Harriers take on road, mud and country

Photograph by Ian Georgeson,'The Mighty Deerstalker 2014 5km run from a start/finish at Traquair house through Innerleithen in the Scottish Borders, competitors take on steep hill climbs and decent as well as running through rivers and swamps

Photograph by Ian Georgeson,'The Mighty Deerstalker 2014 5km run from a start/finish at Traquair house through Innerleithen in the Scottish Borders, competitors take on steep hill climbs and decent as well as running through rivers and swamps

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Saturday was a busy day in the athletics calendar for many Gala Harriers – juniors, masters and those who just enjoy running up hills, through burns and tackling assault courses in the dark.

Jamie Logan travelled to Riccarton and the Heriot-Watt University campus for the Scottish Athletics Junior Road Race Championships.

Photograph by Ian Georgeson,'The Mighty Deerstalker 2014 5km run from a start/finish at Traquair house through Innerleithen in the Scottish Borders, competitors take on steep hill climbs and decent as well as running through rivers and swamps

Photograph by Ian Georgeson,'The Mighty Deerstalker 2014 5km run from a start/finish at Traquair house through Innerleithen in the Scottish Borders, competitors take on steep hill climbs and decent as well as running through rivers and swamps

In the Under-13 boys’ category, he finished a most creditable 17th out of 68, while his older counterparts in the mature categories of the club were on their way to Tollcross Park in Glasgow for the British Masters Athletics Federation annual cross-country championships.

The senior women have been competing very strongly over the winter season and quite justifiably had high hopes of some good results.

Over the 6km parkland course, alongside a field of 103 women, Jenny Forbes (11th in 24 minutes and 5 seconds), Fiona Dalgleish (15th in 24.18) and Rachel Fagan (35th in 25.44) combined beautifully to come home as the third team overall, but nevertheless took the silver medal in their category. Forbes, with her excellent time and placing, also picked up an individual silver medal – two spectacular results for the local club in a field of teams from right across the UK.

Not to be outdone, Graeme Murdoch sprinted home in the men’s 8km course in a magnificent eighth place in 27.25.

He was joined by Colin McCall (45th in 29.36) Paul Daly (86th in 31.53) Derrick Brydon (99th in 33.22) and Alastair Laurie (120th in 36.42), scooping seventh-placed team out of 15 and 129 runners in total.

And some folk think running round a park just isn’t tough enough, so they get dressed up in tweed, tartan and headtorches and head for Traquair and the challenge that is the Deerstalker.

In daylight, an (allegedly) 5km course includes hill climbs, knee-deep mud, waist-high water and military-style elements, but Jason Grainger (1 hour 8 minutes and 2 seconds) wriggled home as the first Harrier, with Matthew Purves (1.17.39) Kelly Doogan (1.27.06) Ally McGilvray (1.34.17) Anne Purves (1.40.45 – 11 minutes faster than last year) and Jill Grainger (1.41.20) all loving their extreme afternoon out.

The Mighty Deerstalker starts in daylight, but ends in darkness and purports to be 10km with all of the above and more; Gillian Duncan and Tony Lunn made it over the finish line as the first Harriers in 1 hour 50 minutes and 32 seconds, while Graham Pogson (1.52.56) and Anja Campbell and Anne Weir (both 1.58.10) weren’t far behind in the row of bobbing head torches.