Sunday 29 April 2018

Yetholm to Wooler Half 2018

On a decent day to be charging around the Cheviots, Andy and Alan took themselves to Wooler for the Yetholm to Wooler half (ish - depending on where you guessed the trail may be)  - with around 2200 feet of climb.

After a 7.30 start, we arrive in good time for registration and were whisked off, at 10.00 on a coach, to the start in Yetholm. Around 100 runners gathered on the village green for the brief safety talk.

No compulsory kit – ‘just wear what you are comfortable in,’ was the call!

So with a two jackets, a gel and a bag full of sugary objects between us - we were off.

The initial section involves running up the road to the car park of the Yetholm Hill Race and then up the side of Green Humbleton (first hill on the clockwise version of Yetholm Hill Race.

Andy is up front and making great progress on the uphill. By the time I reach the border into England, my calves seem to have been set alight and it isn’t until entering the wood at the bottom of Tom’s Knowe, that the fire cools enough for me to pick up the pace a little.

By Ell’s Knowe, Andy has turned on the rockets and is a now a good distance in front of the second placed runner. But – being in front means that you have no one to follow and a couple of ‘navigational issues’ crop up and the pack closes in a little on the way to Hethpool.

Around Hethpool, I make my own error in judgement and follow (against instincts, a group of 4 runners who were a few hundred meters in front of me.) I have an unnecessary 1km of ‘out and back – losing 5 or 6 minutes as a result. It is then a slog up the side of Tom Tallon’s Crag to try to keep the runners who overtook me, in sight.

From Gain’s Law to Brown Law, Andy opens up the gap on the other runners again. This is a fantastic downhill stretch and I manage to push on along this section too and by the time I reach the wood on Kenterdale Hill, I have caught a number of runners and manage to ‘out –downhill’ (possibly due to my abnormally high sugar content) 5 other participants before the finish.

Andy romped round for 1st prize in 1h 43m – ish.
I managed 21st in 2h 05m – ish.

Pizza matched Merlot, Chocolate and Cookies - Mmmmmm...

Many places to go wrong on the route –and many did! Two in particular reinvented the last 3 or 4 km by visiting the villages of Humbleton and Gallowlaw en route to Wooler.

A good feed at the Bloo Coo on the way home – and asking Andy for a comment on his win. He was humbly more concerned that his Smoked Coo Burger contained one beef patty – rather than his preferred two!

Would certainly run this one again.

Chester Half Marathon report by Colin

Colin Williams managed to combine a trip to visit his hometown and catch up with family with the Chester half marathon which by an amazing coincidence fell on the same day (!).

With my family just after the race
It boasts a super quick course record time of 62 minutes something so I went with a view of having a crack at a sub 1.20 time, or failing that a new PB which stands at 1.21.00. I had run the race before in 2016 but I was recovering from an injury at the time and just got round. As a consequence I didn’t quite remember the undulations on the course which certainly seem steeper when you have been running at your limit for over an hour. This time I had a solid run but realised within the first few miles that sub 1.20 was unlikely and tried to run a pace I felt I could maintain throughout and a hopefully deliver a new PB.

As it turned out I was simply not in the condition to do it. Trying to do the sums with 3 miles to go I worked out the if I ran three speedy ones I could maybe squeak it and went after it, and emptied the tank by mile 12 before being greeted by the final mile which has about 25m climb (which seemed like 250ft climb at the point!). As this point my speed dropped and I put in a 6min36sec mile and got over taken by 7 people. Once it flattened for the last 200m I sprinted and managed to get back 2 places – see facial expression below as evidence!!

All in all I am content with my run as I ran the best today I think I was able to. I finished in 1.21.37, 57th overall and 11th M40. I have the rearranged Alloa half at the start of June which I entered expected to do it March but it has been postponed due to the extreme snow so I that gives me a target (and motivation to train better).

The event is very well run which I can recommend and Chester is a nice place to visit if you ever fancy it.

Sunday 22 April 2018

Moorfoots at the hottest London Marathon ever

Three Moorfoots took part in the London Marathon today, Sunday 22 April, braving the hottest ever weather that the race has experienced, in complete contrast to Kenny at Boston!

