Cheviot Trail Marathon

We left Wooler on our way to Kirk Yrtholm in hot sunshine and it was only 9am!

A steep uphill for nearly a mile on the road wasn’t the best start but we soon went into the woods, trails and more hills. The route to Kirk Yetholm takes you across fields, over open moorland  and through little hamlets with the most beautiful houses. When in the hills you couldn’t look up from the path very often but when you did the views were stunning!

Touching the wall was pretty cool at Kirk Yetholm, a quick camelbak fill up and then straight back up the massive hill we had just run down. I was nice running back the way you had come because you knew what to expect but you wouldn’t believe how many people went the wrong way!  I had my usual struggles and aches about mile 19 but kept going and was encouraged by lovely walkers who you see lots of on the route.

Very relieved to finish and have a proper chat with the various people that I had run with during the race.

Some photos

Map of the route

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Penicuik Harriers 36th Penicuik 10k Road Race

The weather was perfect, the club members had swept (with brushes) the course the week before, had volunteered for lots of jobs and then turned up on the day with their baking and their enthusiasm ready to support the runners!

The winner was Neil Renault, Edinburgh AC (33.12), second place was Darrell Hastie, Gala Harriers (33.27) and third place was Iain Whitaker, Edinburgh AC (33.45).

The ladies race was a little more spread out with the winner being Freya Ross, Falkirk Victoria Harriers (37.10), second place was Kirstin Maxwell, Gala Harriers (39.38) and third place was Jocelyn Moar, Edinburgh AC (41.04).

A record pre-entry of 280 led to a start-line of 261 which was a record by 1

Grateful thanks to all the runners for bringing contributions for the foodbank, the Penicuik North Kirk were overwhelmed with the amount of bags. Also, thanks for the donations for the post-race refreshments, we raised £330 which will be split between our chosen charities Macmillan Cancer Care and The Penicuik Youth Band. This amount was boosted by a generous donation from the runner who required medical assistance during the race, he wanted to thank Penicuik Harriers for looking after him so well.

Our Sponsors that support our club annually and allow us to be able to put this event on are: Run & Become, Stuart & Stuart, Headcases Hair Studio, Fraser Murray Car Sales, Tesco and Flowers By Lindsey.

Scottish Athletics officials give up their time for our race and their expertise is much appreciated.

896 Penicuik Air Cadets were at the water station handing out water to our runners, no doubt much appreciated.

Our wonderful photographers out on the course captured the day well, I’m sure you’ll agree! A link to some are below, I will try and get a link to Chris’s too…

Thanks to everyone who has taken the time to comment on facebook, the website or email – we are quite blown away by the positivity and thanks.

The date for next year’s race is Saturday 9th May 2020 – hope to see you there!!

Michael Philp’s Photos

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London Marathon – 28 April 2019

Many of you have ran in London previously (I ran last year,  it was way too warm!!) and as you’ll know, I was lucky enough to receive the club place for London 2019 😀

The bit before London 2019…

Before my first ‘race report’ I thought it might be useful to add a wee bit of context about how I ended up on the start line of London 2019.  I’m relatively new to ‘racing’ (my debut was our own 10k race in 2017) so hopefully this might help others who come from a limited background of running.

I’ve always been reasonably active (and accident prone!), playing football locally for Whitehall Welfare for many years (Dave can confirm, he’s seen the pics at Roswell at the Lasswade 10!!) – highlight of that was being part of the squad that played against Celtic in the Scottish Cup in 1996.  I say ‘squad’ as rather unfortunately I broke my leg playing against Gala Fairydean a few weeks before the Celtic game.  I moved on from football and after years of OU study, career stuff and starting a family (I’ve two girls, 18 and 21) I finally got back to a level of fitness, mainly social running and cycling – until a disagreement with a lorry at Howgate led to a first hand appreciation of the NHS that summer.

Fast-forwarding now to early 2017, the running group I was part of at my gym disbanded and I decided to drop Susie a note about coming along to the Harriers :-).  As I said earlier, my first race was our 10k race in May 2017, 47:21 minutes.  That year I ran a few park runs, 10k races and half marathons; those HM’s seemed to go on forever!!, before deciding to apply to run for The Multiple Sclerosis Society at the London Marathon in 2018 (my Mum has MS).  When the MS Society accepted me into their team of runners for London 2018 I decided then that I would seek sponsorship for London and Edinburgh marathons.   New York was added to my list after I was fortunate enough to come through the ballot (I applied on a whim late one night, only a couple of days before the ballot closed).  2018 would be London-Edinburgh-New York.

2018 – London, Edinburgh, New York

Julianne reported on London 2018, so I won’t go over that again.  London 2018 was my first marathon, making it over the finish line in 3:48:59.  The temperature made my time almost respectable but I’d trained for 16 weeks and 3:48 wasn’t what I thought I was capable of!  Lucky (???) for me the Edinburgh Marathon was next, only 5 weeks later….3:38…..better, but maybe still carrying London in my legs?  New York (November) training went well and I managed my first sub 3:30 marathon, finishing in 3:28:30 – a time that qualified me for a good-for-age place in Chicago 2019…

…You get the picture now 😀  I’ve been taken over by this bloody running thing!!!!  2019 was to be Edinburgh and Chicago.  I had applied to run in London through the ballot but wasn’t successful – and then the Harriers place luckily enough came my way :-D, I now had the opportunity to settle my unfinished business with London.  2019 would be London-Edinburgh-Chicago.

