Tuesday 29 September 2015

Two Breweries Two

Like Kenny, I had a cunning – or a simply more common sense plan this year -  and that was to actually put in some training for the race. I got familiar with the route and did a little scoping reconnaissance.

I managed the first flattish section to the first hill fairly comfortably and started to ascend. I could see Kenny in front and was soon passed by Colin – looking more than ‘fairly comfortable’.

It became apparent on the uphill to Birkscairn that there was some physical misfiring afoot – excuse the pun – but part way up my right foot went numb - delivering an odd sensation!
I had opted for road shoes as I found my ‘cleated’ ones became painful after 10 or more miles – particularly when on farm track. Back on flatter or downhill sections and the feeling returned to normal.

 Ascending Glensax was a bit like a scene from an ‘Everest movie’ – slow deliberate movements, pausing occasionally for oxygen. Feeling returned to my foot as I headed off on the dogleg from Hundleshope towards Broom Hill (much to the dismay of the marshals who did their best to redirect me) with the possibility of running down the saddle and up Stob Law (I had recced this section and timed 6 minutes to my marker on the path and another 1 to my marker on the fence – another 5 to the top to get along the side of Broom Hill. 

This is where I soon realised I had made an ERSE (Extreme Reconnaissance Scoping Error) of things. When I had run it previously, things were dry…but not on Saturday! Should have brought my waders!

Change of plan then at the fence marker and over the hill to meet the sheep trod that runs below the saddle to Stob Law. This is tricky at the best of times - but in a pair of Saucony roadshoes - it demands additional focus – particularly when 95 others have churned the path up to look like a long stretch of peaty mush.

 I make up a few places on the run down to Glenrath where I pick up some previously stashed nutrients and a pair of cleated shoes - for the run down from Trahenna to Ratchill Farm.

Another few places on the way over to Stobo after numb-footing it up the tough fire break (more ‘Everest’ scenes here – this time with grinning Sherpas handing out Jelly Babies) to Whitelaw Hill. The run down the other side was a treat and the road shoes made a sensible choice.

A few Haribos and a chat with fellow runners around the drinks station at Stobo and back off again. I find this section difficult as by this point my hips ache and even running on the flat is a chore. Onward however, and I make up another 4 or 5 places before wandering in to the reed-breeding swamp that is broadcast like nature’s sentinel at the base of Trahenna. Here be cramp dragons!

Fortunately, on this occasion…not for me. I make up another 2 or 3 places climbing Trahenna – strangely no numb foot. I change shoes during breaks for oxygen. Over the top, tighten the straps on my kit bag and it’s all downhill. I pass 3 runners on the hill – who are suffering from cramp. On the final descent with quads-a-trembling, I somersault downhill for the 4th time on the journey. 

Two more runners in the distance to chase to the finish line. I soon pass one, and not wanting to provoke the crampy twinges in my thighs, I arrive a few seconds behind the other  - and in better shape than my previous attempt.

I managed to shave a good slice off last year’s time and was able to walk with some dignity (unlike last year) to the village hall – where Kenny was looking relaxed - enjoying a large Broughton Ale.

134 started off from Traquair House with 121 completing the course. First back was Graham Gristwood of Ochil Hill Runners in an outrageous 2.44.04. First Lady was Kerstin Leslie of Dalbeattie Running Club in 3.32.10.

Hope to join in next year and see if improvements can be made – possibly less chat about Haribo preferences around the water stations….it is a race after all!

Sunday 27 September 2015

Two Breweries Hill Race 2015

Two Breweries Map and Profile
Another year, another Two Breweries Hill Race, although I missed last year’s race – was still licking my wounds from a disastrous run in 2013.
Better prepared this year, I was trying out my Age Related Speed Strategy (ARSS), which meant starting slow, not blowing up on the first hill and seeing how it panned out later in the race. This is a fine theory, but tough in practice when you have streams of runners passing you on the first climb up to Birkscairn. Dancing down the heather to Glensax and then slogging up the ascent back onto Hundleshope, I was wondering if my strategy had been an Age Related Speed Excuse (ARSE) as I was overtaken again by some runners who I had passed on the descent. My retirement from hill running letter was being composed in my head…
Safely through Glenrath, the tide started to turn and the field started coming back to me on the climb up and over Whiteside Hill (horrendous climb up a very steep fire break) and once I got to the road at Stobo, I had regained about half a dozen places. The long  but runnable drag up to Stobohope was littered with runners going backwards and then standing around in disbelief as the ‘badlands’ to the foot of the final climb appeared. This is a notorious pathless bog of waist high reeds – fortunately, a previous recce meant I could play my ARSS ace card, and a cheeky line over to the less steep south ridge of Trahenna gained a further half a dozen or so places and (this is the best bit), a run off the top of the hill without the usual cramp interrupted dramas.
Off the final descent at Ratchill, I did gained one final place as I finally hit ‘race pace’ on the tarmac along the Broughton main street and an unchallenged run to the line for a respectable (for me) sub four hour finish (3:56)
Good runs too from Colin Williams (3:39 ) and Alan Elder (4:36) who took a massive 41mins + off his time from last year...

