> 2009 race reports
21/06/09 Windy Gyle Fell Race - from John Telfer (photos from Pat & Rob)

9 miles / 1,500 feet - Sunday June 21, 2009

For once, the weather truly befitted its Midsummer’s Day tag as over 40 runners enjoyed the beauty that is the Coquet valley. Phil Sanderson broke Joe Blackett’s five year record and in the process recorded the first sub 60 minute race time, whilst Karen Robertson continued her fine form to take the honours for the ladies.

Philip is streets ahead

Karen on the road to victory

Keith Cooper and his array of helpers had matters well under control and for once did not have to worry about what might be falling from the skies. These wonderful “park by the side of the road” races à la Brough Law and Cheviot have a charm all of their own which makes it almost a shame when conviviality must stop and racing begins!

As usual Phil Sanderson opened up about a 50 yard lead within 100 yards of the start as the mere mortals in the field just watched him disappear off in to the distance. After a short run along the road, excellently marshalled by Team Green, it was up and onto the Border County Ride for the first bit of uphill with the noise of short-breathed runners just about being drowned out by the wide variety of bird life who probably did not appreciate our presence.

By the time I had wheezed down to the quaintly named Murder Cleugh (I believe a murder did actually take place here a long time ago – no doubt it is twinned with equally quaintly named Bloodybush Edge a couple of miles to the East) the field was well spread out and continued to do so as we sauntered through the meadows before the long but (just about) runnable incline under Little Ward Law and then up to Windy Gyle itself.

the mystery of Murder Cleugh is revealed at last!

A minor navigational error (scenic route) off Windy Gyle made for a slight detour, no doubt enjoyed by those who at that point had been behind me. However, for those (myself included) who believed that Windy Gyle saw the end of the hard slog we were to be disabused at least three times before the finish. After the initial descent from Windy Gyle the route to Plea Knowe is something of an up and down. Pat was there on two legs to capture the moment and a mile or so further on Rob was there on two wheels to do likewise, whilst Will and Casper offered encouragement.

Although the ground throughout was as perfect as you could hope for with the recent rains having put a little give in the ground the descent down The Street seemed to be about 2 miles longer than usual and also seemed to have added half a dozen stiles as well for good measure.

Not only did Phil break the record but he came home almost 10 minutes ahead of his nearest rival.

Thanks as ever to Keith and all those who helped to hopefully boost the funds of the North of Tyne SRT. A very laid back prize giving was rounded off by a trip by a number of us to the excellent Tea Room at Barrowburn Farm (http://www.barrowburn.com/tearoom.html) where a majority of us went on a calorie consumption crash course (i.e. bacon rolls) in order to restore ourselves to our pre-race weight.


John Telfer

results and organiser's comments from Keith

photos from James Green | Steve Matthews

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