Virtual race raises vital funds for Mental Health Charity

Thank you to the runners who took part in our  virtual  race?
The Committee and Club Members have been amazed at how many people got involved in our race and our plan to raise awareness and funds for the mental health charity Penumbra. As we said in our ‘Race Description’ we wanted you to take time out to run with others or alone and to reward yourselves with a coffee and cake – we would normally have provided you with a great route, support and plenty of coffee and cake but you guys all had to motivate yourselves to do this and you nailed it!!
? Quick numbers – £960 raised in entry fees and £155 raised on Just Giving page so a total of £1115 so far going straight to the charity.
? Evidence – The ‘evidence’ is still coming in but I think nearly all of the 160 entrants ran their virtual 10k between our dates. Some ran further than 10k, some ran it more than once because they enjoyed it so much! I have replied to every email and posted photos if you sent one and a bit of information on our facebook page so please have a look. It has been so great to see you all and where you ran ? Ihttps://www.facebook.com/penicuikharriers/?ref=pages_you_manage
? Medals – I have ordered 135 of our unique medals from The Workshop at Aberfeldy and they arrived and are now ready to be delivered.

A reminder that our medals were sponsored by local business Carnethy Woodfuel. The proprietor Mark is a club member who was more than happy to come on board and support what his club were doing. https://www.carnethywoodfuel.co.uk/ They supply and deliver Hardwood logs, kiln dried logs, wood pellets and briquetttes to Edinburgh, Midlothian and Borders.

? Results : Did I really promise a results list for our lovely non-competitive virtual race? I will try and work out something, it won’t be a full results list but I will pick out a few notable runs, maybe even manage a top 3 but every run was so different and varied; some being in the hills, loops of football pitches, walks, dog walks, out and backs, trail and a group who walked and did a litter-pick at the same time. All different and all suited to the individual who took on the challenge to run 10k.

? Just Giving – I set up a just giving page because I was asked by a few people how they could donate to the charity in Harriers name to further support what we are doing or couldn’t take part but wanted to donate. This page will stay open until the 31st of May https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/penicuikharriers

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Invite – Penicuik Harriers would like to invite you all to take part in our actual race next year! We promise you a beautiful route with a wee hill on the way out and stunning views of ‘our’ Pentland Hills on the way back, great support the whole way and most of all we promise you coffee and cakes baked by our club members. We can’t wait to meet you all!!! Here is a date for your diary – Saturday 14th May 2022
Thanks for supporting our club and our efforts to support mental health and the awareness of it.

Susie and all at Penicuik Harriers
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Susie's Penicuik Virtual 10k page
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The Lairig Ghru Race – musings from someone who was beaten by this race – twice!

As so many Harriers have signed up for the Lairig Ghru this year, I felt that my difficult experiences of the two times I tried this race could provide some insight on how you should consider preparing/training for this race.

At 43kms and 680m height gain, it just enters the “ultra” category although it is always defined as a category C long hill race. It is basically a marathon on generally tarmac or forest roads with a modest elevation gain. On paper, it appears “easy”, but there is a gnarly ca. 17 kms middle section between ca. 15 and 32 kms which can be the undoing of many. It is rough, technical and a “normal” fitness for a road marathon will NOT be enough to get you through this section fresh.

In my training, I planned a modest 10kms/hr pace. I would be faster on the road/easy trail sections and slower on the technical sections but hopefully finishing with an average 10k/hr pace – leading to a race time between 4:15 and 4:30. Looking at my pace plot from last year, it is clear that through the technical section, I was woefully slower than this 6 mins/km pace and even after the technical section, my back and legs were clearly gone and I hardly managed to get back to the 6 mins/km pace.

Rob's pace

My Pace plot for 2020 LG race

So – first tip: Don’t underestimate how technical that middle section is. You will be much slower through this section. You must practise running on very technical rocky tracks – WITH tired legs.

Suggestion: Maybe run around the Pentland easy tracks for about 20kms, then do reps on the track on the NW back side of Black Hill between the Green Cleugh and the eastern end of Threipmuir Resevoir.

