Moorfoot combines race action with festive presentation

With the Moorfoot U17 girls having sneaked team silver at the National Short Course Championships at Kirkcaldy in November, by just a single shot from Edinburgh AC, it looked, on the form book, to be a straight contest between the two teams again for the East District team title at a frosty Dechmont Law, Livingston, last Saturday.

Moorfoot Runners collect their Christmas awards.
Moorfoot Runners collect their Christmas awards.

It was three to count and, with Moorfoot relying on only the three entrants against Edinburgh’s seven, which included the odds-on favourite for the individual title, there was little room for slip-ups, injury or illness. As expected, Edinburgh’s Eloise Walker took individual gold with some highly impressive running, completing the undulating 5.1km course in 17.16 minutes for a resounding win, well ahead of all the U20 women who raced at the same time. First Moorfoot back was Beth Hobbs, who continued her good winter form with an excellent seventh place in 19.34, just being run out of sixth in the final sprint for the line. Edinburgh’s second counter was ninth and Mairi Wallace battled for 12th in 20.20. So, with two runners home each, it was sitting Edinburgh 10 points, Moorfoot 19 points, but with Charlotte Clare in sight on the home stretch, just a couple of places behind Mairi. Charlotte has been the club’s top counter so far this winter, ahead of Beth and Mairi, but had been plagued by a sore throat going into the race and, despite a cautious start, by the half-way point, she was struggling with her breathing in the freezing air. To finish where she did, in 14th in 20.36, not far behind Mairi, was testament to her courage and loyalty to her team. Could she complete nine places ahead of Edinburgh’s next finisher? Unfortunately, although she finished over 40 seconds ahead, only 26 of the 39 entrants ran on the day, meaning the field had thinned out to such an extent that Edinburgh’s third counter was home five places back in 19th. That was enough for Edinburgh to seal team gold by four points, with the Moorfoot girls taking another silver – still an excellent result.

Earlier in the day, the U13 girls team of Esme Minto, Madeline Collins and Holly Hobbs all ran well over their 3.2km course to take 20th, 28th and 37th respectively in a field of 57, finishing seventh of the 11 complete teams. The U13 boys’ team, racing over the same distance, managed sixth, courtesy of Patrick Cannon (20th), Ben Allan (23rd) and Angus Carlyle (33rd). Jake Lockyer also finished fast for 42nd of the 65-strong field. The U15 girls raced over 3.9km and Eilidh Mooney produced her best form of the winter to finish in 25th in 17.00, one place and seven seconds ahead of Charlotte Morrison. Megan Hobbs completed the team in 40th for 7th team overall.

Racing in the U17 men’s race over 6.4km, Craig Angus found the effects of a recent head cold to be against him but battled to finish 28th of 42 in 24.36. Running for Lasswade, Moorfoot-trained Euan Hood was 20th in 23.42 to contribute to team silver, as did Ailsa Innes and Niamh Shaw for Lasswade’s U20 Women’s team, with their 11th and 13th place finishes in 19.48 and 20.44 respectively.

The Moorfoot Runners Christmas meal was held at the County Inn in Peebles, after the last week’s regular Tuesday training session. It was well attended, with 20 people taking part in the festivities.

There were presentations for the Senior Club members in various categories.

Improver Award – Magnus Skea for breaking his half marathon personal best three times in succession in 2017, including breaking 1hr30mins for the first time, recording 1.29.34 at Alloa, 1.28.52 at the Great North Run, and 1.27.25 at the Great Scottish Run.

Perseverance Award – Paul Nichol, as he is still running many marathons (including London and Stirling this year) and recording impressive times as an older Vet 50.

The Mike McGovern Tribute Award for getting lost / TV star Award – Lucy Colquhoun, for a seven-mile detour in a race in the northern Pennines, losing her dogs for the night before a race at Cape Wrath (and missing the race) and being the star of the BB2’s Adventure Show on the 35-mile Kintyre Way Ultra Marathon, winning the women’s prize and finishing second overall.

Worst preparation before a completely brutal race – Alan Elder – his report on August’s Glencoe Ultra Marathon is available to read online but, in summary, it’s not that surprising that if you enter a 45-mile, 7300 feet of climb race, and your first ever ultra marathon, you may encounter some challenges 36 hours before. These largely involving having a terrible night before being eaten by bloodthirsty midgies while trying to wild camp, missing dinner and ending up sleeping in the car (or trying to).

Moorfoot Runners Trophy for Outstanding Performance had a number of notable mentions – Kenny Davidson, for setting a personal best at London Marathon for 3hr 03mins and going fastest as a 50-year-old than he ever had before; Ruth McKean for winning all local trail 10kms – trail running dominance in the valley – and Andy Cox for hill running prowess, including his third place for King of the Mountains for his combined time for the Snowdon, Ben Nevis and Scafell Pike races. Also Andrew Dancer, who eats marathons for breakfast, ultras for tea. He recorded some amazing long distance achievements this year: Bamburgh marathon, second place, sub 3hrs; Loch Ness 2hr 53; third in the Dundee Running Adventure Marathon in 3.02; Glentress Trail Marathon, third place; winner of the Dark Skies Kielder Run – 26.5 miles in new course record 3.07; Tweed Valley Ultra (40miles), fourth, less than a minute off podium; followed up two weeks later (last Saturday) with fifth place in a class field at the Cheviot Goat Ultra (55 miles, in snow at times), taking 12 ½ hrs. However, the trophy winner for 2017 was Scott McDonald, who won the 5000m Scottish Championships for 50 + (in a time of 17 mins 10 seconds), and was also fastest M50 at Great North Run, the biggest half marathon in the world, in a time of 1hr 18 mins 11secs.