Uphill battle ends in medal haul for Borders athletes

Competing at the Scottish Junior Hill Running Championships at Ben Lomond
Competing at the Scottish Junior Hill Running Championships at Ben Lomond

The Scottish Junior Hill Running Championships were held on Ben Lomond on Saturday and there was an impressive collection of medals brought home to the Borders.

Pride of place went to Moorfoot’s Jacob Adkin, who retained his crown in the under-20 men’s race over the 6km two-lap up and down course with 300m of climb.

Jacob led from the first climb and a strong start saw him soon distance himself from the others, coming home in 29 minutes, nine seconds for a 41-second winning margin over fellow Edinburgh University fresher Alex Chepelin.

Gala Harrier Thomas Otton, in his first of three years in this age-group, ran well to take the bronze medal in 31.26. Moorfoot’s Lucas Cheskin was vying for third and fourth as the second climb kicked in, but was hit by stomach cramps. He did well to battle to the finish in fifth in 34.50.

Mairi Wallace (Moorfoot) had medalled in the U15 age-group in the previous two years, but was up to the U17 girls’ age group and racing over a considerably increased distance of 4.3km/2.35 miles against older opposition which included the Scottish U17 cross-country champion Laura Stark from Kilbarchan. But the extra distance and climb didn’t faze Mairi who, despite a face-plant into the bog on the descent, took an excellent bronze medal in 23.53, only one minute behind Stark, who was beaten to the title by Emily Nicholson from Pitreavie. Mairi is the only one of the top five finishers still eligible in the same age-group next year.

In the U15 girls’ race over 2.7km/1.55 miles there was double medal joy for the Borders with Gala’s Susannah Godfrey-Faucett taking silver and Moorfoot’s Beth Hobbs the bronze. Both girls were racing in their first hill race championship and they came off the descent together for the 400m run-in, in which Susannah’s flat speed prevailed in a storming finish which took her across the line in 13.52, only three seconds off the winner Nuala McCheyne from Inverclyde. Beth was home in 14.10 and like clubmate Mairi, is the only one of the top six still eligible in this age-group next year.

The sixth Borders medal came courtesy of Moorfoot’s Ethan Elder who was also having his first taste of these championships. His narrow win in the Lomonds of Fife junior race two weeks previously augured well and although form from that race with Corstorphine’s David Addison was reversed, he took an excellent bronze in 13.20. With one win apiece this year, the races between the two in the hills later in the summer should be interesting.