Sunday 31 May 2015

Fingers Xd for Jacob's GB selection

He didn't get one of the two automatic selections from today's GB Trials race for the European Mountain Running Champs in Madeira in July but hopefully Jacob Adkin's 3rd place will be good enough for one of the other two selected places in the GB U20 team.

Not at his best today with a double stitch, headache and not suited by a weather-shortened uphill only course nearly 2km less than intended, Jacob hopefully has scope to improve on today's performance if he is indeed selected for what would be his third GB vest.

Also running today was Lucas Cheskin who had a confidence boosting run after two recent stomach cramp related "jog-ins" at Ben Lomond and Gypsy Glen. After a sensible cautious start, Lucas finished strongly to close in on the main group and again was probably not suited by the shortened course.

Official results awaited.

Edinburgh (half) Marathon

Four Moorfoots were in action today at the Edinburgh Marathon Festival half marathon. This started in the centre at Edinburgh at 8am to allow the outward course to clear for when the full marathon gets underway at 10am - which mean a pretty early start for those heading south from the Tweed Valley.
Some very good results in cool and a wee bit breezy conditions:
Craig Rendle was first Moorfoot home in 1.19:43 a new PB and sub 80 mins for the first time and 50th overall; followed by the Scott McDonald 1.22:06 and a third place in the V45 catergory (77th); Colin Williams (me) in 1.23:02 (89th) and Paul Nichol in 1.34:02 (511th and a very creditable 22nd in V50). Full results here:
Colin, Craig (and Katie) after the finish - at least I look like I've just run a half marathon!

Friday 29 May 2015

The Jura Trip

I entered the Jura Fell Race at short notice – I signed on to the waitlist and two weeks later I was accepted on to the runner list with a deadline to accept the Friday before the race.  It was a daunting thought and I spent the time leading up to the run scouring the web for information. Inclines, declines, plotting watering holes, calculating cut off times on the 7 check points on the route, searching for pictures of the ‘Paps of Jura’ (try typing that into a search engine and not end up somewhere dodgy!) – I read the blogs of people who had completed the race in the past – tales of exhaustion, failure, bloodied bodies and jellied legs. Needless to say, I spent the three days preceding the race trying to find excuses not to go.

On the Thursday afternoon, I clicked the ‘dinnae be a Jessie’ button on SI entries and by 5.30 on Friday morning I was in the car heading for Tayvallich. I had arranged a 10.00 a.m. ferry with ‘Nicol the Boatswain’ and arrived in good time for a coffee before the crossing. I chatted to Alan and Nick at the coffee shop. They had been before and knew the route and offered sound advice – one gem being ‘tak sum toilet paper – thirs only rocks oot there’ I help load what seems like luggage for a coach party but it is only for Alan, Nick and his wife, Lena, and their two kids. Staying long? I ask. On the way over, the Paps appear and disappear – not fully revealing their true scale, until once fleetingly, the third Pap shows where it touches the sky. I wonder how easy it would be to book the next ferry back.

An hour later we are off the boat and in the campsite. I head for the shop to buy a bedroll – no point in carrying one all the way to Jura, is there. They don’t sell them. I’m not happy.  I whip up my tent and offer Alan some help with his. We chat about the run – I mention my lack of experience at this incline/decline and distance. I’m offered a Guinness if I finish. Game on! The campsite is filling with brightly coloured tents and the atmosphere is more one of a tournament than a hill race. Old hands greet each other, there’s laughter and race banter – “will the cloud shift for tomorrow?” Pots boil with carbohydrate concoctions. A bearded chap walks up with a huge kit bag over his shoulder. ‘Is it OK if I put my tent up here?’ I reply ‘no problem’ and we discuss who might snore the loudest. I later realised that this was the eventual race winner - Finlay Wild. I have a five mile round trip recce to see if I can get a look at the hills – to see what I will be up against - but too much cloud.

