Well what a year we have had in QRC, although perhaps not a true year in review as it would be unfair not to include the activities from December 2021 with Alan Creighton experiencing the epic phenomenon of cloud inversion during the Cairnsmore Hill Race just before Christmas 2021 and our wee trek round the 9 mile trail loop up Earshaig where Nana Nette tried to highjack the farmers JCB.
In January we literally walked into the eye of the storm when we went round the Queensberry Race route for our winter walk to start the year, we were all grateful of the Burleywhag Bothy being there for a wee respite from the weather to have a tea break. The Hoff aka Johnny Minto who went out and ran the Selkirk Fund Runners “Feel The Burns” race in early January had a good run out in decent conditions given it was winter. Those of us that took on the DRC Cross Country were blessed with almost spring like day a week or so later, with a good performance from everyone who ran despite some dodgy race numbering (if you know you know).
February brought a return to Winter like conditions with the runners in the xBorder 10K getting hammered with every weather perceivable (rain, hail, sleet, snow, wind and some sun for good measure) but the hardy souls were all able to complete the race. We also had the Black Boys and the lovely Alex taking on the Hillbilly 10k & despite some dubious course marking and marshalling they all got round in very respectable times with Alex proving the fastest of the QRC runners on the day. February was rounded off by a trip down to Cumbria for The Malcolm McDougall Netherhall 10 Mile Road Race 2022, this was a challenging run that rewards you with a good feed at the end (what more could we ask for)
March was somewhat quiet on the races front for QRC members with a lot of the focus shifted towards rebuilding the bridge at Burleywhag Bothy in preparation for the Hill Race later in the year, which included a few recces of the route to make sure we didn’t send runners into ankle breaking boulder fields. With a couple of our number getting entry into the West Highland Way (WHW) Race the recces of the WHW began, on top of the last few runs in the clubs Winter Schedule.
Ah April the dawn of spring and new season of racing was upon us. The month was kicked off by some marvellous marathon running down in Manchester, four of our members were lucky? Enough to get entry into the Manchester Marathon and despite feelings of being unfit & unprepared they all ran very well with very respectable times being achieved by them all. A few of us were foolhardy enough to sign up to The Grand Tour of Skiddaw Ultra bringing about a fresh round of recces of the race route sections, meaning a few grand days out in the Lake District, I would love to say we were blessed with breath-taking views but in reality the wind was that strong it took our breath away during a recce walk of Skiddaw and Ullock Pike & Long Side Edge descent (the horrible rocky spine ridge for those that are still traumatised by the experience). Conditions were somewhat better for those of us that went down to Carlisle for the “Carlisle Urban Trail 10k” a cracking wee run that sees you treading in the shoes of the ancients when you run round the Castle walls, with poor James picking up a hamstring injury in the last mile which slowed him down a bit but still managed to keep a place in the top 10 and the lovely Alex finishing in the top 15 overall and first in her category.
Magnificent May, off with a bang saw a good number of members participating in the Holywood Stroll hosted by Dumfries Running Club (DRC). We were blessed by a perfect evening for running and despite claims of being a “flat” course the Holywood stroll route proved a good wee challenge with members achieving nothing short of fantastic times. A wee change of pace saw some of our members become intrepid explorers in search of the wreckage of the 1944 Avro Anson Mk.I MG827 of No.10 (Observer) Advanced Flying Unit crashed in November 1944 on Criffel. After months of recces, preparation and planning the day was finally upon us for the inaugural Queensberry Hill Race, with a good field of 40 runners and an army of volunteers stationed around the route. The runners were sent out for a race round the challenging course, we were blessed with a perfect day for racing and all runners made it round safe.
After a full-on May you would be fooled into thinking that the QRC members would take some time to rest and regenerate, but you would be mistaken with a score of members heading down to Carlisle for the Tri-Club 10k. The race saw some very strong runs from all over a course which was described as undulating. Of course, for our resident wonder women Marie & Louise June brought the challenge of the West Highland Way, and with their army of support runners & a very healthy dose of good humour they completed successfully in a very respectable time. In keeping with the theme of strong running another good turn out for QRC at the Buckland Burn-Up out in Kirkcudbright which brought June to a close.
