15/01/2023 – Race write up today for the Selkirk Fund Runners 20km ish Feel The Burns race. After the torrential wind and rain yesterday I was so glad to wake up to a cold clear morning. Registration was at Selkirk RFC and then it was a warm up walk up the hill to a field for the start line. It was great to see so many fellow Westerlands Cross Country Club runners in yellow vests along with some of the EpicTrails Crew. I wasn’t brave enough to just wear the vest to long sleeve layer underneath. At noon the whistle blew and off we went, up a muddy field, onto track and then after a few km up the first climb to Peat Law. As we got higher the ground changed from mud to snow and ice. The first proper snowy trail was on the way up to the 3 Brethren. Last time is saw these was on the Tweed Valley Ultra but going the opposite direction. Continuing along the Southern Upland Way then up more snowy trails to Brown Knowe. Minchmoor Rd was the turning point with a great downhill, the underfoot conditions changed back to more mud. I loved the downhill and even the slippy field before a short uphill to Broadmeadows Farm and the water station. I’d been told there was a killer hill in the last section and knew it must be fast approaching. A few more meandering trails and then I saw it and all the runners ahead dotted up it. So it began, the heather tussocks to clamber through, the false summits, the swearing, the eating of more chocolate eclairs and eventually the summit of Foulshiels Hill was conquered. Now another long downhill through the burnt heather, field straight into stile and stream then back on the track down to the end. Final obstacle was the last field, it was so muddy and slippy. I tried to keep my footing and ended up running into the fence until I could regain it. Final downhill and finish line crossed.

Cheered on some of the other finishers but then started to feel the cold so cold down walk back to the clubhouse to find some warm kit and get a really tasty soup, pie, tea and biscuit. I could have showered but food was calling the mud tan lines needed to wait until I got home. So how’d I do? Finished in 2hr 17min. Don’t know my place and wasn’t a top finisher for a prize but I did win a spot prize courtesy of Loomi Life and now have some lovely smelling muscle balm to try once clean. Great race, fab volunteers, definitely recommend.

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