One to go …

The penultimate leg of the Borders XC hosted by neighbours Chirnside Chasers was well supported by Tweed Striders, with one junior and 16 seniors making the short hop, skip and jump across the border.  The Chasers put on a fast, extremely runnable course which took runners through the wood that had proved so popular the year before and, of course, being as it is Chirnside, there was the ubiquitous hill back up to the finish !  Once again Euan Watson proved himself to be the ultimate trooper in the junior race;  he took the tape in 23.34.  In the seniors event it was Stuart Black and Stephen Ball who finished first and second for the Striders for the fourth time this season (30.48 and 33.36 respectively).  Following them over the line were Paul Brothwood (35.29), Stuart Birkett (35.55), Michelle Douglas (first Tweed Strider lady in 35.57), Andrew Douglas (36.23), Ciaran Gallacher (37.02), Doug Small (37.53), Laura Jeffrey (38.11), Heather Barnes (40.49), Rich Toward (43.52), Susan Howlett (46.19), Paul Graham (47.01), Karen Bagley (48.41), Gill Brownlie (51.36) and Judith Thompson (51.37).  The eighth and final leg of this season’s Borders XC will be hosted by Gala Harriers on Sunday 10 March.

De España a Escocia

Only three musketeers were in action this weekend (Sunday 10th) : Heather Barnes and Laura Jeffrey in the Lilliesleaf 10k and, venturing much further afield, Susan Howlett in the Barcelona Half Marathon where she lined up alongside 16,410 others.  The half-marathon in Barcelona is also known as the Mitja Marató de Barcelona and is the second largest running event in Barcelona after the marathon.  Its 21k route takes runners on a guided tour through Barcelona, starting from the Arc de Triomf, before going through the old town, down the world-famous Ramblas, along Avenida del Parallel and on to the modern Eixample district.  It then strikes east to the Torre Agbar, one of Barcelona’s most striking buildings, before taking runners along the Diagonal and the beach to the Parc de la Ciutadella, then back to the finish at the Arc de Triomf.  It will have undoubtedly been an experience not to be forgotten and Susan put in a superb run to take the tape in 2.13.07.  Much closer to home, Heather and Laura took on challenges of a different sort as they faced the off-road, grass, very hilly and “nicely” muddy course, complete with fantastic views of the Eildon and Cheviot Hills, that is the very popular Lilliesleaf 10k which, this year, was raising money for Stable Life, an extremely worthwhile charity which supports the Borders’ most vulnerable and challenging young people.  Like Susan, both had a ball - Laura was the first of the duo home (55.32), with Heather mere minutes behind (62.00).  Next Sunday sees the penultimate leg of the Borders XC hosted by Chirnside Chasers.

Winter struck

It was off-road running all the way this past weekend.  Stephen Ball was the only Strider in action on Saturday when, in temperatures barely above freezing, he took on the challenges of the Foxtrail Harvest Moon Half Marathon, 13.1 miles encompassing rough track, tarmac, lumpy bumpy fields, sand – all extremely solid underfoot - as well as water.  Nothing phased Stephen, however, as he had a superb run to finish in 1.45.25 and 43rd out of 212.  Sunday saw a slightly diminished Striders XC team of 11 make the journey to Minto, near Hawick, for the Teviotdale Harriers’ leg.  This is first time Teviotdale Harriers have hosted a leg in the XC series and it was a very fine leg indeed !  The weather was a repeat of Saturday – very cold with the added extra of snow – and the terrain underfoot was frozen solid so not at all forgiving.  The junior course was some 3.8k and took the junior runners through woodland at Minto Glen and parkland near Lilylaw Lodge before finishing back at Minto Golf Clubhouse.  Euan Watson, once more, took everything in his stride and finished in a sound 25.02.  The 6.6k senior course followed that of the junior course with the extra – and very tough – extension of a loop around Minto Crags followed by a relentless steep climb to Fatlips Castle before the descent back to the finish.  Stuart Black was first to finish for Tweed Striders in 32.41.  He was followed home by Stephen Ball (34.50), Andrew Douglas (36.04), Doug Small (36.37), Steven Flook (37.25), Michelle Douglas, first Tweed Strider lady (37.26), David Lauckner (40.03), Richard Toward (44.51), Gill Brownlie (52.00) and Judith Thompson (53.27).


Lone Strider !