Running the Stuc O’ Chroin ridge would also be good practise.

 

Anyway – A quick run down of the route – see numbers on maps below for brief descriptions of sections:

LG – 1st Half

1–2: Nice fast, gentle start on single track tarmac road up the Dee valley. Great views. Under Covid restrictions you will probably be running in groups of 5. This worked very well last year and even if you are ahead, the Dee river crossing at point 2 is very obvious. You cannot go wrong.

2-3: Now on well-maintained tracks and the route takes you through and around the back of the old stables at Mar Lodge. Once on the tracks behind, you need to turn off to the right after about 1.5 kms. I think this was sign posted last year – but there is only one track, so not really an issue I think.

3-4: Straight forward forest track up to the confluence in Glen Derry. There used to be a water station here but under Covid restrictions, I don’t think there will be one. Just after Derry Lodge, you will cross the river on the foot bridge. This confluence is an excellent place to camp.

4-5: My favourite section of the race. Nice bouncy peaty and very runnable track. Alas, this nice running section is only a few kms.

5-6: Now things get tougher. Possible that you will get wet feet crossing the Luibeg burn. In fact, I advise you to just go through and get wet feet rather than trying to skip across the rocks (can be wet and slippy) and risk falling. Once you have crossed the burn, the route starts climbing for the first time. The track now starts getting more technical. Once the track diverts from a westerly to a northly direction you will get your first view of the fabulous U shape valley of the Lairig Ghru. Also – however – you get your first inkling of how long this rather technical section is – it seems to go on forever. Little elevation gain, but a continuous gnarly track. The final 2 kms of this section takes you up towards the Pools of Dee. It is at this point where you will enter the famous granite boulder fields of the central Cairngorms. The good news is that being granite, the rocks are really not that slippy, even in wet conditions. HOWEVER – you don’t want to fall on this stuff, so take it easy. There is not always a clear track through the boulder field, so skipping across rocks, some of which might shift, can be risky if you try it at speed. Remember, you will be at ca. 27 kms at this point, so your legs will be tired and might not function how you want them to.

LG – 2nd half

6-7: Slightly steeper descent after the divide but the path is still annoyingly technical, and I have found muscle cramping a problem here. These few kms seem to go on and on but the terrain/path steadily gets easier.

7-8: As the route leaves the open hillside and enters Rothiemurchus forest, the trail becomes a nice forest track although be careful of roots. This is another section that is really quite pleasant to run down even if your legs are rubber by this point.

8-9-10: When you leave the fell track and hit the forest trail in Rothiemurchus. FFS, turn left! Right goes to Loch Morlich!! This section is pleasant with the river on the left. Just to remind you how tired you are, there are some Himalayan large steps up over the footbridge over the river which normally you would skip up. You will groan as you lift your legs up. But soon after the bridge there will be a fork in the track. Go right and then stay on this easy flat gravel track all the way to Coylumbridge. On a hot day, the shade from the pine trees can be a blessing, but the track does go on and on.

10-Finish: Coylumbridge to Aviemore all pavement beside the road. As I hate road, this final 3 kms always felt endless. Note that my map for last year might not be quite right for the final km or so. Read carefully the instructions for how you are to cross the railway and enter the main street in Aviemore.

 

Last year, the conditions were almost perfect. The winner came in at 3:03 which might give you an idea how much slower the LG is compared to a normal marathon. My two times were 4:49 and 4:48 – at least 20 mins slower than I would have liked but both times it took me weeks to recover and I still have back problems from last year.

 

My last tip is related to hydration and food.

I don’t think there will be drink stations but there are fairly major river crossings at 11.5, 13.8, 16.8, and 36 kms. Depending on weather conditions, there could be small streams coming off the hills. I ran with 2L of water on my back which meant I did not have to faff at the rivers. Personal choice, I guess.

You need to be careful with food. The race is runnable compared to more normal hill races, so you will need to ensure you eat appropriately at the right times through the race. When I first ran, I completely forgot to eat anything until well past Luibeg (18kms) when I started feeling hungry. Too late. I then stuffed myself to catch up and my body spectacularly rejected the food from more than one orifice. So get the energy input right. You will need that energy for those last 16kms!

