Gillian and Rowan lead the field in Harriers 800m race

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A DOUBLE dose of racing last week meant a busy few days for Gala Harriers, especially with the popular Eildon Two Hill Race, held on Saturday.

Two days earlier, the 800m race was held at Tweedbank under threatening skies, but the rain held off and the usual group of junior athletes, who were co-opted as cheerleaders, saw some fine performances by the hard core of senior athletes who enjoy this distance on the track.

Gillian Duncan (2 minutes and 36 seconds) held off Jenny Forbes (2.28) in an exciting tactical women’s race, with Rae Capiteux putting in a brave performance for third place in 2.51.

As in previous years, the fresh legs of young Rowan Marr couldn’t be caught and he took the men’s race with by a country mile in 2.08. The efforts of Steve Martin to stay with him paid off with a hard-run second place in 2.21, just holding off Dave Moffat (2.23) in third.

After the torrential rain and low cloud during the week, conditions improved considerably for the Eildons race, but the ground underfoot was as muddy and treacherous as you might expect. No fewer than 86 runners set out around Gibson Park and along Melrose High Street, led by eventual winner Paul Faulkner (Carnethy, 31 minutes and 9 seconds).

While Damon Rodwell (Border Search & Rescue, 32.51) was able to hold second place on the ascent, the 2009 champion could not match Brian Marshall’s (HELP 31.41) faster descending speed which saw him take second place overall and the trophy for first vet.

Ronnie Gallagher (V50 Carnethy, 33.05) was outside the top 10 going on to the open hill, but managed to finish fifth overall and second vet, just seven seconds behind Michael McGovern (Moorfoot, 32:58).

Charlotte Morgan (Carnethy, 35.38) was the clear winner of the ladies’ race, and finished 14th overall, with Gala’s Fiona Dalgleish (38.56) second, and winner of the attractive V40 ladies’ trophy.

Gala Harriers’ women took the ladies’ team prize with the two Fionas – Dalgleish and Shepherd (44.27), well supported by Dawn Grant (49.28). Unsurprisingly, Carnethy took the men’s trophy.

Fergus Johnston was the first Gala Harrier home in 33.11, and Michael Haywood (unattached) won the first local prize in 34.57 in only his second ever hill race.

Gala Harriers would like to thank Paul Morris, whose safe pair of hands as race organiser always delivers an impeccable event (and for writing the race report) and to the registration and results team, timekeepers, marshalls, homebakers and other contributors to the smooth running of the day.

Full results from both events can be found on the club’s website