A RECORD-breaking turnout of 36 Gala Harriers pulled on their off-road shoes for the annual Ladhope Handicap on Saturday, blessed this year by firm underfoot conditions around the plantation and blue skies overhead, in contrast to the deep snow which faced them last year.
This race is now scheduled on the same date as the club’s Christmas dinner and the prospect of a delicious three-course meal clearly drove the winner to the finish in fine style, with some excellent competitive runs for the top places as well as throughout the field.
The handicapping system attempts to bring everyone across the finishing line in a tight window and it also ensures that any runner of any ability has the chance to shine.
Shelagh King’s impressive victory was surely just reward for her persistence and loyalty to club handicap races and she kept up a steady pace over the testing route, finishing in 56 minutes and 25 seconds. She held off Jason Grainger (43.06) who took a well-deserved second place just ahead of Kevin Stevenson (43.02) and Jill Grainger (1.00.29).
The complete results can be found on the Harriers’ website, www.galaharriers.com
Shelagh was congratulated by club president Gerry Moss at the Town House in Melrose later that evening – and quite rightly, didn’t have to buy a drink.
The next outing for the Harriers and Lauderdale Limpers is the over-the-hill New Year Run on January 2 from Tweedbank to Lauder. All members from either club welcome, with shorter routes available if desired.