Sleep is poor that night, no bedroll and a burn racing down behind my tent.  I awake early. People are already bundling in more carbohydrates. I follow suit – though not to the extent I should have done… I later discover. I eat, change and pack my kit. With hat, coat, gloves, waterproof trousers whistle, map, compass, water and food, it’s heavy.

Kit checks are strict and each runner is given a race number and plastic tags are issued to be handed in at each check point. We are herded into the pen and after a few unintelligible instructions we are off.  It’s a claggy uphill for the first 2 and a half miles , through man-eating bogs and over rock to the first summit. I hit the 3rd hill at 5 miles in 1 h 26 mins. I am well under the cut off time and feel a little more confident about getting round.

From the top of the 3rd peak, the sky clears and Gleann Astaile can be seen far below with the climb to Beinn a’Chaolais rising from the valley floor, its 2400 feet top masked by cloud. Suddenly, the scale of the undertaking hits home. This is big country! Mistakes could be costly.
Climbing Beinn a’Chaolais is brutal on the legs and I am relieved once I am over the top of ‘the big one’.

© Gavin Shaw 2006

From the top of Ben Chaolais looking to Beinn an Oir with Bein Shiantaid in the distance. Corra Bheinn (is the wee hill – just to the left in the far distance)
You have run 7.5 miles to this summit and there is a further 6 miles to the finish  from the ‘wee hill’ just to the left of the bigger one in the far distance.

Another steep decent down the other side and up Beinn an Oir (Gaelic: mountain of gold). The legs take a beating again and now I am watching the muscles to the side of my knees go in to spasm. A runner flogging his way up the hill suggests a lack of salt. I have a gel and more water and carry on. Cramp comes and goes from here on.

There is a very difficult decent into the valley with nothing (after the scree) that I find in any way runnable. A few runners and I find a small stream and stop to top up with water. The ascent of the third Pap, Benn Shiantaidh, is more of a rock climbing exercise with the path leading through steep gullies. One foot in front of the other at this point as the cramp bites at my legs. I am over the top and just the ‘wee hill’ to climb. There are two routes here and I chose the route to the right – it is greener and I manage to drag myself up to the last hill check point. I feel I can make it back from here. The run off the last hill to the three arch bridge is torturous. The path has been chewed up and it is almost bog from start to finish. Any departure from the path leads to ankle-mashing clods. It is more of a stagger than a run. I manage to pass 3 runners on this section but waste time changing out of my scree filled socks at the bridge. Cramp grips my abdomen as I pull my shoes back on. I swig down two cups of isotonic drink hoping it will add salt to my system.

The 3 mile run to the finish is robotic. Focus is on the Jura Distillery chimney which all too slowly nears. I pick a rhythm and stay with it. The slightest change in camber or steepness causes the onset of cramp – as if the unused muscles are complaining about being called in to action. The finish line becomes visible - I find a wee sprint finish at the bottom of the tank. I am over the line and utterly done - Too right after six and a half hours in the hills! I sit down and the cramp attacks again. Shortly, Alan (Smith it turns out – from his Deeside Runners vest) arrives with a Guinness in one hand and with the other helps me up. He came 20th and had just completed his 7th sub 4 hour Jura race at 54! Jasmin Paris broke the old course record in an outrageous 3.38.34 with Finlay Wild winning it in 3.13.27 – phenomenal athletes.

When I finished, I vowed never to put myself through the same punishment again. But by the time I was on my 6th Guinness in the Jura Hotel that night - I decided I would probably try it again next year. It’s a great event, great folk - they say it’s probably the toughest run in Britain and if you want to push yourself to the limits of your endurance whether you are first - or two hundred and first – why not do it in a stunning location. My daughter, who only knew I was ‘going running somewhere’ said, as I left, ‘Good luck Dad – You’ll win’. - Such wisdom from one so young!

Monday 25 May 2015

Moorfoot Summer Series Club Championship

There will be a Summer Series Club Championship with the prizes awarded at the Club Summer BBQ on Sunday 16 August, the day after the Cademuir Rollercoaster.

To take part you will need to complete at least 3 races from the 6 below. 

