Just a little bit windy !

Running conditions - welcome sunshine, a bright sky and dry - at Sunday’s XC hosted by Norham Running Club at Paxton, would have been ideal had it not been for the 30 mph wind which buffeted runners constantly as they made their way round the course.  However, the 16 Striders (15 senior, 1 junior) took the wind in their stride and put in great performances.  In the junior race Euan Watson took the tape in a very sound 15.39 and in the senior race it was Stephen Ball who crossed the line first for the club in 33.34.  Stephen was followed over the line by Stuart Birkett (34.49), Andrew Douglas (34.58), Ciaran Gallacher (35.32), Michelle Douglas first Tweed Strider lady (35.34), Paul Brothwood (35.43), Laura Jeffrey (36.57), David Lauckner (38.11), Heather Barnes (41.19), Richard Toward (41.41), Pamela Toward (43.03), Paul Graham (46.21), Karen Bagley (48.22), Gill Brownlie (50.37) and Judith Thompson (53.11). The sixth leg of the Borders XC is hosted by Teviotdale Harriers in three weeks’ time.

Kielder Dark Sky 10k and Run Off the Christmas Pudding Race

The Tweed Striders’ flying start to 2019 continued on Saturday 5 January.  Paul Brothwood, Michelle Douglas, Pamela Toward and Richard Toward travelled down to Kielder Forest for the Kielder Dark Sky 10k where all four meandered – albeit at speed ! - along the paths and trails of the forest and finished in the top 100 (out of 191).  Michelle put in a fabulous run to win the ladies’ race in 55.33, placing 36th overall, and return home with the prize for First Lady as well as that for 1st in age group.  Paul chased Michelle right to the bitter end and finished mere seconds behind (55.39) in 38th spot, 5th in age group.  Pamela and Rich also raced each other to the line, with Rich just pipping Pamela to the tape (1.06.27 and 1.06.58 respectively).

The next morning it was time to run off the Christmas Pudd in the very aptly named “Run Off the Christmas Pudding Race” - a 13.1k trail race, complete with uphill and downhill, which starts in Melrose, then loops round into Bowden before finishing back in Melrose. Nine Tweed Striders lined up on the start line and, for some, this was their first experience of trail running.  Laura Jeffrey was first home for the club in a very sound 1.12.52, followed by Heather Barnes in 1.22.59.  Next to take the tape were Julia Keddie and Colin Thompson (1.24.22 and 1.24.27 respectively).  Then it was the turn of Maureen Aitchison to cross the line (1.31.47), followed by Lorna Patton (1.31.57), Lynsey Jardine (1.36.10), Laura Robertson (1.43.01) and Jud Thompson (1.43.46). 

Next on the Tweed Striders’ calendar (Sunday 13 January) is the fifth leg of the Borders XC Series hosted by Norham Running Club in the grounds of Paxton House.

Portobello Promathon

Five Tweed Striders, along with 322 other runners, blew all Festive cobwebs well and truly away on New Year’s Day at the Portobello Promathon, a flat and fast 4 miles up, down and back along the prom.   Colin Thompson brought the quartet home in a fine 33.02 PB, followed by Julia Keddie (33.50 PB), Gill Brownlie (39.40 PB), Laura Robertson and Judith Thompson (both 40.35 PB).  An excellent start to 2019 for Tweed Striders !


