Friday 28 September 2018

Cross Country Season almost upon us – Are you interested in the Borders XC Series or National XC relays?

Entries for the Borders XC Series (which includes the Moorfoot organised Peebles race at Haylodge) will open on Monday morning 1st October at 6 am.

The 2018/19 series has the following races:
4 November : Lauderdale Limpers
18 November : Dunbar Running Club

2 December : Moorfoot Runners
16 December : Tweed Striders
13 January : Norham Running Club @ Paxton
3 February : Teviotdale Harriers
17 February : Chirnside Chasers
10 March : Gala Harriers

Cost for all 8 races in the whole series = £16 for seniors, £10 for juniors – bargain.

National XC relays, Cumbernauld on Saturday 27 October

Each lap is 4km and if you break 15 min you are going very well. I have heard that this is great event and last year the overall entry figure hit a quite remarkable tally of 2600 in 568 teams!

Senior and V40 (or combined) teams need 4 members whereas V50 needs three runners to make up a team. At the moment we have one provisional M50 team of Kenny Davidson, Scott McDonald, and Tom Hobbs lined up but looking to see if more are interested?

You need to be a Scottish Athletics member to enter.

Please respond if you are interested in being in a relay team by Friday 5 October as entries close on Thursday 11th and there will be a bit of do to pull everything to together

However a fair bit of info is missing so probably better to look at 2017 info here: 

Just so you are aware it's the day before Jedburgh Half Marathon/10km and the day of the Jedburgh 3 Peaks Ultra.

Thursday night club training – Meeting at 7pm Kingsmeadows Carpark, Peebles. Starting Thursday 4th October

Club Training Sessions are commencing on Thursday nights starting Thursday 4th October, in addition to Tuesday nights.

The key info is:
Runners meet at 7pm Kingsmeadows Carpark in Peebles on Thursday nights.

Runs will cater for runners who can a run for 60 mins. The format of the run will be flexible and set by that week’s run leader but will typically be a continuous run with regroups if necessary (as opposed to the structured timed intervals that the Tuesday night sessions take).

The details of that week’s run type will be circulated in advance in a weekly email to membership and facebook post and will include the minimum information so that runners know how long they will be out and what shoes and terrain encountered, although more often than not the run will be taking advantage of the fab trails in the Tweed Valley.

The rota of run leaders is:
1st Thursday                                  Amy Alcorn
2nd Thursday                                 Alan Elder alternating with Paul Nichol
3rd Thursday                                  Lucy Colquhoun alternating with Kenny Davidson
4th Thursday                                  Andrew Dancer
5th Thursday (when it happens)    Dave Gaffney

The rota for the whole of 2018/19 is can be viewed here:

Occasionally a run may be proposed where the runners hop in the cars and drive to a different location for variety, but the meeting time and place will be 7pm at Kingsmeadows car park as normal.

Details for the Thursday October 4th

Run Leader – Amy Alcorn
Meeting at 7pm Kingsmeadows Carpark, Peebles.
Route - From there we will be running out to Lyne Station on the right hand side of the river following the old railway line, crossing the bridge and heading back through the estate until we hit the Sware, then back down towards the car park.
Trail shoes would be the best option and if you have lights, please bring them
It's approximately 6.5 miles, taking about 1 hour. 
See you then, Amy

A photo from a Tuesday training (with Jacob after returning from the Worlds in Andorra)

Tuesday 25 September 2018

2018: Two Breweries - 3 Vieweries

Alan’s View

In its 35th incarnation, the Two Breweries Hill Race is no less appealing, enjoyable and downright brutal where you least want it. It’s one of those runs, where as you are hobbling back to where the hot soup lives, you curse every hill and skinny contour, every ill placed stone and reedy bog, as you lament over ill-chosen lines – and you swear (quite audibly) not to venture this way again!
But there is something decidedly lifting to have finished a big, bad one like this. There are bigger and badder ones – but as local ones go, this is quite substantial.