Anyway – Good luck to the Harriers running this year. It is an epic race but don’t underestimate it.

Rob

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Virtual 10k Medal Sponsorship

We are delighted to announce that we have a sponsor for our rather lovely wooden race medals ??

The guys have come on board to support the Virtual Penicuik 10k and we are so grateful. Anyone who said they didn’t want a medal but would now like one please comment here or email roadrace@penicuikharriers.org.uk

Wooden Medal

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Penicuik 10k has gone virtual with all proceeds to charity

 


Full details 10k Road Race | Penicuik Harriers Running Club

Enter here – Penicuik 10k Virtual Road Race – EntryCentral.com

The chosen charity is www.penumbra.org.uk

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The purple and the white: running in the time of coronavirus

And now for something completely different. Not a race report, but a no-race report. Yes, there have been virtual events (I’ll come to those later), but with the last event that was clinging to my race calendar cancelled and switched to virtual at the last minute, and the cancellation of the XC season, I felt the need to have a little vent.

2019 was an incredible year for me. The best I’ve ever had, with four podium finishes and leading the females in the unofficial ‘Triple Crown’. I pushed myself further than I’d ever gone with the West Highland Way Race. Finishing the year with Wooler marathon in the torrential rain didn’t dampen my spirits at all. I had planned a quieter year in 2020, to not only allow Mark some well-deserved training time for his UTMB TDS race, but to give my body a bit of a rest. Just the Fling and the Devil, and maybe Wooler again, with some shorter races thrown in. Oh, and the matter of attempting to run the EMF 10k in a T.Rex costume! Little did I realise that in March, those modest plans would be wiped clean by COVID-19.

Out of nowhere, running became a source of intense anxiety. I got grief from walkers just for running near them, blocked from familiar trails by paranoid landowners and forced onto the Midlothian backroads with nothing but the ever-increasing fly-tipping spots to look at. It became a chore just to get out of the door. Slowly, with postponed events being pushed further and further away, virtual events began popping up. I took on a few of them, my favourite being the virtual West Highland Way Race. But after each event, my desire to run got weaker and weaker. Why was that? I’ve been philosophising on this recently, after recently completing the virtual Wooler marathon, and have surmised as follows.

The Purple

Virtual events are vital in the running community in these strange times. Not only to ensure that there are still races to run in the following years by supporting organisers (who have had their income decimated, sometimes when they have already outlaid our entry fees on merchandise, fees, insurance, etc.), but also to give runners a sense of purpose – something to get out of the door and train for. For some they have been a godsend, to others a raging disappointment. They are not suited to everyone, but it’s all we currently have. A ‘purple patch’ in an otherwise desolate racing calendar. Runners could still collect medals, if so inclined, and feel a sense of competition, albeit a socially-distanced one. Some have found their own personal challenges, and a record number of FKT (Fastest Known Time) attempts have been achieved across the UK. For some, 2020 has presented an opportunity to try something completely different, without the constraints of a race calendar to hold them back. A shout out here for the incredible Yan Horsburgh, for his 24-hour 122+ mile virtual Glenmore 24 back in September! You are an inspiration my friend.

The White

For runners like me, it’s been a time to reflect on why we love racing, and why we miss them so much. The pre-race nerves, the start line excitement, catching up with running buddies, the group selfies with heads pressed together and arms wrapped around each other. And the sweaty, finish-line hugs. Oh my, I miss those! Especially those from the ones who’ve picked you up near the end and kept you going with no thought for their own times or goals (thank you, Sadie Kemp). So there are now blanks – ‘white patches’ – punched into the virtual race experience. At the end of a virtual race, what is there? An upload to Strava and some kudos from your running friends. A t-shirt and/or medal through the post. Checking your result on-line, but in the knowledge that it won’t count for much as virtual results are extremely difficult to regulate or compare. I know there are many who would disagree with me, but for me personally, it’s a bit of an empty experience.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t disagree with the restrictions that have ravaged the 2019 racing calendar. They are keeping us safe and ensuring that at some point next year (I hope) we can get back to racing. To travelling 2 hours to Paxton House to run less than 4 miles around the estate, through glorious amounts of mud and jumping over streams. To sharing cakes out of a car boot after running Tinto hill race in the snow. To marshalling the best local road race in the Lothians (Penicuik 10k of course). To everything that makes racing so fun and friendly. I just need to find that spark, that motivation to get out the door that doesn’t include a race number. I’m pondering a Pentlands Round at some point. Perhaps I should just get that in the calendar and pull up my big girl pants!

