Sunday 26 June 2016

Eildon Hill Race 2016

A handful of Moorfoots made their way to Gibson Park in Melrose on Saturday 25th June for this 7.2km, 480m climb event.

Being included in the following, 

  • Scottish Athletics Championships
  • SHR Championships
  • Borders Hill Race Series
this race was certain to attract a large and accomplished field. The weather, if not a little humid, stayed mostly kind with runners subjected to an occasional pummeling from passing torrential rain storms.

The initial uphill section is always hard work (to this runner but certainly not the uphill specialist in Cox, Adkin and Cheskin). Once over the first hill, things ease a little and there is good running out to the middle hill and to the bottom of the last uphill section of hill three. Once over the last climb, it is a fantastic downhill thrash all the way to Melrose High Street and into the park for a final dash on the grass.

The first male back was Tom Owens of Shettleston in a new record time of 34:16 (it gives some idea of the quality of the front runners when the first 5 broke the previous course record!)

First lady back, not long after last month's 6th place at the GB Euro Trials, was Moorfoot's own Scout Adkin. Scout charged round in 41:02 - Becoming the new ladies' Scottish Hill Running Champion in the process. Stephanie Provan of Deeside Runners, the next lady, just over 20 seconds behind.

Andy Cox was the first Moorfoot male back in 38.50 with Lucas Cheskin coming home in 39:33 - over 6 minutes less than 2015.

In the slightly more senior category, David Cheskin completed a good run in 49:49 - over 5 minutes quicker than last year. 

Alan Elder made the trip in 53.44 - a minute down on last year's time (which he is blaming on being trapped in the snake of runners that was plodding up the first hill!)

Full results here

Mairi endures the Czech heat - as does Mike P

LtoR - Anna, Mairi, Grace and the boys
Mairi mixing it with Turkish, German, Portuguese and English racers
A show of continental unity after!!
In a field of 55, a top half finish was the race target for Mairi Wallace who was competing for Scotland in the World Mountain Running Association's Under 18 Youth International Cup held in the mountain resort of Jaske Lazne in the Czech Republic on Saturday. The 80 degree heat wasn't in the Scots favour but Mairi was suited to the uphill-only nature of the course over 2.9km with 300m of ascent and she put in a sterling performance to finish 22nd. Her finishing time of 21.52 saw her home second of the three-strong Scotland team, an excellent result given that she is young for her year group, still a few months shy of 16, and is eligible again for this race next year.

The race was won by one of the home Czech athletes in 19.36. Scottish U17 XC champion Anna MacFadyen led the Scotland team home in 7th in 20.42 with Grace Whelan, who had beaten Mairi into second place at the U17 Scottish Hill Running Champs at Ben Lomond in May, 26th in 22.02. That gave Scotland 7th place in the team race won by Poland with England just ahead of the Scots in 5th.

With the athletes having endured the high temperatures during their race, it was then the Team Manager 's turn, one Mike Pearson, to feel the heat as the Scots' return flight Prague to Edinburgh early on Sunday morning was cancelled! That's what team managers are for and Mike duly got things sorted to get the team back into Edinburgh via Birmingham by late afternoon.

Well done Mairi and Mike!

Friday 24 June 2016

Jacob 3rd in Snowdon Twilight Race

Jacob warmed up for the uphill only Snowdon Super Cup in three weeks time by running the Snowdon Twilight race, also uphill only, this evening. He finished 3rd in 43.59, just 24 seconds behind winner Dave Archer.
Read about Jacob's return to racing here

Sunday 19 June 2016

Folks, following the last committee meeting I have been asked to post the latest stock of Moorfoot Runners Vests. The vests, subsidised by the club, cost £10:

26" - 6
28" - 1
30" - 4
32" - 8
34" - 8
36" - 8

XS - size 8: 6

S - 5
M - 4
L - 1
XL - 2
XXL - 4

Men's harlequin shorts XL (3 pairs) please make me an offer!

The small men's vests have size 10, EU 38 marked on the label, so may suit a lady size 10? If you require a vest then please email me at

Saturday 18 June 2016

Muckle Toon Adventure Festival Langholm Trail Half Marathon

I took part in the trail half the Muckle Toon Adventure Festival having enjoyed the race a lot last year. Last year I was lucky enough to come 2nd so I though you never know! It wasn't to be. The field was a lot stronger this year and the race has a lot of climbing (almost 2,000 feet in total) with the biggest climb up to the obelisk on Whita Hill coming in the first 2 miles at while point I was sitting in about 10th place.

