Hailing from the lowland Borders region of Dumfries & Galloway a group of budding athletes more accustomed to a fitness step than a running step started meeting up on Wednesday evenings as lockdown & COVID restrictions started to ease in July 2020.
Many had never run a step before unless it was to the bar for last orders but over the course of a few weeks more started to run and out of that Queensberry Running Club (QRC) was born.
The ethos behind QRC is to be a less serious alternative to other clubs in the region for people wanting to try their hand at running, with social runs on a Wednesday evening focussing on the vicinity of Lockerbie & Moffat, the runs vary in length from short runs of 3 miles up to longer runs of 5 miles (with the odd 10k in summer evenings).
Taking their name from one of the prominent hills surrounding Moffat, QRC have taken on their namesake Queensberry in both a social walk and hill run. The social walk took place during the festive period of 2020 with several members braving the elements and up to the summit of Queensberry and some got an unexpected workout on the way into the start point.
In May 2021, in the alleged spring QRC held a summer league hill run on Queensberry where one of their members went out early and encountered some snow at the summit cairn, just goes to show you never know what to expect in the Scottish Hills.
QRC with the support of the Queensberry Estate and Scottish Hill Runners are excited to be hosting a race on Queensberry in 2022
Over that past 18 months QRC has partaken in road, trail and hill running, with several members participating in some SHR Races, with many donning a QRC shirt taking on the challenge of hill racing for the first time. With members having run the Cademuir Rollercoaster, Eildon 3 Hills, Lilliesleaf 10K and Tinto in the 2021 season, the appetite for the hills has been wetted. With the ladies achieving third team in the Eildon 3 Hill Race, a good summer season has been had in the hills.
QRC also run Winter & Summer Leagues where members are encouraged to challenge themselves to run longer distances over a variety of courses & terrains, to complement these QRC also held a series of course recces which saw the members deal with the whole spectrum of Scottish Weather, in the case of the Hartfell Horseshoe Recce all in the one day.
Although this didn’t put some of our members off who went out a couple weeks later to take on the Hartfell Horseshoe Race.
Weather was much more favourable when QRC went up Criffel for a walking recce of the traditional race route up Knockendoch onto Criffel, there was a small group who ran up Criffel on this recce seeing some of the first runners on a new path which has been getting put in over the usually boggy section of the foot of Knockendoch.
QRC also have created half marathon route round Lockerbie and a challenging (but rewarding) half marathon around Moffat. With many of the QRC members running their first half marathon when Lockerbie Half came up on the Summer Schedule and for all this was the longest run, they had ever undertaken, as a way of recognising this QRC presented these members with a certificate of achievement.
As part of the QRC Winter League 2020 the club held a couple of festive runs in December with most members getting into the spirit of things & donning festive costumes. QRC Members were asked for a small donation that when totalled came to £225 that was donated to the Moffat Mountain Rescue.
QRC have also put together an Ultra course dubbed, The AeShaig Ultra which takes in Earshaig Forest and follows part of the Roman & Reivers route out to Ae looping back to Earshaig. Recces for the AeShaig Ultra started back in Winter 2020 with several members enjoying a lovely day up in the Earshaig Forest in what could only be described as a Winter Wonderland.
With a further recce for the Roman & Reivers route & Ae section of the route taking place in the summer, where members were blessed with a perfect summer’s day for 22miles round the forests.
The main event of the AeShaig Ultra took place on 28th September 2021, which saw the 5 budding ultra-runners heading out at dark o’clock to get the first 22 miles under their belts before meeting up with a contingent of other members joining them for the last 8 miles.
On the same day they held a social evening & presentation night where two committee voted trophies were awarded for Most Improved Athlete and Most Consistent Athlete, there was also the members choice awards where members of QRC were given a vote on who they felt brought a lot to the club, in which saw three members being given this accolade.
What next for QRC well who knows, a few of our members are taking on the Great Glencoe Challenge in July 2022, a 26.2-mile Trekathon. Training has already started for the Trekathon although we are not sure they get the idea that they need to be able to walk 26.2miles with these choices of on course hydration.
A few others are eyeing bigger things in events such as Glen Ogle & Cumbria Way Ultras and maybe a wee marathon but for the most part we will be donning our trainers and vests and running in as many SHR runs as we can with a healthy dose of organised road races such as XBorder 10k being the first of these a run in which as the name suggests you run across the Scotland/England border from Carlisle to Gretna. As for the rest of the road running season, we will see what else takes our members fancy plus QRCs own Summer and Winter league runs.
QRC welcome walkers & runners of all abilities to the midweek social runs and encourage participation in their Summer & Winter League events.
The aim is to have fun and keep active, with a healthy dose of laughter, traybake & homemade gin.
The QRC Scribbler