Bovver-booted bovines

3PeaksUltra: The Southern's Kenny Paterson and fellow journalist David Knox find the going tough at last Friday's training session.
3PeaksUltra: The Southern's Kenny Paterson and fellow journalist David Knox find the going tough at last Friday's training session.
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IT was a stand-off that made the late Steve Irwin taking on a spitting cobra seem like he was cuddling a kitten.

The cow stood nonchalantly staring at us, its calf close by, posing in a stance akin to a boozed-up football hooligan asking the police to ‘come and ’ave a go if you think you’re hard enough’.

There was only going to be one outcome – thankfully, it wasn’t us being forced to dive into the nearby River Tweed, as the mother and calf finally ran out of our route and allowed us to finish the 18-mile run.

Negotiating through livestock is a task most ultra marathon runners take in their shuffling strides. However, I have yet to get used to our farmyard friends.

But the sense of relief after passing the cows did not match the joy I felt coming off the third Eildon hill we took on last Friday.

The three landmark peaks are the centrepiece to the first Borders Ultra, and I now know the pain I will have to endure - and the stunning views from the top.

Unfortunately, I also know I will have to run a further 17 miles when I stagger off the third hill to make my way back to the finish line in Jedburgh.

As I head into the home straight after five months of intense – and sometimes not so intense – training, I can say it has been a positive experience.

I feel better, certainly lost some weight, ran distances I never imagined I would be able to, and have enjoyed taking in some of the region’s most glorious countryside.

Now, all I need to do is finish the job – provided there are no dodgy-looking cows and calves in sight.

I am raising money for the Rowan Boland Trust (rowanbolandmemorialtrust.co.uk) with sponsorship still welcome.

Further information on the ultra marathon is available at jedburghhalfmarathon.org.uk/ultra.html