Hardy Harriers beat Snow, Sleet and Hail to Compete in the Nationals

Teviotdale Harriers descended on Callendar Park, Falkirk on Saturday for the Lindsay’s Scottish Athletics National Cross-country Championship 2020. This annual event brings together the country’s top runners from as far as Stornoway to the Borderlands of Hawick to battle out for Scottish Athletics top prize. 

Irvine Welsh and Glen Jamieson were the first of the Harriers to take up the challenge of the multi terrain, multi weather course in the under 13 boys’ championship. Unfortunately Charles McKay although travelled to the event did not start. Ground conditions had the going of soft to bottomless, understandable giving the storms that had passed over the country in the last few weeks, and the weather gods weren’t on the Harriers sides either on Saturday. As the under 13 duo stepped onto the start line a sudden flurry of sleet and snow made visibility poor and the challenge only greater for the field of 157.

Welsh continued his recent excellent form and with a gutsy performance crossed the finish line in 32nd place in a time of 12:34. Jamieson who has yet another year at the under 13 age group finished 147th with a time of 16:33.

In the under 15 girls’ race, Glens sister Iona , Ava Hughes and Kelly McKay donned the maroon striped vest competing over the two lapped race, Kelly was forced to pull out due to an injury after the first lap. Iona and Ava both running fantastically coped great in the slippy underfoot conditions. Iona finishing with a time of 19:03 placing her 42nd. The Hughes customary sprint was put to good use in the closing stages with several places gained by Ava who finished 84th in a time of 21:13.

The Harriers quartet of Conan Harper, Callum Renwick, Robbie Welsh and Robert Wood were in the fiercely contested under 15 boys age group. From the gun Harper latched onto the leader’s group and battled it out with several national class athletes for the top spots. Conan was able to cross the tape in 13th place with only 59 seconds splitting the top 13. Renwick was the 2nd of the Harriers home with an exceptionally strong second lap finishing 36th, Welsh who was unable to shake a stitch showed a huge amount of determination to finish in 137th, one place behind was Wood in 138th.

Times Harper 15:53, Renwick 16:35, Welsh 19:53, Wood 20:36.

Solo Harriers star Maisie Ballantyne was competing alongside 55 girls in the under 17 girls’ race. Maisie was able to settle in the early stages of the race working with a group of around 10 girls in the middle of the pack. Towards the final stages of the race the Harrier began to increase her pace finishing strongly in 31st place with a time of 27:28.

It was then turn of the Senior Women to scamper around the gruelling 10km cross country, an amazing 315 completing the course.  Kirsty Hughes was the first of the 3 Harriers home, her recent training regime put together an outstanding performance finishing 215th in a time of 58:15, 4 minutes quicker than her time last year.  Ann Aitken and Donna Inglis traded places multiple times on the course but it was Ann who crossed the line first in the 304th, Donna 305th. Their times 1:08:19 & 1:08:42.

9 races complete, thousands of feet already over the bottomless ground, it was now the turn of 670 Senior Men to step up and give it their all in the National. The eight Teviotdale Harriers involved were Rory Anderson, Greg Walker, Alastair Walker, Alan Inglis, Andrew Gibson, Degsy Scott, Paul Lockie & Derek Ballantyne. To make matters worse for the Senior Men, half a mile into the race a timely hailstorm passed over Callendar Park battering a few men into submission and forcing them to pull out. The 8 hardy Harriers continued on their quest for greatness and Anderson was first home in 73rd place (40:09), Greg Walker finished 147th (42:37), Alastair Walker finished 217th (44:36), Inglis 387th (49:23), Gibson 404th (49:56), Scott 515th (53:27), Lockie 607th (58:14) and Ballantyne 622nd (59:39).

A massive shout out to all Harriers spectators who made the journey to Falkirk and cheered Teviotdale around the course. It truly made a huge difference and you done the club proud.

The Harriers complete their season on the 7th March at Hawick Moor.

