Rollercoaster ride as athletics makes a return to the Borders

The grey clouds lifted and a gloriously sunny afternoon heralded the return of formal athletics in Scotland, at the Cademuir Rollercoaster on the hills to the south of Peebles on Saturday.

Thursday, 20th August 2020, 3:05 pm
Abbie Little (picture by Neil Renton)

To comply with Covid-related guidance, which now permits junior competitors to take to the field for sport without social distancing, races were restricted to Under-18s, field size was limited to 20 per race, and a simplified 3.5km course, sticking to the main Cademuir paths, was used to minimise the need for course markings.

The race had been slated initially as the Scottish Junior Championships and a selection race for two junior hill running internationals later in the year. But, disappointingly, both internationals were called off in the weeks leading up to the race.

Scottish Athletics also felt it was not appropriate for the first race back after nearly five months in lockdown limbo to carry National Championship status.

Elenal Lee (picture by Neil Renton)

However, there was still some high-quality running on show.

Gala Harrier Cameron Rankine only just missed out on racing in the Under-15 age-group, so faced a tough task against older racers. But he acquitted himself well to finish 11th in 16.50.

Gala Harrier Zico Field had a very strong run to cross the line in 16.38 for sixth place and clubmate Archie Hendry was 11th in 17.09.

Moorfoot Runner Shaun Pyman found it tough going in the heat and was below his true form, finishing 17th in 18.42

Isla Paterson (picture by Neil Renton)

The final race for Under-15 Girls saw the widest winning margin of the day, with Gala Harrier Isla Paterson romping home in 18.02.

Local novice Elena Lee, from Moorfoot Runners, had a very encouraging run for second in 18.57, with her clubmate and training partner Abbie Little sixth in 20.54.

Race organiser Gregor Nicholson, from the host club Moorfoot Runners said: “Thanks to everyone who attended – officials, runners and parents – for complying with all the Covid-related guidance and instructions which we put in place, and for helping athletics in Scotland get back to real racing.”