It’s an uncomplicated run (though many who had a mystery tour of Whitelaw Hill this year would disagree!) – One of two halves , the major ascents and descents leading down to Glenrath Farm, then the matter of the firebreak. Once the break is broken – the second half is underway and then you have Trahenna to consider – but that can wait, as you have a long drag through Tarcreish before the heather wall appears!

Once Trahenna has been overcome, there is then the maddening, wonky camber and heathery channels that lead to the top of Ratchill Hill, down which quivering quads succumb to Ratchill's rake. Topped off with a couple of kms of tarmac, this is a long haul for a bottle of beer!

It’s all pretty much run on visible tracks – with three major ‘what’s my line’ sections.

1.     Birkscairn to Glensax
2.     Stob Law to Glenrath
3.     Boat House to Trahenna

But which line? – the routes are well reccied, descents tried and tested, measured and timed and endlessly discussed over ales. Each is open to preference – Heather-louping, grassy ankle-buckling thrashes, grouse butts, fencelines or marsh-wrestling.

With the benefit if GPS (Strava) the ‘fly by’ up Trahenna, in particular, resembles a haywire collection of jumbled, colour threads. Trahenna Routes

A multitude of simultaneous judgements, each convinced that they have the perfect line – but they can’t all be correct!

Perhaps that is the attraction in a race like this, the perfect lines have yet to be discovered and we all keep coming back in search of them – convinced that next year – they will reveal themselves!

My personal experience this year was a better than my previous ones – 15 minutes quicker than last year and a 10 minute best.

A wee mention too for Priorford’s ‘Mr Edge’ who took on, and slayed the beast in his first attempt!

Simon’s View

I'd hoped for 3.30 to 4 hours and was pretty much on target until the descent from Trahenna.  Alan and Colin's recommended line of attack up the south east of Trahenna seemed to work in as much as I seemed not to lose any more places during the ascent; but it was the descent that finished me off.  I was already running on jelly legs but had twisted my already weak left ankle coming down Hundleshope which made the adverse camber on the way down Trahenna impossible to run.  Frustratingly I lost about 10 places (and probably as many minutes) in the last 2km, incl to Craig Walling who bested his cramp to power on past me like the Duracell bunny.  The most enjoyable section was the descent down Dead Wife's Grave when the sun was shining and the gradient easier on the legs.   Other than that I can safely say my lack of preparation, partly through naivety and partly through circumstance, (incl two social events on the Thursday and Friday before the race!) let me down.    In the end I managed 4 hours 6 mins.   I did my best Steve Redgrave impression at the end and promptly told my wife she had permission to shoot me should I ever suggest running it again....only to find myself the very next day plotting how best to run it next year (I've not told her yet)!

Tom’s View

‘My one and only attempt at the Breweries in 2011 left enough scars on the memory for me to discount this most local of races as ‘too hard’ and ‘I’m probably busy that weekend anyway’ – until for some reason this year I took leave of my senses completely and entered the Pentland Skyline (two previous attempts at this in 1998 and 2004). So I thought I’d better get some racing in and there I was standing on the start line at Traquair thinking ‘it’s only 7 years ago I’m sure I can better my last time at this’ and ‘I wish I’d done a proper recce’. Still the weather was good and I was sure there’d be someone to follow.

So having watched the leaders disappear up the road at a ridiculous pace it was on with the slog up to Birkscairn which apart from the head wind passes without event and on Birks Hill I pass Mike Reid of Carnethy and think hmm I’d better ease off a bit. I find a good line off (first time for everything) but am soon passed by Mike as I shuffle down the grouse butts and on to the climb up Hundleshope where I pass Mike again and a few others as well. I continue on finding good lines all the way down to Glenrath but not before Mike flies past me down to the track and I make a mental note to do some descending practice. 