Event info
Entry Details / Forms
Dalriada Pub, EH15 2EL
£6 online or £7 entry on the day
Currie Memorial Hall, TD6 9JH
£10 postal or £12 entry on the day
Melrose Rugby Club, TD6 9SA
£5 online or entry on the day
Kelso Rugby Club, TD5 7EH
£11 online pre entry only
Victoria Park, Innerleithen
£5 entry on the day
Selkirk Rugby Club, TD7 5AX
£5 postal, £8 entry on the day
The scoring will work so that the first  Moorfoot home will get 1 point, 2nd 2 points etc and the lowest score from three races will give a position. There will be prizes for the following categories: mens; womens; and a M/F vet/overall prize adjusted for age and sex factors.
The first race is a couple of weeks is the Portobello Beach Run so there should be opportunities to car share so let me know if you are thinking of going.

Colin (

Juniors Shine at East Champs

Decent conditions for a change saw a plethora of PBs by the juniors at the East District Champs at Grangemouth over Friday evening and Saturday, with medals for Ethan Elder and Michael Girdler.

But out of all the fantastic efforts, my highlight is actually someone who missed out on a medal by one-hundredth of a second.

Charlotte Clare is a first-year U15 and not yet 13 years old, so one of the youngest in her age-group with a fourth quarter date of birth. Going into these Championships I think she would have been happy with a personal best and maybe making the final. She achieved both of these with her 2nd place heat run, qualifying automatically with a fantastic 6-second PB, and then boy did she go for it in the final with absolute conviction. Through the bell, the leader was away and gone but Charlotte was the one who came out of the chasing pack to open up a wee gap on the rest. Round the top bend and a medal was in the offing if she could hold off the challenges coming from behind. It turned into a three-way tightly packed, elbow clashing battle for silver and bronze all the way down the home straight with nothing in it as the three girls flashed across the line to the oohs and aahs of the crowd in what was the best finish of the day. Bodies went flying just beyond the finish line with several hitting the deck. Another three seconds were slashed from her PB but after the closest of photo finishes, agonisingly it was Charlotte who was just run out of the medals, 0.06s off silver and 0.01s off bronze. But what a run - and a great time of 2.27.25, a massive 9 seconds off her PB going into the day.

Ten minutes earlier Michael Girdler ran an assured race to take the gold medal in the U13 Boys 800m. Amazingly, this was Michael's first ever outing at the distance. Having qualified comfortably enough from his heat he drew a great lane for the final directly inside the two Pitreavie lads who on paper were the strongest in the race. Following his instructions to the letter he tagged onto them and let them drag him through the bell. As the fatigue kicked in round the top bend a 3m gap opened from 1st to 2nd with the same gap again back to Michael in third and for a fleeting moment it looked liked he might have to settle for bronze (which still would have been an excellent first outing). His inexperience probably meant he didn't appreciate that at that stage of any 800m everyone is hurting! Into the home straight Michael ramped it up to close the gaps and produced a great burst of speed to hit the front 40m from home, sprinting home over a second clear with a Scottish ranking topping time of 2.16.70. Top notch from the novice!

The previous evening, Ethan Elder took an excellent bronze medal in the U13 Boys 1500m with his usual gutsy effort, justification indeed for Scottish Athletics responding to pleas to accept his entry after the advertised closing date. (NB don't count on them being so accommodating again, so get your entries in on time!) Ethan's time of 4.57.62 was also a PB and the second time he has broken the 5-minute barrier. Good going given he didn't know he was in the race until the evening before.

Talking of barriers, Kobe Stevens came incredibly close to breaking 2 minutes for the 800m in the U20 Men's race. Favoured by it being a straight final, Kobe ran his usual fast committed 700m but then instead of fading as he usually does (!), the strength was there to maintain his effort down the home straight and he closed in to finish 5th in 2.00.86, a 4-second PB and only 0.80 off the bronze.

