Sunday, 29 November 2015

Borders Series XC #3 Peebles

I'm not sure whether I was lighthearted because the WoL Half was behind me (and nobody died) or just because I had had a large glass of caffeine pop. It was the latter that had me shouting about the finer points of yesterday's event in the Porty wagon. And stripping down to vest and shorts for today's mudfest. Re the weather I can't put it better than Mary who said in her blog, "As is often the way with extreme weather, it was daunting going into it and then being out in it was enlivening. To my surprise I found I was enjoying myself." Really that nails it. Horrible out. (Although every 20 mins it changed from sunny to howling wind and sleet, to rain and dark clouds then sun again. But horribly brilliant to be sploshing through the overflowing rivers and round muddy fields. 

I didn't hang around to watch the juniors. Went instead to check out the riverside trails of the middle section. Then 10mins before the off I took off the top layers and hung them at the finish line with my camera in a carrier bag high in a tree so the bears couldn't reach it.

high tide

bulging Tweed

I had considered wearing short spikes but a lot of the initial riverside path is over blocky solid stone. All the same I was well jell when Diane went past last year sparks flying off her spikes. 

photo Mary (and below)

I have been reluctant to get a haircut of late as it would be like taking off a woolly hat, and there never seemed to be the right moment. Trouble is it is getting woollier by the day.

photo Danielle

The start was hilarious. The starter's bunnet blew off and nobody except those immediately beside him could hear his instructions. The gale was howling in our ears and eventually the starter gave up and wandered over to the line where we stood for a moment shaking in the cold wind and hail. It was grim and there seemed a reluctance to take the lead as everyone wanted to shelter behind the guys ahead. I quite enjoyed the lack of higher climb in the playing fields. I felt I was doing well and far too far up the field when Adam F came past. Oh right. I hadn't seen Stewart so thought it would between us 2 for high m50 scores today. We jockeyed for place until the far end when he went up the embankment first and I struggled to stick with the pack - desperate to find someone to shelter behind as the horizontal hail was pinging off our faces. Adam seemed to pull away and I thought my spot was going to be 2nd m50. Until Stewart came past. Oh right. I'm not sure if that's good or bad. Actually I don't think it makes any difference as long as you hop up the queue and overtake Mr. Fletcher there. Which he kindly did as we made our way along the riverside trails. I got some wind shade behind David W as he came past, then from Keith H who I was surprised wasn't further ahead already. He did move forward convincingly and I tried to stick with him for a few places.

This photo just in! Thanks to Syd Woods, dad of David in the red shorts. Photos of me ahead of Stewart W, David W, David L and Keith H are rarer that hens' teeth. In fact this is the only one. Ever. And the positions changed rapidly. 

After we got to the far end and turned around Adam F started coming back towards me. I enjoyed the wind being to our backs and was reluctant to hurry past in case it inspired an immediate response. I gathered myself for the run through the trees and the big hill beyond that, knowing those would be the crux of today. I overtook Adam just before the turn up the hill into the woods and he didn't seem to mount an immediate response and I felt he might have drifted back by the time we went round Kate Jenkins at the start of the BIG HILL. 

photo Danielle
Bit of splosh on the final flat straights.

I think 2 years of wintervals has improved my short blast up-hill-abilities and I determined not to slow to a walk for the duration. When I got to the top and crowds hadn't gone past I felt that maybe I was beginning to have a good day. I was certainly breathing very hard over the flattish summit and then rolling down into the next fields but my lungs felt better than they have of late and legs were not bad. (I could even see Stewart W up ahead!) A sneaky peak over my shoulder at the next 2 corners let me know I wasn't safe, but all the same I was glad to be maybe 20s ahead of the next dudes. David L had gone past around the beginning of the hill and had opened up a decent gap but on the descent over the steep and treacherous ground to the finishing loop I caught right up to him and he was clearly concerned about his lack of grip on the slippery ground. I waited till I could overtake without pushing past and hit the flat about one step ahead. David quickly went past again but didn't pull away as we did the out and back of the finishing straights. About 50 yards from the line I felt a surge of relief and adrenaline and lifted the pace to nip ahead of David for the line. All the time thinking "so this is how you say thanks to someone who gave up their time willingly to help out at your race yesterday." I apologised but felt it was more of an honour than a regret to finish ahead of Dave who has had a great year of racing and results.

In with the Bella Boys.
photo Danielle

Heard afterwards that Steve got hit by a branch, blown down while we were running. Is that bad luck to be singled out by the elements, or good luck it didn't do considerably more damage?

Richard drew blood

Shame I never got a better photo of Mary. She arrived at the finish, hair wild, head wild having enjoyed the madness of being out in the weather running like blazes. It certainly clears your mind. There was a real buzz from the runners afterwards. Everyone was high as kites.

Home for cheese on toast and mugs of hot tea. FAB!

Saturday, 28 November 2015

Water of Leith Half Marathon


It did help that I had some work-free days to deal with this, particularly the days of admin it takes to set up the handicap and route plan. It didn't help that I am still not over the cold and cough. Or that it rained for most of the 4 hrs it took to cycle the WoL paths yesterday afternoon tipping 14 bags of floury arrows along the way. What made it all worthwhile was the cheery thanks and appreciation from my fellow runners who all seemed to enjoy it. The rain even held off for most of the run. And although there was a lot of mud on legs it was more patches of mud (on the ground) than lakes. The riverside paths keep the worst of the wind off the runners and I hoped there were enough arrows to guide the first timers down the route without mishap. (Pretty much!) And that everyone would take care at the road crossings. (Mmmm nearly!)