At Glenrath I stop for water and to check legs deciding that I’ve maybe gone a little too hard but too it’s late to worry now and set off map in hand up through the forest. As I approach the Dead Wives I see Mike approaching from the opposite direction and am momentarily thrown by this, stopping to scratch my head. Mike reassures me that he’s made the beginners mistake and not me and continues past retracing his steps to the Whitelaw checkpoint. That’s the last I see of him until the finish although from there he makes very good time and only a few minutes behind me in the end. All goes well until I reach the bridge at Stobo. From here I had a plan to take the same route as last time by turning right onto the track for a little way and then heading up the valley on a bee line for the sheep fold. However pre-race discussion with Alan and Mike (him again) suggested that this route had become overgrown and the wise route was to head to the left of the plantations and towards the small knoll. Good idea I thought I’ll do that then - but with no one in sight to follow I soon end up in a fight with waist high grass and rushes that I rapidly lose.

 In my dreams I eventually make it onto the easy climb to the summit of Trahenna and zoom down the near perfect single track off to the road. Actually I claw my way up wishing I hadn’t been trying to race anyone (especially Mike) and stagger and trip down the minuscule off camber trod that my memory had significantly distorted over the intervening years. Then there’s just the car dodging ‘sprint’ against the clock to the finish which I lose - finishing with my watch showing 3.20 – not bad only four minutes slower than my only other attempt. Oh but then there’s another 2 minutes to add because I had forgotten to turn off the Garmin’s auto pause –maybe not quite so good then.

As I hobble up the road to the village hall I reflect upon my plan to use this race as training and decide that the Breweries is way harder than how I remember the Skyline. Cautious that I may have the rose tinted specs on - I remind myself that I’d better check out that route beforehand’.

First Lad – Andy Fallas
First Lass – Catriona Buchanan
Results - Here

For reference…….


Wednesday 19 September 2018

Q&A with Jacob Adkin

Following his 6th place in the World Mountain Running Championships on Sunday, and as he heads this week to 
Keswick to live and train (and unfortunately to race for Keswick AC), here is a Q&A with the Moorfoot Mountain 

This has been a breakthrough year for you. What has made the difference?
Ultimately it’s down to how much more enjoyment I get back from running now and having a full year free of 
injury. Previously, training could feel like a chore at times, particular when juggling university life as well, but recently
 I have been able to appreciate the sport for what it is and how much it can give back. This is both in terms of the 
physical side of running, but also the brilliant people I have met along the way. I have been very lucky to have spent 
a good portion of this summer living and training in Chamonix in the French Alps, as well as travelling to races in 
amazing places, and this has only amplified the experience. I have also been fortunate to benefit over the last few 
years from the Borders Athlete Support Programme which helped me through previous  injuries and support from 
Salomon UK.

What has it been like working with your new coach Robbie Simpson (Commonwealth Games marathon 
bronze medallist) and what have you learned from him?
I have always been inspired and motivated by Robbie’s work ethic, commitment and outlook of the sport. Having 
chatted to him at races and on trips, he has so much great advice and knowledge which he willingly shares to help 
others. As a friend as well as a coach it works really well, creating a dynamic training situation which allows me to 
adapt things if necessary, while still maintaining the quality. I have gained a lot more confidence in my running and 
racing through working with Robbie. The knowledge he has gained from racing at the very top is invaluable. 

What did it feel like standing on the start line in your first senior World Champs?
I felt a little nervous, but mostly relaxed as I knew I had done everything I could to be on that start line amongst 
some of the world's best mountain runners. Wearing your country’s vest gives you a sense of pride like no other, 
and I was just looking forward to testing myself in my first senior world championship race. 

What was your race plan and did you stick to it?
These races always start fast. Having seen most of the course in the days beforehand, and with the finish line at 
a high altitude, I knew a more conservative start was more appropriate. Sticking to this, I was able to work my way 
through the field over the first half of the race, obtaining a good position to then work hard over the last tough climb 
to the finish. Overall, the plan went to plan!