2019 – London

Let me be honest from the start, this has now become a bit of a quest (I’m sure you’ll recognise this).  My challenge for this year was to qualify for a good-for-age place for Boston 2020, meaning I’d have to run around 3:20 (the qualifying history suggesting that the cut-off will be around 5mins quicker than 3:25)

Having had the experience of running three marathons I decided that this year I would run a couple of more races and not just the marathon plan I’d mostly followed for my previous three marathons and maybe the odd hill run (yes, hill runs are ‘odd’ for me).  Training started on Hogmanay and was quickly followed by the Portobello Promathon on New Years Day.  Most of my training runs are in the morning and these go well throughout the 17-week plan.  Further races follow at the Devil’s Burden (thanks to the ‘old gits’ for looking after me – my very first team prize!!), Lasswade (…that was tough!  great day for the Harriers though!!) and the Alloa HM.  In amongst all this Gemma dragged me around the Pentland’s a few times too!

London was fast approaching, I’d made it through to taper with no injuries and feeling stronger thanks to all the help and support – at last, my race report actually begins!!

I made my way down to London on the Friday, picking my things up from ExCeL centre on the Friday.

From the excitement of picking up my envelope at the ExCeL it was to the DLR and off to my Airbnb at Crossharbour and my final training run – around 30 mins of easy running with some strides. Around 1,200 km’s of training since hogmanay.  A good meal and off to bed early – couldn’t sleep but at least I tried!!  My plans for the Saturday were borne out of my 2018 London experience, no wandering around London sightseeing (I managed to walk for around 18,000 steps!) – I’d booked into Avengers End Game at the local Cineworld – seems like everyone had he same idea as it was rammed!!  Anyway, that killed loads of time and after a good lunch and a pint of peppermint tea I settled down to watch the football results, then my favourite pre-marathon meal – time passed really quickly and before I knew it I was organising my kit for Sunday (yes, I packed way too much)…

Finally made it into bed around 10pm, remarkably got to sleep quite early – my tried and trusted method of listening to, A Brief History of Mathematics!  Seriously, I like this!

Race Day (…at last!)

I was up around 7am, my usual porridge breakfast and off to the start.  I was only a few DLR stops away from the start at Blackheath.

I always think there’s going to be loads of time to prepare and finalise before handing my bag to the drop – never quite works out that way for me.  Anyway, before I knew it I had all my kit in my bag, and top off to tape up my sensitive bits and off I went to the start!

I COULD DO THIS, I COULD FOLLOW MY PLAN AND RUN 3:20, I WOULD RUN AVERAGE 4:40-45 MIN/KM – that’s what I’d been telling myself for the last few days.  Anything less would have been disappointing.  That’s just the way it was for me.

Off into my 2nd wave pen and before I knew it I was jogging through the start line.  The chill of the breeze quickly disappeared and I steadied into my running, knowing the first few km’s were slightly down hill I was happy to run around 4:30-35 min/km pace, but I was holding back, I knew from previous races not let my legs  rather than my head dictate what was going on.  As the course flattens out and the blue, red and green starts merge it’s a little more difficult to find my own space to run – if you know London, you’ll know that’s part of the challenge.  Everything is going to plan, a gel every 30 minutes, two jelly babies in between each gel and a little water at every stop….I’D PLANNED FOR THIS AND IT WAS GOING WELL!

That’s me at Cutty Sark, around 5 or 6 miles I think.

As half-way approached I was feeling good, comparing it to how I felt in 2018, this was good.  I ran around 1:38 for the first half, that felt good and on track, I knew the second half was tougher, more undulating in the final 10k.  The post-race stats suggested I’d passed 1,762 runners and 326 had passed me – interesting!

The second half continues in much the same fashion – I’m sticking to my plan and can gradually feel the challenge of the pace and race setting in.  I’m ok though, i’m not leaking lots of time, not really much at all and not a large drop-off in pace that I’ve faced before.  This planning the extra miles and experience of the marathons before is really helping!  The final 10km’s had arrived and I knew I was digging in now (only 2 park runs to go!) – the final 5k and I start thinking about the finish, the right turn off Embakment, through Parliament Square and up to Bird Cage walk – I’d give it what I had left from Parliament Square…

…and I got there…!


Whilst feeling tired and a bit sore – I knew I’d done what I set out to do and trained 17 weeks for, sub 3:20 and 4:40 min/km!  My 2nd half was around 1:40, passing 1,214 runners and (only) 56 passing me!

At this point I should say, the crowds in London are amazing – the sheer number, the level of support and absolute good nature is brilliant, amazing support all the way around – and I mean ALL THE WAY!

Funnily enough shortly after the finish I ended up being asked to take someone’s finishing picture – she was from Carnethy!!  I headed off to meet up with a few EAC runners in Covent Garden to reflect on the race – as they set-off for dinner I decided another quite beer / celebration was in order…

And that’s my journey to the finish line (and slightly beyond) for London 2019.

If you get the chance, run London, it’s amazing!!  Thank-you once again to the Harriers for the club place – I’m now at peace with London 😉

Thanks all for reading – I’ll make the next one shorter!  Hahahaha….




Next marathon stops for me;

  • Edinburgh, 26 May
  • Chicago, 13 October
  • Boston, 20 April 2020 (…hopefully!)

