The excitement has been building. The competition growing all the more fierce with each day, getting closer to the pinnacle of the Haries racing calendar:
Saturday morning will see the arrival of Britain’s finest university running clubs and local club runners alike to take the Braids Hills Bridle Path by storm. For most Haries, a run round Braids is a crucial part of the week’s training – this race allowing the hill-lovers among us to flourish on a ‘proper’ cross country course, the altitude factor in abundance. Also, perhaps the wind factor, the mud factor and the ‘dig-deep’ factor. There’s something for everyone along the way, be it the rapid start, the incline, the technical descent…
Who, therefore, are the ones to watch? What athletic spectacle can we expect to witness? We will see runners fearlessly crossing the border into the hilly terrain, the foundation of Scottish XC success. From Newcastle, Leeds, Manchester, Liverpool universities… not forgetting that iconic shade of green that will flood the course. Then we’ll toe the line with our Scottish rivals, be it Aberdeen, Dundee or from that west side… Strathclyde. From here on out, it’s pure competition: pride and reputation are at stake. Haries will be dominating the home turf.
Here’s the Breakdown
The 5km race consists of one iconic lap of the dramatic Braids Hills Golf Course. It’s quite thin mind (top tip no. 1), so be sure not to get stuck due to the narrow path!
Last year for the men, we had Tom Martyn of HBT with a winning time of 15.43, swiftly followed by Haries one and only Andrew Lawler, keeping it sub 16 with 15.58 (who we all hope to see sporting his infamous mankini at some point again soon!). The women saw Amelia Petitt, a lass from the toon fly round in 17.46 sealing the win. Next was Georgia Tindley of HBT in 18.20.
The 10km is two laps: Two whole laps of grinding, gritting your teeth and absolutely going for it. Last year, Kris Jones held onto the win in a time of 30.26 and the female winning time by Fanni Gyurko was 36.31 – just to give a taster of the fine quality of the athletes we can anticipate to showcase their talent tomorrow.
This year, we can expect to see the Hare and Hounds in fine form (of course), with the addition of some wonderfully talented new freshers who, despite taking to this race for the first time, have an abundance of experience. We all know they will bomb it round – no bother.
Notable attendees include:
- Alex Chepelin – For the 2017 Pentlands Skyline winner, a couple of laps of Braids is a walk in the park, right?
- Oleg Chepelin – Family rivalries taking centre stage.
- Jennie Glass & Katie Hall – Name a more iconic duo: these two raced at the FRAs last month – they’ve got hill racing nailed to a T.
- Ali Masson – Feeling fresh again after smashing the OMM, his legs back in full swing will see him cruise round.
- Ben Murphy – Captain Ben is making Braids world records – word on the street is that he’s both parkrunning in the morning, then hitting the hills! 10 / 10 for effort.
- Amy ‘Franko’ Frankland – Blink and you’ll miss her tear it up the hills. As seen at Cumbernauld, her love for hills, frequently fuelled by pancakes from The Treehouse, will stand her in good stead for an ace run on Saturday.
- Tim Morgan – A four-month stint in Chamonix and he’s returned to Edinburgh 100% mountain goat. No doubt this will be on full display come Saturday.
- Eilidh MacQuarrie – Big competition here: she’s going to be racing her law professor on the hills – going to have to prove she’s both a hill machine and the best up and coming lawyer in Scotland.
- Euan Gillham – He’s been seen more times on the Scottish National XC podium than Andy Butchart. This harie means business. No doubt he will dance round the loop – living up to his title of ‘British uphill running champion.’
- Alex Leutchford – Special mention to Leutch. He’s going to be running Braids blisteringly fast in his beautiful, beaming, newly found shade of brown.
Outside the Haries:
- Bronwen Jenkinson – She’s got a GB vest for hills. That says it all really.
- Emily Sinclair – She’s a big name on the XC scene, training hard in Leeds at the moment. Keep an eye out.
- Adam Grice – With a name which echoes other athletic ‘big timers,’ he was 1st at BUCS 10k in 2008 and represented GB and placing 5th in 2007 at the world mountain running trophy. No fear on the start line come Saturday, returning Braids with fervour.
If that isn’t enough to get excited about, the action continues into tomorrow night too. After having battled the elements on the course all afternoon, left your all out there, a second wind will be a prerequisite before the ceilidh – perhaps coming in the form of a hearty portion of haggis, neeps and tatties. The intensity will be turned up, the sound of the bagpipes music to our ears and the night will well and truly get underway… Haries style. A club then filled entirely with runners? What more could you keen athletes ask for? Time to show that not only do the hills have your calling, but the dancefloor as well.
See you tomorrow.
Rest up and get excited: all roads lead to Braids.