A Tale of Two Halves

Weather-wise this past weekend was undoubtedly a tale of two halves.  Saturday morning saw Stephen Ball, Julia Keddie and Judith Thomson running in Foxtrail No 3 at Balgone Barns, just outside North Berwick, in bitter icy winds and snow showers where Stephen Ball took on the demands of the 10k finishing in 51.35 and Julie and Judith those of the 5k finishing in 29.58 and 37.13 respectively, with all three being extremely relieved to be back home before Storm Deirdre, complete with freezing rain, snow, ice and gale force winds, arrived in force !  Consequently, overnight Tweed Strider hearts were in mouths to see if the weather would calm down in order that our leg of the Borders Cross-Country could go ahead on the Sunday and, fortunately, it did as Sunday dawned a beautiful day, one which was a perfect showcase for Spittal and Berwick, with temperatures even conducive to running comfortably in shorts and vest !  The junior race opened proceedings at 11.30 with 108 runners on the start line.  First boy and girl home were Cameron Fordyce (unattached) and Flora Henry (Team East Lothian) who crossed the line in 9.52 and 11.15 respectively.  Once again Euan Watson was the sole Tweed Strider junior, once again Euan put his heart and soul into his race to take the tape in 15.37 and once again his club was very proud of him.  Given that it seemed to have been party night everywhere the previous evening, there was a surprisingly strong turnout of 154 in the senior race, albeit many ran with hangovers !  The race was won by Tom Ferrington of Corstorphine AAC in 22.56, with Lisa MacDonald (Run Club Dalkeith) taking the honours as first lady in 26.03.  Stuart Black, once again, brought the 15 strong Team Tweed Striders home in 28.41, with Stephen Ball, invigorated by the Foxtrail 10k of the previous day, taking the tape next in 30.22.  Following them home were Douglas Small (31.20), Paul Brothwood (31.38), Ciaran Gallacher (32.34), Stuart Birkett (33.02), Steven Flook (33.27), Laura Jeffrey first Tweed Strider lady (33.42), Andrew Douglas (33.58), David Lauckner (35.20), Will McDermott (37.47), Heather Barnes (38.51), Paul Graham (41.50), Susan Howlett (43.12) and Karen Bagley (44.51).  Caroline and Judith would like to thank Colin and Will for setting out the course,  the Whiteford family for their support and all those who gave up their morning to marshal and sweep the races. Also running on Sunday were Gill Brownlie and Neil Stalker who faced up to the challenges of the Northumberland Fell Runners’ Winter’s Trail Race – eight miles, some along the St Cuthbert’s Way, from Hethpool to Wooler.  Both ran really well, with Neil taking 17th spot (out of 108) in 1.22.22 and Gill finishing in a very sound 1.59.45.

Slip Sliding Away

The relentless heavy rain of late meant that conditions underfoot were extremely challenging for all, regardless of whether it was Foxtrail at  Dunbar or Borders XC at Peebles.  Friday saw the first two of the four Foxtrail night runs – the 5k and the 10k.  Julia Keddie and Jud Thompson ran in the 5k, finishing respectively in 31.22 and 35.11, whilst Stephen Ball completed the longer distance in 51.47.  The following evening it was the 6 Hour Nocturnal Ultra Challenge … how many laps can a solo runner or a team of three complete in the six hours between 4 pm and 10 pm.  Stuart Black was the sole Solo Nocturnal Ultra Challenger and he faced the challenge head on, completing 10 laps (50k) in 6.03.31.  Team Toward–Douglas–Toward (aka Pam Toward, Michelle Douglas and Rich Toward) took part in the team event where they completed 12 laps (60k) in 6.20.37.  The next day, just over 12 hours later, Stuart Black quite unbelievably lined up on the start line of the third leg of the Borders XC at Peebles where he repeated his Dunbar success finishing as first Strider in 33.47.  Stuart was followed home by Stephen Ball (34.36), Andrew Douglas (36.30) and Paul Graham (45.33).  Euan Watson was, once again, the sole junior Strider and, once again, he put in a super run to finish in 11.20.  Anne Ryland also pulled on her running shoes on Sunday but on rather more terra firma as she took part in the Edinburgh Christmas 5k in Inverleith Park. Anne put in a great run to take the tape in 30.41 (PB) thereby placing 2nd in age category.

