Start of the Border's XC season at Lauder seemed like a good idea on Sunday past, leaving Peebles on none too bad a morning. However, sleet was coating the windscreen as we came over the Lammermuirs and down past Staunchley Hill.
Being the first event, registration was busy but swift - creditable, considering 261 adults and 134 juniors had to be processed before things could get underway.
The weather drifted from wet and windy to windy and wet with much of the wetness approaching from a horizontal direction. Fortunately, some respite was available in the form of Camp Moorfoot - a solitary gazebo in a sea of soaked competitors. A club haven which had to be defended on occasions against intruders - those loitering with intent! One Gala Harrier was offered shelter but declined for fear of bursting into flames on entering.
Host, Graeme Sutherland, took us through the hazards and highlights and bid us enjoy the experience - reminding us that there was mud galore. He counted us down and we were off. I could see Russell up ahead and Mairi soon joined him. I managed to stay nearby until the long, gradual, seemingly neverending, where is the top of this thing - hill went on until a sharp downhill. I heard encouragement for a Moorfoot from a marshal - not for me - I was still on the hill. I guessed it was Mairi or Russell. I soon picked up six places on the short mad dash to the bottom of the hill - much faster when you take the untouched bracken route!
Once onto the other side of the hill, things level out and there are a few burns to be leapt. Just as I think I am getting along fine, I trip and somersault - must learn to stay focussed!
It's muddy and slippery and the runner in front of me soon falls - big style. I try, but I am too out of breath to laugh properly. He is OK and carries on.
Post race - a Lauderdale Limper marshal heads out to pick up flags
The steep climb through the gorse approaches and I brace myself for the sharp ascent. I run and eventually speed walk the hill - not speedy enough as I am passed by a Penicuik and Gala Harrier and then a well-illustrated participant, who draws past - however, there is a good downhill and I manage to tuck in behind my three fellow runners. The pace quickens as the end comes in sight. Some encouragement from the touchline and I manage to find another gear, picking the driest, least trampled ground and manage to pass four runners on the home dash.
Breathless, soaked and muddied. A good start to the season!
Mairi (16) had a great run - first Female Junior and fifth lady overall.
ages 17 to 49 - where be ye?
Russell 10th M50
Alan 19th M50
Carol 2nd F50
Ian 26th M50
Mike 2nd M70 (With friendly rival Ian Nimmo 3rd)
Results in Full