WET, WIND and winners

Despite the atrocious and ever worsening weather conditions a hardy bunch of Teviotdale Harriers congregated at the Museum in Wilton Lodge Park to compete for the title of Club Champion.  Registration complete, warm ups done, numbers pinned on and it was time for the business of running.  The Championships are one of two races Teviotdale run from ‘scratch’ ie, everyone starting at the same time, with a ‘sealed’ or ‘secret’ handicap, the results of which are only revealed after the race.  This means a number of trophies up for grabs. The first across the line winners and also the handicap winners, giving everyone a goal to reach for and reinforcing our club’s ethos that everyone is welcome.

An enthusiastic and eager line up of 17 youngsters, including 5 first-timers Leah Lavery, Grace Levell, Amber Smith, and siblings Clara and Leonardo Felix headed off on their route through Wilton Lodge Park.  Leaving from the Museum onto the grass past the new play park, towards the Boer War Memorial, round the container, down the line of trees to the old tennis courts, over the bridge, on to the Spetch to cross the Laurie Bridge and speed back to the Museum.  Running for the Junior Boys Shield, in the u13 boys category, there was no doubt who the club champion would be, as Irvine Welsh lead right from the gun all the way back to the finish line, flying along the Spetch despite the , driving wind and rain, a noisy bunch of spectators cheered loudly to see Irvine complete this fine run in 5:41.  A fantastic effort. One of our 4 Muckle Toon residents, Glen Jamieson showing great form, placed 2nd in 6:33 and also picked up the u13 boys sealed handicap for his efforts.  In the u11 category, the club champion was Langholm’s own James Wood.  James crossed the line, second overall, in a time of 6.22, coming in 2nd position with his time of 6:39 was Ivan Watson while Taylor Watson completed the trio in 6.43.  Alfie Walker took 1st place in the sealed handicap, Ivan Watson 2nd spot and Craig Watson was 3rd. Sadly there were no u13 girls on the day, but there was plenty of effort from the six u11 girls, battling the elements as well as each other.  Ruby Watson emerged as the u11 girls champion to secure the Taylor Trophy.  Ruby’s time was 7:22, close on her heels to secure 2nd place and finishing in 7:25 was Niamh Dickson, with Leah Lavery, on her debut race, 3rd in 7:47.  Well done girls.  The sealed handicap placings were as follows, 1st Leah Lavery, 2nd Niamh Dickson and 3rd despite a fall in the mud, Freya Walker. 

Irvine Welsh Under 13 boys Champion

Next it was the turn of the u15/17 boys and girls and also senior men and women.  This is the second of the two races where the women and u15/u17s return to their original distance and route. Taking off along the avenue and out of the park gates to head up Wilton Park Road, on approaching the steps into the Violet Woods, Conan Harper was in the lead for the boys, Ava Hughes lead girl, and Lauren Corbett lead woman, these positions remained to the finish line to see Conan win the BM Trophy in 14:50, with Calum Renwick 2nd in 15:58 and Robert Wood, our 4th runner from Langholm 3rd in 18:17.  Ava crossed in 19:33 to claim the Susan Catherine Birch Memorial Cup.  Lauren Corbett secured the Borthwick Trophy with her time of 19:14, Kirsty was 2nd in 19:21 and Ann Aitken placed 3rd in 22:25.  Within the sealed handicap 1st placed was Kirsty Hughes, 2nd Lorna Walker and 3rd Ann Aitken.

Leaving at the same time but in the opposite direction to cover their route up to Wilton Burn, over the fields to Highchesters, along the riverside to the Joogly Bridge, back to Martins Bridge, down the A7, past the Cauld, through the park gates and up the avenue, this was a toughie first race for both Tim Hatton and Liam Gibson.  Undetered they set off in a group of 9 senior men on their epic journey.  A dedicated bunch of spectators braved the elements and positioned themselves around the course to cheer the men on.  Those at the museum waited to see who would be first down the A7 and soon witnessed Rory Anderson speed by to take the title of club champion, securing his claim on the Campbell Trophy in a time of 42:24, next to cross the line was Greg Walker in 46:23 then Scott Watson in 48:17.  The sealed handicap revealed Scott Watson in 1st place, 2nd place Alan Inglis and 3rd place Derek Scott.

The next race for the harriers will be the Scottish National Cross Country Championships at Falkirk on Saturday 22nd February.

