February Roundup

“Winter miles mean summer smiles” is a well-known phrase among runners, and both of us are midway through out winter/spring training blocks getting ready for big races to come. Of course, that doesn’t mean you can’t have a few smiles along the way too 😃

Only 4 weeks after Feel The Burns, it was time for Selkirk Fund Runners’ second race of the year – the Heart Burn Run. We ran this one last year and it’s a great wee race. Thoroughly low key, open to walkers and runners, pay-on-the-day, 10k round the hills above Selkirk on a vaguely heart-shaped route (Valentine’s themed, see!), and back to a excellent selection of cake laid out on a table in a car park!

The weather on the day was excellent and after a good week or so without much rain underfoot conditions were perfect. Even the infamous turnip field which is usually a huge bog was like a bowling green! There were 51 walkers already on the route when the 15 runners (including us) set off. We had the unusual experience of setting the pace from the start and we managed to stay ahead all the way to the top of Peat Law. A fast, fun descent followed across heathery slopes and past the path the to Three Brethren, before the nasty “Rocky Road” climb up to Foulshiels Hill. Here we were passed by the eventual winner, and we couldn’t stay with him. From the top it’s pretty much downhill all the way to the finish, with the grassy slopes between Tibbie’s and the Top Pond making it easy (and fun) to reach top speed! We pushed hard all the way, finishing together a few minutes behind the winner but agonisingly 3 seconds over the one hour mark – leaving a target to aim for next year 🤪

The following weekend Iain had entered the Bertha Park Trail 10k – a bit of an “impulse buy” but since it was the inaugural edition of the race and is pretty much on out doorstep it seemed rude not to 😉 The race starts on the outskirts of the Bertha Park housing development, follows some woodland trails around the back of Bertha Loch for the first 5k then a flat dash down the Almond cycle path, before turning back for a short kicker of a climb back up to Bertha Park and a finish on the green. Iain regularly runs this route while Angus is at football training so he knew what to expect – although it looked a bit different in daylight! The trail section is very narrow, with lots of overhanging trees, roots, rocks and streams/bogs, so with that in mind the only strategy was to head out hard to avoid having to pass anyone on the trails and then try to hang on to the end.

In the end that’s pretty much how it turned out. After a slightly chaotic start where the air horn failed to sound at the end of the countdown, Iain was ahead at the first turn and opened up nearly a minute’s lead in the first mile. The plan worked and he held the gap steady to second place and crossed the line first in a time of 43:50 🎉

Sadly no race photos – but a decent spread of cakes, cookies and watermelon at the finish. Definitely worth a look next year if you’re in the area.

So lots of smiles to be had in February after all, and great to see we are both in pretty good shape heading in to the spring. Hope you are having a good start to the year too!

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