My marathon journey so far…

  • 2018, London, 3:48:59
  • 2018, Edinburgh,  3:38:01
  • 2018, New York, 3:28:30
  • 2019, London, 3:18:23




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Hunters bog trot Saturday, 27 April 2019

We had fantastic weather for this years bog trot. With glorious sunshine and warmer than expected temperatures. The route was altered as there had been some rock fall on the Radical Road so they were unable to use this section as it is currently closed to the public. This led to much discussion before the race as to where exactly the route went.

And much discussion afterwards as to whether it was prefered to the traditional one.
It was great to have Bill there at the start and he reminded us we should be warming up before hand. Being a shorter race it is quite intense and demanding. At the prize giving I was shocked to be awarded the FV40 prize and Des won MV50, beer galore! Juliane came away with a spot prize of some brown socks in true HBT fashion.


Des 35:50
Juliane 46:05
Sadie 49:53
Chris 51:38

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Kassios Dias “Twin Peaks” Trail Race


The Kassios Dias running festival takes place on the Greek island of Corfu and features a number of trail races of varying distances, all held on the same day, that showcase the mountainous forest terrain.  This year was the 9th running of the event, but the first time with all-new extended routes: a 35km “Twin Peaks” trail, 19km “Erimitis” trail, 9km charity race and a 1200m children’s race.  I was taking part in the longer race, described by the organisers as: “a total of 35km and 2,100m elevation. It will combine the North-East side of Corfu, the two highest peaks of our island, traditional hamlets, forest footpaths, alongside the coastal area of the pure and unspoilt natural environment, our own ecosystem, Erimitis, which is abundant in flora and fauna, rare and distinct in this area only, there are three lakes (home to the otter Lutra Lutra) and remote paths which will make the event an unforgettable experience. The runners will have the opportunity to try out their ability and strength in what is considered to be a demanding race, on a variety of terrain, constant ascents and descents, constantly challenging the runner.”



The night before the race was quite stormy, and the rain was still falling along with a chilly breeze as we gathered by the harbour at Kassiopi for an 8am start.  I had been fearing hot, humid conditions and a battle with dehydration, but ended up with some very Scottish-like weather which probably suited me a lot more than it did the locals!  The route took the main road out of town and then headed for the hills, following tarmac for about a mile before turning off onto trail paths.  The terrain from here on out was truly epic, probably the most technical I’ve ever seen, winding round dense forest and scrambling up (not-quite-so) dried up riverbeds, past abandoned villages and grazing goat herds, all the while climbing continuously for the entire first half of the race to reach the two highest points on the island.



The “Twin Peaks” were shrouded in cloud, so we were robbed of the views but the course was very well sign posted with orange markers, meaning there was no risk of getting lost, even on the more “vague” sections of trail.  Once the mountains were out of the way, life became a lot easier as we headed back down to the coast, but roads were still an endangered species and it was fairly slow going navigating the slippery stones and mud.  The final 5 miles hugged the coastline as the sun finally made an appearance, taking us along some pebble beaches before returning to the town and back to where we started.


I was intending to use this race as a stepping stone towards the Highland Fling and Cateran 55, but it quickly became an endurance test in its own right as the difficult terrain combined with the rapid early ascent to make the first 10 miles some of the most brutal I’ve ever run.  The gentler second half made it easier to enjoy the race and the relatively slow pace meant that I crossed the finish line still feeling pretty good, ending up in 6th place overall and 3rd in my age category (full results: ).  I would highly recommended this event, and Corfu in general, for anyone who loves hills, trails and good food afterwards!


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Kielder Ultra and 20 mile race 6th April 2019

Never having been to Kielder before I was excited to see what it was like and experience the ‘dark sky’ I arrived the night before with Billy and our dog Skye. We drove up to one of the top carparks where you are allowed to park overnight for a tenner. The skies didn’t dissapoint and we were treated to a spectacular view of the stars amongst the high conifers. We settled down for a kip in the back of the van and after a bit of barking from Skye whenever there was a strange noise we were able to get some shuteye. It’s been a while since we have slept in the van and I had forgotten how cold it could be, after getting up and putting more clothes on I was able to drift into a sleep. We were disturbed quite early however as the 100k race registration opened at 5.30AM at the castle just down the road from us.
I headed down at 7.30 for my registration and after the usual faffing was ready to go at 9.30. I met Alan and Lynne who were doing the 20 mile race, I also bumped into Nicola Duncan who was the only other person I knew, she of course went on to win the ladies race.
The route is beautiful and rather hilly. It reminded me of Glentress marathon a bit which High terrain events also organise. There is alot of mountain biking at Kielder and much of the route was on these trails, There were also some nice sections by Kielder water. There were many people out walking or fishing and just enjoying the scenery.
We had planned to stay another night in the van but after the race I was eager to just get home for a hot shower, some homecooked food and a good nights sleep. I would like to go back and explore the area some more although I have been told the midges are vicious there so I will have to pick my timimg carefully.