In the meantime, let’s reflect on the good times and know that they will be there in the future too. ‘Mon the Purple and White!

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Altra Virtual West Highland Way Race 2020

Continue reading

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Harriers Day – Road Race Day

Our road race couldn’t go ahead this year so our club members turned Sat 9th May into……

Harriers Day –

They ran alone or with their kids, they also biked and walked wearing their club colours so that we could all be together – but apart!

Some ran the actual route and others ran closer to home or in the hills and the Penicuik Estate. But nearly all of us were out there being active and happy on what should have been our race day.

We are all really proud of our club coming together (but apart) to do this and hope we can all be running, training and racing together again soon ?

Thanks to Euan Maxwell for putting all of our photos together for us ?

https://www.facebook.com/penicuikharriers/videos/248168736526281/

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Glentress Trail Marathon 23 02 2020

Distance: 42K Ascent: 1500m

Driving down through the snow to Glentress early Sunday morning I was nervous and excited to see what the conditions would be like for the race. Some of our crowd had done the cross country the previous day in horrendous weather, Juliane has been injured and Gilly has been battling a cold and recovering from a cycling injury so we were all discussing the possibility of just doing one lap. Looking at the weather the previous day I was glad the marathon wasn’t then. Although the wind had dropped a bit the ground underfoot was waterlogged and there was quite a lot of snow on the ground. Running through the forest was like a winter wonderland in places with the snow topped pine trees. The exposed areas on the hills were a bit wilder and I was glad to get back to the shelter of the branches. I find the hardest bit of this race is getting yourself back out for the second lap, especially as it is uphill almost immediately. Once you are committed it’s more enjoyable in some ways than the first lap, although you are tired and achy the field is more spread out so you can settle to your own pace and take in the scenery. On finishing the race I got cold very quickly and dashed home to get a hot shower and eat. It wasn’t until I checked the results I realised I had come in first in my category. Damn, I should have stayed for the prize giving. It was a course PB for me which I am pleased with especially considering the conditions. I really enjoyed the race this year, High Terrain host some very testing events and they are always well organised and their volunteers are friendly and supportive, many thanks to them.

Some of Michael Philp’s super images from the day:

Full results http://www.timingupnorthresults.co.uk/results.aspx?CId=16576&RId=3087

Sadie Kemp 05:07:57
Tim Doyle 06:02:39
Tracy Philp 06:02:45
Juliane Friedrich 06:07:52
Gilly Marshall 06:10:40

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Carnethy 5 Hill Race 50th Anniversary

This years race will remain etched in our memories and on our faces for a long time!  Storm Dennis was forecast and didn’t fail to disappoint. My excitement before the race turned to fear on top of West Kip where I thought I was going to be blown off, luckily there was a bent leg of a marshal trying to stay upright that I grabbed onto and pulled myself forward.

Lots of Harriers were doing this race for the first time and what conditions to be doing it in – it must surely be better weather next year, like it was……hmmmm 2015 I think was the last time I think it wasn’t a battle with weather!!

Here is the link to Olly’s report – he describes the race so well. http://carnethy.com/2020/02/carnethy-5-race-directors-report/

A huge thank you to the Harriers who came out to support us and especially to the marshals and officials who were all incredible.

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Strathearn Trail Festival 1st & 2nd Feb

This festival consists of four races split over two days. On the Saturday there is a Light 10k at 1pm then a Dark 10k at 5pm then on the Sunday there is a 5k at 11am and a Half Marathon on 12.30pm.  When I looked at this I thought I might enter the Dark 10k because the route was trail and in the dark which is what I like.  Then I noticed that there was an option to run all four races….. Hmmm, well that would certainly test to see if my injury could cope with upping my milage – so I entered all four!