The usual top hospitality back at the Broughton Village Hall was enjoyed by all, and the mandatory (for me) free pint of Broughton ale to finish off another fine day in the hills.



Full results here ....
Some good pics on the Carnethy Picasa album also...

Saturday 19 September 2015

The Moorfoot Three at Betws-y-Coed

First off at 9.15am in what from the event twitter images looked like beautiful sunny weather, was the Junior Home International U17 race over one up-and-down lap of 4.7km/250m. The boys and girls raced together along with the U20 women making tracking the live chip timing positions through the 2k checkpoint and finish a bit confusing!

Frankie Dettori eat your heart out!
Mairi Wallace was 5th of the U17 girls through the 2k mark in 13mins 44secs, not too far behind Scotland team-mate and Rollercoaster "regular" Laura Stark from Kilbarchan, with Emily Nicholson from Pitreavie leading with 13.19. Come the finish Laura, who must have fair zoomed down the descent, crossed the line first in 21.39 with Emily 2nd home in 21.46. Mairi would appear to have had a brilliant run, finishing as close as she ever has to Laura and Emily and coming home 5th in 22.38. With the English girls 3rd, 4th and 8th that was a convincing team gold for Scotland.

An indicator of the quality of the team's performance is that Laura and Emily finished ahead of all the U20 women in the race and they were both quicker than the third counter for the GB U20 women's team in the World Championship race run over the same course two hours later. Only two of the U20 women in the race finished ahead of Mairi and she was 32 seconds ahead of the 6th placed U17 girl. Not bad for a someone who just had her 15th birthday five days earlier and a nice shiny gold medal as a belated birthday present.

The JHI U20 men's race was off at 10.00am over two laps for 8.9km/500m. It was always going to be a tough race for Lucas Cheskin who had done really well to gain his selection. Lucas was through the half-way checkpoint in 16th place in 20.30 but dropped a few places on the second ascent eventually finishing fourth Scot in 19th in 43.00. England dominated the team race but Mairi's cousin Ross Gollan had a great run for individual silver in 37.51 and with Thomas Otton 6th and Gav Bryson 10th it was team silver for the Scots.

So with the appetisers done and dusted it was on to the main course, the World Championships with Jacob's U20 men's race over the same 8.9km two lap course as the JHI, off at 12noon.

At the 2k mark Jacob sat 17th in the middle of a bunch of nine or so runners along with GB team-mate John Spill, but he dropped a few places on the fast fire road descent to sit 22nd through half-way in 18.47. At that stage Max Nichols had moved up to 3rd for GB. Jacob then fair rocketed up the field on the second ascent picking up no fewer than ten places to sit a close 12th, and improving again on the final descent (unusually for him!) to cross the line in a fantastic 8th place in a time of 36.42.

With Max finishing 6th in 36.23 and John 16th in 37.36 it was team bronze for GB with a total of 30 points only two behind the USA but crucially two ahead of Italy. Runaway winners were Turkey with 1st, 3rd and 5th with individual winner Ferhat Bozkurt home in an amazingly fast 33.56 almost two minutes clear of silver.

Well done youze three! Also to ex-Moorfoot Sarah MacCormack who finished strongly for 9th in the senior women's Worlds race in 40.01.

Friday 18 September 2015

Good Luck to our junior Internationalists Jacob, Lucas and Mairi

All mountain running eyes are on Betws-y-Coed in North Wales tomorrow Saturday for the World Champs. Jacob's U20 race is off at 12Noon - two laps for a total of 8.9km. There will be live tracking on the WMRCWales website courtesy of TDL Event Services so you can track his progress through 4 or 5 check points here http://t.co/S0LmLg0Otp

They are using the same tracking system for the Junior Home International races which precede the Worlds races on the same loop. Mairi is due of c. 9.15am for the U17 girls race with Lucas off at 10.00am in the U20 men's race.

I've heard there will be tv highlights on Channel 4 or S4C but can't find any listing.

 Good luck lads and lass. #pride

Tuesday 15 September 2015

Great North Run

I travelled down to Newcastle for the Great North Run 2015. Got on the road early to get to the Metro near the airport by 8.30.

Got to the start and soaked up the atmosphere. It is amazing to be in race with 57,000 other people including super Mo. I managed to get close to the front and met Dave Nightingale from Gala Harriers so had a good chinwag about all things Borders running.

The day was meant to be overcast which would be ideal but then he sun came out and the temperature  hit 18 degrees. I've always thought that it is never good to get a suntan during a race.

Went off too fast as normal but loved the race although the hills seemed steeper than I remember - must be my age - but was still able to kick on on the straight at South Shields. Managed to finish in 97 minutes a whole 38 minutes behind Mo. The medal ceremonies were being done as I ran in so was accompanied by the National Anthem.

Journey back from South Shields was a nightmare due to Metro problems. I ended up having to get a taxi back and £45 later was back at my car.

