Runners beat the Burns

Runners make there way from the start

Runners make there way from the start

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MOST people opening their bedroom curtains on Saturday morning and seeing three inches of snow outside would most likely head straight back under the duvet, writes Fiona Scott.

Scotland’s hill runners are made of sterner stuff, however, and to prove the point more than 100 of them grabbed their running shoes and headed for Selkirk Rugby Club’s Philiphaugh ground for the start of Saturday’s inaugural Feel The Burns Hill Race.

Runners received a Burns supper in Selkirk Rugby club

Runners received a Burns supper in Selkirk Rugby club

A total of 137 runners out of 160 entries managed to brave the weather, with athletes making the journey from far and wide – even one entry from Inverness made it down – to take part in the event which incorporated 13.7 miles of the Selkirk countryside.

Race organiser Sheila Cochrane was delighted with the turnout and told The Wee Paper: “Despite the difficult conditions, Saturday’s event proved a huge success.

“Sports fixtures were being called off right, left and centre on Saturday morning, so although we knew ours could go ahead it was a bit of an anxious wait to see how many of our entries would turn up.

“We needn’t have worried, though, runners are a hardy bunch. As it turned out there was a great atmosphere and not one complaint about the snow.”

Race winner Matthew Sullivan 4 miles from the finish

Race winner Matthew Sullivan 4 miles from the finish

As the leaders made the first climb up onto Peat Law, visibility was poor, but as the sky cleared, the glistening snow, believe it or not, actually allowed for some good running.

There were some tricky places on the farm tracks and a few sighs could be heard as the runners reached the last climb up Foulshiels, but the course was declared a great success.

“We have had some excellent feedback,” added Sheila, “and people are already asking when our next event will be.

“All the runners had nothing but praise for Selkirk Rugby Club and the friendly reception they got from the local community, and I’m pleased to say everything went very much according to plan.”

One of the most satisfying aspects of the day is that the run raised £1,011 for the Tweed Valley Mountain Rescue team.

For the past three summers Sheila and her team of helpers have staged the Philiphaugh Hill Run to help raise funds for Selkirk’s Playpark project, and it now looks as though the Feel The Burns race will also become an annual event.

The 22km course took in Peat Law, the Three Brethren, Brown Knowe and Foulshiels Hill, and featured an elevation of 870m.

“I would like to add a big thank you for all the helpers and marshals who made the day possible and to Hunter Cabs who sponsored the top three prizes.”

After the race, competitors were treated to traditional Burns fare in the club’s Philiphaugh Suite provided by local butcher J. A. Waters.

Results – senior male: 1, Matthew Sullivan (Shettleston Harriers); 2, Andrew Fallas (Carnethy); 3, Alasdair Anthony (Ochil Hill Runners).

Senior female: 1, Jasmin Paris (Carnethy); 2, Nicola Duncan (Portobello RC); 3, Morag McCracken (Hunters Bog Trotters),

Coming in first from the many local runners supporting the event was Gala Harrier Fergus Johnston with clubmate Fiona Shepherd leading the way for the Borders ladies.

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