Sadie Kemp Finish Time 05:16:09 Overall 36 / 143 Gender 5 / 51 Category 1 / 20
20 mile
Alan Thornburrow Finish Time 03:58:14 Overall 40 / 78 Gender 27 / 41 Category 12 / 14
Lynne Stevely Finish Time 03:58:58 Overall 42 / 78 Gender 14 / 37 Category 4 / 12

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Loch Katrine Marathon 14th March 2019

After missing last years race due to snow it was great to find myself at the start of this years race. Big thanks to Alan who drove most of us through. Although the weather was wet and wild and windy the race was very enjoyable. It is an out and back route so we all had the pleasure of cheering Adam on as he steamed past us to win the race. It is hillier than I had anticipated, being around a loch. Michael Philp was the official photographer and captured some fantastic images of the marathon and the half and 10k which were also on as part of the Loch Katrine running festival. The races are in aid of Alzheimers Scotland. At the end of the race we all received a reusable cup which I thought was a great idea.


Time, position, gender position, gender/category position:

Adam Gray 02:55:04 Male 1 Senior 1 1
Sadie Kemp 03:56:16 Female 6 Veteran 14 1
Tracy Philp 04:14:36 Female 12 Veteran 22 5
Mark Dawson 05:05:00 Male 60 Veteran50 22 17
Alan Thornburrow 05:05:00 Male 60 Veteran 38 31

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Kielder Dark Skies 26.5

Saturday 23 March 2019

I entered this race as a practice night run ahead of this year’s big one, the West Highland Way Race. The race is organised by Trail Outlaws, who always put on a fantastic event, with an army of cheery marshals to pamper you along the way. The race is based in Kielder Forest, Northumberland – a ‘dark sky’ park, as there is very little light pollution due to its remote location. Race HQ was Hawkhirst Scout Activity Centre, where I had booked a bunk in one of the cabins to crash in after the race. I also persuaded my Project Awesome buddy and fellow WHW race first timer, Chiara Franzosi, to chum me along and we drove down together, chatting excitedly about the night ahead.

The race starts at 17:30, so it is still daylight for the first hour or so. As we gathered at the start line, fiddling with head torches and trying to calm pre-race nerves, Chiara and I agreed that a successful outcome for this race would be to ‘finish without face-planting’! I guess I should also have treated the race as a long training run, but as soon as I pinned my race number to my Harriers vest, I knew I wouldn’t be able to! Race mode was on, and when the start gun went I picked my way through the crowd until it began to spread out.

The route follows the Lakeside Way clockwise round the shoreline of Kielder Water. The trail is very runnable, but also very undulating, climbing more than 2100 feet over the distance. I was glad of my recent hill training, as it seemed I was either running up or downhill at any given point, without much flat. This explained the slower finish times from previous years compared to standard marathon times. Plus I also figured that running in the dark would add an extra challenge. I had pondered a sub 4-hour finish, with 3:45 in my head as a gold target. As I reached the top of the lake the light drizzle that started when we set off turned into a proper rain shower. Sadly, it looked like we were not going to be blessed with clear, starry skies that night (there was aurora borealis forecast too), but the rain soon stopped and gave way to a spectacular bright pink sunset. At this point I had been steadily moving my way up the field, picking off a few female runners here and there. I had no idea who was ahead of me or how many, but as I was admiring the sunset one of the ladies I’d passed earlier trotted past me again. I kept pace with her for a few miles, but lost her again once the darkness descended. I popped my head torch on as we headed into the trees on the north shore, and tried not to trip over the branches and twigs that littered the forest floor.

I was feeling pretty good as the sun disappeared over the horizon. I ran every hill as hard as I could and used the downhills to make up some speed. I had Tailwind in my hydration pack and some Kendal Mint Cake in my pockets for an extra boost. The Tailwind was mixed a bit too strong though, and started to make me really thirsty. As I approached the third checkpoint at the dam at the east end of the lake (the first one I stopped at) I downed a couple of cups of water. I must have drunk them too fast as when I headed out across the dam I got a terrible stitch on both sides and had to run for a while with my fingers jabbed into my ribs. This was 17 miles in so told myself that I’d broken the back of the race and I could relax a bit from here. I looked back across the lake and saw miles of head torches bobbing along the shoreline, which was really cool. To my amusement and shock I also got hit in the head by enormous moths a couple of times, which I presume were attracted by the bright lights!

The route had been very well marked with reflective tape, but the south shore had lots of roads and other paths crossing it, and you had to concentrate on where you were going to stay on track. It was very dark at this point and I felt lucky that my head torch was holding out and not bouncing about too much, as I’d heard that you can get motion sickness from running with them for a long time. There are a few dwellings dotted around the lake but all in all there’s very little to help orientate you except the reflective tape and your watch, which I was now struggling to see in the dark. I decided not to keep looking at my watch after 22 miles, but having passed half marathon point in around 1:45, I was sure I’d be close to a 3:45 finish.

The last checkpoint on this route is less than 2 miles from the finish line, and was lit up like a theme park with fairy lights. There were a few spectators milling about too, which was lovely. As I stopped for another cup of water the marshal told me I was second lady, so I decided to get a shift on if I was to hold that position to the end. I’d passed one more female runner a mile or so back, so pushed my speed up a little. Everything was beginning to hurt but I told my legs to shut up and that I’d be finished soon. Half a mile out of the CP I glanced back and was satisfied that the head torches were sufficiently far behind me not to panic. Just then I spotted a runner sitting at the side of the trail clutching his legs. I stopped and asked if he was OK and in a broad Northumberland accent he asked if a piggyback would be out of the question! I politely declined and went on my way!

