Sunday morning, saw a glorious day in Melrose, for this year’s Eildon 10 Miler.
A sharp blast up Eildon North, to Mid, to Easter – then down to Bowden and on to St Cuthbert’s way – cutting though Newtown St Boswells and north along the banks of the Tweed, crossing the A68 and back along the old railway line to the Rhymer’s Stone and a fast blast down to the original start point – opposite Priorswalk.
Well - not quite…
A band of 118 set off on the initial climb up past Oakendean House, where, a short distance ahead, a right hand turn is taken at the first treeline to take runners up onto Eildon North.
However, the front half of the pack ran past this, seemingly unmarshalled turn, and headed out on what would be the route for ‘The Melrose Christmas Pudding Race’.
I am confused at this point – we are 300 meters past the turn, heading over the top of the hill. I know it is wrong but follow the pack. I begin to imagine that they have altered the course and perhaps I had been in the loo when some major change had been announced. I am the only one who didn’t get the message? I panic - thinking I have signed up for a different race or somehow I have missed the last 10 months. I panic again. Not because it is a different race but because I haven't yet bought any Christmas presents!
A marshal then shouts from lower down the hill. The front end turns back and we all head down hill – hard work. Even harder for the group that were leading.
There is then some very difficult bottlenecking due to all the ‘faster’ runners now trying to pass - as the runners who were taking things at a more leisurely pace - are now at the front. (They got the message to divert up the first treeline) Those who were in the lead are still passing others, half way up the first Eildon.
It’s a slippery slog to the top but a good blast down to Eildon two and then a ride down the scree and up to hill three. Not feeling too bad at this point and have a good run down to Bowden – picking off 10 or so runners.
I pass my mate Luis from Lauderdale Limpers as he stops for a drink at Bowden. He calls me something like ’a squeaky custard’ but, the wind was blowing and perhaps I misheard him? He then gives chase.
|Me and the Mr Molero (Pic courtesy of Rachel M)|
The St Cuthbert’s Way section is a good chance to stretch out a bit and I manage to pass another couple of runners by St Boswells. I reccied the course the week before and found a few ‘drier’ lines along the waterside - which prove beneficial and I manage to make up another two places.
A tough final slog from the golf course over the A68 and up to the Rhymer’s Stone. I know I am close to my previous time and thrash down the final road section passing another 3 runners – checking my watch as I go.
I don’t get a good look at my watch as cross the line as my body has other priorities – I thought I had dipped under by 3 or 4 seconds but the time given shows me 7 seconds over last years’ time.
And – 33rd – same as last year!
However, with the ‘additional section’ – this probably equates to a 3 minute or more PB!
A good day out!
Results here https://www.webscorer.com/race?raceid=128554