Welsh & Walkers claim burns Club top prize

Last Saturday (30th November), the brave runners of Teviotdale Harriers were not going to let the overnight frost (which had cancelled most of the towns other sporting action) stop them from their annual Burns Club races and they descended onto the Common Haugh for an afternoon of enthralling handicapped racing writes Euan Welsh.

The first race of the afternoon was the U13/U15/U17 Boys competing for the main event, the Burns Club Trophy, over an enduring 2.4 mile round the outskirts of Wilton Lodge Park. Six runners took off from the Haugh and it was Sam Allott who lead the way after the opening mile setting a fast pace and asking questions of those in pursuit behind him. In the final mile, the back markers of the race, Robbie Welsh, Irvine Welsh and Calum Renwick made good ground, quickening with every stride and in the final few hundred metres it turned into a battle of two brothers as Robbie and Irvine fought for the title. Robbie, who had held Irvine off for the majority of the race finally fell away and it was Irvine who would go onto take the Burns club Trophy in an a time of 19.46, five seconds clear of Robbie (19.51) with the podium being completed by back marker Calum Renwick (20.10) who also claimed fastest time for the race in what was a tremendous effort.

The boys were running over a new route and a further distance which was introduced this season with their race being started in conjunction with the U15/U17 Ladies race who were contesting for the John Elliot Trophy. Twelve ladies, including two debutants head off on the new route, with past Ladies captain Ann Aitken making a statement in the opening stages. On the comeback from injury, Lauren Corbett was running comfortably in her efforts to lead the race, with teen flyers Maisie Ballantyne and Ava Hughes also making their presence felt in the middle to latter stages. Towards the close of the race, experienced Corbett would quicken and fiend off any late surge that newcomer Victoria Campbell gave, taking the victory in a time of 20.05. Campbell took silver (20.10) and 13 year old Ava Hughes finished well (20.12) to take bronze.

The second set of races to get underway was the U11 boys (Ian Watson Memorial Shield) and the U13/U11 girls (Stan Reid Trophy) over 1.4 miles. Ten boys set off at a fast pace with back markers James Wood and Greg Watson knowing they had to go flat out if they were to contend for medals come the final few hundred metres. Alfie Walker did well to get himself into the lead and with his eyes set firmly on the finish line he managed make a dash for the line break the tape comfortably in a time of 9.49 with front runners Calan Pender-Mills (9.58) and McLaren Welsh (10.00) second and third respectively.

In the girls race, nine budding athletes galloped off on their search for the Stan Reid Trophy and as expected with a short course it was the front markers who held their positions. Freya Walker gained confidence with every stride and once she was in front there was no looking back, breezing to victory in a solid time of 9.36. Alyx Armstrong was next over the line (10.17) and Emily McLeod was third (10.21).

In the final race of the day, 18 men set off on the same course that the ladies and boys had covered earlier in the afternoon. Club stalwarts Jim Pittilo and Frances Cannon set the pace in the early stages with Frank Birch and Alan Samuel also running well at the halfway point. It was at this point that some of the younger blood made their efforts to try and catch the front runners. Euan Welsh hit the front with 600 metres to run and despite determined efforts from the talented Rory Anderson and spirited Scott Watson, Welsh would take the title (21.20), his first in the harriers vest, with Frank Birch (22.19) second and Paul Lockie (22.27) third.

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And the winner of Scottish Athletics Master of the year is …

On Saturday 23rd November Scottish Athletics held their annual awards night at the Hilton Hotel, Glasgow. With guest speaker Paula Radcliffe and Scottish Running A listers including Calum Hawkins attending the evening it was a certainly a night that one certain Teviotdale Harrier will never forget.

It was the second year in a row that this individual was nominated for the coveted Master of the Year award, unfortunately missing out last year.

However good things come to those who wait( along with a lot of hard work) and it with delight we can announce Alastair ‘Sammy’ Walker as Scottish Athletics Master of the Year 2019 .

A massive well done to Sammy on this superb achievement, you have done the club proud!

We may be a small club, but we have huge hearts and a body full of determination … “Get in there Sammy boy!”