Harper Clinches TOp 5 in FInal League Race

Saturday 18th January 2020 saw the Teviotdale Harriers head for Livingston, a regular venue on the cross-country circuit to compete in East District League Race 3.  Young Irvine Welsh was first to compete as our only competitor in the U13 Boys Category.  On a one long lap course of 3,200 metres, Irvine handled himself well and gave, as always, a gutsy and determined performance to finish   in 12th position in a time of 12:11. 

Irvine kitted out and ready to go at Livingston!

Next, unusually, the order differs here, were the senior ladies and Kirsty Hughes took on the mantle of representing her club in her 2 large lap course covering 6,400 metres.  Kirsty at this point was on Day 18 of her RED January – Run Every Day in January challenge and took it all in her stride to finish in a time of 32:56, 106th position.

  The U15 boys were next on their one short, one long course of 4,000 metres.  The course was churning up at this point and there were a few slips and falls on some of the tight corners.  Conan Harper crossed 1st for the harriers, a fantastic 5th overall in a time of 14:25, Calum Renwick completed in 25th position with a time of 15:47, Robbie Welsh was close on his heels in 31st position, time 16:04 and completing the 4 was Langholm’s own Robert Wood in 18:05, 46th.  These results concluded in the boys securing 5th team overall.  Well done boys! 

Conan working hard, sealing a top 5 finish – SUPERB

Kirsty’s daughter Ava Hughes alongside fellow Harrier and training partner Maisie Ballantyne were next on the line in the combined U15/U17 girls category.  Covering the same distance as the boys, jostling around the tight bends and muddy corners, both girls gave their all, Maisie competing as an U17 was home first in 26th position overall, her time was 17:48.  Analysing the results and looking at the U17 category only revealed Maisie was placed a fabulous 5th,.   Ava, running as an U15 finished well in 36th position overall, 29th in U15 only category in her time of 19:03.  Well done girls! 

Last race of the day was the senior mens race covering 3 long laps, 9600 metres.  Thanks to the arrival of Derek Ballantyne, arriving after work to watch daughter Maisie compete, and with running gear in tow, the men now had a full team.   This 368 field of senior men was quite spectacular to watch as they snaked round past the tented village and up the hill to disappear into the woods.  Rory Anderson was first harrier across the line in 34.31, 42nd position, Greg Walker was next in 35.50, 60th position, his dad Alister (Sammy) Walker finished in 37.20, 82nd position then Alan Inglis 42:03, 168th position, Derek (Degsy) Scott was next in with a time of 45:01, 208th position and completing the team, Derek Ballantyne in 47:00, 226th position, placing the men 19th team.  A good day out!

The next Scottish Event for the Harriers is the Scottish XC Nationals on the 22nd February at Falkirk. The club are looking to take a 30seat coach with runners and supporters welcome. Anyone interested please speak with a member of the committee.

Derek Ballantyne – On his way to the finish

Tullie takes Gold after years of trying!

Teviotdale Harriers held their first race of the New Year on Saturday 5th January 2020, after blowing the cobwebs away on the Harriers New Year’s Day Run, a fine number of participants were back and ready to race after all the fun of the holidays. The U11/U13 juniors were first to compete, 14 in all on the starting line, with 2 trophies to compete for, the Fire Brigade Cup for the girls and the Burnfoot Residents Association Trophy for the boys.  Taking the lead just past The Dunk corner, relatively new member Niamh Dixon powered on to win first place in the girls race and also her first trophy since becoming a harrier in a time of 10:56. Emily MacLeod, who regularly features in the top 3 since joining, took 2nd place in a time of 11:04, and another regular top 3 finisher Chloe Walker, moved swiftly up the pack, sprinting down the riverside to take 3rd spot in 11:34.  In the boys race, Taylor Watson took an early lead and maintained it all the way to cross the line victoriously, his time was 10:25, Irvine Welsh ran a magnificent race, starting at the very back of the pack, he powered his way round the Wilton Lodge Park course to cross the line 2nd in a time of 10:40, 3rd spot went to the ever improving James Wood in 10:43.  All times include handicaps and for both Niamh and Irvine, this was a double celebration,  as both recorded fastest actual times as well.  Very well done!