It's a long race and last year taught me that people can go off too hard and pay later so I just tried to get into a good rhythm and not worry that the leader - Craig Mattocks of Gala Harriers (and sometimes Carnethy) and now living in Peebles was disappearing out of sight.
I picked up some places on the decent and was in about 7th when I reached the river Esk bridge. There was a group of about 6 of us all within about 20 seconds so it was clear the field was a lot more competitive than 2015. I kept working hard and the group slowly littled down until there 3 of us together going up the last steep climb at 9 miles with 3 runners still up the track. I pushed on and over the next two miles dropped the two I was running with and the 3rd place runner came back into view about 20 seconds ahead. I pushed hard in mile 12 and caught and passed the runner and moved into third and keep that place to end. Route here

My time 1.35.22 was over 3 1/2 minutes faster than last year and I realised I had finished ahead of last year's winner too, however the race was won by some margin by Craig Mattocks in 1.30.40. The women's race was won by Craig's wife Kate Jenkins in 1.45.43. Full results here

Fi, Alice and Austen came for the day and there was an free standing rock wall and pump track and lots of family activities so a good day out for all!

Monday 13 June 2016

Jacob 11th in WMRA World Cup race

Jacob Adkin continued his comeback with a venture to France at the weekend for his first taste of a senior WMRA World Cup race, the Montee du Grand Ballon uphill race over 13.2km/1230m and came away with a highly respectable 11th place in 1 hour 4mins and 50 seconds. The race was won by Eritrean Petro Mamu in 59.04 with Scotland's Andrew Douglas, who was overall winner of the WMRA World Cup Series last year, third in 1.01.32.

Saturday 11 June 2016

Scottish Schools Golds for Michael and Ethan

Racing in the U14 age-group, Michael Girdler and Ethan Elder won their respective 800m and 1500m finals at Grangemouth today to take championship gold for PHS in impressive style. Their respective winning times of 2.06.28 and 4.26.00 were both PBs and only  c.0.5 of a second off the Championship records.

It was a chilly, damp and breezy start to the day, and having qualified very comfortably the previous day, hopes were high that in a tactical final Michael would have too much speed for his rivals (especially as, unbeknownst to his coach, he had taken part in the 200m the previous day after his 800m heat, taking the bronze medal in the final in a time of 24.93s!).

But things were not to go all his own way, with one of his rivals taking it out really hard, stretching the field, and testing Michael's stamina to the limit. With 200m to go he was still 5m adrift with the leader maintaining a relentless pace and it looked for a moment or two that the gap was not going to close. However coming off the bend, Michael had started to narrow the gap and the Girdler burners were lit down the home straight, taking the lead with 50m to go and crossing the line with a clear winning margin of 7 or 8 metres. His winning time was a marginal PB and given the conditions, he came remarkably close to Ben Greenwood's championship record.

Ethan had a clear and very positive race plan going into his 1500m final which he executed to perfection, holding a prominent position through the first two laps and then moving up to the leader's shoulder as they hit the bell, the two of them with good daylight back to the spreadeagled field. This prompted a determined but ultimately ineffective wee surge from the leader who kicked 2m clear again, but with 300m to go Ethan was back on his shoulder, applying the planned for pressure. There was only one winner from then, with Ethan stretching into a 5m lead down the back straight and storming home for a near 6 second victory with one of the most impressive performances of the day. He too came very very close to the championship record.

Kobe Stevens (over-18 800m) and Charlotte Clare (U15 800m) both qualified for their finals finishing 6th and 8th respectively, as did training group member Ailsa Innes, who now races for Lasswade, in the U17 800m. Mairi Wallace (U17 3000m) and Beth Hobbs (U15 1500m) enjoyed the "luxury" of straight finals, both recording good PBs in finishing 9th and 13th respectively, and Craig Angus ran well in his U15 1500m heat and was half a second inside his PB but didn't make the final. Same for Charlotte Morrison and Eilidh Mooney (U14 1500m) who nevertheless ran well, setting PBs in the process.

Friday 10 June 2016

London Marathon Good For Age Entry closes 20 June

For those wanting to run next year’s London Marathon ‘Good For Age’ Entry closes on 20 June. The details to qualify are below:

Thursday 9 June 2016

Fancy a Massage?

Message from former Moorfoot and U18 Scotland hill runner Alex Campbell (who is back in the area and contemplating a possible return to running)..........

