Trio of Borders hill races in Gala, Peebles and Selkirk

James Dunn and Susan Ridley, King and Queen of the Border Hills after the weekend race series.
James Dunn and Susan Ridley, King and Queen of the Border Hills after the weekend race series.

The inaugural Scottish Borders Hill Race Weekend spanned August 9-11 as a three-race series, comprising the Meigle Mile in Galashiels, the Cademuir Rollercoaster in Peebles and the Philiphaugh Hill Run in Selkirk.

James took a hat-trick of wins, while Susan placed second in each of the three races.

They received their polka dot vouchers and polka dot mugs, courtesy of series sponsor the Glentress Hotel.

The Cademuir Rollercoaster was as close as close can be.

Not in terms of finish places but the atmospheric conditions, which were not ideal for racing up and down the hills.

With possible lightning warnings issued, procedures were in place to abandon the race, if necessary. But the rain and lightning failed to materialise.

The only storming witnessed was the form of the men’s race winner, James Dunn who, despite the slippery underfoot conditions, crossed the line in a record time of 25.14 for the 6km course.

Alastair Thomas (Edinburgh University) was second in 26.11 and Shettleston’s Ryan Stewart third in 26.34.

International orienteer Grace Molloy from Linlithgow is still in the U20 age group but was an impressive winner of the women’s race, finishing in a time of 30.58, nearly two minutes ahead of local veteran Susan Ridley, who was second in 32.44. Another junior, last year’s winner, Rhona Mowat, (Giffnock North) was a close third in 32.53.

James and Grace received their top-notch, if slightly warm, prosecco and vouchers from race sponsor Franco’s restaurant.

Juniors dominated the 3km race, with the Gala duo of Gregor Collins and Isla Paterson following up on their wins the previous evening in the uphill half-mile at the Meigle hill race in Gala.

The 10th  Philiphaugh Hill Run raised a fabulous £1090 taking the total now raised to over £10,000 for the playpark.

Entry numbers were up, with lots of hardy runners braving the weather. There were 44 for the four-mile and 74 for the seven-mile.

Gala Harriers’ Zico Field stormed home in the four-mile in 28.50, his first time running the course, followed by fellow Harrier Archie Hendry in 29.15. Third was Jamie Francis in 30.18.

There was a tie for first lady, with Ann Ferrie coming over the line with Gala Harriers Jessica Hendry in 38.15. Esme Minto finished second lady in 39.51 and Izzy Young close behind in 39.57. 

The seven-mile race saw James Dunn (Hunter Bog Trotters) take the tape for the second year in a row in 46.21 and his third race win over the Scottish Borders Hill Race Weekend.

Andrew Cox from Moorfoot Runners took second place in 52.26 and Alex McVey was not far behind to finish in third place in 52.50.

Jillian Fong from Vancouver took first place on the podium for the ladies in a good time of 59.40. Jillian is originally from Hawick, so no stranger to the Border hills.

Second lady was Susan Ridley of Edinburgh AC in 1.02.17, her third second place of the weekend. Third spot went to Gala Harriers’ Lizzie Macleish in 1.03.00.

First local runner (Selkirk) in was Jason Hendrie in 56.28.

A life membership presentation was made to Blake Cullen (15) who has run every year since it started.

Meigle Mile (uphill):

1st Male James Dunn (HBT) 9.37. 1st Female Kirstin Maxwell (Gala H) 11.54. 2nd Susan Ridley (EAC) 12.49.

Junior half-mile: 1st Boy Gregor Collins (Gala H) 3.52. 1st Girl Isla Paterson (Gala H) 4.59.