Lovely Jubilee

Sun shines on the Harriers’ first cross-country races of the season. Writes Greg Walker

Teviotdale Harriers enjoyed a bright and sunny November afternoon for the annual Jubliee cross-country races held on Saturday at Hawick Mair. The event attracted 45 runners, across 5 age categories, in 4 races covering distances from 1.6 to 3.5 miles. While the conditions overhead were fine and dry, the underfoot conditions in contrast were muddy and wet, with the heavy going making the courses particularly testing.

The first race of the day was for under 11 and under 13 boys and girls. In the boys’ race, the early pace was set by Parker Johnstone who quickly took the lead and at the halfway point he was still in front and going well. As runners re-entered the racecourse the handicap began to unwind and the fast finishing Craig Watson hit the front, Craig managed to extend his lead in the closing stages to win in a time of 15:24 and lift the Pringle Cup. Parker Johnstone managed to hold on for second place with an excellent run. Alfie Walker came from towards the back of the handicap to take third, ahead of backmarker Irvine Welsh in fourth who recorded the fastest actual time. Five girls were also amongst the field and leading the way in the early stages was Alyx Armstrong in only her second Harrier’s race. Alyx chased Parker in determined fashion at the front of the race and managed to open up a commanding lead on the other four girls. Alyx maintained her lead as the field turned for home and she stayed on strongly to cross the line 40 seconds clear of her nearest rival and claim the Archie Richardson Memorial Trophy. Emily McLeod finished in the silver medal position and recorded the fastest actual time, Emily was followed home, in third, by her sister Sarah who continues to improve after recently competing in national events.

Next on track were the under 15 and 17 boys competing for the Lodge 424 Trophy alongside the under 15 and 17 girls and senior ladies who were racing for the Ladies Jubilee Trophy. This was an interesting race as runners tackled the new longer course which included some severe climbs. As the race began to unfold it was clear that women’s captain Caroline Jack was going to take some beating as she began to build a lead at the front of the ladies race. In the boys race Sam Allot was setting his stall out by going hard from the gun. As the race progressed Sam began to pay for his quick start and was being reeled in by Callum Renwick who was running well from the second back mark and in the ladies race Caroline was similarly seeing her lead dwindle as Iona Jamieson began to close in. Caroline found the strength to hold on to claim the ladies Jubilee Trophy in a time of 35:16, followed home by Iona in 35:31, recording the fastest actual time. In bronze position was Maisie Ballantyne. In the boys race, Callum Renwick would not be denied as he managed to pip Sam Allot to the line, winning the race by a narrow margin of 8 seconds and recording the fastest time, in third place was Robert Wood.

The final event of the day was the senior men’s race for the Jubliee Trophy. 16 runners lined up in a handicap which spanned 14 minutes from the front man to the back marker. Front marker Francis Cannon set off with real purpose hoping to relive the success of his Mair Cup win earlier in the year and back marker Rory Anderson, who is currently in great form, looked really impressive in the early stages. However, it was a man in the middle of the pack, Andrew Gibson, who appeared the likely winner as runners returned to St Leonard’s Park with 2 miles to go. And so it proved, as Gibson forged his way to the front in the final mile, eventually returning a comfortable winner in a time of 34:36. The good Doctor, Paul Lockie stayed on strongly to hold on to second place and Rory Anderson dragged himself from the back mark into third place, defying his handicap and recording the fastest time of the day by some margin.

Almost 60 club members, friends and family reconvened later at the Evergreen Hall for annual Jubilee quiz, excellently hosted by quiz master Bruce Hughes. The event was again a huge success and tested the knowledge of Harriers young and old. The winning team were Magpyes skippered by Harriers stalwart Pye Reid and included Andrew Gibson and Craig Watson completing their second victories of the day, Kirsty Hughes and Maisie Ballantyne made up the winning side.

Welsh, Harper and Renwick finish 4th at East District Cross Country Relays

Teviotdale Harriers made the journey to Livingston on Saturday to compete in first of two Cross Country Relays in the month of October and what day the club had. They conditions under foot and the sun in the sky meant for a great day of competitive, but hugely enjoyable running.

The Harriers youngters … snap happy!

