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.