The road back up to Hawkhirst Scout Camp had been strung with blue and white fairy lights, leading to the finish inside the Race HQ. Once inside I had my wristband scanned and my kit checked to make sure I’d not scrimped on anything. The mandatory kit list is quite extensive, but there for your own safety. If I hadn’t had everything on the list I’d have been disqualified and my time removed from the results. As it happened though, I was confirmed as 2nd lady and also 1st F40, which was a lovely surprise. I spotted the lady who’d passed me on the north shore and we shook hands and chatted about the race and about Penicuik – which she and her husband had visited recently to climb the Pentlands. Not only was she 1st lady but also 1st F50! A young Norwegian lad won the race in 02:52:00, a crazy time for that course.

I nipped back to the cabin for a shower (or should that be nippy shower due to back-pack induced chafing) and just got back in time for the prize giving, where I bagged myself some impressive bling (beer: model’s own). Then I headed to the canteen to refuel with a humungous plate of chilli and a slab of Victoria sponge. My buddy Chiara appeared soon after. She’d had a bad run and had been sick several times along the course. But, in true ultra runner style she kept pushing on and finished the race in under 4.5 hours. What a champ. WHW we’re coming at ya!

Result: 03:44:45, 2nd female, 1st F40, 20th overall

Full results here.

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Lasswade 10 Mile Road Race

An amazing day for the Harriers with a great turnout and prizes galore being won, with the club claiming overall race winner (Adam Gray), 1st male team (Adam, Ritchie Thomson and John Gibbs) and (eventually, after the results had been subjected to scrutiny) 1st female team (Gemma Towersey, Jan Dawson and Edite Gailite), making this one of our most successful days on the roads ever!



The race is nice and local, organised by Lasswade Athletics Club, and according to the official description:


“comprises a ten mile loop set in a scenic, rural location, run mainly on ‘B’ and ‘C’ class roads, and unclassified routes. Starting at the west of Rosewell village, the route follows a gentle incline to Gourlaw Farm before dropping down to the bottom of Roslin Glen at two miles, followed by a steep rise for 400 metres, after which it is nice and easy before dropping to the four mile mark in the village of Auchendinny.  There is a climb between the fifth and six miles thereafter, apart from a small hump at around seven miles, the route is generally downhill into Rosewell.”


It was a beautiful morning with blue skies and sunshine, but a strong wind threatened to make life a bit harder than it could have been (a definite improvement on the previous year’s weather though, when the race was called off due to the Beast From the East).  After registering and spending too long in the warmth of the clubhouse, we set off into the chilly breeze towards the start and debated how many layers we would need to wear.

Nearly 300 runners were taking part and we all assembled on the road at the end of the village, facing into the wind, for the start at high noon.  The first half of the race was the hardest by far, with two significant climbs made all the harder by being against the headwind: the descent into Roslin Glen was enjoyably speedy, but there was an instant price to be paid for it with a steep slog to get back out (thank you to Gillian and family for providing much needed support at this point!); then came Auchendinny and the longer climb, which felt like it would never end (more great support at the crossroads from Bill and Billy!).

Once that was over, things got a lot easier in the second half, with the wind (mostly) at our backs and some downhills on nice quiet roads that zig-zagged through farms and the abandoned (haunted?) hospital at Rosslynlee.  Running back into Rosewell, it seemed like the end was in sight but there was a little detour of about a mile out towards Whitehall House, with the road becoming a bit rougher, muddier and more trail like which may have caused a few slip ups for people in flat running shoes!

We were greeted at the finishing line by a very proud Dave, who was in charge of timekeeping.  The person taking note of finishers’ numbers made a mistake with Gemma’s unfortunately, which meant it took an extra day for us to find out that we had won 1st female team.  A very generous buffet was provided back in the clubhouse while we waited for the presentations, which rounded off a cracking day!


Thank you to Michael Philp and Billy Dickson for the photos!



1 Adam Gray 57.04
6 Ritchie Thomson 61.14
9 John Gibbs 61.51
38 Gemma Towersey 68.11
58 Raymond Richford 70.41
64 Allan Dunbar 71.16
109 Jan Dawson 76.17
120 Edite Gailite 78.05
123 Rachel Drummond 78.19
160 Gordon Campbell 81.17
171 Tracy Philp 82.31
217 Alan Black 88.22
231 Dyane Harvey 90.49
264 Scott Cairns 101.31
279 Sylvia Hamilton 114.33

Full results:

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Devils Burdens 2019

The leg one runners got all our teams off to a great start, with only one minor hiccup. Adam finished his leg without the orineteering card needed to mark the checkpoints, this was quickly rectified and their race continued well with Michael and Rob. (The image below of them running was taken as they ran the leg 3 route as a cool down, notice the lack of number!) The conditions for the race this year were challenging with cloud over the peaks. This lead to a few navigation problems for Kevin and Mark and cost them a bit of time.

I on the other hand didn’t take any wrong turns this year (unlike last year) and enjoyed my run with Gillian and Romana. Unfortunately Juliane had to pull out of the womens team as her little dog needed some TLC so I ran 2 legs as I did last year. Susie pulled off a fantastic leg 4 for us and enjoyed ribbing Charlie over her victory.