Laura Jeffrey was the sole Tweed Strider in action this weekend.  Laura took on the Dalby Forest Head Torch Race, the first in the Winter 2019 No Ego Challenge Series.  This is a five mile race run at night on a combination of single narrow tracks, fire breaks, forest trails and gravel paths through the mighty Dalby Forest in North Yorkshire.  Conditions, whilst milder than of late, were not ideal as it was very wet with oodles of mud underfoot but Laura took all in her stride to finish 131st out of 420 in a very good 51.43.  The next events on the Tweed Striders’ calendar are the Foxtrail Harvest Moon Half Marathon on Saturday and the 6th leg of the Borders XC hosted by newcomers to the series, Teviotdale Harriers, on Sunday.

From Foxlake to Wooler

Very cold temperatures, a dank dreich morning but good conditions underfoot greeted the four Tweed Striders at Foxlake for Round 4 of the Foxtrail Series.  Stephen Ball took on the longer distance of 16k where he finished 56th out of 235 in a very good 1.21.05 and, in the 5k race, Julia Keddie brought the trio home in 28.18 followed by Colin Thompson (29.17) and Judith Thompson (35.17).  In complete contrast to the previous day Sunday dawned bright and sunny for the MacMillian Resolution 5k and 10k races in Wooler.  Michelle Douglas was first Strider to take the tape in the 5k.  Following Michelle over the line were Laura Jeffrey, Steve Lauder, Richard Toward, Heather Barnes, Pamela Toward, Jenni McCraw and Judith Thompson.  It was left to Gill Brownlie and the exuberant Buddy to fly the flag for Tweed Striders in the 10k.

Just a little bit windy !

Running conditions - welcome sunshine, a bright sky and dry - at Sunday’s XC hosted by Norham Running Club at Paxton, would have been ideal had it not been for the 30 mph wind which buffeted runners constantly as they made their way round the course.  However, the 16 Striders (15 senior, 1 junior) took the wind in their stride and put in great performances.  In the junior race Euan Watson took the tape in a very sound 15.39 and in the senior race it was Stephen Ball who crossed the line first for the club in 33.34.  Stephen was followed over the line by Stuart Birkett (34.49), Andrew Douglas (34.58), Ciaran Gallacher (35.32), Michelle Douglas first Tweed Strider lady (35.34), Paul Brothwood (35.43), Laura Jeffrey (36.57), David Lauckner (38.11), Heather Barnes (41.19), Richard Toward (41.41), Pamela Toward (43.03), Paul Graham (46.21), Karen Bagley (48.22), Gill Brownlie (50.37) and Judith Thompson (53.11). The sixth leg of the Borders XC is hosted by Teviotdale Harriers in three weeks’ time.

Kielder Dark Sky 10k and Run Off the Christmas Pudding Race

The Tweed Striders’ flying start to 2019 continued on Saturday 5 January.  Paul Brothwood, Michelle Douglas, Pamela Toward and Richard Toward travelled down to Kielder Forest for the Kielder Dark Sky 10k where all four meandered – albeit at speed ! - along the paths and trails of the forest and finished in the top 100 (out of 191).  Michelle put in a fabulous run to win the ladies’ race in 55.33, placing 36th overall, and return home with the prize for First Lady as well as that for 1st in age group.  Paul chased Michelle right to the bitter end and finished mere seconds behind (55.39) in 38th spot, 5th in age group.  Pamela and Rich also raced each other to the line, with Rich just pipping Pamela to the tape (1.06.27 and 1.06.58 respectively).

The next morning it was time to run off the Christmas Pudd in the very aptly named “Run Off the Christmas Pudding Race” - a 13.1k trail race, complete with uphill and downhill, which starts in Melrose, then loops round into Bowden before finishing back in Melrose. Nine Tweed Striders lined up on the start line and, for some, this was their first experience of trail running.  Laura Jeffrey was first home for the club in a very sound 1.12.52, followed by Heather Barnes in 1.22.59.  Next to take the tape were Julia Keddie and Colin Thompson (1.24.22 and 1.24.27 respectively).  Then it was the turn of Maureen Aitchison to cross the line (1.31.47), followed by Lorna Patton (1.31.57), Lynsey Jardine (1.36.10), Laura Robertson (1.43.01) and Jud Thompson (1.43.46). 

Next on the Tweed Striders’ calendar (Sunday 13 January) is the fifth leg of the Borders XC Series hosted by Norham Running Club in the grounds of Paxton House.

Portobello Promathon

Five Tweed Striders, along with 322 other runners, blew all Festive cobwebs well and truly away on New Year’s Day at the Portobello Promathon, a flat and fast 4 miles up, down and back along the prom.   Colin Thompson brought the quartet home in a fine 33.02 PB, followed by Julia Keddie (33.50 PB), Gill Brownlie (39.40 PB), Laura Robertson and Judith Thompson (both 40.35 PB).  An excellent start to 2019 for Tweed Striders !