First up, some photos taken by the splendid marshals at Roseburn, Angus and Andy. They were unable to run this year so threw themselves into the marshalling with gusto.

Then Scott's excellent photos near Saughton Skate Park
Again Scott and Helen weren't running this year so put on the fluro tops and pushed the green man button as runners approached the lights at Balgreen Rd.

Next up my photos as folk came to the end of the run.

Marion was first across the line. Though technically not the winner as she took the Early Bird start at 9.30. (defined by single digit bib nos. and ineligible for prizes.) We did give her a spot prize for being a good sport.

Official first runner Lucy. 

second (and first male) Lindsay

third, Ben

Jim B - all his fault! 
(One of the race originators) 
Jim timed this nicely, getting to the start line (having just stepped off his flight from Washington) 2 mins before kick off. Just time to pin on a number and run!

Glad to wave goodbye to the last of the soluble numbers. New ones next year!

Great to see Nicola managing to run after months of injury. While not back to full strength nor running without pain she came along for the fun, and managed to get more mud up her legs than most.

Everyone loves a Wombill.

Fastest time today, Drew ran an impressive 1.18

Seona keeps Dr Neil behind her.

Craig showing no respect for his elders, overtaking Willie in the last few yards. 
Youngsters these days!

Big thanks to Yana and David who did a great job of the results, considering the melting numbers.

Mr. 7 Hills

Martin (not being a local) took a wrong turn towards the end, 
only seeing the arrow second time past. 

Nick had a tough day at the office.


Big thanks to Eric (and Lynda) for the excellent catering. Fab soup and homebakes, which is really appreciated after the run. They have become one of the great traditions of this event and it encourages folk to hang about rather than jump in cars and disappear. 

Afterwards we retired to the Leith Beer Company where we did a few prizes and those not driving had a beer or 2. Really nice company with the emphasis on fun and social, more than being just about who ran fastest. Jim did a fun prize giving telling us about his recent trip and training runs in the US. A few spot prize beers were dispersed. Great fun and big thanks to all who helped:
Richard organising and results
Christina assisting
Jonathan: Lanark Rd.
Helen and Scott: Balgreen Rd
Angus and Andy: Roseburn
Anthony: Pizza Express
Michael: Rocheid Path
Ruth: Canonmills
Yana and David: finish line / results

photo of Marion by Christina

Results in order of crossing the line: (Provisional - let me know corrections)

1.    Marion Clark        2.12.35  eb=(early bird)
2.    Mags Turnbull        2.22.19  eb
3.    Jim Salvage        2.22.19  eb
4.    Lucy Colquhoun    1.30.51
5.    Lindsay Cockburn    1.32.56
6.    Ben Kemp            1.39.00
7.    Alex Hilliam    1.28.47
8.    Gordon Cram    1.48.51
9.    Jim Bruce    1.56.47
10.    Neil Paton    1.41.09
11.    Ronnie Sloan    2.27.10  eb
12.    Angus Farquhar    1.37.19
13.    Iain Cadogan    1.40.28
14.    Vince Fraser    1.38.49
15.    Fiona Carver    1.39.51
16.    Shona Young    1.41.12
17.    Nicola Duncan    1.28.19
18.    Stewart Roxburgh    1.58.32
19.    Robin Wombill    2.28.38  eb
20.    Sheila Morrison    2.28.38  eb
21.    Judith White    2.28.38  eb
22.    Drew Sharkey    1.18.14
23.    Derek Small    1.29.57
24.    Philippa Ivison    1.49.00
25.    Kate Fraser    1.49.01
26.    Graham Smith    1.35.13
27.    Douglas Graham    1.36.22
28.    Ian Beattie    1.34.41
29.    Jon Waters   1.36.50
30.    Stuart Hay    1.23.51
31.    Alan Yardley    1.43.54
32.    Frank Ovens    1.51.26
33.    Paul Young    1.34.31
34.    Alan Robertson    1.47.41
35.    Mike Lieberman    1.38.42
36.    Seona Burnett    1.46.51
37.    Neil Jones    1.47.56
38.    Alan Inglis    1.34.03
39.    James Robson    1.32.20
40.    Craig Taylor    1.29.33
41.    Willie Jarvie    1.29.36
42.    Keith Martin   1.34.41
43.    Neil Burnett    1.34.45
44.    Sally Best    1.57.47
45.    Steve Crane    1.32.55
46.    Isobel  Burnett    1.43.10
47.    Kevin Rutherford 1.42.10
48.    Simon Smith   1.55.18 
49.    Alan Lawson    1.48.20
50.    Dean Friday    1.47.51
51.    Jim  Alexander     1.58.02
52.    Barbara Livingston     1.49.35
53.    Gavin Orr    1.32.59
54.    Martin Dawson    1.24.55
55.    Nick Williamson    1.29.01
56.    Cat Meighan    1.52.35
57.    Roddy McRae    1.36.49
58.    Derek Henderson    2.00.08
59.    Louise Provan    1.49.28
60.    David Robinson    2.06.30
61.    Kieran Morgan    1.52.20
62.    Phil Young    1.42.31
63.    Jim Ramsay    2.19.05
64.    Maureen Byrne    2.19.05

Mark Hartree was struck down with leg problems and dnf'ed.
Jonathan in a fit of keeness noted everyone's times and positions at Lanark Rd. I had asked him to make a rough note of what times people came through. So if you want your 6 mile time let me know. (Timing chips and mats have nothing on us!)

See you all next year. If anyone wishes to shadow the process of organising next year with a view to taking over the following year I'd be happy to pass on the baton.