Seasoned marathoners Andrew Dancer and Scott McDonald were at the pointy end and Ailish Nimmo completed her first marathon. Their results are

Place overall
Place gender
Place cat.
Runner no

Full splits can be found here:
Very well done in extremely testing conditions and some stand out performances.

Andrew was rewarded with around 10 seconds of prime TV coverage at the finish line. He commented:
Squeaked in by 12 seconds under 3hrs according to chip timing. Very hot for running and had to dig deep for last two miles to keep sub 3.
Scott commented:
Enjoyed running London marathon again and took time to take it all in on a warm day.
I am very happy with my run, it was warm and enjoyed actually take it all in, a very good memory for the future.
I have had  a awesome year and half think my shorter distance times will come down after a week or two recovery

Image result for london marathon

Simon Hammond at the Ultra Tour of Arran, Sat 14 & Sun 15 April

Simon provided the following report from the pretty daunting Ultra Tour of Arran:

Simon (L) with his old school mate Duncan
"Travelled to Arran with my old school mate from Peebles, Duncan Cairns, to tackle the inaugural 2 day Rat Race Ultra Tour of Arran at the weekend. As Rat Race say, they do things differently. The options on offer were to run day 1 (50km with 3500 feet of climb) or both days (another 50km plus 6000 feet of climb). However as usual with Rat Race the descriptions were deliberately vague. It was more like 45km/5000ft and 48km/7000ft over some very tough terrain: bogs, rivers, scrambles, seaweed and little or no Tarmac.  Route here:

The aim was to go and enjoy the scenery and not push ourselves. Day 1 started at 8.30am and headed over the southern end of the island from Brodick to the south tip and back. Highlights included running through my cousin's farm at Lamlash, a fantastic stretch of wooden boardwalk next to the beach overlooking the Holy Isle in the sun and 2km of deep bog in thick mist where the curses and cries of anguish of those stuck in the mud could be heard echoing eerily long before they were seen.  The going was slow as Duncan was carrying a calf injury that started to give him bother about 15km-20km in.  We stuck together which meant a rather slow return journey with plenty of walking on the uphills and flats, arriving at the finish line at basecamp in just under 6.5 hours.  Not bad considering the terrain and with Duncan on 1 leg. 

Day two was a different kettle of fish. It involved separate ascents of Arran's two highest peaks, Caisteal Abhail (859m) and Goat Fell (874m) with a cool half marathon along a very rugged and remote coastline in between. The energy sapping bog from day 1 meant many of those who had signed up for both days did not even attempt day 2, including Duncan whose calf had not recovered. About 175 - 200 runners set off at 7.30am where we headed up the beautiful Glen Rosa, ascending underneath the Rosa Pinnacle before tackling the exposed ridge up to the top of Caisteal Abhail. A long descent into Lochranza followed: it looked easy on the map but was far from so with the trail being more a loose line of odd shaped boulders and bogs than a path. The sun did appear which made up for the underfoot conditions. At this point I reckon I was in about 10th or 11th position on the day. A long run around the isolated north east coastline followed where, despite more difficult terrain including bogs, beaches and rockfalls, I made up 2 places. The final pitstop was at about the 32km mark, just before a cold wade across the river Sannox where it meets the sea and the final ascent up Glen Sannox and Goat Fell. The organisers had wisely arranged a "short-cut" at the Saddle, around half way up Goat Fell, allowing those who did not want to tackle the final 400+ metre climb to drop back down into Glen Rosa. The climb to the Saddle was nothing short of brutal with much scrambling and a wee bit of rock climbing in the Whin Gully. My resolve was tested when the cheery chap from mountain rescue dangled the short-cut in front of me but I resisted and pressed on to the top of Goat Fell. This involved more scrambling but this time in gale force winds, heavy rain and thick mist with patches of snow. A special mention has to go to the medic hiding in a survival shelter at the summit! About 5 minutes was lost just over the top when the markers were out of sight in the mist and the path was covered in snow but a bit of back-tracking soon solved the issue. Thankfully the entire course was otherwise very well marked! A great run out down the main traffic route on the mountain brought you back to Brodick with a final "sprint" along the beach and into basecamp for the finish in just under 8 hours. Rat Race events are never too serious so a great (if short) night was had in the beer tent sharing stories with others.