Dunbar XC

Nineteen Tweed Striders travelled the short distance up the A1 to White Sands for the second leg of the Borders XC hosted by Dunbar Running Club.  Euan Watson was the sole Tweed Strider in the junior race and he put in a super run to finish in 18.53.  In the senior event it was Stuart Black, running for the first time in the Borders XC, who brought the club home in 33.17, placing a very good 56th out of 214.  Next to take the tape were Ciaran Gallacher (35.44), Douglas Small (35.51), Paul Brothwood (36.00), Stephen Ball (36.33) and Stuart Birkett (37.16).  Michelle Douglas was first Tweed Strider lady to cross the line (37.20) and, following Michelle, were Andrew Douglas (37.50), Laura Jeffrey (38.41), Steven Flook (38.47), David Lauckner (40.12), Emma Alexander (41.00), Heather Barnes (44.18), Richard Toward (44.59), Pamela Toward (48.54), Karen Bagley (49.27), Gill Brownlie (51.38) and Judith Thompson (54.21). Super running from all !  Next stop … Peebles in a fortnight.

Two Striders  -  Kirstie Mulvey and Julie Newton  - did manage to make it to the Supernova Kelpies 5k but on the Sunday (11 November).  Both put in good runs with Kirstie finishing in 32.40 and Julie in 33.18 (PB).  Earlier in the afternoon 23 Tweed Striders turned out to run the club’s Poppy 5k to mark 100 years since the end of World War One.  Everyone was bowled over by the thoughtfulness of Laura Robertson who, unbeknown to all, took time out from her packed Remembrance Day schedule to pipe the runners off along Quay Walls at the start of their run – it was a very moving moment.  Afterwards it was off to Lowry’s at the Chandlery for very welcome tea and cake and a chance to dry off !

From High to Low …

Saturday 10 November started on a high and ended on a low.  The first high … to the south in Wooler Stephen Ball, Mike Bell, Paul Brothwood, Sarah Capes and Michelle Douglas all took to the Cheviots for the Trail Outlaws’ famous – or infamous ? – half marathon … infamous because, at 14+ miles, it rather exceeds the standard distance of 13.1 miles but, regardless of distance, all always enjoy.  Mike and Stephen took the tape virtually side-by-side but it was Mike who just pipped Stephen to the post by a mere four seconds (2.30.50 and 2.30.54 respectively).  A similar number of seconds separated Michelle and Paul, with Michelle crossing the line in 2.40.15, 3rd in age group, and Paul in 2.40.19.  Sarah, newly returned after a prolonged period of injury, put in a super run and finished in 3.18.51.  The second high … to the north in Edinburgh Stuart and Louse Black were running in the MoRun 10k and 5k respectively.  Stuart’s time of 44.42 meant he returned home with a PB and in the 5k Louise coped well with the demands of the course and crossed the line in 37.17.  The low … nine Striders set off mid-afternoon to run in the Supernova Kelpies 5k near Falkirk.  However, a tragic and fatal accident closed the A1 and brought their journey to an abrupt halt at Haddington.  Tweed Striders would like to extend their sincere condolences to the families and friends of those killed in the accident.  Two Striders are due to run at Falkirk later today;  race report to follow tomorrow.

From Dunbar to Edinburgh to Newcastle to Lauder…

The first weekend of November saw Tweed Striders in action in a variety of locations and on a variety of terrains.  Saturday it was Dunbar (off-road) with Race 1 of the Foxtrail 5k and 13k Series being the race of the day.  Three Striders ran in the 5k and two in the 13k and all had to contend with some very serious winds.  In the 5k Colin Thompson brought the trio home in 26.26, followed by Julia Keddie (28.06) and Judith Thompson (34.57).  Stephen Ball was first to take the tape in the 13k (1.06.17) followed by Emma Alexander (1.18.00).  On Sunday Edinburgh (road), Newcastle (road) and Lauder (XC) were the destinations of choice.  Ray Karolewski ventured north to Edinburgh where he was the only Strider running in the Men’s Health 10k.  Running solo did not trouble him in the slightest as he flew round the course in a great 42.46.  Heading down to Newcastle for the MoRun 5k were Heather Dickson, Kirstie Mulvey and Julie Newton – a good choice as all returned with PBs.  Heather led the trio home in 28.32 (1st in age category) with Kirstie and Julie finishing in 32.05 and 33.25 respectively.  And, meanwhile in Lauder, it was the opening leg of the Borders XC Series hosted by the Lauderdale Limpers.  Tweed Striders was represented in the junior race by Euan Watson.  This was Euan’s first venture into cross-country and he put in a super run to finish in 18.53.  264 seniors lined up the for “main event” and it was Mike Bell who brought Striders home in 36.15 with Stephen Ball, fresh from Saturday’s Foxtrail 13k, mere seconds behind (36.58).  They were followed across the line by Rick Davie (38.18), Paul Brothwood (38.52), Stuart Birkett (38.58), Michelle Douglas first Tweed Strider lady (40.10), Laura Jeffrey (41.35), Steve Flook (41.58), Andrew Douglas (42.08), David Lauckner (43.14), Will McDermott (44.08), Emma Alexander (44.19), Heather Barnes (45.20), Susan Howlett (54.19), Gill Brownlie (54.58) and Judith Thompson (59.01).  Commiserations to Colin Thompson who took a tumble on the last descent.

