Hawick 10k race report by Alan Wallace
Mal Steel mentioned this race on Tuesday evening in passing before training. The moment passed in a blur but I managed to retain the words “Fast and Flat”. With that I was sold and before I knew it I was bundled into a car on Sunday morning for the drive across the border into Bonnie Scotland.
The drive across was a good laugh with some good banter and the rolling countryside was great. If Mal had said “Sod the race let’s just stop and run up those hills” I would have been just as happy.
We rolled into Hawick in plenty of time and registered at the Rugby club. Had a quick walk around and got ready. Bumped into Steve Cairns and his partner and after a short warm up we were ready for the off.
A field of 74 runners gathered on a tree lined path which led into a park. There were a few North east clubs in attendance, Low fell, Sunderland Strollers, Morpeth and Tynedale but that only amounted to 6 runners. After a short wait for the race officials we were given a brief by a guy who was waving around the starting pistol like he was robbing a bank I must admit that I found myself ducking when it was pointed in my direction!!
Off we went and the field spread out fairly quickly. Along the track and past a museum, the route was in nice surroundings and conditions were great. I’ve been running well in training recently and I was confident about getting a pb. Maybe a bit too confident and I set off at a pace which would take 90s off my current pb.
After half a mile we hit the hill which Steve had told us about, a sharp rise which is similar to the one at the end of the Jelly tea race but shorter. I’d been running near Mal until here and felt ok up the hill and pushed on from the top keeping up my planned pace as we went downhill for a little. The route followed the road around a few bends and easy inclines until we crossed over a bridge and turned back towards the start.
We ran along a decent enough path next to the road into Hawick, past the rugby club and then took a left into the finishing area. I began to hear a familiar sound behind me and took a quick look to see Mal on my shoulder as we passed through 5k in 21.47. I was still on for a pb but by this point I knew it wasn’t going to happen today. I was labouring and my form was going from controlled to something resembling the 5th guy on this video – http://youtu.be/nGojEyYBmwc
I pushed on for a little but the legs didn’t want to play and as we reached the bottom of the hill again, I stopped. I walked up the hill and got going again with Mal still in sight in front of me but looking strong. Across the bridge we went and I was passed by a few local runners. Mal was now out of sight and I decided to just take it easy for the last mile and a half to the finish.
With around a mile left I was passed by a guy and somehow kicked myself into gear. Half a mile left and I upped the pace and moved away from him and set my sights on a guy who had passed me on the bridge. After going from almost 8 minute miles I managed to cover the last half mile at 6.36 pace and came up right behind him as we crossed a bridge into the finishing area.
However, just as we turned into the final straight he ran into a taped off area and had to stop and get back on course. This gave me 5 metres or more on him and that would be that. But that didn’t sit right with me. I don’t want to win anything by default so I checked my run and waited until he was past me again. Then the sprint for the line began again. As it turned out we were evenly matched and the Gala Harriers guy maintained his lead and that was that. We crossed the line, shook hands and he graciously acknowledged the gesture. For me, that was the best part of my race today.
I crossed the line in a disappointing 45.35 (although the results show 45.32), 38th out of 73 finishers. Mal, running for Bellahouston Harriers, had a stormer and recorded his “best time this century” finishing in 31st place with 44.27. Steve Cairns, running for Hunters Bog Trotters, finished in 2nd place with a superfast 33.39!!
Back to the rugby club and we hung around for the presentation and had a chat to Steve and his partner, Isobel, who is no slouch with an impressive 41.30. We were held up getting out of Hawick by a Motorbike run which clogged up the roads. There must have been 300 bikes chugging through the town as they did their annual memorial ride for Steve Hislop who was a Scottish motorcycle racer.
Overall, I really enjoyed this race. Maybe not my personal running experience but the route was nice and, apart from the “wee incline”, it was flat enough for a good pb attempt. It was a small and friendly affair and I’m surprised it doesn’t get a bigger turnout. Cheap enough at £10 entry on the day and a nice medal.
Full results can be found here – http://www.teviotdaleharriers.org.uk/?cat=11