Results here:  As usual with Rat Race the results and timings are a bit wonky, not helped by the fact there ended up being effectively 3 separate races: day 1, day 1 + 2 (over Goat Fell), day 1 + 2 (short cut) with plenty who unfortunately did not make the cut-offs on day 2 getting a DNF next to their name.   I had myself 8th on day 2 although the results suggest I was perhaps 10th; either way far better than expected.  Overall for the 2 days a final position of 20th out of those who tackled the full course: quite chuffed considering we went without any aims of racing although I undoubtedly benefited overall from a slightly easier day 1 than originally planned.   I don't think the organisers appreciated quite how tough day 2 would be considering the number of non-starters and DNFs.  One-legged Duncan was 24th out of those who did only day 1 and 91st if you include the 2 day runners.   All in all a cracking weekend!

Wednesday 18 April 2018

Andy Cox wins Screel Hill Race

Andy Cox won the Screel Hill Race at Palnackie, near Dalbeattie on Saturday 14th April.
It’s relatively short as far as hill races go, 3.5miles / 5.6km with 1,300ft / 400m climb. The top is quickly reached via lovely mature pine forest. The descent is fast, though you have to be careful of tree roots and a path paved with branches.
Some 50 runners took part and Andy clocked 33:56. Race details and results here
The win continues Andy's good early season form following last month's 2nd place at Criffel Hill Race (10.5km, 550m climb) by New Abbey also in Dumfriesshire.
Great showing!


Darin does Dunbar 10k

Darin Dougal ran Dunbar 10k on Saturday 14th April. He ran strongly finishing 10th at Dunbar 10km, 5th M40 in 38:43 on the adulating course. Details and full results here:

Kenny goes transatlantic for Boston Marathon but the Scottish weather follows him

Kenny Davidson was in action at the Boston Marathon in America on Monday 16th April.

Kenny at registration the day before and even then the weather was 'Baltic'
Boston Marathon is one of the premier marathons in the world and you have to run fast enough before you can even enter. For example men aged 18-34 you have to have run 3h05 or faster to even submit an entry form, and that does not guarantee entry as it’s oversubscribed every year. Kenny’s excellent performance at London Marathon in 2017, 3h03 as a V50 meant he was well inside his age group qualifying time. 
The race itself was the coldest Boston Marathon in the last 30 years and on top of the cold and wind and rain was simply quiet atrocious with conditions ranging from consistently heavy rain to a veritable monsoon. It is reported that about 2,300 runners receive medical treatment and there was an almost 5% drop out rate considerably more than usual. Many of the elites simply couldn’t live with the conditions with big name stars either pulling out in the later stages or hitting the wall. In a dramatic race the little known and somewhat eccentric Yuki Kawauchi from Japan came back from 90 seconds down to win the men’s race in a time of 2:15:58, the slowest winning time since 1976, but still almost two and a half minutes up on second placed Geoffrey Kirui (2:18:23), the defending champion who had clocked 2:09:37 in 2017.
The video here shows some of the condition to give you a flavour
Kenny commented:
Finished in 3:09:51 in what was a very wet and windy day...a very tough day for runners and supporters alike! Reminiscent of a not untypical day in the west of Scotland. A bit of snow on the ground at the start, puddles everywhere and lots of head on fire hosing in the squalls...
Pleased with my time given the conditions...not sure I could have run it any faster...
Dried out now and enjoying an evening rehydrating with our new best friend Samuel Adams...

