A new race for me – the Eildons Trail Race – and at 16.4kms (540m climb) a nice wee race to keep the training up for the looming longer races that are not that far away!!!
11 Harriers escaped the Jan imposed storm warnings of the Lasswade 10K (fake news alert!) and we were blessed with generally perfect weather conditions but with modest amounts of mud (there was talk of hippos at the race briefing!!). This was not a race for trail shoes – mudclaws were the shoe of choice!
For those who have been involved with the Jedburgh Ultra, then all the tracks would be familiar. The race starts on the road just off the A6091 towards the Rhymer’s stone. The start was rather quick. In typical fashion I was initially in the fast starting group and felt pretty good for the first 500 m, but then the route turned right and we started the climb. My legs turned to rubber and Billy passed me (BpR on map). However, I managed to keep just behind him up the slippery muddy slope and passed him just before the first summit. Now the fun bit. The trails on the top are more gravel than muddy so it was time to start pushing and, just like with this leg of the Ultra or the Eildons fell race, I simply kept my eye on the next guy ahead and tried to gain some places.
Somewhere behind, there was periodic loud grunts and curses. A wild animal or abominable mudman? No – just Michael Greens – although, he was covered in a lot of mud at the finish and may have taken the hippo comments too literally.
Alas, the hills were over way too quickly and the route soon came down into the lower valley trails which got muddier as we descended. I have a finite speed on the flat (I really should try to get to Tuesday sessions!) and all I could do was keep my speed as quick as possible knowing that at some point Billy would come loping past. Indeed, he did, about 1 km before Newton St Boswells, he briefly ran with me, stated that his legs were tired, and then sped off. When I crossed the road in St Boswells, he was nowhere to be seen. Curse him!
The muddy trails continued and before long the route came down to the river Tweed. A very swollen river Tweed indeed, with the track perilously close sometimes. This was definitely not the time to slip off the bank for a swim – unless you wanted to visit Berwick of course!
Running along the river, I quickly realised that I could see Billy a few hundred metres ahead and in fact, appeared to be struggling and walking in some of the muddier sections. With gritted teeth, I ploughed on (literally actually) and soon passed Billy on the gentle climb out of the river valley. I was determined to keep the pace up. I could see the Eildons on the left so it could not be that far surely. The last few kilometres were tough. Luckily for me, there was quite a lot of gentle ascent which Billy was struggling with so when I finally hit the road at the Rhymers stone, I ran like a madman to ensure I kept ahead.
Well – that got rid of the late winter blues. Thanks to Billy for making it so much fun (LOL 🙂 ). I look forward to the next battle at Deuchary in 3 weeks – maybe Mike B will be back!!!
Of 125 runners, here are the results:
15th Rob Wilson 1:29:54
17th Billy Colvin 1:31:18
24th Michael Greens 1:34:36
26th Allan Dunbar 1:35:12
27th Gillian Cairns 1:35:32 (2nd Lady)
52nd Chris Downie 1:48:33
61st Sadie Kemp 1:52:40
64th Melanie Dunbar 1:52:51
71st Zoe Fowler 1:55:11
74th Kate Crowe 1:56:21
79th Gordon Campbell 2:00:07