“Thee Alistair Walker” takes home double gold

Alastair Walker and Colin Welsh of Teviotdale Harriers headed over to Jesolo on the outskirts of Venice, Italy to compete in the 2019 European Masters Athletics Championships in which they have just returned home from.

Kelso man Welsh would take on the best in Europe in the over 35 aged group over 800m with Sammy Walker blazing up the track over 5k and 10k road race in the over 60’s.

Looking as Cool as a Cucumber!
A. Walker in the 10k Road Race

Welsh began his bid over the half mile in the first heat of two on the 11th September. Clocking up of 2:00:17, Welsh comfortably qualified for the final as 8th fastest over the 2 heats.

With a couple of days rest Welsh felt great and ready to go in the final. He was willing to take on the pace testing athletes from The Netherlands, Italy, Spain and Poland hoping that he could use his strength to take the sprinters out of the field.

Welsh led from nearly the start of the race until around 250m to go when a few of his European competitors overtook him. Coming down the home straight Welsh was able to pick another runner off and crossed the tape in 2:00:01 finishing in 8th place. A incredible result for Welsh who has been unable to train properly with a knee injury.

Find the final of the 800m here. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cqOm8I_WLBU

It was then the turn of Sammy Walker who is recognised as a celeb in the Masters Athletics. Alastair had members of the public asking if he was “thee Alastair Walker” in which he responded in his usual laid back fashion.

In between photos and autographs Walker smashed the field away on the track over the 5K distance clocking a time of 17:08:50 beating his closest rival Sweden’s Tore Axelsson by 23 seconds … all in a days work for Sammy.

On a rest day between taking gold in the 5K and trying again for the double in the 10K road race, Sammy met up with Colin to visit the city of Venice and all it has to offer in terms of tourist attractions. I think you’ll find from the below imagine, the pair of them were overwhelmed with the city and although primarily there for the racing the trip lived up to expectations when the trainers were off.

The following day Alastair competed in the European 10K road race around the town of Jesolo and the outcome was very much the same for the flying scot. Going out hard and only getting faster Sammy broke the tape in a time of 35mins 28seconds with his closest competitor nearly 2mins 30 seconds behind. There is just no stopping this man right now, what is next for the Harriers flying papa?

Speaking with Colin Welsh on his return he had only great words (and rightly so) for Sammy, Colin said ” he is so laid back but he is the best out there in world for his age at what he does. It’s a privilege to know him and compete for same club as him.”

Well done again Colin & Sammy and thanks for flying the Harriers flag at the highest of levels.

Christie CUP 2019

Mens race in full flow

A bright but blustery day greeted Teviotdale Harriers on Saturday past, as they hosted the Christie Cup.  With a new season upon us and lots of new faces competing there was excitement in the air as registration took place next to the café in Wilton Lodge Park.  First race of the day was the junior boys and girls with 20 enthusiastic competitors ready to go including first-timers Chloe Walker, Sarah & Emily MacLeod, Ivan Watson, Hamish Devlin, Parker Johnston, Alyx Armstrong and Hana Renwick.  With a one lap route of 897m the youngsters started at the café, past both the Steve Hislop and Jimmy Guthrie memorials, then the shelter and the bandstand to finish back at the café, smiling all the way every one of the youngsters gave it their best effort.  Chloe Walker soon took the lead and although chased down the final straight, retained her lead all the way to the finish line to take gold in a time of 4:05, it was a family affair claiming 2nd and 3rd spots, with elder sister Sarah taking silver in 4:09 and younger sister Emily bronze in 4:11.  The boys followed the same pattern with only one second separating each of them in a fiercely fought competition, Greg Watson came out the victor in a time of 4:18, hot on his heels for 2nd place was Calan Pender Mills in 4:19 and 3rd was Langholm’s own James Wood in 4:20 who had managed to shave off a good few seconds on his time from last year.  A very exciting race to watch.  All the times include handicaps, fastest actual times for girls – Chloe Walker, for boys – Irvine Welsh.  All trophies and medals will be presented at the club’s presentation night in March and these six will be the first on the stage. 