An outstanding run all in all finishing 84th in the M50-54 age class and 3,315 overall out of 26,948. Kenny's result[start_no]=5604

Photo of the race to give you an idea - I don't think Kenny's in there

Paul Nichol's Manchester Marathon run on 8th April

Here's Pauls report after another very solid and well measured run:

I ventured down to Manchester on Saturday to run my Spring Marathon. I decided to do this one because I didn't get a London Place and there was no way I was running Blackpool :)
Well organised race with good transport links to and from the start / finish. The only strange thing is that there is no organisation into pens at the start. There was a mixture of runners and family supporters in the start pens which I have never seen before. The course is flat and good for a PB. It's a mixture of running on dual carriage and what felt like housing restates (Coronation Street stereotype). It one of those races where you pass people coming back which can be a bit disconcerting. I'd had knee / hip problems took the first half easy. Because I started about 5 minutes after the gun went off I was in the unusual position of passing lots of people throughout the race which is good mindfulness. I finished in 3.41 and ended up in the top 30% overall and 80th out of 300 for age. One to do again if London does not call. Results in the link (nearly managed a -ve split for the first time ever). Also you can see the pain etched on my face at the finish. Get the clock at 3.47.
Also attached are the obligatory before and after photos with one of what is the hugest burger ever.

Thursday 5 April 2018

Birnam (Saturday) and Deuchary Hill (Sunday) Races 2018

Alan Elder and Andy Cox took part in this year’s Birnam Hill Race. The race is 4.1miles with 1200 feet of climb. It is pretty much 2 miles up and 2 back down again.

Registration is carried out by Race Organiser, Adrian Davis, in the garden of The Birnam Guest House. Pleasingly informal – as registration should be!

Both novices at this one, Andy suggested a ‘wee reccie’ to get a look at the hill. Three quarters of the way up the initial steep climb and the hill is still not visible. By this point, Andy’s heart rate has raised by 3 bpm and I am wishing there was an oxygen kit nearby. Time to descend and get to the start line.

After a quick headcount, runners are off and make their way up the initial 2 mile climb. It just gets steeper and steeper. Andy is off among the front runners. I manage to run a reasonable portion of the climb but it is soon time to knee-pump. A further quarter mile or so of calf shredding steepness and the hill levels out - leading over King’s Seat and eventually peaking at a craggy outcrop above the ruins of Rohallion Castle .

Heart rate around 205

After a painful climb and places dropped, the next 2 miles are sheer delight. A fantastic one and a half mile downhill thrash, on firm farm roads, followed by flats and some minor undulations. I manage to pick up 20+ places from the crags to the finish- making up for a poor climb!

All in all, this is a great short run. Brutal climb but a really enjoyable second half to compensate!

Going up
Coming down
(Pics courtesy of Fishy Gordon)

Coxy had a good outing and was 10th out of 113 runners and I was further down the field in 63rd – but hey…a PB!

We skipped the fish supper in favour of  tea, cake and a toastie!

First Lass Mary Lye

Results Here

I tackled the Deuchary Hill Canter the day after The Birnam Hill Race (The Dunkeld Double?)

The race is over 12 miles with 2300 feet of climb and to add to the pot, Adrian, RO, describes the condition as the wettest he has ever seen – due to melting snow.

Logistics are tricky and we are encouraged to car-share to the start. I hook up with Daniel, Iain and Mike from Falkland Trail Runners and we drive off to the start at Dunkeld House.

It’s a tad smirry at the start but not looking too bad between the clouds. We are given the off and are soon heading uphill. It’s a slight climb out of the estate and we are soon dodging our way through rhododendrons and then out on to a fantastic and runnable forest path that hugs the hillside. A few more forest paths through Rotmell Wood and Deuchary Hill is soon in sight. 

It's mushy all the way to the top with broad patches of snow to tackle. I ‘compete’ with another runner to get to the top first. He gets there just before me – so the downhill chase is on. He knows some good lines, which I follow and am on his shoulder for a kilometre or so. I keep the pressure on and soon he pulls over and it becomes quickly evident that he had scrambled eggs for breakfast. Maybe pushed too hard on the uphill? Onward….

There are a couple of minor climbs but the majority of the second half is flat or downhill – with the last section on road – with a weird little twist through more rhododendrons before being ejected to the finish line.