Sarah Macleod, Zak Stewart and Glenn put on the club vest for the first time as they made their debut in the East District Relays, with the club ‘elders’ over the moon with the efforts they put in representing the club at the highest of levels. Before the race the excitement and nerves were clear to see on the trios faces but the performance by each of the youngsters was exceptional and a credit to their club. Once Sarah, Zak and Glenn had recovered from the gruelling 1.60 mile undulating course the pack lunches were consumed and they along with the 7 other Harriers kids marched round the course to cheer on the Senior Ladies & Men’s teams.

Rewind a couple of hours to 12 noon and the girls relay team of Sarah (under 13), Ava Hughes (under 15) & Maisie Ballantyne (under 17) were about to begin in the fiercely competitive field of 31 each completing the 1.6mile loop. As with the Scottish relays in 2 weeks time the under 13 starts the race, passing over to the under 15 who then completes the changes by handing over to the under 17 runner.

Sarah dug deep in an extremely fast paced start of the under 13 leg, pacing herself excellently to maintain her form and hand over to Ava in a time of 14minutes 24 seconds. Under 15 Ava Hughes put together a strong performance picking up 4 places on her way round the Livingston loop before handing over the duties to Maisie who like wise picked up a further 4 places. Ava time 11min 11 secs and Maisie 10mins 32secs. The girls finished the overall race in 24th position.

The Harriers fielded 3 teams in the boys relays at Livingston with Irvine Welsh, Glenn Jamieson and Zak Stewart all taking to the start line for the mass start of 39 teams. As with the girls race the speed from the gun was frantic, with Zak and Glen tucking into the group; however Irvine the second youngest of the Welsh contingent pushed hard to stay with the leaders in 10th position at the half way point of his loop. With little over half a mile to go in the under 13 leg, it was all downhill to the finish, Welsh emptied the tank to pass a further two runners placing Teviotdale in 8th position with 2 legs to be run. Welsh clocking a time of 9mins 44 seconds, Jamieson 2nd Harrier home with an impressive time of 11mins 24secs, Stewart completing the trio of under 13 boys runners in 11mins 40secs.

Champing at the bit and eager to get running on the under 15 legs were Conan Harper & Robbie Welsh. Harper who took on 8th place from young Irvine Welsh run a superb race clocking up a first mile of 5minute 36seconds  bumping the Harriers up into the bronze medal position. A strong finish from Team East Lothian however knocked Teviotdale back into 4th position before handing over to the under 17 leg. Robbie Welsh the second of the Harrier under 15 leg runners run a time of 10mins 1 second gaining 6 positions.

Finally Callum Renwick and Robert Wood had their turn of covering the now severely champed up course in the under 17 leg, although both still only under 15. Renwick had all the pressure on his young shoulders to hold off the chasing older under 17 boys, and he done so with great mental and physical strength. Running a time of 9min 20seconds Callum retained the position of 4th place, one of the highest finishes any of the Harriers teams have had in recent years. Robert Wood in his typical gutsy fashion complete his leg in a time of 11minutes 24, with the second Harriers team crossing the line in 32nd.

After all the excitement of the junior relays it was then the turn of the senior women and men, both with one full team and one partial team.

Pauline Mcadam, Ishbel Inglis and Kirsty Hughes competed relentlessly putting them in good form for the full Cross Country Calendar over the coming months. The 2.45mile loop time for the trio collectively was 1hours 5minutes and 47 seconds, Mcadam 22:12, Inglis 22:00, Hughes 21:35 positioned 50th overall. Ann Aitken competing as part of the partial team time was 24:03.

The senior men first team was head off by Rory Anderson, Colin Welsh on the 2nd leg, Raymond Jaffray on the 3rd and Andrew Gibson bringing the Harriers home.  Finishing in 34th place with a total time of 1hour 1minute and 17 seconds.  Anderson 13:42, Welsh 15:51, Jaffray  15:25 and Gibson 16:19  

The second senior men’s team was Alan Inglis 17:12, Brian Harper 18:07 and Alister Biggar 18:54.

Jubilee Quiz Night – Saturday 2nd November

!!DATE FOR THE DIARY!! Saturday 2nd November
Jubilee Quiz Night. Always a good laugh and everyone can join in. Bring your family, your friends, your Bottle and most importantly your general knowledge. All ages can join in with our annual quiz as the questions by our Quiz Master Bruce Hughes caters for all. 

Please note that the Harriers will provide snacks, please do not bring your own. 

The athletics club for Hawick and area since 1889.