The races were based in the grounds of Crieff Hydro and each race took you on a route over the Knock except the 5k. The trails were nuts! So muddy, technical and constantly undulating or climbing. There must have been downhill but I don’t remember much about them apart from the rocky paths one….

The results aren’t out yet but Strava tells me:
Race 1, Light 10k, Elevation 1,073ft – 1h11m
Race 2, Dark 10k, Elevation 1,085ft – 1h18m (went a bit wrong at one point)
Race 3, 5k in the snow, Elevation 514ft – 37m16s
Race 3, Half Marathon, Elevation 2,161ft – 2h54m27s

I completely loved all the races because of the route, the organisers and the atmosphere.  I met a bunch of nice people and came home with four medals and some really muddy, wet kit!

They might be doing the same kind of thing in the Summer and I totally recommend it to all of you – hopefully trails would be less muddy.

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Feel the Burns 19-Jan-2020

Distance 21.4 km
Climb 800 m

The weather was mild this year which gave us near perfect running conditions bar the mud. As always this is a much enjoyed race by the harriers, could that be something to do with the lentil soup and haggis pie at the finish? 😉

Full results: https://www.scottishhillracing.co.uk/RaceResults.aspx?RaceID=RA-0299&Year=2020

87 Rob Wilson M40 2:04:09 146.0%
141 Yan Horsburgh M50 2:14:53 158.6%
176 Sadie Kemp F40 2:21:53 166.8%
194 Tracy Philp F40 2:30:23 176.8%
198 Gilly Marshall F40 2:31:11 177.8%
251 Mark Dawson M50 2:55:12 206.0%

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Greenmantle dash 2020

Distance 3.3 km
Climb 200 m

The hill racing year kicked off with a favourite of Penicuik harriers down at Broughton. With many harriers running the race plus Dave and Susie doing the timing along with lots of supporters too. A dip in the river and a mug of soup followed. 🙂

Provisional Results:

23rd Rob Wilson 00:20:56 M40
28th Céadach Morton 00:21:43
29th Mike Brooks 00:22:56 M50
58th Sadie Kemp 00:26:16 3rd F40
67th Kate Crowe 00:28:02 2nd F50
68th Scott Cairns 00:28:18
69th Gilly Marshall 00:28:34 F40
74th Fran Jones 00:30:27 3rd F50
80th Diane Harvey 00:31:50 2nd F60
84th Emma Baird 00:34:49

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Simonside Cairns Hill Race 2019

I have run this race a few times now and as it is the last mid-distance hill race (17.7kms, 460m) of the year it is a good race to keep one’s fitness on point for Feel the Burns in January.

Although one must cross into Brexit land (start/finish is in Rothbury) it is really worth the 1hr 45 min drive. I left Penicuik at 8am in a biblical rainstorm with the Temple road being more of a river. I hoped that the forecast of sunny skies with a stiff SW wind would be correct or it was gonna be an awful day. Luckily, the climate models were correct. The wind was not too helpful I will admit, especially when it was a cross wind.

Simonside Cairns Profile

 

Simonside Cairns Route – with terrain descriptors

Simonside is one of those annoyingly runnable races with the climb being slight but continuous for the first 11 kms, and then it is all downhill. What makes this race challenging (bar the weather which can be atrocious at this time of year) is that much of the mid-section is rather muddy – and today, it was uber muddy. The first few kms are on road and track, but then there are about 6kms of muscle sapping muddy tracks – all slightly uphill. As one passes Selby’s Cove and start the final climb up to Simonside itself, it is a good test for one’s fitness as to whether you bomb out at the point. Today my legs felt strong, and forewarned with prior knowledge, I wore my Salamon Speedcross trail shoes as the 4kms from Simonside back down to the car park is continuous stone flags and steps which are slippy as hell if you wear Mudclaws. I managed to pass a few runners here who appeared to be running on ice and were cursing the whole way.