I had a target of 2 hours for this run and was happy to get round in 1.57.

A good spread of soup, rolls and tray bakes back at Race HQ in Birnam Guest House garden.

Again – this was a really enjoyable run and one I would look to do again.

First Lad John Yells

First Lass Jill Stephen

Results  Here

(James Britton had a good couple of days at the office and was 3rd at Birnam and 2nd at Deuchary – top outcome on the double!)

Monday 2 April 2018

Club senior members 'ideas' get together, Fri 20th or Thurs 26th April

One thing that came up at the recent AGM is that it would be really good to have a meeting to discuss ideas for the senior membership of the club to allow it to develop. Lucy has very kindly offered to chair the session and hold it at her house, and has written the following invitation:

Beers & Ideas: club planning session
Moorfoots runs on the enthusiasm and commitment of a few dedicated souls. Time to get stuck in and have a say on how you think the club can continue to improve, what new things you’d like to see (social as well as training) and how you might get involved. Lucy is hosting an open house at:

Whinnyknowe, Glen Road, Peebles EH45 9JF
from 7-9.30pm in April  either on Friday 20th or Thursday 26th.
Please use the doodle poll to indicate if you can make either date
All you need to do is come armed with a) ideas & enthusiasm and b) a liquid refreshment of your choice.

The club is only as good as its members so get your hoodies and your thinking caps on and come along. Those who decline will have the dogs set on them : ))

The sort of things we may discuss are, club runs at weekend, social events,  weekends away either racing or just running, regular training sessions during the week (as well as the Tuesdays), with the new parkrun announced in Peebles how can we get more members, and anything else that comes to mind
We look forward to seeing you soon

Colin at the John Muir Way Ultra Marathon 50km

I saw this race last year as part of the Foxtrail series ( and entered on a whim back in October as so many races seem to fill up so quickly and it seemed like a good idea at the time.

It's a 50km/31mile race from Port Seton on the East Lothian coast to Foxlake Adventure Centre just west of Dunbar. The terrain is mixed with spells of tarmac as you pass through the villages, farm roads, dirt trails, bare field edges, a section of beach running and red gravel path that covers stretches of the John Muir Way. 

The photos and video on the website from last year looked lovely but unfortunately the weather on the day didn’t behave with a strong head / cross head wind the whole way, some increasingly heavy rain and 4 degrees. I wore tights and started the race with a waterproof jacket which I didn't take off the whole way and I never done that before even in Feel the Burns and snow blizzards! The rain in the days leading up meant that there were some very muddy and squelchy sections (but frustrating flat) that sapped your strength particularly near the end.

The results are here they have issued them separately for men and women. The winner did 3:50:56, and I finished, with great relief, 25 minutes back in 4:15:40 9th overall (8th man) out of 169 finishers.

Me being an imposter on the podium - just happy to finish!
Someone kindly posted a bit of video of me running here - I don't think I'm going to scaring Usain or Mo anytime soon!!

My finishing position was better than it felt as although I had a decent enough run my pace definitely tailed off a lot more than I had hoped. The race started in three waves only a minute or so apart to ease congestion as you get onto some narrow paths along Seton sands about a mile into it and I started in the second wave so never really knew how many were ahead of me.

It was a very well organised and put together race with loads of marshals. It mainly followed a picturesque course with lots of little points of interest along the way and on a nice day would have been rather nice!

Moorfoot AGM 2018 summary

Dear members,

The club AGM was help on 23 March and the minutes are available for download here.

The minutes include a summary of the various and many achievements of the club over the year. 
The membership numbers essentially stable c. 105 in total, 65 juniors & 40 seniors, and the club maintains a healthy cash position.

The following committee members for 2018/19 were voted into position.
Alan McDonald - President
Eddie Balfour - Treasurer
Colin Williams - Secretary
Gregor Nicholson - Juniors / Coaching
Mike Pearson - Welfare Officer
Alex Nisbet - Woman’s Captain 
Lucy Colquhoun - General Committee Member
Iain Roberts – General Committee Member (NEW)
Dave Gaffney – General Committee Member (NEW)