The Borders XC Series returned at Lauder on Sunday with near perfect conditions and a record turnout of 82 juniors and 184 seniors competing. First up were the Juniors who set off round the football pitch and down alongside the burn. When they emerged a bit muddier back onto the pitch, it was Selkirk’s John McLean who took the honours in a time of 11:14, not far behind Louise Mercer ran a fine race to be first girl home and 3rd overall in 11:34. James Mercer finished 20th (13:13) and Calum Murray 42nd (14:59). Anna Knox came down to compete in these races for the first time and finished 51st(15:41) but dad Bill didn’t feel up to the task following his victory in the previous day’s Jubilee Race (too much celebrating or just sair legs?). Lots of smiling faces at the end seemed to indicate that this had been a great run for the kids with Calum and Anna both very enthusiastic about the event.
There was a frantic start to the Seniors race as runners were keen to avoid being held up on the path alongside the burn. A short stretch of tarmac followed before a long gradual climb up the Southern Upland Way, then a nice run along the top of the hill and a steep descent through some heather to the valley floor. The next stretch had a few boggy bits and leaps across the burn before tackling the steepest climb of the day up a muddy path through the bushes, but at least at the top we knew that was the end of the days climbing. A run down through a couple of muddy fields with the choice of using the kissing gates or jumping straight over the top, then a stony path which had to be carefully negotiated and we were back for the final 200yds on the football pitch and a sprint to the line for those with any energy left. According to the Garmin this race came in at 6.8k with 200m of ascent, well clear in 1st place was Andrew Crichton of Dunbar in 25:28 while Darrel Hastie was first Harrier in 6th place (28:10), Colin Welsh 12th (29:11), then myself 18th (29:44) and Derek Scott 40th (31:23). First three home count for the team score which put us in 2nd place just behind Carnethy.
A great start to this years series which I thoroughly enjoyed despite being flat out all the way. Next up is Dunbar on 20th November, full details can be found on the Borders XC website at http://www.bordersxc.com/
Teviotdale Harriers season continued on Saturday 15 Oct with a trip to Stirling University to the East District Cross country league 1. In the u/13 boys race David Mercer finished in 40th place in the time of 13min 6sec, and in the u/13 girls race it was Ishbel Inglis 20th,13:41, and Emma Grieve,32nd,15:42 who represented the Harriers.
In the race for u/17 girls Louise Mercer finished in 3rd spot in the time of 11min 17sec. The sen ladies race covered two laps of the university golf course and was covered in 34min 40 sec by Sylvia Grieve who finished in 84th position.
The last race of the day was for sen men and covered three laps of the golf course (5.5 miles) first harrier to cross the finish line was Craig Grieve in 59th place (34:55) second harrier home was Alan Inglis (36:38) in 88th spot, and third harrier home was ever green Bill Knox who finished in 188th place (45min 25min).
A wet and cold Saturday 8th October 2011 saw the start of the cross country season and a small band of harriers heading up to Dundee’s Camperdown Park for the East District Relays. Following a route within the park then out into the surrounding woodland, running first were the girls team made up of Emma Grieve, Ishbel Inglis and Louise Mercer. For Emma and Ishbel it was a bit of a baptism of fire at their first ever relays as due to having only 3 girls available on the day to run all three were very young in their respective categories. Emma Grieve newly turned 11 years old ran the first leg in U13 category, Ishbel Inglis also only 11 years old ran the U15 category and Louise Mercer stepped up to run the last and fastest leg with the U17 girls. All executed themselves well and gave their best, with Louise gaining 7 or more places in the last leg. The times recorded for the girls were Emma 12.13, Ishbel 11.01 and Louise 8.55.
For the boys team it was a family affair and also debut event for brothers David and James Mercer running the 1st (U13) and 2nd (U15) leg and Keith Learmonth the 3rd leg as U17 male. As with the girls the boys gave it their all and produced times of 11.05, 9.41 and 9.19 respectively.
For the junior/senior ladies and men the route was similar but increased to 4,000m. First off for the ladies was Donna Inglis recording a time of 20:56, with Sylvia Grieve finishing the second leg in a time of 22:00. For the senior men the times recorded were Alan Inglis 15:06, Gareth Mayze 14:21, Bill Knox 18:28 and Alan Coltman 16:01.
The first Penchrise Pen Hill Race was held at Stobs on 18th September with 25 runners assembling for the 8k run with total ascent of 280m. The threatened rain stayed away and conditions couldn’t have been much better for the runners or indeed those who turned up to help out and support the race.
Moorfoot took the honours with Darin Dougal first home in a time of 35:23 and Julia Connor first lady in 41:30. Darin was chased home by 19 year old Rory Anderson from the host club Teviotdale who also had Craig Grieve in 3rd place. 2nd lady home was Jane Chalmers (unattached) and 3rd was Lindsey Knox of Teviotdale. Darin was also first in the M40 category although the prize for this moved down to Colin Nichol while John Tullie (M50) and Barry Spence (M60) gave Teviotdale a clean sweep in the age group categories. Special mention to Owen O’Neill of Westerlands who despite arriving late, dashing from the car to start over 3 minutes behind and then finishing with only one shoe, managed to work his way through the field into 10th place just over 5 minutes behind the winner.
Although a low turnout the race proved successful and hopefully this will be the first of many races here. Thanks to all who made the effort to come along, both runners and helpers, and hopefully we will see you all again next year.