The Old Gits seemed to run without any dramas so I have little to say about their team other than ‘I bow down to your greatness’. They produced a fantastic team effort and walked away with the prize of first in their category. I am told this is the first time a Penicuik Harriers team has one a prize at this event so this was very special indeed. 🙂


Pos No Team Category Total
22 155 Penicuik Harriers Old Gits Open 50+ 03:27:20
72 84 Penicuik Harriers: PeniDevils Open Senior 04:05:40
131 85 Penicuik Harriers: PH Devil’s Bird’ens Women Senior 04:39:04

Leg 1: Falkland to Strathmiglo 7.5km, 200m climb
Leg 2: Strathmiglo to Kinnesswood 11.5km, 700m climb
Leg 3: Kinnesswood to Maspie Den 11.5km, 420m climb
Leg 4: Maspie Den to Falkland 5.8km, 390m climb

22 Old Gits
Leg 1 Derek Newport 00:28:49
Leg 2 Duncan Ball & Des Crowe 01:16:27
Leg 3 Raymond Richford & Stuart Sanderson 01:06:36
Leg 4 Julian Hall 00:35:28

72 PeniDevils
Leg 1 Adam Gray 00:25:32
Leg 2 Rob Wilson & Michael Greens 01:21:50
Leg 3 Kevin Anderson & Mark Denholm 01:34:42
Leg 4 Charlie Crawford 00:43:36

131 PH Devil’s Bird’ens
Leg 1 Elizabeth Tudhope 00:40:18
Leg 2 Gillian Cairns & Sadie Kemp 01:46:02
Leg 3 Sadie Kemp & Romana Garjane 01:30:37
Leg 4 Susie Maxwell 00:42:07

Full results found here:

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Feel the burns 2019

Distance 21.4 km
Climb 800 m

Feel the Burns is a hill run that includes Peat Law, the Three Brethren, Brown Knowe and Foulshiel Hill. Last year the route was shortened due to the snow so it was great to get to run the full this year in a cool but for the most part clear day, with low cloud over only one of the peaks. Haggis pies were enjoyed post race. 🙂

Second lady and first FV40 for Gillian Cairns

Full results on SHR

38 Michael Greens M 01:52:17
65 Gillian Cairns F40 01:59:03
89 Rob Wilson M40 02:07:13
132 Sadie Kemp F40 02:16:37
137 Gregor Gorjanc M 02:18:33
176 Susie Maxwell F40 02:31:04
179 Gilly Marshall F40 02:32:08
199 Chris Downie M50 02:40:41

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Harriers start the year at the Greenmantle Dash

This race is always well attended by Penicuik runners, this morning eleven Harriers, one Junior and one boyfriend of a Harrier made it to Broughton this morning for the Greenmantle Dash.
We also had Dave Cairns officiating at the race and Billy Dickson and Duncan Ball doing the results 🙂 Not forgetting Bill Bennett who was there to support us all and possibly his grandchildren too.

The freezing temperatures made this a cold one but not once we all got moving. The stream was freezing, the bog was deep, the hill was really steep and the road back was too long with an ice patch hazard – but we all loved it!
The whole team got in the stream afterwards for the customery dip in the burn, many thanks to Scott for taking photos of us.
Thanks to Kate for taking the photos up on the hill just as we reached to top 🙂

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Glen Ogle 33 Ultra Marathon

Glen Ogle 33 is an Ultra marathon that sets off from the McLaren Hall in Killin. It’s roughly 33 miles in a figure of eight through beautiful forest trails and cycle tracks. There’s a long switchback section in the centre as the route passes far above the A85 and A84 down towards Lochearnhead with great views over to Loch Earn. It then heads down to Balquhider next to Loch Voil, and then onto the ‘Shoogily bridge’ crossing before Strathyre.

The main reason for wanting to run this race was the spectacular railway viaduct which I’ve often looked across to when passing on many a trip up north on the A85. You run across this on the way down and again on the way back, so sounded fantastic. The race is run by BAM Racing who organise the race brilliantly. There’s a pre race briefing and a fantastic group of marshals along the route as you pass various check points. The route is marked really well so there’s no need to worry about navigation. It’s a great race to do for anybody who is thinking of running their first ultra, as it’s about six and a half miles over marathon distance and not too hilly or too flat. There’s a few road crossings but they are well marshalled. I’m very glad I took road shoes as there’s a lot of tarmac on the mountain bike trail sections and the forest tracks were not slippery enough to need trail shoes. The cushioning of the road shoes were greatly appreciated as there was far more tarmac than I had trained for. All my training had been for the Lakes in a Day race three weeks earlier, which is mostly on the mountains and then trails.

Alan Thornburrow offered me a lift early on the morning of the race which was great. We set off at 5:15 which gave us plenty of time to get there on quiet roads at that time of the morning. We were at registration for about 7:00 where we met Gilly. You can register on the evening before the race but if you register on race morning you have to be registered by 7:30. There’s a very informal race briefing in the hall at 7:45. The main information from BAM Racing to runners was how to not be ‘fannies’. We all then headed out to the Main Road where a very loud horn was blasted and that was that. I had my watch all ready for starting at the start line, but there wasn’t one, so just set off down the village streets, then over the bridge next to the famous Falls of Dochart. The forecast was right with it chucking it down with rain all day. This made the falls the most spectacular I’ve seen them as the river was very high.