Time for Cross-Country

The Jedburgh Running Festival on the last weekend of October, accompanied as it is by the end of British Summer Time, marks by and large the end of road racing for the year and, on Sunday 28th, the weather, with the complete change in conditions, signalled that summer was well and truly over.  For those running in the half marathon and the 10k, the question was what to wear : vest ?  vest + short-sleeved tee ?  vest + long-sleeved tee ? vest + tee + jacket ?   Tweed Striders had no-one running in the half but five lined up on the start line of the 10k : Emma Alexander, Lucy Grieve, Steve Lauder, Caroline McDermott and Nikki Robertson.  The Jedburgh 10k is not without its challenges and, by and large, is not PB material but all five acquitted themselves well on the undulating course and two returned home with a PB.  Steve was first home for the club in 54.23, followed by Emma (58.24), Lucy (58.25 PB), Nikki (60.47 PB) and Caroline (61.24).  No sooner had the five collected their medals then the heavens opened and the hailstones came down.  The previous day David Lauckner took part in the Jedburgh Three Peak Ultra Marathon Relay alongside family members.  David had offered to run the demanding third leg.  His offer was – naturally ! - accepted so he took on the 11 mile section which started at Rhymer’s Stone, went up over the three Eildons then finished in Maxton.  Well done to all !  The next dates on the Tweed Striders’ calendar are the FoxTrail 5k and 13k on Saturday 3 November and the opening leg of the Borders XC Series at Lauder on Sunday 4 November.

Half Off and Half On … Road that is !

Tweed Striders headed for one of two race destinations this past weekend : four to Peebles on Saturday 20 October for the Tweed Valley Tunnel Trail Run and, the following morning, seven (plus cheerleaders en masse !) to Bamburgh for the Castles Half Marathon.   Saturday’s Tweed Valley Tunnel Trail Run is a beautiful 20k off-road race which takes runners through a stunning natural environment and comes with a very special twist in the tail : the trail leaves the autumnal beauty of the woods and dives into underground awesomeness - the Neidpath Tunnel  to be exact, a 600m railway tunnel, complete with lighting effects !  The quartet finished in very close succession.  Colin Blackburn was first to take the tape in 1.52.59, followed by Stephen Ball (1.58.26) then, mere minutes apart, Paul Brothwood and Michelle Douglas (2.01.05 and 2.03.36 respectively).  Sunday saw Striders back on terra firma – namely the roads and byways around Bamburgh for the Castles Half Marathon.  Neil Stalker and Laura Jeffrey were first home for the club in 1.41.26 and 1.49.24 (PB, 2nd in age group) respectively.  Next to cross the line was Stephen Whitehead in 1.59.07, followed by Laura Robertson (2.29.22 PB), Judith Thompson (2.32.19, a PB by 11 minutes), Lynsey Jardine (2.32.21) and Jodi Mace (3.15.27 PB).  Well done to all !  The other outing of the weekend was Sunday’s breakfast run organised by Steve Lauder.  Starting at Café Maelmin in Milfield, Steve took David Lauckner, Caroline and Will McDermott  along the Maelmin Trail, a circular 6.15 miles out through Fenton, up Fenton Hill and back to Milfield for the customary bacon roll and coffee.  Thank you to Steve and Café Maelmin.

PBs All Round !

