Monday 26 February 2018

Eildon 3 peaks 10 Miler - 2018

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! 

Sunday 25 February 2018

Lurgy/injury hit juniors at the Nationals

Despite both the Peebles lurgy and injury impacting on some performances, there were still some pretty decent showings from the Moorfoot juniors at the National XC Champs at Callendar Park, Falkirk on Saturday. Unlike recent years, it was perfect conditions, a dry week and marginally sub-zero overnight temperature combining to provide good running ground, and the slight breeze having little impact in the sunny conditions other than keeping things on the chilly side of mild.

With two lurgy related call-offs in the morning, three or four running who had suffered a lurgy interrupted prep over the last ten to fourteen days, at least one who ran a tad below par, quite possibly due to the impending onset of the lurgy, one running through a niggling injury, and an ankle twist causing one DNF, it wasn't a day when the Moorfoot heather was set alight, but hats off to all those who rose to the challenge of competing in the National Champs in muckle big fields on a muckle tough course.

Best finisher on the day was Beth Hobbs who ran strongly considering she was one of those only just recovered from the lurgy, finishing 14th of 44 in a time of 26.47 in the U17 Women's race over 6km. Beth is still in that same age-group next winter. A tad below par in that race, and complaining of feeling a bit off form, was Mairi Wallace who crossed the line 25th in 28.41. Judging by mum Angela's still evident nasty bout of the lurgy, it would be no surprise if Mairi is next in their household to succumb!

First race of the day was the U13 Girls race over 3.1km and unfortunately a technical problem with the chip timing means no results have been published yet. I'd guess the three Moorfoot finishers -Christina McGorum, Holly Hobbs and Maddie Collins (in that order) - were all inside the top half. Emily Carrick-Anderson was a lurgy hit non-runner and unfortunately Esme Minto twisted an ankle and was a DNF. She was hobbling manfully (sexist?) along on one good leg when passing yours truly with 1200m and the hill still to go, so the shepherd's crook was deployed to pull her out.

The U13 Boys were kept champing at the bit on the start line for a good 10 minutes while the technical problem was sorted, then were off at a rate of knots like pent up bullocks! In a field of 188 finishers Ben Allan was just inside the top half in 79th in 13.16. Angus Carlyle was racing on the back of limited training due to ongoing heel and knee pain and did well to finish, coming home 116th in 13.54 and Jake Lockyer had his usual spirited finish and was just ten places back in 14.10. Patrick Cannon was another lurgy hit non-runner.

The Under 15 Girls raced over 4.1km with Charlotte Morrison leading the Moorfoot trio home in 75th in 18.41. Eilidh Mooney was next home in 92nd in 19.10 and Megan Hobbs kept on well for 106th in 19.35.

Finally in the U17 Men's race over 6km Euan Hood (Lasswade vested) and Craig Angus both produced solid consistent runs after bouts of the lurgy, Euan finishing 37th in 23.47 and Craig 47th in 24.34.

Well done all.

Photo shows Ben, Jake and Angus on the start line, seemingly intrigued by the Gala pairs' pre-race Japanese meditation. Mind you it served them well - 167 floated to bronze and 169 zenned his way to 31st.

Monday 19 February 2018

Strathaven Striders 'Run with the Wind' Half Marathon 2018

Results here...

Magnus and Kenny were through at Strathaven for this years Run with the Wind Half Marathon, a good checkpoint on how the training is progressing on the way to Spring Marathons.

Benign conditions this year, in what can sometimes be a windswept and snowy course climbing up to and passing the Whitelees Wind Farm, on the south edge of East Kilbride.
A tough course, with a couple of long draggy climbs, but enough downhills to recover on and get some faster splits back in the bag again.

Magnus - another HM PB, at 1:26:40 and 20th place; a strong, well paced run...

Kenny - possibly a PB (?) in 1:26:02, and chasing down the overall V50 winner at the finish, but coming up 5 secs short.

Definitely a recommended race, with good organisation and catering post race....

Gala XC - Borders Series Round 6

The latest instalment of the Borders Cross Country took part in Galashiels on Sunday.
Doddie Weir was there receiving a £2,500 cheque on behalf of his Motor Neuron Disease charity.
The race started by Doddie to the sound of bagpipes and a rendition of O' Flower of Scotland (both verses!).
Good showings from the juniors:
Category Category Placing Name Time
F8-9 6 Ava Mooney 14:25.4
F10-11 5 Sophie Logan 14:46.9
F12-13 5 Kate Harvie 14:11.4
M10-11 6 Ben Allan 12:10.9
M10-11 9 Danny Lancaster 12:22.6
M10-11 11 Joshua Duncan 12:23.9
M10-11 14 Kainui Keen 12:45.8
M10-11 15 Cameron Carlyle 12:46.4

In the senior race Mike McGovern was first club member home in 25:03(? one place ahead of Colin for overall 27th and age 8th but his number fell off so not in the results), Colin Williams (28th, 9th M40 25:20) and Mike Pearson (2nd M70).

