Record numbers descended on Hawick last Sunday as Teviotdale Harriers staged their annual 10k, 5k and Fun Run and it turned out to be a ‘Gala‘ day.
Traveling from far and wide, hundreds of runners came to sample the warm Hawick welcome and enthusiastic entrants all enjoyed the scenic Wilton Lodge Park centric course with nine titles up for grabs.
And it was to be our near neighbours from up the A7 who would dominate the top step of the podium. The quartet of Darrell Hastie, Sara Green, Callum Tharme and Zoe Pflug were run away winners of the four main prizes during a dominant day for Gala Harriers.
The team prize and first veteran man were also secured by the Gala club but there was to be some Teri success as young Hawick duo, Thomas MacAskill and Ava Hughes claimed category wins in the 3.3km Fun Run.
Although the weather couldn’t be classed as spectator friendly, it was ideal for distance running and the well signed course firstly accepted the 65 Fun Runners. Starting from just inside the park gates, entrants from both ends of the age spectrum ran with varying expressions etched across their faces. Some offered smiles, many showed purpose but everyone displayed effort as they made their way around the well marshalled route.
Thomas MacAskill, 14, was first to show along the riverside path and cruised home first boy in a time of 12 minutes 53 seconds to secure a commanding victory. Sandy Henry, 10, was next to finish in a time of 14:20 to claim silver ahead of Glen Jamieson, 10, who took third in 16:03.
The girl’s race proved to be a much closer affair as Ava Hughes, Maisie Ballantyne and Kirsty Rankine all finished strongly. This was to be the one-two-three as 12 year old Ava opened a slight gap over the last 800m to secure victory in 14:31, finishing an impressive third overall. Maisie, 14, took second in 14:45, with young Kirsty, 9, third in 15:17.
Once the Fun Runners were all cheered home, the 10k, featuring 74 entries and a further 68 for the 5k, were all called to their marks. The two lap 10k and one lap 5k competitors were let loose and Gala Harriers showed ability and intent from the gun.
In the men’s 10k race, serial winner Darrell Hastie, who previously donned the Teviotdale Harriers vest with distinction, made the turn for lap two in first place. Hot on Darrell’s heels was fellow Gala Harrier, Marcus D’Agrossa. A regular face to the Hawick race, Marcus pushed hard to try and bridge the gap with the much improved Ryan Milligan of Teviotdale Harriers looking secure in third.
As they sped towards the finish, Darrell had opened up an unassailable lead and finished strongly in 32:13. Marcus (33:29) raced all the way to the line and took second with Ryan (34:04) smashing his P.B. to claim a well-deserved bronze. Gary Trewartha (35:41) ran a typically consistent race, finishing 5th overall. Proudly wearing his Gala vest, Gary won the Over 40 title for the second year in a row.
The prizes didn’t stop there for Darrell, Marcus and Gary, who along with 8th placed Brian Aitchison (36:39) helped Gala Harriers retain their team title.
Reflecting on his fine win, Darrell explained how the Hawick 10k had been excellent preparation for his next big race: “I really enjoyed the race yesterday (Sunday). I’ve been working quite hard in training the last few weeks, building towards the Great Scottish Run. I’ve been lucky enough to get in the elite field and I thought yesterday’s race would be a good opportunity to see where I was about and it’s a fairly flat course.
“I was pleased to win the race and was shocked at how quick I had ran. I never looked at the watch until I crossed the line and couldn’t believe how close I got to my P.B. I was two seconds off.”
In the women’s race, Gala runner Sara Green once more showed her class and retained her title. Sara bettered her time from the previous year and stopped the clock at an impressive 38:27. Running for Tyne Bridge Harriers, Joanne Lee (41:40) made the long journey up from the North East of England a worthwhile trip as she finished second women and claimed the Over 40 women’s title. Joanne’s veteran win promoted young Teviotdale Harrier Lucy Ash (46:16) to second in the women’s category and saw Alexandra Campbell (47:00) claim another medal for Gala Harriers in third.
Arguably the race of the day was battled over one lap. The course synonymous with fast times delivered once again as both men’s and women’s 5k records were smashed. The top three finishers in the men’s race were only separated by 13 seconds and all dipped inside the previous course record time.
Callum Tharme (16:35) and Lewis Tharme (16:45) claimed a Gala Harriers one-two, chased doggedly by Teviotdale’s Rory Anderson (16:48) in third. In achieving victory Callum eclipsed the previous course record held by club mate Marcus D’Agrossa which had stood at 17:01. Cameron Bullen (17:33) claimed the under-16 boys title for Team East Lothian A.C as he finished fifth overall.
Gala Harriers runner Zoe Pflug obliterated the women’s 5k course record by over a minute as she flew around the streets of Hawick. Zoe (18:44) finished impressively 5th overall to claim the title. Flora Henry (19:30) running well for Team East Lothian A.C. also finished inside the old course record time which had stood at 19:48. Flora’s fine run placed her second but she walked away with the title of Under-16 girl’s champion. Isla Patterson (20:31) who also gave a fine account of herself in her Gala Harriers colours, was rewarded with silver, thus promoting Corstorphine A.A.C. runner Katherine MacLeod (20:55) to third.
With sincere congratulations, medals and handshakes were distributed in equal measure before a large crowd convened on the towns Old Parish Church Hall for the main presentations, as well as a plentiful supply of spot prizes. Greeted by the friendly smile of the ladies in the kitchen, hot drinks and tray bakes were a welcome sight to all runners and supporters.
Event Organiser Greg Walker said: “I was delighted with the turn out. It was great to see over 200 runners across the three races, despite the poor weather forecast. With runners ranging from three to over 80, this was a real community event which was well supported by local running clubs and jogging groups alike. We are encouraged by the resurgence in the events popularity and we look forward to making it bigger and better next year.”
Greg added: “Can I say a heartfelt thank you for all the help and support of those behind the scenes who contributed towards the running of this event. There is so much to be done that I’m grateful to everyone who played their part. Also can I say a huge thanks to Think Fitness and Eden for their continued sponsorship of the event.”
Alex Corbett’s 10k & 5k photos HERE