If anyone would like to try out Swedish massage, I've listed some of the benefits below. I'm  based at Unit 3, Rowan Court, Cavalry Park, Peebles. Just now I do 9am-9pm on Fridays. 

I charge £12 for half hour massage:
Leg massage
Lower leg and foot massage 
Arm and hand massage
Neck back and shoulder massage
And £20 for a full body massage

People can get in touch with me through my facebook page  AC Massage or on 07742023478.

Swedish massage is a variety of firm but gentle techniques used to massage and relax the entire body.Swedish massage feels good, is relaxing and invigorating. It affects the nerves, muscles, glands, and circulation, while promoting health and well being.

Swedish massage is exceptionally beneficial for:
*increasing the level of oxygen in the blood
*decreasing muscle toxins
* increasing drainage of waste products
*decreasing pain
*decreasing stress both physically and emotionally
*improving circulation
*Improving flexibility and range of motion
*easing tension and stiffness in muscles
*decreasing and breaking down scar tissue
*lowering blood pressure
*improving digestion
*improving sleep quality
*boosting immune system
*improving skin tone, texture and elasticity
*decreasing fatigue
*Relieve from depression and anxiety 

Thanks again, 


Wednesday 8 June 2016

Highlander Mountain Marathon 2016

HMM 2016 - Glen Cannich (Control 8 A-class Day2 was located at this point )
Team Balfour/Davidson were back for a third crack at the Highlander Mountain Marathon, this year based at Cannich, east of Inverness.
This was the last of the Highlander Mountain Marathons (HMM), and was being referred to as 'the final fling...'; next year, the Lowe Alpine Mountain Marathon (LAMM) will pick up the event on the first week in June.

Long drive up to Cannich, and overnight camp at Cannich Woodland Campsite after registration and some serious eating. Eddie's back playing up after over doing the gardening the previous weekend, but stoically sticking to the full A-class course selection (linear course,maximum distance/ascent)

We opted for the earliest start because we knew we were going to be out on the hills all day.
6:00am breakfast and 6;30 bus to race start; we were first group to go at ~7:15; cloud down, right down...deep heather, steep ascent, no visibility...ominous start to Control#1. Soon up through the clouds at ~800m and full temperature inversion by Control#2. After that, in and out of clouds several times; hot and airless on the ridges.
A couple of minor navigational errors, but soon resolved and a strong finish - back to mid camp before 3:00pm for a time of 7h45 and all ten controls recorded (~30Km , 1950m ascent)....36th from ~50 in A-class was a good performance for us....

Another early (7:15) start in low cloud, but again up into the sunshine by Control #3; very hot, damn hot all day. Everyone was struggling a bit in the heat. Eddie's pain killers kicked in around midday as I started wilt and was working hard to stay on the pace. Again, some good navigational route choices and our strong steady pace was picking up places. A minor navigation error near the end lost ten mins or so but another strong finish on the final stretch. Home in 7h15 and all fourteen controls punched (~29Km, 1650 ascent)...six places picked up for a very pleasing 30th place.

Long drive home again...legs scratched to bits in the heather, and removal of more ticks than you can imagine (I lost count after removing about ten!)

A-class was won by the current 'rockstars' of the fell running world, Findlay Wild and Sam Hesling; 8hrs 25 for the two days (compared to our 15 hrs !)

Interview with Angela Mudge

Worth a listen here

Monday 6 June 2016

Winning return for Jacob at Glas Tulaichean uphill

Two bouts of shin splints over the winter/spring have curtailed Jacob Adkin's winter training and early season race plans, but with all being well over the last few weeks (including his Salomon Academy training camp in the Bavarian Alps which you can read about via the link below) he made a return to racing on Saturday in the Glas Tulaichean uphill only race over 7.2km/670m, running out a comfortable winner by over two minutes. Recent Gypsy Glen 3rd Alexander Chepelin was nearly six minutes back in 5th and Gala's Fergus Johnston was 7.14 behind in 7th. Jacob's time of 36.31, whilst over two minutes off Bobby Quinn's course record from 1997, was only 14 seconds slower than Robbie Simpson's winning time from 2013.  Not a bad effort for his first race back!
Jacob's Salomon Academy blog

Mairi's Scotland selection for WMRA Youth Cup

Great news that Mairi Wallace has been selected in a team of three to represent Scotland in the WMRA Youth International Cup in Janske Lazne, Czech Republic on 25 June, (that's Beltane Saturday - who sets these fixtures?!). This will be her second international vest having been in the Scotland U17 team at last year's Junior Home International when she helped Scotland to team gold.