Anto Kobus was another relative novice to smash his PB, this time by 5 seconds overall in finishing an excellent 4th in the U17 men's 800m in 2.02.35 and Ailsa Innes dropped her PB by over 3 seconds to 2.23.65 in finishing 5th in the U17 Women's 800m. Both had to run hard heats in PBs to qualify then further improved their times in their finals. On the Friday evening Mairi Wallace had a strong run to take 3.5 seconds off her PB for 5th in the U15 Girls 1500m in 5.15.40.

All encouraging stuff from the juniors.

Tuesday 19 May 2015

Moorfoot 1-2-3 at Three Bridges, but old-man Elder in the bing!

Moorfoot winners at the Three Bridges are as rare as the hair on my head but that is two years in a row now and better still it was not only a 1-2-3 in the Open handicap but a 1-2 in the Youth's handicap. A multitude of juniors were also prominent in the primary school races.

Sophie Collins took a break from her student travails (although whether in the library or the bars of Edinburgh we are not too sure) to don the Moorfoot vest and had closed in on the front-marker going out on lap two. Further back in the field Alan Elder was tooting along with his usual economic stride, Ben Hindley was striding out purposefully and Sam MacNeill, who had set off as one of the back-markers, was making ominous progress to within 100m or so and stretching away from those behind. (Where did the elbows out "he-man" style come from Sam?!)

Heading back towards Tweed Bridge and Sophie had a decent lead but Ben had her in his sights and the overtaking maneouvre had been completed by the time they appeared through the old railway tunnel with c.700m to go.

Sam had moved into third as he emerged from the tunnel about 75m adrift of Sophie but the gap to a very determined looking Ben hadn't closed anymore. The unknown bloke in 4th, having just been taken by Sam, was looking behind at this stage so must have been feeling the pace.

There was no catching Ben who fair powered home down the Tweed Green straight to the cheers of the crowd. Perhaps inevitably Sam got past Sophie, but off Priorsford Bridge she dug in again and came home clear in third to complete the club 1-2-3.

After his wining exploits last year Alan Elder found the handicapper's attentions too much to handle and finished down the field but there were still celebrations in the Elder household (or at Franco's again Alan?) with young Ethan streaking away with the Youth's handicap. Finlay Collins produced his Christmas handicap form to run well for second even without the promise of a tin of hot dog sausages as a prize.

Monday 18 May 2015

When Andy Met Joss Naylor MBE

Andy Cox meets Fell Running Legend Joss Naylor MBE at the Keswick Mountain Festival
Joss Naylor - a short summary from WikiPedia

Saturday 16 May 2015

Gypsy Glen Hill Race 2015 - Results

A lovely sunny evening for this years Gypsy Glen Hill Race, with 67 runners taking part.

Winner Keith Hood (photo Brian Hood)

Keith Hood of Costorphine took the honours in a time of 33:35, with Kate Jenkins leading home the ladies in 41:13 after a good tussle with local Susan Ridley.

Andy Cox was first Moorfoot home in 35:22 (4th place)

Full results here...

Other Moorfoots
Kenny 38:47 (11th)
Alan Elder 43:02 (28th)
Ian Munro 43:45 (30th)
Lucas Cheskin 43:49 (31st) - pulled up with stomach cramps...well done for finishing...
Robert Wilson 47:11 (46th)

A big thanks to time keepers and marshals and to Peebles Community Council for their support.

Specials mention too for Penicuik Harriers who brought 19 runners to the race...

Coxy in 'those shorts'

Monday 11 May 2015

Penicuik 10K Run

A blue-sky window over Penicuik last Saturday saw 3 Tuesday-nighters take on the 10K jaunt through the countryside surrounding Penicuik. Alan Elder and 'The Wilsons' - David and Robert - taking on the rather challenging, grunt-inducing hill at the start (for Alan anyway) - up and into the new loop around the houses in Howgate, over and down onto the main Peebles to Penicuik road, for a good downhill section back in to the town, past the police station to the slippery dash over a sodden field to the finish. 

