With the mercury bubbling around 30 degrees C in Peebles on Saturday 13th of August, the ninth Cademuir Rollercoaster Hill Races (3km and 6km) took place on the of dusty Cademuir slopes above Peebles. Conditions were such that race sponsor Franco might have thought he was back home on the Sorrento peninsula.
The initial charge in the 3km was led by Jack Wotherspoon of Harmeny AC who tussled for the lead with Josh Daunt of Edinburgh AC, Magnus Lawson of Team East Lothian and local Moorfooter, Jack Foley. These 4 took the race on and wrestled for positions around the baking 3km course. In the end, it was Magnus Lawson who crossed the line first, a mere 4 seconds ahead of James Wotherspoon, a victory all the more remarkable as he was still at the High School 18 minutes before the 2pm start time and had to run to the start, arriving just in time for the 2-minute warning.
A worthy mention to our own Jack Foley who finished 4th but was first under 13 boy.
After an initial push by the Gala Harrier girls, Team East Lothian runner, Cerys Wright, pushed ahead and finished first girl, her time of 13.38 exactly matching her own course record from 2021.
The 6km race, follows a loop, leading up and back, to the eastern of the Cademuir hill forts, known to local runners as ‘407’.
Now an established race on the Scottish hill racing calendar, it has evolved to become a regular run on the Scottish Athletics Junior Hill Racing League and a testing ground for Scottish junior hill racers hoping to make the grade for a place on the under 17 and under 20 Junior Home International Team. Running alongside this keen band, a range of runners from the Highlands to Glasgow to Galashiels.
Observing junior performances on the day, is hill running’s first lady, Angela Mudge.
The start line is cream-cracker dry and safety instructions are hailed by race organiser and Moorfoot Junior Runner’s coach Gregor Nicholson. The start hooter is sounded and the under 17 and under 20 runners head straight for the front of the pack.
It’s a tough initial climb, with a right turn midway, followed by a left up and over on the John Buchan Way. Angus Wright of Team East Lothian is in front at this point.
There is 1000ft (304m) in the 2 miles (3.2km) of sun-baked track that leads to the turning point at the top of ‘407’. Here, throats are parched, and legs groan as lungs burn – the hill is a real stinger and now Fifer, Struan Bennet leads Sam Griffin of Aberdeen AAC, with Angus Wright close behind as they crest the final section of the climb.
At the same point, leading the ladies, is Isla Hedley of Fife AC, closely followed by ex-Moorfoot junior Sophie Collins, now of Corstorphine AAC.
From the top of ‘407’ the rollercoaster begins, and barring an uphill jab to the gate on the Cademuir Plantation, it is a good downhill blast to the finish line just above Tantah. Finishing positions for both lads and lasses remain the same as the order at the peak of the race.
An excellent run by Moorfoot runner, Thomas Hilton, who came in in a very respectable 4th place securing an automatic selection spot on the U17 Scottish International Team for the Junior Home International in Ambleside on September 3rd.
Club training mates Danny Lavin and Andy Cox had another battle
in their ongoing, hill racing ding-dong. Andy took Caerketton on Wednesday but
Danny managed the win on Cademuir, coming in as first Moorfoot Senior.
Also, a tip ‘o the cap, to hill running legend Colin Donnelly, who came home in 9th place and first MVet.
The Rollercoaster (or ‘Rollertoaster’ as some called it on Saturday), is made possible with the support of Moorfoot club members, their families and friends.
The race and prizes are generously sponsored by Franco’s Italian Restaurant in Peebles.
Results here https://www.moorfootrunners.com/
Photos courtesy of Diana Challands and Neil Renton https://www.facebook.com/neil.renton.18