Borders athletes out in bright New Year sunshine

Some of the runners at the Icebreaker race last Sunday.
Some of the runners at the Icebreaker race last Sunday.

Around 100 runners enjoyed the annual Icebreaker run, co-hosted last weekend by Lauderdale Limpers and Gala Harriers, where normal sporting rivalry is suspended for the day.

Perfect running conditions and a choice of 12, 10, six or four miles attracted runners from both host clubs, plus others from further afield, who chose to kick-start their New Year resolution by joining in this year’s run.

The route took runners from Tweedbank running track to Gattonside, with an optional detour around Melrose and the chain bridge, before climbing the steep path which marks the beginning of the off-road section of the Southern Upland Way.

The route followed the undulating track through farmland and moors, with spectacular views over the rolling Border countryside, passing through Mosshouses and Bluecairn, where the numbers were increased by those choosing to do the shorter routes.

A fast descent into Lauder brought the welcoming aroma of coffee and bacon rolls at the Lauderdale Hotel, where plans were made for future runs and challenges.

A separate event, organised by Melrose Races, usually held in December, this year was appropriately renamed the ‘Run Off Your Christmas Pudding Race’ and took place on the same day as the Icebreaker.

A fantastic new eight-mile route took runners from Melrose old Station, along the bypass to the foot of the old Huntlyburn road and a steady climb up towards the B6359.

From mile three, the route took an off-road turn and runners enjoyed the scenic ‘red road’, leading to the undulating wooded foothills of the Eildons, finishing in the heart of Melrose at the Abbey.

Results: Ladies – 1 Gillian Carr (Corstorphine AC) 1:03:44, 2 Sarah Wilkinson 1:03:49, 3 Sarah Healy (Musselburgh AC) 1:06:19.

Gents – 1 Scott McDonald (Moorfoot Runners) 52:36, 2 Gary Trewartha (Gala Harriers) 52:46, 3 Calum Scott (Dundee Road Runners) 56:05.

First male veteran – Scott McDonald (as above). First female veteran – Senga Plain (Lauderdale Limpers) 1:10:19.

Several other Lauderdale Limpers took part in the occasion and the club’s first runner home, in 17th place, was Graeme Sutherland (1:08:12), narrowly ahead of Senga Plain.

There were great runs also from Limpers Kate Henderson (1:11:29), Rachel Mollart (1:18:28), Naomi Cressford (1:18:40) and Frank Birch (1:22:47).

Although final sums have to be verified, around £1000 was raised for One Step Borders.

The organisers have extended thanks to Police Scotland Youth Volunteers, for marshaling the woodlands; to One Step Borders for its enthusiastic marshaling and buffet provisions; to Melrose Rotary Club for support and good-humoured marshaling; to Earlston Explorer Scouts, who manned the buffet and stayed on to tidy up at the end; to Melrose Rugby Club for use of its facilities; to all the friends, family and supporters who came along and helped on the day – and to all the runners themselves.

The club also announced entries were open and filling up fast for the Trimontium XI Eildon Race on March 31.