Of ca. 90 runners, I came in 21st and 3rd V45 – I quite liked them creating new categories. Wine gums as a prize. My time was 1:42:46 which was only 2 mins slower than last year (much better conditions).

Overall – shoe choice is crucial for this race – Salamons are definitely the best for wet rock, but you still need profile for the mud. Finally – my first race since I turned 49. The number clearly was an omen for a good race. 🙂

lucky number 49

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Wooler Marathon, 16 November 2019

Mark persuaded me to run this race, spurred on by a notification in September from Trail Outlaws that there were only 30 places left for the full marathon, and that the half marathon (running the next day) had sold out. Mark had really enjoyed his run in 2017 – very cold, but with clear skies and good views over the Cheviots. It seemed like a great way to finish off an epic year of racing, so I signed up and booked a bed in the Youth Hostel (also the start and finish line and general HQ of the race) for the Friday night.

Looking through the entry list, I spied some well-known names from the Scottish ultra-running community. So it was that I found myself in the Tankerville Arms on the Friday night, a cosy 17th century coaching inn on the outskirts of Wooler town centre, supping Guinness with the likes of Daniel Kershaw, Jeni Rees-Jenkins, Sharon Hassan and Karen McInderwar. They are all runners I admire, and it was the first time I got to really talk to any of them, which was lovely. Turns out I was also room buddies with Karen, Jeni and Sharon that night, so we all walked home together and got our kits ready for the next day.

During the Friday evening, an email was sent out by Tim and Garry, RDs of Trail Outlaws, to say that due to the poor weather the conditions on The Cheviot were too treacherous to allow the marathon route to go ahead. It had been snowing earlier in the week on the hills, and pouring with rain for two days previous. Instead of cancelling, however, we were to run two laps of the lower-level half marathon route – same distance and elevation overall. I was not keen on the idea of running laps, but glad it hadn’t been cancelled. I hadn’t even looked at the half route and only had a print out of the full course in my kit, but was reassured that it was well flagged and that there would be enough runners and marshals around not to get lost. There was much muttering on social media about it, but as we tackled the half course the next day, it became apparent it was the right decision to make!

The next morning, after a very poor night’s sleep on a hard hostel mattress full of anxiety dreams about getting lost/missing the start/etc we gathered on the road up from the YH for the start. I’d met up with Tracy just before we set off, the only other harrier there, and on her fourth consecutive Wooler marathon. After a delayed start due to registration taking longer than usual (the race has grown from around 150 runners in the first year to over 300 this year) we were off.

It was already pretty damp and drizzly when we set off, and as soon as we turned off the road on to the St Cuthberts Way, it became apparent that this was going to be a tough gig. The trail was very muddy heading into the woods, and coming out onto the common it was also very waterlogged. I was wearing waterproof socks, but they were only ankle high. After only a few miles, I stepped into a large icy puddle that went up to my shins, filling my socks with water. Still, I had Injinjis on inside the waterproof ones, so even though they were wet my feet stayed relatively warm for the duration. I did start to worry about trench foot though…

Some very swift ladies passed me early on, and I couldn’t envisage catching them, so settled into survival mode. I focussed on staying upright and tried not to think too much about placing in this race, despite a great year of racing with podium finishes in most. It took me miles to settle into a rhythm, not helped by crowding in the early stages on narrow trails flanked by gorse and heather either side. There were also a lot of gates, styles and slippery bridges to negotiate. This was not going to be over quickly! I had a target of 6 hours in mind, but that was for the full route. I was hoping the low level route might buy me some time, so readjusted my goal to 5.5 hours and told myself that it really didn’t matter and finishing would be a satisfactory result in these conditions.

The rain was pelting down once we reached the turn off from the original route onto the half marathon course, which cuts across the moor to re-join the full route at Yeavering. The trail was very wet underfoot and I was already soaked through. Every time I squeezed my hands, water poured out of my gloves. A lad in front of me was filming with a Go-Pro, but probably should have been concentrating on the trail as he ended up thigh deep in a bog! He managed to drag himself out, Go-Pro intact, by the time I reached him.