I was well covered for the elements so didn’t let the rain bother me. There was high winds forecast but with the race being in the glens it wasn’t bad. As we came to the first ascent of the many hilly forest trails I realised my legs were still not recovered from the Lakes in a Day 50 mile Ultra three weeks ago, and the Scafell Pike trek a week later. I still thought though, if I could just push on as best as I could till at least half way it would give me a chance of an okay time, even if I slowed towards the end. Storm Callum had decimated any course times I had in mind for Lakes in a Day, with heavy rain, high winds and flooding. I hoped to still have a proper run today. As I cracked on up the very hilly first 4 miles or so of forest trail I thought I could hear Gilly and Alan talking behind me. I thought if I keep on like this it’ll be great as I’d be pleased with their pace but I didn’t have the breath for too much of a chat on the up hills. It was a shame to be missing the brilliant views on such a rainy misty day but could still see some fantastic scenery here and there.


After quite a push to the top of the forest trails we had a really fast downhill section which zig zagged down on hard tarmac. I had a good run down here which was possibly a bad idea as it wasn’t long after my legs were not too pleased about anything steep. By around 11 miles or so I realised I was going to have to make do with just getting through the race as my legs didn’t have too much in them. I was still enjoying the route though and I was really chuffed to be running across the railway viaduct. The views were amazing as I looked over the glen from the opposite side from normal, down towards the road I usually look up at it from. The background hills were very dramatic with numerous waterfalls after all the rain we had had. There was so much, I had to keep holding my mitts upwards to tip the water out of them! Even in this rain it was not too slippery in road shoes. I kept skipping between the gravel sections of the trail to the central grassy area when it wasn’t too slippery, looking to lesson the impact of the hard ground.

I passed a couple of check points before crossing the highly acclaimed ‘Shoogily bridge’. It did wobble, but not quite as much as I was expecting. I was then into the Strathyre checkpoint where you ‘Dib your Dobber’ (putting your timer chip into the devise that records your time). You only have to do this twice. Once here for your split time and then at the end. I had packed my vest backpack to avoid having to stop for a drop bag. I thought the 2 litres in my bladder pack would be fine to get me round, and if not I’d get some more at the last water station. In the front pockets of the vest I had my phone along with 5 jells, 2 Power bars, some peanuts for getting some salt and 5 small Snickers. This worked out great and although my legs were trashed I had enough provisions to keep me going. From here it was just trying to keep moving and not end up walking. I was getting passed by so many runners now, but I was fine as I knew I’d normally do much better. I just hadn’t had enough recovery time after 21 hours 26 minutes running in the quite brutal conditions of Lakes in a Day (Race report up for this too).

I got speaking to a few people on my way which was good as I shuffled along trying to keep my legs going. My left hamstring felt like it was going to twang so I stopped a few times to stretch it and my right one felt really stiff too. The tarmac was making my uncles really battered, but generally I knew I just had to keep going and I’d be fine. It was brilliant to be going back over the viaduct and the views were still great. It was a pity though how we were missing all the autumn colours under so much mist in the rain. I kept on counting down the miles and eventually I was managing a slow jog through Killin on my way to the finish line in the park. The locals were all very supportive and cheered me on as I passed. Earlier a family was passing and their young son gave me a high five. It was funny how much of a splat my saturated mitt made as hands were slapped. Finally I was at the park and the finish line looked so far away, with the route taking me round the full race track. I eventually got there and again ‘dibbed my dobber’.

I walked back to the hall (just a few steps from the park), and met up with Alan and Gilly. We got our photographs taken just on our phones. This was the 1st time they had been out as it was so wet on the course. The medal and T-shirt are a great design, so are a brilliant memento of the race. It was a shame I wasn’t staying for the ceilidh as it was really good a couple of years back when Jan ran the race. I bought some coffee and cake which were great. The profits go to cancer research. Gilly and Alan had had a good race and we had a chat about the various sections before Alan I drove back down the road. I was home for 5:15 which was fantastic, being up and back within 12 hours.


Gilly Marshall: 6:01:18
Alan Thornburrow: 6:10:40
Mark Dawson: 6:41:41

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Jedburgh Three Peaks Ultra and Relay 2018

The Jedburgh Running Festival attracts Penicuik Harriers every year, including 2018, where Ngeme, Sarah, Chris and Romana (aka the Peni Possums) and Allan, Gillian, Rob and Stuart dressed as Allan (aka the Peni Pinchers) competed in the Jedburgh Three Peaks Ultramarathon Relay, while Sadie, Tracy and myself tackled the whole 38 miles.

The registration was very well organised, as were the facilities and the positive and crazy atmosphere the Jedburgh Three Peaks Ultra is famous for, soon started to take over. We runners tried to carefully divide the remaining time until the start between the toilet and the warmth of the radiators. The weather forecast for the race day was sunny, but cold, and in addition to my usual nervousness before big races, questions about the appropriate clothes were buzzing around in my head: Shorts or tights? Gilet or jacket? Everything? Thanks to Rob’s advice, I was confident with my choice of clothes and could start to concentrate on the hours that were lying ahead of me (I’m being sarcastic here).

After a short and rough race briefing, we made our way to the start in joyful anticipation of the “YMCA” warm-up. In my opinion, this should be mandatory before every race, it diminishes the nervousness, puts you in a positive mindset and of course, warms you up. Focusing on my dance moves, the signal to the start was rather surprising and so I spent the first few metres fiddling on my watch. Unlike shorter races, no one tried to frantically overtake other runners or to sprint away (Rob would probably do that though) and we even started to chat with each other. It seemed a bit weird first, but I liked the more relaxed atmosphere. I tried to keep up with Sadie for a while, but shortly after we left Jedburgh I had to let her go (speedy lady!) and settled into what felt like my own pace.