How did it feel when you crossed the line in 6th place?
It didn’t hit me straight away - I was too exhausted! From fellow GB teammates cheering me on I knew I was up 
to 6th, but I was so focussed on trying to catch the runner ahead (Norwegian Johann Bugge was first European 
home just six seconds ahead) that I finished without registering the bigger picture. Only afterwards when speaking 
to teammates and the managers did it start to sink in! 

For the running nerds out there, what did your final training week look like.
Tapering down in race week is always tricky, as the nerds will know! 
A short run on Monday after a final hard weekend the week before. Then another easy run (c.1hr) on Tuesday with 
strides. A short hill rep session on Wednesday (3min reps) followed by a short easy run on Thursday before 
travelling. A chill run on the first half of the course on the Friday, and a final easy run with strides on Saturday 
before the race on Sunday. 

And how does this compare to your average non-race week?
A non-race week would have longer easy runs, two key sessions, and a good long hilly run. So definitely more 
mileage and quality, but still just as enjoyable!

What have you learned from the whole experience of the World Champs and would you do anything 
different next time?
I have learned more than ever that even at the biggest races, it is important to try to treat it like any other race. 
Focus on your own running, rather than letting the enormity of it all get to you. This race was one of those days 
when it just clicked, but I’m sure something will come to mind in the future that I think I could have done differently!

What's next for you in the coming weeks? R&R or do you have any more races in mind?
A bit of down time with just easy running and no specific race plans until October when I hope to compete in the 
British Fell Relays, before getting into some cross-country racing. 

You are just about to move to Keswick in the English Lake District. What's behind the move?
After finishing university this year, like many I had no idea what to do. Moving to the Lake District where I’ve 
often been for holidays will be a great new place to live, work and train, and I’m looking forward to the new 
opportunities it will bring! 

And for the winter and next summer, what are you hoping for now that you have established yourself as 
one of Europe's elite mountain runners?
I haven’t set goals yet for this winter, but I hope to remain fit and try some new and some familiar races through 
the cross country season. Back in the hills next summer I’d like to be able to do some more travelling and racing 
around Europe to see new places and hopefully gain more international experience. 

Monday 17 September 2018

Moorfoot Golf Outing

Ladies and Gents, Gregor has made a suggestion for an informal golf day and I have volunteered to organise it, subject to a decent turnout. The date will be 14th October at my home course in Innerleithen. The agenda looks like this: - turn up at 2pm ish for a 2.30pm start - we shall just play 9 holes so looking at between 90 mins to two hours, depending on the length of time Gregor will spend in the rough looking for balls. - I shall organise an informal team competition, either a Texas scramble or pairs stableford, with a prize donated by myself for the winning team. Be honest when you tell me what handicap you need 🏌🏽‍♂️ - soup and sandwiches at the Corner house hotel at the end. I can get everybody on for a discounted rate so the total cost for the golf, food and a drink should be in the region of £15 per head. Anybody interested please put your name on the doodle poll and bring a family member or friend if you want. Cheers Mike

Doodle Poll -

Wednesday 12 September 2018

Scott wins two Scottish Titles in a week!

Scott McDonald and Pete Hall were racing at the Scottish 10km Road Championships at Stirling on Sunday. Scott had an absolute storming run to clock 34:21 to finish the fastest M50 by exactly a minute, despite clipping a verge and taking a tumble on the tarmac. This is the second national age-group title for Scott in one week after his triumph at the trail champs last Sunday. Pete had a very solid run to finish in the top half of the age field, 39th out of 79 M50s. Very well done both

Full results:
Photo of Scott here, but can't find one of Pete:

Wednesday 5 September 2018

Braemar Highland Games Hill Race

Andy Cox was up in Braemar entertaining the Queen and the crowds for the famous Braemar Gathering Highland Games Morrone Hill Race. Here's his summary:

Lap of the park out, followed a stoney path to the top then anyway u want back down, followed the reccie route I done before the race, down through grass, bog, over deer fences, trees etc, basically the 'direct way' seemed to work picked up a few places. Great atmosphere coming into the sports ground, felt like Mo Farah with everyone cheering 😂
7th overall, and 3rd in the open race and prize money to go with it.