Jubilant July, kicking off with a bang with the Lockerbie Lassies & Co. heading up to Glencoe to take on the Great Glencoe Challenge, 26.2miles of trekking in 12hrs or less. Across bogs and up & over the Devils Staircase the mental challenge of the trudge across the moors into Fort William. The challenges did not stop there with some of the QRC Crew signing up to the Grand Tour of Skiddaw meaning a raft of recces and training was in order with many a trip down to the Lake District being undertaken. Of course, just because there was an ultra on the cards did not stop the racing, with the relaxation of Covid restrictions seeing the return of the Moffat Gala Run with 2022 being the 35th running, a plethora of prizes were grabbed by runners in QRC. The final race of the month was the Hartfell Horseshoe a gruelling 10-mile 300ft race which for the first time had a cut-off enforced on the runners on reaching the Hartfell summit, luckily despite some issues the QRC runners made the summit before the cut-off, and all successfully made it round. Rounding off the month in less-than-ideal conditions was the Lowther Hills walk up to the NATS station atop Green Lowther heading back round to Wanlockhead, for the normal people at least, Johnny & Marie took an alternative route out along the Southern Upland way heading back to Moffat.
Exhausting August was soon upon us with the last of the Ultra recces being completed, the Phillihaugh Hill Race, Stag to Hind Hill Race, Blackwood Trail 10k, Doonhamer 10k and the main event for a small bunch of members the Grand Tour of Skiddaw Ultra. A fantastic effort in all races from our members with a few prizes bagged along the way and some great personal achievements. The support shown by QRC members for one another during exhausting August was a sight to behold and demonstrates what a good bunch of people we have involved in QRC.
Slow Down September brought us the Penchrise Pen Hill Race, and a slower period of racing for our members as they took time to recuperate from their summer exertions. It also brought us the club awards night where we recognise some fantastic achievements and give out some shiny trophies. With so many doing so much this year it was a hard decision on who was getting their names engraved on the trophies. Of course, there were some absentees at the night out due to a wee small thing called the Cumbrian Way Ultra, another fantastic achievement by our members Wendy, Claire & Karen. The finale to September was the Dumfries Half Marathon which saw two of our number bag some prizes & a winning smile from our Wendy, and of course we like to recognise the challenges being undertaken by others with Ali, Linda & Debs heading out to meet the Three Dad’s Walking to give them some much needed moral support and traybakes, on their epic challenge to Raise Suicide Awareness Across the Country One Step at a Time in support of PAPYRUS Prevention of Young Suicide.
Opalising October, another month off to a bang with the Great Scottish Run 10k (or not) and Half Marathon. The lovely Lilliesleaf 10k(ish) Cross Country, which despite lower numbers running this year still managed to raise £2500 in aid of the Harris Trust. It also brought in a new round of ultra-training for the Glen Ogle 33 in November and some lovely mid-week runs.
Nearly there November, with another year drawing to a close and only two wee small races with members signed up, well ok hardly wee just a 33-mile ultra and a trail half marathon. The month started off with the Glen Ogle Ultra which despite few unable to start and a DNF due to injury, saw a good outing from the QRC contingent. The month ended with the torture of the Glen Tress Trail Half Marathon a punishing 13.1 miles with 2500 ft of climbing, leaving a few saying never again (until next year).
Done for ’22 December, bringing to close another good year for QRC and with it some Festive fun with the annual QRC Santa Run and Christmas Crichton Parkrun rounding things off. As always there will be our tradition of a year ending walk & the New Year’s Run. This years Christmas Walk was the circular route round the Fabulous Falls of Clyde, where the falls thundered down the valley treating to us to a spectacular natural phenomenon once we headed into the forest the peace was almost deafening or was that Johnny’s singing?
The QRC Committee would like to thank all our members for their continued support of the club and all that we do is only possible with all your participation in runs & events. Thank you all and here is to another good year in 2023.