Sadie at her best

The tarmac at the beginning was easy to run on, but I was happy when we finally hit the trails, as running on the fallen leaves on the dry (!!!!) paths was absolutely fantastic and felt like running heaven. The first 10 miles to CP1 at Maxton were everything but boring, what looked quite flat was undulating (I would even say it was uphill most of the time) and we had to conquer wobbly bridges (fun fact: I got my HeartFrequencymax here) and hurdling fallen trees. After Maxton, the route flattened, and we were blessed with a sunny run along the autumnal Tweed and stunning views of the Eildons in the distance (another plus of Ultras: you have enough time to admire the surroundings, probably unless the distance broke you and you just suffer and damn your life). What worried me a bit were the numerous stairs and bridges of this section: although they were a nice distraction at this point, they might be treacherous with tired legs on the way back.

After CP2 at Rhymer’s Stone, where Ultra runner legend Gilly and Ultra runner supporter legend Aldo provided us with food, coke and good vibes, we finally reached the Eildons. I was looking forward to the Eildons section, because I love running on (at? in?) them and thought it would be a nice change for the legs and indeed, the views on this clear day didn’t disappoint and it was a nice break from running. However, the cold wind froze my legs and apparently also my brain. It’s funny, how I had the time to chat with others, eat some food at the CPs and admire the views, but not to put on a god damn jacket (the same happened during the Ochils race, I never learn…). So, I shuffled up (slow!) and down (even slower!!!) the hills with frozen legs, stoically following the runner in front of me as I couldn’t think straight anymore and had no idea where to go. The reward for surviving the arctic Eildons was a piper who greeted us with his music at one of the hillside paths, a true goosebumps moment!

(these nice shots were taken by Eoin Lennon)

The next highlight awaited us at CP3: we were cheered on by the wonderful Ellie and the mad but lovely cow Jan and could satisfy the inner child at the famous playground, while Yan and his crew threw a party in the background. And there was coke!

Our very own mad cow <3

CP3 gave me a boost after the strenuous Eildons section, but the boost disappeared on the short bit of tarmac that followed, my legs didn’t like it at all… Somewhere on the way to the final checkpoint at Maxton, I found my running form and strength again. Although I normally don’t like out and back races, it was nice to hit familiar grounds and to know what is coming. Funnily, the numerous stairs felt easier than in the morning (maybe because I didn’t feel anything anymore?) and the roots and rocks were not as treacherous as expected. Also, it was nice to see relay-runner Chris, who overtook me at this section, and to “buddy up” with Chiara, who I know from other races and far too much shopping, until the end of the race. All these factors together with a very caring volunteer at the last CP4 put me in good spirits and I happily started the climb out of Maxwell, ready to smash my first Ultra on this final and what I thought mainly downhill section. Well, it turned out, I was wrong. Somehow, the climb just went on and on and on. This section must be a “magic” section, as it feels uphill in both directions…

On the final few miles, we met Romana who was giving everything for her team, and Gilly and Aldo were at the last street crossing (thank god with coke again!!!) to direct us to the finish line. A bit of uphill running on the road, a few metres of cross country in the woods, and a never-ending tarmac stretch in Jedburgh, before the cathedral finally appeared and we sprinted (Haha!) on the grassy patch to the finish.

Doing the “extra” mile

I thoroughly enjoyed this race, maybe because the conditions and surroundings were perfect, but definitely because of the friendly and crazy atmosphere between runners, marshals, other volunteers and everyone else who was involved. I’m sure this race will remain a constant in the Penicuik Harriers race calendar, no matter if for Ultra maniacs, fancy dress worshippers or tired-runners support enthusiasts 🙂

Happy Harrier

Ultra results:

Sadie Kemp                     06:37:20               8th F       39th Overall         (PB)

Juliane Friedrich               06:47:06               10th F     48th Overall

Tracy Philp                      07:56:50               35th F     123th Overall

(and this crazy lady also did the half marathon the next day)

Smashing the Dirty Double


Relay results:

Peni Pinchers                    05:26:06               2nd Combined   3rd Overall

Peni Possums                   06:50:46               8th Combined    12th Overall


Finally, in tradition with my other race reports and as this was my first Ultramarathon, here is what I have learned:

  1. Training on the trails/ hills is so much more fun than training on the road
  2. The biggest challenge is not to eat all the stuff you bought for your drop bags in the week leading to the race
  3. Doing an Ultra involves waking up at stupid o’clock (I think I’m quoting one of the Dawsons here)


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Flash Mob Hill Run

This is an evening race up Castllaw Hill in the dark 🙂 Adam and I entered and joined a mixed bag of runners with our headtorches on for the dash up and down. The route is really well marshalled and marked with glowsticks, if you got lost on this then you are a worry.
When I was about 100m off the start of the steep climb along came Adam leading the race by a good bit from the lady in second place. The surface has been improved on this steep section so it meant that you could run back down without thinking you were going to slip on all the loose stones.
I got back about 20mins after Adam who was doing a good job of recruiting the 2nd place runner to Harriers 😀
Adam got a nice Stewart Brewing hoody for winning and all the finishers got a t-shirt and beer.
I’d recommend this race, it’s a bit different and good fun.

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