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/