This year’s Scottish Hill Running (SHR) Championships got off to a mind numbingly cold and blustery start near Broughton in the borders last Saturday. 13 brave Harriers joined a field of 130 athletes for one of the shortest races in the calendar, Chapelgill Hill Race.  Only 2.6km long, it still manages to squeeze in 410 meters of climbing.

Given the severity of the conditions it was a bit of a blessing that the race was so short and any loose talk of running in just a vest top was quickly forgotten. Illusive patches of blue sky came and went amidst the blizzards but it was the wind chill that kept the mind focused on the job in hand. Championship points were at stake both individual and team, not to mention the SHR mug!

The route was a straightforward out and back/up and down. Ross Gollan was first home for the Shetts in second place, losing out by a mere 5 seconds, to race winner Scott Fraser of HBT, in a time of 20.34.  A slip on the final descent cost him the win but still a magnificent result for somebody with such remarkably short legs!

Next Harrier home was Jethro Lennox in 4th (2nd V40), again just 11 seconds adrift of Al Anthony of Ochil who took 1st MV40.  Jethro was followed home by Matt Sullivan (8th) and Ryan Stewart (9th). The rest of the Shetts stormed over the finishing line off a very steep descent as follows:

14. Joe Symonds
15. Kenny Richmond
26. Steve Winter
31. Bill Breckenridge
39. Walter Henderson
45. Ross Cruickshanks
55. Iain Pender
84. Victoria Leiper
86. Graham Ramsay



As for the team honours, it would appear that the Harriers romped home in the men’s senior category and tied 1st place with Carnethy in the V40s, both teams benefiting from the help of their V50 squad.

Race 2 in the SHR champs sees a return to the borders on the 6th of June for the Yetholm Hill Race. Let’s hope it’s a bit warmer!

PS – Clearly 2.6k was just a wee winter warmer for Matt S who turned up for the Criffel Hill Race the following day and swept the opposition aside claiming 1st spot and a bottle of beer! Congratulations Matt.

As I was AWOL and wasting petrol travelling up north, roving reporter and hill club captain, Bill Breckenridge stepped into the breach to bring us the news and views from the hills.  We look forward to the viewpoint from other members in the ranks at the next hill race.

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