All in all a good run marginally spoiled by the Metro. I'll be back next year with a different travel plan.

Paul Nichol

Sunday 13 September 2015

East District XC Relays - Moorfoot Hosting Duties

The club is again hosting this event.

I am setting things up as much as I can - including the recruitment of helpers for setting up the course Fri/Sat/Sun morning and marshals for the races on the Sunday afternoon. In this regard please could you complete the doodle poll on this link to let me know who is available when. http://doodle.com/poll/ts87envy8s8qnrtd  (Click on “Table View”)

Looking for a team of 4 for course preparations and set-up on each of Friday evening 4-7pm, Saturday 4-7pm, and Sunday 7.30-10.30am, as well as 12 marshals 12Noon-4.30pm. 

We got some great feedback last year thanks to the much needed voluntary input from loads of folk. Hopefully we can make it another successful and enjoyable event for all the participants.

Friday 11 September 2015

Caerketton Downhill

Wednesday night saw the last in the series of 3 downhill thrashes take place on Caerketton Hill - just above Hillend Ski Slope.

The weather was ideal - a bit of a breeze but still warm. 61 runners made the 1.8 km hike up to the 300m elevation start point. We are all released at 15 second intervals and spring off the starting rock with varying degrees of urgency. There is a slight downhill section followed by a flatter section before the steep drop to the gate where the junior race starts - a short uphill followed by a steep, frequently rugged path that falls towards the finish line by the car park at the bottom of the ski slope.

Ethan entered the junior race ~ 800m of mainly steep downhill. This has varied in the past from 2 runners to 20 runners. On this occasion it is Ethan and 12 Carnethy kids who start off. He's entered to have a pop at the course record which has stood since 2007 (3.27) He is down in 2.37.

My run means setting off behind Carnethy's very own 'Franz Klammer in cleats' - Steve Fallon. I manage to get within 5 seconds of him on the initial flat section but he disappeared over the brow of the hill and somehow magically reappeared at the bottom of the hill. I manage to keep a reasonable pace and off my heels and am only passed by the winner, Andrew Gilmore (5.14) - First lady is Fiona Kelsall - Ochils (6.51). My time (6.50) is 50 seconds faster than last year but the real bonus is that I am still able to walk the following day!

Hope to attempt again next year and try to shave off more time.

Prize giving is very light-hearted courtesy of Mark Johnston of Carnethy with a wheen of Haribos thrown at random into the crowd. Prizes include Porridge Oats, A pair of Marigold Gloves, Gold plated hair clips, Salomon running gear and 2 litres of Red Cola!

Caerketton Results and Series Results

Friday 4 September 2015

The Bishop Downhill

Second in the trio of downhill trashes with Caerketton to come on Wednesday 9th of September.

The hill looks like it would be better placed in Colorado than in Kinross-shire and it is an 1140 meter walk to the start line.

This is the steepest of the three downhillers in the series. To the top right of the picture, runners start on top of a hillock with a further three hillettes to be navigated, over 600m distance, before the final 550m  run to the base of the hill -  with a drop of 220m. (Picture the top of Cademuir at the first flat hill fort section – looking down to the road on the Bonnington side..and maybe a bit more...) https://ssl.panoramio.com/photo/77292773 

Runners duck down the calm side of the starting hill, sheltering from the strong winds. Soon we are called up in number-order and are set off in 15 second bursts. My start is fairly quick and I catch a runner on the second hilllette. I am gaining on the second runner by the third. There are shorter routes than those I negotiated between the final two – but that is only useful in hindsight!

 It’s a bit of a yomp to the flag that marks the start of the serious steepness. I run past this and am redirected by another runner. I cut through the rocky section at the top of the hill (letting one of the Gilmore brothers pass) and suddenly my legs refuse to obey my commands. My quads stiffen and all I can do is work down the hill on my heels – grunting as I go. There is a cramp that seems to block the muscle's movement. I try verbally abusing them – to no avail. I am only able to run in bursts with breaks to let the cramping subside and then off again and then a few seconds break and so on. Not sure what was going on (could have been the tough session the night before) but disappointed as I was fully charged up to enjoy the ride back down. 

Iain Gilmore came first in 4.19.

Full Results

Tuesday 1 September 2015

First Scotland Vests for Lucas and Mairi

Further to my earlier report on the trial races for the hill running Junior Home International I am delighted to confirm that both Lucas Cheskin and Mairi Wallace have been selected to represent Scotland at the JHI in North Wales on 19 September. Lucas goes in the U20 Men's race alongside fellow Borderers Thomas Otton and Gavin Bryson as well as  Ross Golan from East Sutherland AC who is Mairi's cousin! Mairi herself goes in the U17 Women's race.

Massive congratulations. Just reward for some really hard work and in Lucas's case perseverance. He'll be due Jacob a muckle knickerbocker glory from Caldwells as it was Jacob's GB selection and therefore non-availabilty for Scotland on the same day that opened the door for him.