I reached Yeavering CP after a satisfactory bit of downhill running, the first time I felt I’d actually run in miles, and quickly turned around and headed back out. I didn’t need my water re-filling so just grabbed a handful of cola bottles and headed back up the hill. What was a nice bit of downhill running was a total slog coming back out. The route has about two miles of out-and-back to Yeavering CP so I tried to spot as many runners I knew as possible and give them a wave, until the trail turns off along the St Cuthberts Way at the top of the hill. This was when things really got bad! The route was almost completely underwater, pretty much until we reached Wooler Common 4 miles on. I was not enjoying myself, particularly when thinking about having to tackle this section again in a couple of hours. I tried really hard to push all the negatives out of my mind, but it was tough. In the end, dreaming about taking off my wet socks, having a bath and eating some hot food was what kept me going. To illustrate the challenge, see the photo below taken by Daniel. The fact that the runner has decided to take the style despite the gate being open tells you how unpleasant the trail was!

I eventually hit Wooler Common and saw Michael, who was out with his camera and Stella in the rain. Soon after that I saw the red druid guy – a regular feature at Trail Outlaw races – and knew end of the first lap was near. A quick look at my watch at the CP revealed 12.5 miles had passed, so not quite a full lap of the ‘half’, which is usually 14 miles. Still, it had taken me 2:17 so was pleased that it looked like I’d be home and dry well under target. At least the pack had thinned out a bit too, so I was a bit more relaxed heading out into the second lap, fuelled by some Tizer from the CP and my trusty Kendal mint cake.

I’m not going to lie, the second lap wasn’t fun. It went by in a bit of a blur, and I got a bit of extra déjà vu when I passed Jeni at the exact same spot we did near Yeavering CP the first time round! The trails were even wetter and muddier now, having been churned up by 300+ runners and soaked by the constant rain. But I dug in and gave it my best. I had no idea where I was in the race, but not many ladies had passed me on the out and back so hoped I’d be somewhere within the top ten, and maybe in with a shot of a veteran prize. After swearing and stumbling my way through the waterlogged SCW section again, it was down into Wooler and a dash along the road to re-join the trail into the YH. I clocked 25 miles in 4:52:23. Not quite the 28 miles we’d been promised, but a tough day out in any case. I collected my medal and headed into the HQ for a cup of hot, sugary tea. The prize giving was just starting, and I’d just taken a few sips of tea when I heard Tim call my name. 1st F40 prize after all! A lovely surprise after what was a very challenging race.

I dashed off not too long after the race, so didn’t manage to catch Tracy at the finish, but she reassures me that this was her toughest Wooler yet. I’m glad it wasn’t just me! I’d love to come back next year and make it over the Cheviot. Fingers crossed for better weather.

Results:

Jan Dawson, 54th, 04:52:23 (5th female, 1st F40)
Tracy Philp, 128th, 05:50:07

Full results here: https://www.trailoutlaws.com/wooler-results-2019.php

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Tweed valley ultra 17 November 2019

Route details: https://www.highterrainevents.co.uk/tweed-valley-ultra
Route Stats:
65k:Ascent: 1574m/5164
50k:Ascent: 1145m/3757

I have done a couple of other High terrain events and they are always well organised with great support. They often also provide a collapsible reusable cup which I think is a great idea. The start/finish was at Glentress and Andy and I had a few moments to chat before we set off. We were treated to a wonderfully still day for the race, there was low cloud for much of the route so little scenery to be seen in the first half. Once up in the hills and out of the forest we enjoyed superb views and spectacular cloud inversion.

Once up at the Three Brethren there was a nice drop back down to Traquair forest. Followed by a welcome break of some flat by the river. Leaving a sting in the tail as we went back up along the start of the route through Glentress, where I bumped into Tim who was running with a friend. All in a very enjoyable and challenging route.

65K:
Sadie Kemp 07:25:32
Andy Briggs 09:17:18

50k:
Tim Doyle 06:59:25

Full results: http://www.timingupnorthresults.co.uk/results.aspx?CId=16576&RId=3057&EId=3

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