Next up it was the combined race of senior ladies and U15/17 boys and girls with both Robert Wood and Ava Hughes moving up a category to run with the seniors.  Another change was the increase in distance, moving from 2 laps on the same route as the juniors to 3 and a ‘bit’ laps on the same course covering a distance of approximately 3,000 metres.  With a strong headwind and quite a bit of heat in the sun the 13 competitors took off.  Positions remained much the same on the first lap with changes beginning on the second and third, but there was one position in no doubt.  – 1st male, Conan Harper moved quickly through the field at a blistering pace to take a huge lead and crossed victoriously in 13:50.  Second for the boys and second over the line was Thomas MacAskill in 14:08.  Next to cross the line and take the title of 1st female was Ava Hughes showing the new category and new distance were no problem to her in a time of 14:10, with only a second separating them, Robbie Welsh crossed in 14:11 to take 3rd.  Second place for the ladies went to Maisie Ballantyne in 14:39 followed in at 14:45 by Kirsty Hughes, Ava’s mum, keeping it in the family with her bronze to complement Ava’s gold.   Again, all times include handicaps, fastest actual times – Conan Harper and Maisie Ballantyne.

Ava Hughes on her way to winning the D Scott Shield (ladies/under 17/15 girls)
Conan Harper cruising to victory with an incredible time of 9min 40 secs

Finally, it was the men to run, 10 competitors on the line with an age range of 30s to over 70s, having watched the other categories they were hyped up and ready to go.  Showing a family trait, Brian Harper eased his way up through the pack to take the lead, maintaining it and finishing strongly in a time of 14:22, Derek Clyne was next in 14:43, followed 2 seconds later by Alan Inglis who took 3rd spot in 14:45. Fastest actual time Alan Inglis.  All times include handicaps, for full results and photographs see teviotdaleharriers.org.uk.

Brian Harper winner of the men’s Christie Cup

Local hero Jim leads the Harrier’s out on Opening Run

Report written by this years Chief Harriers Correspondent Greg Walker.

Sir Mo Farah led 50,000 runners out at the start of last Sunday’s Great North Run to the strains of the Geordie anthem ‘local hero’. The previous day Teviotdale Harriers headed out on their annual ‘opening run’, with a few less runners, led by their own local hero, new mens club captain, Jim Pittillo. 85 year old Jim was the unanimous choice when elected at the recent club AGM and becomes 113th mens captain in the club’s 131 year history. Jim will be ably assisted over the season by ladies captain Caroline Jack and junior captains Iona Jamieson and Robbie Welsh.

Saturday’s opening run which marks the start of the Harriers’ season saw the club captains assemble, at the Harrier’s newly refurbished clubrooms at the Round Close, along with around 40 members for the annual photograph. The season then began in  in style with a run blessed in warm September sunshine. The captains led the runners through the Park to Scaw Mill, via Wilton Dean village. After some fun at the river crossings the younger members headed for the park for some games and the rest headed into the hills for a gentle 5 mile run round Wilton Burn and Bortaugh before heading for home via the Strawberry Woods and the Park.

The dreaded water crossing!

Once the run was complete, runners, friends and family headed to the Cricket Club for the all-important presentation of the ‘captain’s badges’. The silver badges were introduced in 2017 and were presented to all past club captains. The annual presentation to the new captains has become an important event on the Harrier’s calendar and the badges are a great memento of the captains’ year leading the club.

For a second year in a row the game ended in a draw, until next year …

After the presentation, younger members enjoyed a game of rounders on the cricket pitch, followed by a keenly contested football match which, despite an excellent hat trick from a former club captain, ended in a draw. At the full-time whistle, tired and thirsty Harriers retired to the cricket club for some well-earned refreshment and to contemplate the forthcoming cross country season, which will see the Harriers compete in local, regional and national races across the length and breadth of Scotland.

Now the season is up and running, the races come thick and fast. The Christie Cup race, taking place tomorrow (Saturday 14 September), is the first race of the season and all pre-registered runners should meet at the Café up the park at 12:45. With the first race off at 13:30.

Age is just a number for super Sammy!

Alastair ‘Sammy’Walker notched up yet another Scottish Title on Saturday at The John Cumming Stadium in the town of Carluke. Competing in the Scottish National 60 + age group on the outdoor track over 10,000m Sammy produced an outstanding piece of running, crossing the line with a time of 34minutes 54seconds, average mile pace a breezy 5minutes 29 seconds.

Not only did Sammy pick up the gold medal but he also smashed the previous championship record by over 5minutes held by Ian Johnstone since 2015 and the all time Scottish record of 35.19 clocked by Bill Stoddart in 1992 … the 2nd fastest in the UK ever, since records began.

What is next for Super Sammy? The Harriers Opening Run this coming Saturday?

The athletics club for Hawick and area since 1889.