshments and to Arran Mountain Rescue who made sure everyone was safe on the hill.

Saturday, 18 May 2019

Gypsy Glen Hill Race Report 2019

The annual Gypsy Glen Hill Race took place in Peebles on Wednesday night 15th May, organised by the Moorfoot Runners in association with Peebles & District Community Council.

Many thanks to the main organiser Mike Pearson and the support from all those helping with registration, marshalling and setting the course, whose efforts allow this successful event to go ahead.

There was a good turn of 73 runners on a lovely warm evening as it had been recently leading to fast dry conditions. The race was won by Alexander Chepelin from the Edinburgh University Hare and Hounds Club who is in a rich vein of form with this being his third win in seven days following Dumyat and Ben Lomond. He smashed the course record on the way to the win, slicing exactly one minute of the previous best time, clocking 29:15 and taking it under 30 minutes for the first time. The course is exactly 5 miles (8km) so that equals an average mile pace of 5 min 50 secs which is a phenomenal time when you consider the 900 foot (300m) climb and descent.
First male veteran was Graeme Murdoch of Gala Harriers finishing 5th (32:35), then Scott McDonald in 11th (34:36) and also first home from the host club with another local Craig Mattocks (Gala Harriers) in 3rd in (14th, 35:22).

The female winner was Sarah McKechnie of Penicuik Harriers in 37:17, followed by Molly Pace Jesmond Joggers, 38:07; and Polly Edwards of Edinburgh University Hare and Hounds 3rd in 39:18.
It was a close race for the female veteran prize between three locals. Kate Jenkins (Gala Harriers) won in 40:45 ahead of Gillian Carr (Corstorphine) and evergreen Susan Ridley (Edinburgh AC) both clocking the same time 41:28 and only separated by the judges on the line. Carol Moss from the host club was 4th in the category in 43:22.

Other Moorfoot Runners in action Adam Hayward in 16th (35:38); Martyn Davidson 17th (36:31); Michael McGovern (19th, 37:01); Colin Williams (24th, 37:51), Craig Walling (29th, 38:47), Dean Carr (34th; 39:12); Kenny Davidson (25th, 40:21), Alan Elder (49th, 42:55); Billy Wardhaugh (54th, 45:35) and Ian Munro (59th, 46:53).

Photos of Moorfoot Runners mainly:
Dean Carr in his first outing in the red and blue and clearly enjoying himself

Thursday, 16 May 2019

Adam Hayward at Dumyat Hill Race – Weds 8th May

Dumyat is not the steepest hill, nor the highest, nor even the most scenic, but it’ll always hold a special place in the hill running calendar for me. Dumyat, which overlooks the University of Stirling campus at the westernmost end of the Ochils, was the first hill I ever ran up. The first time I visited my partner in Stirling, where she was finishing her PhD, she pointed out this hill and said that folk used to run up it at lunchtime. Madness, I thought. Nevertheless, up we went one evening, and although we didn’t keep running all the way up, I was enjoying the descent until I slipped on a wet wooden bridge and fell on my backside: it turns out my Nikes weren’t going to cut it. But my goodness, it was fun. A few months later I moved to Stirling myself, bought some Inov-8s, and Dumyat became a semi-regular lunchtime run. I became one of those people that colleagues shook their heads pityingly at when I returned to the office muddied and sweaty.

I haven’t run Dumyat since I moved to Peebles almost a year ago, so how could I resist doing the race for the first time since 2016? The drive up from work didn’t fill me with optimism – rain lashed at the windscreen and the thermometer read 5 degrees – but by the start the rain had abated and like many people I was feeling happy enough to run in a vest, which for the first time was blue and red! Having learned my lesson from previous years that there was a risk of a severe risk of a bottleneck at the start, I probably went off too hard, but it meant things weren’t too congested as we slogged up the hill. The additional of a proper, hard-packed path to parts of the hill has possibly made route choices easier, although it did take away some of the fun of the descent, and put folk still on their way up of severe risk of being bowled over by a flying descender.

It’s a great run. The gradient is such that it’s very runnable most of the way up and absolutely fantastic to descend. I’d set myself a target of 40 minutes – with a previous PB of just over 42 set in 2016 before I joined the Ochil Hill Runners – and although I ended up with a slightly frustrating 40:01 I felt I’d had a pretty good run of it. That was good enough for 36th out of 360 runners, but still over 7 minutes slower than the winner, Sasha Chepelin, who has already won a hatful of races this year. Last time I did the race it was a fiver; this year it was £12, which got you a not-very-good t-shirt and some disgusting stovies back at the finish. The University seems to have decided that if there aren’t t-shirts, a sound system and an inflatable arch to mark the finish it just isn’t an ‘event’. Four years of hill racing and it seems I’m already turning into a grumpy old sod.