Monday 25 June 2018

Eildon Three Hill Race Report, Saturday 23rd June

The Eildon Hill race is a traditional event which has taken place in late June for over 50 years and is part of the week-long Melrose Festival. It starts in the centre of Melrose and the route takes you to the summit of each of the three Eildon Hill covering 4.4miles with 1500ft of ascent (7.2km, 480m ascent). It's a very tough course - you always seem to be flat out up or down - the dry conditions allowed for some quick running.

This year the race was the event chosen for the East District Hill Running Championships so there were some quick runners at the front of the field, with Andy Cox in amongst it at the beginning of the race. Andy maintained a high placing throughout and was first Moorfoot home in 6th place, in 39:41. The race was won by James Espie from Aberdeenshire's Deeside Runners in 35:27 to win the East District title.

Colin Williams was next home in 44:35 (15th, 5th M40) and then Pete Hall (53:08, 11th M50). Also running was Scott MacDonald, who is now running unattached, in 48:12. Full results:
It's behind you!

Wednesday 20 June 2018

Magnus and Colin skip training for a pub crawl

Magnus Skea and Colin Williams headed to the Lauderdale Limpers 2 Pubs race on Tuesday evening. It's a great local race where you register at the Lauderdale Hotel and then the whole field is bused to Oxton. We resisted the urge and saved the beer for after the finish! It used to run in alternate directions every year and finish in the Tower Pub in Oxton but its always north to south now.

The race is 4.75 miles (or 7.6km as Magnus would say) run mainly on a grassed over disused railway but with road sections too. There is quite a cheeky climb of 80m around the 2 mile mark and followed straight after by quite an interesting descent as we wore road shoes and found the wet grassy fields certainly kept you on your toes, literally. Here is the route on a funky flyby tool:

It's very friendly field with 65 taking part and almost half of them coming from the host club Lauderdale Limpers. It was a good Moorfoot showing - the race was run by Limper Leahn Parry in 29:11, followed by Colin almost a minute back in 30:10 and closely followed by Magnus in 3rd in 30:26. Full results:

Congratulations in particular to Magnus on this first top 3 finish since the years of school sports day.

The food spread but on in the Lauderdale Hotel was outstanding and we enjoyed our post race refreshment - me more than Magnus as he was driving! Thoroughly recommend the race for others in the future.

Monday 18 June 2018

Robert Wilson reports at Kirkcudbright half and Stichill 10k

Robert Wilson has been in action in the last few weeks and putting in some solid performances. Here's his report:

On the last Saturday in May I took myself down to Kirkcudbright for their annual half marathon. Being the end of May it’s the peak of the Scottish summer and by the time the race starts at 1pm the tarmac has heated up nicely! Thankfully the new race organiser decided to move the start time to 11am this year which may have accounted for my improvement on last years’ time. Anyway, it’s a lovely course with a good downhill thrash between mile 10 and 11. It’s an affordable and well organised race with all funds going to Kirkcudbright High School. I finished in 1:47, five minutes better than last year so a good excuse for a coffee and cake in the many coffee shops near the harbour.
Results can be found here Kirkcudbright half marathon

Last Saturday it was off to Stichill near Kelso for their annual 10k race. A nice low key event, I think there were 80 runners, on a course that meandered around a series of country back roads. As its June and the Scottish summer is over, the weather was ideal for running with a light wind and a drizzle to help keep everyone cool. I finished in 46:45 and was pleased with that time and with a bit more training I could perhaps get back to going under 45 mins – who knows.
Results can be found here Stichill 10k

Both races proved to me, the benefits of a regular training session each week so a big thank you to those in the club who organise the Tuesday and Thursday training sessions.

Robert doesn't even look out of breath!

Tuesday 5 June 2018

Yetholm Hill Race Report

Dave Gaffney raced well at Yethom this weekend after a considerable layoff with injury. Here's his account:

140 runners gathered at Halterburn, just outside Kirk Yetholm, for the latest race in the Scottish Hill Racing Championships. This one is a medium distance counter for the champs, packing 2,700 foot of ascent into its 7.5 miles.

The low-lying cloud hid much of what lay in store at registration, but the race organiser’s start line briefing gave a suitably detailed description of what we could expect.

“You go up this first hill, round the flag, then follow the dyke/fence line across quite a few more hills, turn left at that big cloud in the distance, then get back here as quick as you can. And I wouldn’t recommend going over the top of that hill there,” he said, pointing to a big lump rising above the Pennine Way to our left. “That’s definitely not the quickest line home.”

This news came as a fillip as it meant that, if nothing else, at least one of the many hills I could currently see wouldn’t have to be summited before I returned to this point.

Before I had too much time to enjoy that reprieve we were off, up and away on a farm track then onto steep open hillside, headed for the aforementioned flag at the top of Staerough Hill, the first of eight tops on the anti-clockwise round.
A quick chat with Craig Walling on the first hill revealed that he and Katie had spent a successful night with five-week-old baby Iona and two dogs in their camper van in the car park. Nothing like getting there early to avoid disappointment!
From the flag, it was straight down to the bealach between Staerough and Sunnyside hills, giving the first taste of what was to become a familiar experience over the next hour or so, i.e working hard to gain height only to plummet downwards again and forfeit all the altitude you’d sweated to achieve just moments before.

The toughest of those steep descent and steeper re-ascent combinations was hurtling down the south side of the 403m Latchly Hill, only to climb precipitously up the north side of The Curr, a 564m top featuring one of the two Trig points on the route (an added bonus for Trig-bagging geeks like me). 

We had now reached the point in the cloud where we were instructed to turn left, which we dutifully did, to pick up the Pennine Way path and thus slightly better running over Steer Rig and the last proper climb up White Law. At this point, I was still competitive in the women’s race, but was soon overtaken on White Law by second and third place in that category and watched them both stretch away, with my legs unable or unwilling to respond to my brain’s instructions to go with them.

From there it’s a good, fast, gravity-assisted run (if your legs are the obedient types) down the grassy track of the Pennine Way and a final splash through the burn into the car park and the finish line.

Every penny of the £5 entry fee was donated to the local mountain rescue team, whose members were out in force on the route, meaning it was exceedingly well marshalled. The team’s £700 windfall – welcomed by a generous round of applause from runners at the start line – was well earned and, as Norham Running Club’s race director explained before the race: “All the money is going to Borders Mountain Rescue, so don’t expect much in the way of prizes, especially if I decide just to keep some of the beers for myself.”
Nobody would have argued that he deserved it for a well-organised and very friendly race which I’ll definitely return to in the future, if only in the hope of experiencing some of the views we were denied by the stubborn clouds on Sunday.  

Shettleston Harriers’ Tom Owens finished at the front of a strong field, as you’d expect in a Scottish Champs race, in 1:03:45 with Eoin Lennon from Carnethy in second place and HBT’s Jonathan Crickmore third. Stephanie Provan held off a barnstorming finish from Heather Anderson of Fife AC to take the win in 1:22:29 and make her trip from Deeside well worthwhile. Claire Barry of HBT was third.

I was very happy to be first (ie only) Moorfoot and to just scrape a top 40 chart entry in 1:23:37.
Full results: