High five for francis

Magnificent seven victorious at the Moor Cup writes Andrew McEwan

Five Time Winner, Francis Cannon

As the final race of the Teviotdale Harriers’ season, the Moor Cup Races, with seven titles up for grabs, offers a stark contrast to the Langheugh and the Club Championships. Gone are the innumerable gates that need to be leapt, the leg-burning inclines aren’t present and murderous downhills are nowhere to be found. The only hazard of running around the Mair is the danger of forgetting how many laps you have to make or the occasional stray sheep on the track itself.  The race itself has the distinction of being the oldest cross-country race in Scotland, first run in 1894.

Taylor Watson on his way to victory

The U11-13 Boys and Girls Race was the first to set off, cheered by a dedicated crowd arranged on the bank on the home straight. Taylor Watson ran a strong and consistent race, going on to lead the boys’ home in a fantastic time of 8:21, with second and third taken by McLaren Welsh (9:32) and Irvine Welsh (7:13) respectively.

Neck and neck in the battle for the Under 13 Girls, Ava Hughes, Erin Clarkson & Iona Jamieson (l-r)

In an exciting Girls Race, Ava Hughes, Erin Clarkson and Iona Jamieson all headed up the home straight side by side. It was Erin Clarkson who made the first strike for home, closely followed by Ava. With only metres remaining Ava managed to edge in front and take the win. Erin claimed second and Iona the bronze. All that separated the three girls was two seconds. A huge well done to all the competitors in this race, especially to four new runners who had only signed up to the race a few days beforehand!

Callum Renwick

In the U15/U17 Boys, Girls & Ladies Race, Calum Renwick (9:03) and Maisie Ballantyne (9:41) claimed victory in their categories, with both runners demonstrating excellent form throughout the race, crossing the finish line confidently into an ever-increasing headwind. With Maisie defending her title. Robbie Welsh and Thomas MacAskill completed the Boys podium with Ishbel Inglis and Kelly MacKay second and third in the Girls & Ladies Race. Racing for the Mary Hughes Memorial Salver, Kirsty Hughes managed to retain her Mother-In-Laws trophy as first over 40 female finisher.

Maisie Ballantyne on her way to retaining her title
Kirsty Hughes and Donna Inglis battle up the straight

As the last race of the day, the mens’ race requires competitors to run around the track four times, down into a slightly uphill corner, along a back straight offering fine views of the local hills – always hard to appreciate if you’re being chased by someone – and then into the home straight, past the cheering spectators before traversing the finish line.

Francis Cannon ran an excellent race, winning the trophy with a time of 26:47. What’s more Francis now becomes the most successful Cup Race competitor of all time as this was his fifth win. For 21 years Francis and Bart Yule shared the honour with four wins a piece but the evergreen Cannon now stands alone at the top of the Cup Race tree.

Francis was followed by Dougie Wood in 2nd who came in at 21:08, and Alan Coltman in 3rd at 24:00. Dougie’s 2nd place finish was good enough to secure hime the Glencairn Trophy for first over 40 finisher in the men’s race (race winner excluded).

A huge thank you to everyone who helped the Moor Cup take place – it’s not all about the runners, but is also about the efforts of handicappers, spectators and organisers who do an amazing job day in, day out, sometimes with very little acknowledgement! Thank you to everyone for taking part and making a fantastic day possible. There are several other events in the Harriers calendar – a range of time trials and the majestic Uphill Mile in May – but the one on everyone’s mind is Presentation Night, taking place at the Evergreen Hall on Friday the 8th of March. It’s a chance to celebrate the fantastic year the Harriers have had and to recognise a range of brilliant, hard-fought victories. “