It's an uphill only race this year over 2.9km/300m and in all but name it is effectively the European U18 mountain running championships. In racing at this event she will be following in the footsteps of Scout and Jacob Adkin.

Mairi's trial race result in 2015 was actually good enough for selection for this event but she was too young to be eligible that year. This year, it's a very strong age-group on the hills in Scotland and Mairi is probably due Laura Stark from Kilbarchan a big thank-you for opting out of the Scotland Youth team as a result of winning the GB U20 trial for the European Junior Championships which take place only a week later. But the Scotland team still includes the current Scottish cross-country champion Anna MacFadyen and trial winner Grace Whelan. Mairi will be one of the youngest in the race as she is not 16 until October and will be eligible for this race next year too.

Well done Mairi!

Sunday 5 June 2016

Yetholm Hill Race 2016

Six Moorfoots headed to the 7.5 mile, 2,500ft Yetholm hill race on a hot, parched day. It is a race of two halves with some pathless rough and very steep ground largely following a boundary dyke until the high point at half way when you pick up the well used trail of the Pennine Way for the mainly down hill return.

The race was also the third round of the Scottish Borders Hill Race Series which was won by Doug Tullie of HBT in 1.08.31 with a larger field of 58 runners compared with the last couple of years.
Colin, Darin, Andy, Mike, Magnus and Scott all looking rather happy before the race!

A very strong run by Andy Cox saw him continue his good form and was the first Moorfoot home in 5th place. Andy was up in the race for third place when ex SHR hill champion Brian Marshall passed him about half way round (with no shoes on!) however Andy closed the gap on the guy that was 4th to 30 seconds but never caught him fully.

Special mention to Magnus getting round in a decent time only a week after his 3hr 14minute Edinburgh Marathon!
The Moorfoots results were:

5 Andrew Cox M 01:17:25
7 Colin Williams M40 01:22:04
17 Michael McGovern M40 01:26:52
21 Darin Dougal M40 01:29:38
26 Magnus Skea M 01:32:03
35 Scott McDonald M40 01:38:35

Full results here
Race route and profile here

Thursday 2 June 2016

Tour a’ Jura Two

I imagined that there was little likelihood of making the final entry list for this island epic. Perhaps this is why I attempted again to enter - a week before race day – partly hoping it wouldn’t happen? However, the organiser got back to say it wasn’t too late and that the 'situation was clarifying'. All that was needed was my SI number, qualifying experiences and a couple of emails later, I had paid and I was on the list. Part of me bore a light grin while the other needed to lie down in a darkened room and consider what lay ahead.

I ran the route last year and could remember some of the difficult sections (too many to remember if I was honest) those gargantuan climbs, people-eating bogs, near-vertical boulder fields, hillsides swathed in scree, the quad crushing downhills, the ankle-breaking run to the three-arched bridge and then the three-mile trudge to the Jura Distillery.

Memory, strangely, can retain a variety of aspects of an experience, like how something looked or smelled or tasted, but for me, it fails to retain just how painful something was. Much as I remember the previous year’s run, at times, being a packed shed of agony - I couldn’t bring it back to quantify.
However, I’d paid my £20, so I was in!

The journey north starts at 5.30 from Peebles and by 9.15 I am in Tayvallich for the 10.00 fast boat to Craighouse on Jura. There’s a young bag-piper, piping runners on to the boat in order to raise funds for his orienteering trip to Sweden – really setting the scene! He will stop when the boat leaves. The boat is delayed and Sandy (the boat guy) jokes that he intends staying there – ‘just to see how long it takes before the lad keels over’.
Bonnie Jura, 29/05/2016

It’s a smooth crossing and a short walk to the campsite. Coming off the early boat means that there are only five or six pitches taken. Last year, I learned that the shop near the campsite is NOT a campsite shop and does not sell bedrolls – this year I have brought a super-luxury inflatable mattress as an alternative to last year’s sleeping on cardboard boxes and bubblewrap – good call! I have also brought a cold – bad call! But double doses of Lemsip Max keep it stable.

