Archive for October, 2008

Jedburgh Half – Anne Noble

Congratulations to Hazel on completing the Jedburgh Half in the fantastic time of 2:02:35 ;D (to be confirmed)
It was an early start in order to reach Jedburgh before the roads were closed at 10am. The organisers were helpful and friendly and everything was well organised. The race starts on a (small) hill which was an indication of what was to come with an undulating course out of the town into the countryside. Having started well back, but with a deliberately slow start, there were lots of runners passing by. However, Hazel ran at a good steady pace and was soon picking off runners one by one.
The wind picked up but was still at the backs of the runners, and with lots of local people supporting everyone at various hamlets and road ends, this was one of the most enjoyable sections. At about 5.5 miles the front runners were passing by on their route back. A great welcome was given by the people of Eckford who had hung orange balloons out beside a sign congratulating everyone on reaching the half-way point. Of course, this brought the sense of foreboding as being half-way meant turning back to Jedburgh and facing the wind. :'(
However, nature’s worst and a long, though gentle, climb didn’t stop Hazel from continuing to pass runners ;D. Another flat section, the sheer elation of reaching the 10 mile sign and then the effort of a steep and long climb up the junction back at the A68. But unbelievably Hazel still continued to pass people 8-)
Then the relief of the downhill into Jedburgh! With the knowledge that the end was close Hazel started to speed up despite the continued gale in her face. Finally the last few yards with loads of encouragement from the crowd and then the finishing line and great cheers! What a fantastic achievement from zero running to a half marathon in 7 months! Hazel could easily have completed the course in under 2 hours if it hadn’t been for the ferocious winds.
A huge thank you to John Sayer, organiser of the Jedburgh Half. What a kind and helpful person who even went as far as checking every inch of the course and letting Hazel know about every kerb (numbered and described in detail) and every hill. A fantastic job by him and his stewards who encouraged Hazel at every opportunity, and to the local people who cheered on all the runners. Put this one in your diary for next year 8-)

Tortoises in France – Niall McPherson



(report by Niall McPherson)

On Sunday 12th October, as part of the exchange between Troon Tortoises and the Stade Villeneuvois Athlétisme, now in its 5th year, a group of runners and walkers from Troon met up with their French partners in the little village of Saint Étienne de Fougères, near our twin town Villeneuve-sur-Lot, to take part in the various events on offer: a 20 K run, a 10.2 K run, and a 10.2 K walk. There was also a children’s race to involve the next generation of athletes.

The road races were started some ten years ago by a previous Mayor of Saint Étienne, himself a keen runner, who had taken part in the New York Marathon. The event is sponsored by local businesses, particularly the Coufidou prune factory at Sainte Livrade, which donates samples of its product for each participant.  The course is practically level, and winds through fields of plum trees and sunflowers, past pleasant farms and villas, with tantalizing views from a variety of angles of the church which marks the beginning and end of the race.

Ewen Walker finished the half marathon well up the field, while Tortoises President George Malone memorably ran the course in his kilt, and finished in style, accompanied by Max Barland on his bicycle. Niall MacPherson ran the 10 K as his first race since a foot injury forced him to stop training two years ago. Sheila Walker and Jenifer MacPherson took the 10 K walk at a steady pace and were happy not to come in last. Although they were lapped by some of the half-marathoners as they went round for the second time, there were plenty of runners (and some walkers) behind them at the finish.

The races were followed by a lunch of home-made soup, sandwiches and fruit served in the village hall, where the many cups and prizes were presented. George was given a souvenir trophy to take back to the Tortoises, which later caused a stir at the airport security check. He was eventually allowed to take it through, after his laundry had been subjected to prolonged scrutiny, somewhat to his embarrassment.

The Troon group was hosted for the weekend by members of the Stade Villeneuvois Athlétisme and of the Twinning Commitee. On Sunday night they were invited to the home of  Athletics President Pierre Lassignardie, along with their hosts, and other members of both organizations, including Ken Napier, President of the Twinning Committee, with his wife Sue, for a wonderful meal served by Pierre and Nicole, to round off a terrific weekend.

We look forward to welcoming our French friends back to Scotland next year, either for the Troon 10 K, or for another of the many road races in this area.

Race Times:

Ewen Walker 20K: 1hr 32mins 58secs (-23rd out of a field of 69 and 9th in his age category, French V2M )

George Malone 20K: 2hrs 8mins 13secs (67th out of a field of 69 and 22nd in his age category, French V2M)

Niall MacPherson 10.2K: 54mins 2secs (115th out of a field of 151 and 10th in his age category, French V3M)