The winner Jamie Crowe  (MJ) of Central Athletics made the trip in 34.15. Local runner Dean Whiteford came in at a very respectable 4th in 36.27.
Jamie CroweCentral Athletics34:15:00
Alan went round in 44.44 (easy to remember that one!)New Tuesday-nighter, David Wilson, putting in a great first-outing run and came in at 45.16 with Robert on 47.42.

Cheery marshals and outstanding spread afterwards!

Carlsberg don't do 'post-run-cake-fests' but if they did - they wouldn't come close!

Sunday 10 May 2015

Gold for the oldie, bronze for three young uns at Scottish Junior Hill Champs

The early season focus for the junior hill runners was Saturday's Scottish Championships at Ben Lomond and the hard work of the last two months on Cademuir paid off with four medals won.

Pride of place to Jacob Adkin who retained his U20 Scottish crown with a clear 41 second margin but big shouts to the young trio of bronze medallists - Mairi Wallace in the U17 Girls, Beth Hobbs in the U15 Girls and Ethan Elder in the U15 Boys, all of whom were not far off the top two. Beth and Ethan were competing in their first hill race championships and all three of them are still eligible for the same age-group next year.

Lucas Cheskin was also going well in the U20 race, vying for 3rd/4th on the final ascent before stomach cramp and sickness struck, finishing 5th in the end.

Some photos on Scottish Athletics facebook.

Wednesday 6 May 2015

North Berwick Road Race report

I ran in the Edinburgh to North Berwick Road Race on Saturday, which unusually lacked decent sunny weather. The run was into a headwind the whole way, but despite that, and cramp in the last 3 miles, managed to finish in a PB of 2:35:55, taking 7 minutes off my time in 2012! There were 159 finishers. I managed 55th place and 10th in my age category.

This is the 5th time I've done the race, which I'd recommend to anyone who wants a bit more of a challenge than a half marathon. The route is terrific, following the coastline and having the promise of a dip in the sea at the end.


Alan MacDonald

Entry details for 2 Pubs race - 23rd June

Lauderdale Limpers (now famous) 2 pubs race. Tuesday 23rd June at 19.00

You are invited to enter this 4 1/2 mile multi terrain event which is a point to point race from Oxton to Lauder with 2 miles on a B road followed by a  challenging hill climb then a rapid scenic descent to  an arrow straight and flat disused railway line into Lauder where hot buffet and welcome ice cold drink awaits you at The Lauderdale Hotel Beer Garden.  This event is not advertised as it fills up every year and is strictly limited to the first 100 entrants.  Cost will be £12 per runner which all goes towards the buffet and transport to the start line and is an ideal race an distance for first time runners and those who fancy a short sharp blast followed a by a great social. Entries will be on a first come first served basis. RSVP ASAP to Graeme Sutherland (

Sunday 3 May 2015

Gypsy Glen Route Recce - Tues 5-May

Blast from the past
James Britton showing how's it's done on the Gyspy Glen descent
The Tuesday night training group will be doing a reconnaissance of the Gyspy Glen race route on Tuesday 5-May.

Meet at Kingsmeadows car park at 6:30pm sharp - we should be back by 7:30pm.

With the recent rain, it will be muddy/slippery so wear appropriate shoes. The run will be slow with lots of stops/starts/regrouping, so advise wearing something a bit warmer than usual and bring a waterproof jacket.

Saturday 2 May 2015

London Marathon

Congrats to Paul Nichol who completed the London Marathon last weekend:-

Results: Club, Charity and Ballot
1 Result | unofficial results | Club: moorfoot runners
Place overall Place gender Place categoryName Club Runner no Category HALF FINISH
75226239586» Nichol, Paul (GBR)Moorf...2373450-5401:42:1403:36:59Add Runner To 'My Favourites'

Friday 1 May 2015

Gypsy Glen Hill Race 2015 - Race Details

Race details for this year's race below - registration at Gytes from 6:00pm; race starts at 7:00pm in Victoria Park (5mins from Gytes) to avoid a road crossing en route; please allow enough time to get to the Start...