October a busy month for Tweed Striders
For Tweed Striders, Saturday, October 5 was accompanied by pleasant autumnal conditions for those running when five headed over to Peeblesshire for the Tweed Valley Tunnel Trail Races.
Ruth Ballard opted for the 10k, with Stephen Ball, Heather Barnes, Paul Brothwood and Michelle Douglas taking on the 20k. Ruth took the tape in her event in 1.02.21 and, in the longer distance, it was Stephen Ball who brought the quartet home in 1.55.54, followed by Paul Brothwood (2.01.27), Michelle Douglas (2.01.55 3rd in age group) and Heather Barnes (2.17.11).
Meanwhile, much closer to home, the running was of a much more relaxed persuasion for Maureen Aitchison, Sam Armstrong, Sara Bebbington, Brian Bowden, Deborah Bowden, Liz Howlett, Caroline McDermott, Lorna Patton, Nikki Robertson, Colin Thompson, Judith Thompson, Sarah Turnbull and Keighley Walton who travelled up to the Hallhill Sports Centre in Dunbar for the Lochend Woods parkrun, a relatively new and very enjoyable 5k of two loops on grass and through the woods, which for most of the 13 was their first – but probably not their last – venture into parkrun.
Twenty-four hours later and Stephen Ball was packing his race kit bag once more and heading down to Chester-le-Street for the Penshaw Trail 10k (part of the Urban Trails Series).
The previous day’s 20k proved to be an excellent warm-up as Stephen crossed the line in 59.53, 61st out of 364 and 7th in age group. The only other Strider in action on Sunday was Mark Short who headed up north (so escaped the horrendous weather which lashed the east coast) to run in his first-ever marathon - the Baxters Loch Ness Marathon. Mark ran a brilliant race to take the tape in 4.04.32 (PB).
The following weekend only one Strider was in action … Steve Flook who represented Tweed Striders in the RunScotland Rannoch Marathon. Steve put in an excellent performance and crossed the line in 3.44.50, 5th in age group.
Sunday, October 20 was mostly all about long miles - many miles – with seven Tweed Striders in York and one in Edinburgh. In York running in the Asda Foundation Yorkshire Marathon was a quartet comprised of one seasoned marathon campaigner - David Arnold - and three marathon debutants – Ciaran Gallacher, Jodi Mace and Lisa Nisbet.
David was running for England – an honour he has worked very hard to gain over the past couple of years – so he lined up on the start line proudly wearing his England vest. David was a credit to his country and the vest and took the tape in a fabulous 3.01.05.
The debutants also ran brilliantly with Ciaran Gallacher the first to cross the line in 4.00.18 (PB), followed by Lisa Nisbet (4.18.27 PB) and Jodi Mace (6.49.29 PB). The trio of Jenni McCraw, Dave Watson and Emma Jones-Watson raced in the Asda Foundation Yorkshire 10 Mile and it was Emma who brought the trio home in 1.12.54 (PB), followed by Dave (1.16.36 PB), then Jenni (1.34.09).
To the north Stephen Ball took part in the Ultra Tour of Edinburgh. The race starts on the High Street, beside St Giles Cathedral, and sets off with a Braveheart charge down the Royal Mile; it then weaves through 57k of streets, alleyways, on to hills, up crags, past monuments, museums, seats of Royalty and government and, en route, it incorporates 3,000 feet of ascent and descent before finishing at the Royal Commonwealth Pool, in the shadow of Arthur Seat. Stephen completed this unique challenge in 7.06.31.
Much closer to home Heather Barnes, Paul Brothwood, Gill Brownlee, Michelle Douglas, Steve Lauder and Doug Small all ran in the Kelso 2 Bridges 5k. Paul led the team home in 23.06, followed by Doug (23.23), Michelle (23.39), Heather (26.54), Steve (28.37) and Gill (35.41).
The focus of the final weekend in October was the Jedburgh Running Festival with four Striders running on Sunday 27 in the 10k and one in the half marathon. Emma took full advantage of the excellent running conditions to bring the 10k quartet home in 44.31. Whilst her time was just shy of a PB, it nevertheless earned Emma well-deserved placings of 3rd lady overall and 1st in age category.
Chasing her home was Dave Watson (47.51 PB), followed by Lucy Grieve (52.49 PB) and Deborah Bowden (61.00). In the half marathon Stuart Black put in a sound run to cross the line in 1.38.21.
Whilst the Jedburgh Running Festival was the main event, it was not the sole event as late Saturday afternoon Stephen Ball travelled south to Fryup near Whitby to race in the Hardmoors Fryup Thriller Night 10k.
The aim of this race is, apparently, to give runners the opportunity to practise running on trails – along with their ability to descend and ascend all hills encountered - in the dark all the while having run. It also gives runner a chance to run a route through a private forest which is otherwise closed to all. Stephen didn’t seem to have any problems with either the very hilly route or the dark or the mud (of which there was plenty) as he finished in 1.17.41 – pretty good for a night-time trail race which transpired to be 7.5 miles rather than the advertised 6.2 ! Next weekend the focus turns to trail and cross-country as Saturdays signals the start of the Foxlake Trail Series and Sunday the Borders Cross-Country Series.