Saturday 13 October saw Stephen Ball head to south-west Scotland for the Dark Skies Run @ Galloway – a unique and challenging 14 miles around the Cairnsmore of Fleet and Murrays Monument area of Galloway Forest under some of the darkest skies in the UK.  Running at night obviously suits Stephen as he finished 2nd in age group in a very good 2.20.18 (PB).

The following day it was all about the girls - Susan Howlett, Jenni McCraw and Julie Riley - and the ASDA Foundation Yorkshire Marathon.  This was a first marathon for Jenni and Julie (both of whom were running to raise money for causes very dear to their hearts) and a second for Susan.  All three put in phenomenal runs.  Jenni was first to finish in 4.44.20 (PB), followed by Susan (4.50.05 - a PB by some 23 minutes), then Julie (6.27.09 PB). 

Many congratulations to all four Striders !

From Kielder in the North to Bournemouth in the South

It was a north south split this weekend with only two Tweed Striders in action.  First to line up on the starting line on Saturday 6 October was Helen Hudson in the Kielder 10k.  Billed as “possibly the most beautiful 10k in the UK” this hilly 10k takes runners around the stunning Bull Crag Peninsula of Kielder Water. Helen put in a good run to take the tape in 65.21.  The other Strider in action was David Arnold on Sunday.  David was chasing his dream in the Bournemouth Marathon.  Described as “running as it should be” this is another race with stunning views - this time of the south coast - and the chance to run the Boscombe and Bournemouth piers.  David flew round and got the time he was after – a fabulous 3.03.07 – and his dream came true  : David has qualified to represent the England Age Group Masters Team in the ASDA Foundation Yorkshire Marathon on 20 October 2019 – in full England kit.

From Glasgow to Thrunton Woods

Glasgow was the place to be for PBs on Sunday 30 September with a trio of Tweed Striders running in the very atmospheric Bank of Scotland Great Scottish Half Marathon and enjoying beautiful autumnal conditions.  Emma Jones-Watson and Dave Watson had a ball as they ran, crossing the line together in 1.42.12 – a PB for Dave with Emma just outside of her best time.  Susan Howlett also had a tremendous run to take the tape in 2.02.21, so returned home having bagged herself a great PB -  by some seven minutes in fact. 

Much closer to home Stephen Ball ran in the High Fells of Thrunton Half Marathon, rearranged from March courtesy of the Beast from the East.  This technical trail race takes runners through Thrunton Woods on trails not normally open to the public and, distance-wise, is a bit of a misnomer as, at 15.63 miles, it is just a bit longer than the usual half marathon 13.1 miles.  Stephen, like the Glasgow trio, put in a superb run to finish 3rd in age group, 26th overall in 2.49.36, burning an astounding 2,394 calories in the process !  Well done to all four Striders – terrific running on Sunday !

And the 2018 Award Winners are …

Tweed Striders held their 5th Summer Social and Presentation Evening on Friday 28 September at Berwick Rugby Football Club.  Almost two-thirds of the membership were present to congratulate the award winners as they collected their trophies and celebrate the success of the club.  The 2018 winners were :

Walk-Jog Graduate : Jo Payne

Unsung Hero : Steve Lauder

Ladies’ Team : Emma Jones-Watson, Laura Jeffrey, Heather Barnes

Men’s Team : Ross Bagley, Stuart Black, Stephen Ball

XC Champion : Steven Flook;  Runner-Up Stephen Ball

Ladies XC Champion : Michelle Douglas;  Runner-Up Heather Barnes

Time-Trial Champion : Cheryl Scott;  Runner-Up Lynsey Jardine

Most Improver Runner : Jenni McCraw;  Runner-Up Lorna Patton

Outstandiing Performance : Emma Jones-Watson

The Tweedmouth Service Station Mitsubishi Trophy for First Tweed Strider Senior Man at the Curfew Run ; Stuart Black

The Tweedmouth Service Station Mitsubishi Trophy for First Tweed Strider Senior Lady at the Curfew Run : Laura Jeffrey

The Jus-Rol Trophy for Athlete of the Year : Michelle Douglas