Next it was the turn of the U15/U17 boys & girls plus senior ladies.  This race is one of two where these categories return to the original distances unlike the other 5 harrier races where all senior categories run the same distance.  There are 3 trophies up for grabs in this race, Lodge 111 Trophy U15/U17 Girls & Senior Ladies, Lodge 111 Trophy U15/U17 Boys and the Langheugh Trophy for Senior Men.  Chasing the Lodge 111 trophies were 11 competitors including Morgan Grieve, making a welcome return to racing as an adult having been a junior member.  Ann Aitken was first away in the handicap and kept her lead to finish 1st in a time of 20:38, Lindsey Knox was next over the line in silver position with a time of 21:30 and completing the trio 3rd place went to Kirsty Hughes in 22:00, all having braved the chilly waters of the fords over the route.  Fastest actual time for the ladies was Caroline Jack.  In the boys race Robbie Welsh kept that winning feeling in the family, equalling his younger brother Irvine’s success in the earlier juniors race.  Robbie crossed the line 1st in the handicap in a time of 21:30 as well as recording fastest actual time.  A regular top 3 finisher, Calum Renwick was 2nd in 23:47 then another double sibling placing with Robert Wood matching brother James in 3rd position with a time of 23:56.  All times include handicaps.

Finally, it was the turn of the senior men for the Langheugh Trophy.  A punishing route of approximately 5/6 miles of true cross country racing including steep climbs, dykes and fences to jump, burns to cross, not to mention the mud!  Regardless, a willing and hardy 18 souls lined up for the challenge.  First to come in to view approaching Wilton Burn were Ron Hastings and Frank Birch with Frank, not Ron! taking a little detour before rejoining Ron on the original route, (a few more metres on Strava Frank!)  Next to appear were Alan Coltman, Paul Lockie and Andrew Gibson, one after the other until Paul took a hefty tumble down the banking, he soon recovered and the race was back on.  Pursuing them were, Alan Inglis, Liam Gibson and John Tullie followed by Gregor Welsh, Kenny Short, Derek Scott and Keith Murray.  Douglas Wood, Scott Watson and Greg Walker then appeared before back marker Rory Anderson then came in to view, followed by Derek Ballantyne and Euan Welsh to complete the 18. Positions changed much during the run down the track with John Tullie coming in to view as leader on the back pitches of Wilton Lodge Park.  John crossed the line in 1:06:21, 2nd place went to Andrew Gibson 1:06:57 and after a surge for the line over the last 2 pitches Greg Walker pushed forward to take 3rd place 1:07:39.  Fastest actual time Rory Anderson. 

Menzies 2019

Last weekend saw Teviotdale Harriers last races for 2019 writes Caroline Jack, with the competitive Menzies Race on the Saturday and the more informal but equally competitive Christmas relays on Sunday.The Menzies Race saw 42 Teviotdale Harriers descend upon Hawick’s Common Haugh in relatively mild and dry conditions for the time of year. First off were the juniors (U11/U13), running around part of Wilton Lodge Park and back to the Haugh, Winning the MGM Trophy for the boys was Ivan Watson, followed home by Lyle Beattie and Alfie Walker. Irvine Welsh recorded the fastest actual time of 8:19. The girls race saw Chloe Walker take the W G Robertson Trophy and also the fastest recorded time of 10:41, followed by Niamh Dickson and Ruby Watson. Next up were all other categories in a sealed handicap start following the route usually only run by the men; through the park, up the 10k hill, towards Martins Bridge, round by the “Joogly Bridge” and back along the A7 to finish at the High School. Conan Harper took the J M Hamilton Trophy in the scratch race for U15/U17 boys in a time of 25:32 followed by Calum Renwick and Robbie Welsh. Sam Allott winning the Shiel Trophy in the sealed handicapped category. Langholm carried on the winning streak with Girls Captain, Iona Jamieson recording a time of 31:09 in the U15/U17/Ladies scratch category winning the W Spence Trophy, followed by Caroline Jack and Ava Hughes. Ladies Captain, Caroline Jack winning the sealed handicapped Curruthers Trophy.The men’s race saw Langholm winning a hat-trick with Ryan Milligan storming in to first place with a time of 24:58 to take the Oliver Trophy, followed by Greg Walker and Alistair ‘Sammy’ Walker. Winning the sealed handicapped Menzies Trophy was Derek Ballantyne.

The athletics club for Hawick and area since 1889.