Cold Pea Soup served in a Devil's Beef Tub

Dave Gaffney's report from his race at Devil's Beef Tub this weekend:
21 runners took on the Devil's Beef Tub race on Saturday, the start of which is a good 10-minute walk from the registration point at Corehead Farm, itself a good 15-minute drive down a pretty rough farm road from Moffat. 

The flags marking the start line were just visible as we lined up for the off, but the one positioned at the top of the first hill, just a few hundred metres away, sadly wasn't. In fact, nothing much at all was visible up there, as we were to find out over the next half hour or so. 

The route goes straight up from the start, at a steepness that encourages the use of hands as well as feet to haul yourself up. Once you're up that first wall and round the monument at its summit, there's not all that much more to do in terms of ascent, although the very rough, tussocky and often pathless ground ensures it's no easy jaunt around the top of the Beef Tub, as I demonstrated effectively with one particularly graceless fall along the way. 

Two Carnethy runners were quickly out of sight (literally and metaphorically) but I tucked in behind the Shettleston runner in 3rd place, who seemed to know where he was going, which was a lucky bounce for me as I hadn't a clue and engaging my brain to do much more than just breathe was proving difficult. 

Me and my newfound pacer seemed to have opened a decent gap on the nearest runners behind us, and by the time we reached the secondary top of Annanhead Hill, where the route descends back to the start, we had even caught sight of the second placed runner. 
It was no more than a fleeting moment of hope, though. Glancing down at the ground ahead to avoid some rocks, by the time I looked up again I was alone and not entirely sure which direction offered the fastest or safest way down. If indeed there is a fast or safe way down. I certainly didn't find it if there is.
There was steep ground, long bracken, slippy wet rocks, and swear words galore during the next five minutes or so as I tried to negotiate my way downwards, my spirits lifting briefly when I emerged from the cloud to see two runners just yards in front of me on the race to the finish line. Then came the crushing realisation that they were not the same two runners I'd seen most recently, but a couple of Annan runners who had presumably used their local knowledge and/or descending skills to good effect on the very tricky descent.
So sixth place felt disappointing, but that was soon replaced by a sense of relief at getting down in one piece and optimism about the prospect of catching the bakers in Moffat before it closed. A very tough but fun wee race organised by a friendly bunch of Carnethies and great value at £3. Fingers crossed for a clear day next year! 


Success at the Scottish Trail Champs - Scott McDonald is M50 Trail Champion

It was a successful Sunday at the Scottish Trail Champs with Scott McDonald winning the M50 title and gold medal, almost two minutes clear of the 2nd M50. Scott was 17th overall and was only beaten by one runner in the M40 category and was the vet overall. Also running and putting in solid displays were Mike McGovern, 8th M40, 33rd, and a further twenty seconds back was Colin Williams 9th M40 and 35th. Unfortunately Pete Hall was entered but was ill and couldn’t make the trip. It was a lovely but challenging course from the historic village of Falkland in Fife. Some quality athletes at the pointy end with GB internationals battling out for the title. Susan Ridley from Peebles, who runs for Edinburgh AC won the silver in the F50 category in a very tight race, only 6 secs off the win and 2 seconds ahead of bronze. There is a full report on the Scottish Athletics website which also name checked Scott: 
The Senior Championship saw Kristian Jones (Dundee Hawkhill Harriers) and Andy Douglas (Inverclyde AC) renew their battle of the National Cross Country Championships where they finished first and third respectively. Never more than a few metres apart during the race Kristian, a British Orienteering International, edged out the British Hill International in the final run in – winning by three seconds.

Moorfoot juniors Fionn Hollingsbee (6th MU13), Shaun Pyman (13th, MU13) and Elena Lee (6th FU13) were all in action too with some strong performances
RESULTS Scottish Trail Champs
RESULTS for U13s and U11s
PHOTOS by Pete Bracegirdle