Tent up, bed inflated, smug with self, I head for lunch at the Jura hotel. Two minutes to twelve and I’m the first customer of the day. I eat and drink and plan a recce run up the first section – just to see what lies ahead. With the 5.00 am rise, by 1.30pm, I have fallen asleep on my SLIM (Super Luxury Inflatable Mattress) Later, I am dressed and off for the recce. The waist-deep bogs are still there but it is dry on the tracks further up. I run half way to the first checkpoint and back. In the evening, I head back to the hotel for more food and I notice many runners drinking ales. I enquire. I am informed that Guinness is the best option as it is a foodstuff. I have three and leave.

The next morning there is a buzz about the campsite. Kit is organised, banter flies, carbs are ingested as pots and pans clatter. Its’ a fine morning and it looks clear higher up.

The start nears and we are herded into the pen. After the customary, inaudible, safety instructions -we are off. I pick a steady pace (mainly as that is all I can manage) and feel good at the top of Dubh Bheinn. I am picked off on the uphill of Glas Bheinn but I gain on the way down to the base of Aonach Bheinn. It’s an incredible view over the valley to Beinn a’ Chaolais. I make my way down the steep path of heather and peat and manage to stay on my feet despite the severe angle of the slope. I meet Krysia from Carnethy - we top up bottles at the burn and are off on the ascent of Beinn a’ Chaolais. It’s tough but I am eventually over and count off, mentally, hill number 1.

On the ascent of Bienn an Oir, I start to struggle. My legs work fine. No imploding of calves or dead quads or diminished breathing but I have no energy to draw on. I chomp and energy bar and drink as I go - but probably too late. From the cairn at the top (centre of the middle hill in the pic below) of Bienn an Oir, things don’t improve. I follow a brace of Westies who run way off to the left rather than coming down the central line from the middle of the hill. I then decide they were going too far off course and I cut though the heather over a boulder field and on to the flatter section before the climb of final pap. Marshalls offer more fluids – the last of the tap water I am told and I head off. This is the point where severe cramps set in last year. No cramps – but very little energy to keep going forward. On the final section of Beinn Shiantaidh, below, I meet Andy Skelhorn from Macclesfield Harriers who snaps me on my way to the top. What can’t be seen here is my system shouting out for food and water!

Picture courtesy of Andy Skelhorn – Macclesfield Harriers

(12km from the hill on the rear left to the start – 11k left to run from this spot)

Eventually, I am over the top and on to the nasty scree slope where the path has all but disappeared and guess work is the order of the day. I meet a Deeside Lady runner and between us we find the tricky trod that cuts across the hill to the final ‘wee hill’ Corra Beinn. I take a leftward tack and claw my way to the final cairn. Famished and dry, I plod on to the Three Arched Bridge. This section is ankle-busting bog and tussock country. I walk the bogs and run the dry sections and after a dip at the river crossing, a quick isotonic drink at the bridge, I ‘only’ have the 3.3 miles of road to run.

This is a real challenge as there is very little in me to provide the required energy. It’s hot and I decide to make occasional fast walks where shade becomes available. I manage the final half mile in one go – probably because of the crowds. I finish off with a final burst to the line. I then grab 2 cups of water and find shade in which to consume them. I consume 4 further cups – brought to me by people nearby - I must have looked quite ruined as one of them also took my shoes and sock off for me. Thank you kind stranger!

Soon, I head for my tent for nourishment in the form of a large bag of salted cashews I had saved. I lie on my SLIM and scoff. I fall asleep briefly and wake to find myself covered in the remainder of the cashews. I need food, I desire Guinness so I make my way to the hotel and gorge. I follow this with a shower.

I return to the bar to work on fluid replacement. I meet part of Shettleston Harriers' International Team (SHIT), Alastair Pringle, Bill Breckenridge, and his son Jock. We have numerous ales – probably outdone slightly but the celebrating Jebb family at the next table. Robert was 8th (first MV40) and Andrew 16th.

Fluid replacement goes well and I head for my tent. Next morning, it's bacon rolls and off on the 9.30 boat to Tayvallich. A glorious morning - it makes it hard to depart. On leaving, I ask myself the question – will I do it next year? On the way up the last hill, where I felt utterly drained, I said to myself - ‘remember how this feels’ – Don’t do it again!

That said, it’s four days later and I can still smell the salty air, the burned heather and taste that first post-race Guinness. I do, however, seem to have forgotten just how painful it all was!

First lass was Jasmin Paris
and first lad was Finlay Wild.

I was bringing up the rear but managed to take around 4 mins off last year's time.

As this was a championship race, entry was extended to 300 maximum. 248 entered - 235 finished.

Full results here