On Saturday 12th November, hundreds of runners from across the UK descended (then ascended and descended again) on the Braids Hills for our annual cross country race. Records were broken, cake was consumed, many injuries were sustained – and not just from racing. Braids is a highlight of the racing calendar for many reasons, fuelling expectations for newbies and veterans alike. 2016 did not disappoint. Amazing performances insured there was drama on the course, and boat racing at the after-party guaranteed it continued well into the early hours.
From the views overlooking Edinburgh to the energetic ceilidh dancing, it’s no wonder running clubs traveled from cities far and wide. From distant lands such as Swansea, Leeds, and Manchester, to slightly closer locations like St Andrews, Newcastle, Aberdeen, and Glasgow, the starting line was a rainbow of running vests as they prepared to conquer the course.
The 5k race began at 13:30, and there was still a satisfactory amount of mud despite the better than expected weather. There were some excellent performances from HBT in both races, a fact encapsulated by Tom Martyn, who came 1st in 15:43. He barely had time to catch his breath before leaping straight into the 10k race too (and coming 14th) – an extra well done to everyone who took on the extra challenge of running twice! Representing the Hare and Hounds, Andrew Lawler came second place with a fantastic time of 15:58, closely followed by Rory Stead of Aberdeen University in 16:13. Amelia Pettitt, representing Newcastle University, was the first woman across the line in a time of 17:46, and close behind her was our own Georgia Tindley in 18:20, with Beth Garland of Leeds University completing the women’s top three in a time of 18:46.
There were countless notable performances from the Hare and Hounds and HBT. Michael Diver ran two exceptional races, coming 14th in the 5k before running a sub-40 minute time in the 10k. Calum Murray finished in 17:39, putting him in an impressive 17th place. Eilidh MacQuarrie completed the race in under 26 minutes despite sustaining a nasty leg injury, and Linette Knudsen traveled all the way from #Norway (the capital of Denmark, didn’t you know) and ran in more green clothing than we all considered possible.
Braids history was made during the 10k race, which kicked off at 14:15 as the temperature began to dip*. Kristian Jones of Swansea Harriers AC smashed the course record in a time of 30:26, which is fast for a flat 10k, never mind a muddy XC. There was almost a minute gap between him and Grant Sheldon, who ran an excellent time of 31:18 for Ronhill Cambuslang Harriers. Rounding out the top three was Marc Austin, representing Victoria Park, who completed the race in 31:38.
In fourth place was Michael Christoforou, unfortunately not in a green vest, but in an time of 31:44. Running for Central AC, Fanni Gyurko was the first woman, completing the course in 36:31. Not far behind her was Lucy Crookes of the University of Leeds, in 37:15, and also managing a sub-40 minute time was the incredible Georgia Tindley, placing third woman.
*At least it did for me on the top of the hill. Three hours and 700 calories of nuts later, I just about retained all my limbs.
The top twenty was not without its green. Scott Stirling, anticipating that the 13+ people in front of him in the first lap went off too fast, held his nerve and finished in an excellent 7th place with a time of 32:02. Less good at pacing, but brilliant at wearing kilts, Alexander Chepelin finished 12th in 32:50. Craig Campbell completed the course 32 seconds later, managing a fantastic 15th place.
Another performance worthy of note came from Alex Luetchford, who came 31st in 36:01. It is clear that hill races are his favourite #hillreps. As a new member of the club, Anna Vesaluoma took on the harder distance and finished in under 47 minutes – exactly the kind of masochism we encourage in the Haries. Happy birthday to our dearest Calum McLeod. It was fantastic to see the familiar faces of James Bryson and Sarah Henderson tackling the hill – twice! Brown looks fetching on both of them.
Thank you to everyone to ran, marshaled, and supported this year’s race. I cannot convey how grateful we are for the continued success of this event and its high regard amongst University clubs and local runners alike. A massive congratulations to Sophie Collins for organising the race. We’re in safe hands for hosting Scots Unis on the 19th.
This was an attempt at a brief report. Apologies for not mentioning every result – there were just too many keen Haries and HBT runners. You can find full results for both races at the beginning of the post and lots of other photos on our Instagram (@eu_hareandhounds) and on our Facebook page. I will post a table of Haries results shortly (i.e as soon as my essay deadline is over.)
A personal thank you to Sarah Douglas and Jonas Muller for running with the Go Pros for me. Your contribution to the end of year video is truly appreciated!
Braids 2015 was my first Haries event – the beginning of a crazy, green love affair. I hope some of our ‘Freshers’ (Sanni, Katie, Ciara, to name but a few) are ready for the next 2-4+ years of mud and cake. Not necessarily in that order.
See you all for Scots Unis! Alice xo
Photo credit: Kevin Brydon, Nairn McWilliams, and, uh, me!