Provisional results:

Radio Borders Video and interview with Doddie Weir

Thursday 8 February 2018

Scottish Schools Bronze for Ailsa - Charlotte done out of a place in the final - PB for Euan

There was a brilliant bronze medal for Ailsa Innes in the PHS vest at the Scottish Schools Indoor Champs Over-16 800m today at The Emirates in Glasgow. Having won her heat with a controlled and fairly comfortable race, she lined up in what was due to be a hot final knowing that a well executed race would put her in with a chance of a medal. Settling in fourth early on, she moved into third with two laps to go as the front two favourites stretched into a good lead. They continued their ding-dong battle right to the line with Ailsa running strongly in behind but never close enough to threaten gold or silver. But she put good daylight between her and the rest to maintain a 10m gap back to fourth and safely secure the bronze in a very even-paced time of 2.15.49.

Also running in the same event was Charlotte Clare who ran the third fastest qualifying time across the four heats but was denied a place in the final by virtue of the very odd qualification rule used by SSAA for this race alone which saw only the first two in each of the four heats qualifying with no provision for fastest losers. All the other 800m age-groups' qualifications were based on a strict time ranking across all the heats, ironically a process which saw an inexperienced Charlotte miss out on the U16 final last year despite comfortably winning her heat. Normally, if not using this "time trial" qualification system, for four heats down to eight qualifiers, you would expect the qualification to be heat winners plus the four fastest losers. But SSAA, at only 30 minutes notice when posting the heat draw, confirmed it would be just the first two in each heat, leaving Charlotte with a mountainous task in the strongest of the heats, Heat 4, against two others with PBs of 2.12. That is fully five seconds quicker than Charlotte's PB of 2.17. But she gave it a real go off a very fast early pace, going through the first 200m one second ahead of her planned pace in order to keep in touch with the qualifying positions. The rest were nowhere. She had to push hard to try and stay in contact - the right thing to do for sure - but couldn't match the pace of the front two and as she tired over the last 100m her time slipped a few tenths of a second outside her PB and she crossed the line third in 2.17.99. Word was that the front two, which included the eventual gold medallist, were also unhappy at the qualification process and the fact that CC pushed them into running such a hard heat whilst the other medal contenders had been able to cruise their qualification in times 5-10 seconds slower.

So despite such a gutsy quality performance Charlotte was out - or was she? When the results were posted, they showed qualification based on the four heat winners and four fastest losers, with the sought-after "q" next to CC's name as the fastest loser by miles. Clearly the official who was doing the results knew what the qualification process should have been! However, with SSAA having clearly stated prior to the heats, albeit with only 30 minutes notice, that it was first two and no fastest losers, and with several second placed runners clearly not racing all-out to the line in their heat, it was correct, but unfortunate for CC, that they reverted to the qualification process that had originally been notified and amended the list of qualifiers accordingly. Just to rub a bit more salt into Charlotte's wounds, the second placed finisher from her heat failed to line up for the final, maybe feeling the effects of her hard-run heat on the back of two 1500m races the previous day. Fourth in the final behind Ailsa was a lass who finished a good few metres behind Charlotte ten days ago at the U17 National Champs.

Reaching the final was Charlotte's pre-race target and whilst the black and white results will show that she didn't, she knows that she posted a performance well deserving of doing so and may well have finished fourth in the final.

Also racing on what looked to be, apart from the 800m qualification blip, a well run event, was Euan Hood who, on the back of a week's illness and losing his voice (a beneficial side effect said Brian!), ran two excellent races yesterday in the 1500m and today in the 800m with a two-second plus PB of 2.05.00.

Tuesday 6 February 2018

Moorfoot’s hosted round of the Borders XC series in Peebles

Sunday saw the Peebles leg of the Borders cross country roll into Haylodge park.

Firstly many thanks to all marshals and helpers involved for a very well organised and run event, especially to Mike Pearson, Eddie Balfour and Gregor Nicholson whose input is key.

Some great times and running on a difficult course at its slickest, with mud virtually everywhere in sparkling sunshine.

A total of 114 runners finished the junior race. Lots of runners in the colourful kids race over a hilly course round the park. Full Junior results at:
East Lothian 16-year-old Fraser Kelly won the junior race after leading from the start. Fionn Hollingsbee finishing seventh for the Moorfoots. Mussleburgh's Flora Henry triumphed in the girls' race, winning the sprint for the line from Beth Hobbs of Peebles.

A total of 189 runners completed the senior four-and-a-bit miles course. Carnethy's Eoin Lennon yet again showed he is a class above by maintaining his unbeaten record this winter on the Borders Series.
With so many on marshal duty only two Moorfoots were in action in the senior race, Colin Williams in 22nd (6th M40; 28:47) and then Alan Elder, (14th M50; 34:33). Both had helped set the course the day before and were glad to have had the chance to test their tree jumping skills to negotiate the fallen trunk blocking the path near Neidpath Castle and avoid some especially squelchy sections.

Photos here: Thanks to Alex Corbett (Teviotdale Harriers)

 Report inspired by   Peeblesshire News / Ian Munro - thanks

Saturday 3 February 2018

Borders XC - Race Number Collection

If you entered back in October but Peebles is your first race, you need to collect your race number from Rosemary Scott's car which will be parked just inside the gate into Hay Lodge park opposite Kingsland Primary School, close to the start. It is a grey Suzuki Splash NJ13 AXK.