GALA Harriers' own 10k road race, inaugurated ten years ago for the club's centenary celebrations, has moved from April to July and back again - but who'd have thought that temperatures would be so unseasonable in mid-May when it was staged on Sunday. The rain held off (just) but the chilly air and increasingly blustery winds more akin to back-end weather made this both hard watching for spectators and challenging for the runners. Gala runners posted some excellent performances and went home with some silverware and a little bit of extra pocket money.
More than 20 juniors turned out for the 3k race from Netherdale. There was a tussle for the top two places in a closely fought finish, with Teviotdale's Kyle Potts taking the top prize in 9.08mins and Gala's Jamie Logan barely a second behind him. William Taylor, running for Gala, came in a gallant third in 9.50mins, with Mark Purves, who had scampered home in first place in the recent Rowan Boland Run not far behind in fourth.
For the girls, Gala's Morven Cawthorne came in first in an impressive 11.14mins, with Rhiannon Fagan a strong second in 11.28mins, safely clear of Teviotdale's Skye Patterson (12.02mins) who held on for third.
A strong wind was already beginning to pick up as almost 60 seniors were sent on their way over two laps of the winding waterside course and Black Path for probably the last time, given the impending railway developments just around the corner. First place was keenly contested all the way, with Daniel Clarkson (33.20mins) just outsprinting Steve Cairns (33.41) towards the finish. But Gala's Graeme Murdoch never looked in trouble and took a comfortable 3rd place in 34.46, with Moorfoot's Darin Dougall almost a minute behind in 4th place.
Dianne Lauder who, by her own admission had a 'poor' race, still finished as first lady in 36.53mins and an astonishing eighth place overall, with Edinburgh's Susan Ridley second in 41.15 and Gala's Gillian Duncan 3rd in 42.53. All other senior Harrier times are up on the website also.
At the post-race presentations, trophies and prizes were also awarded to the other category winners, which included Katie Blake (female vet) Darin Dougal (male vet) Dawn Grant (female supervet), Billy McCulloch (male supervet), Graeme Murdoch (first TD1 male runner) and Gillian Duncan (first TD1 female runner). A special trophy is now presented annually by Billy McCulloch in memory of his son Ryan to the first local runner home and this year it went to Graeme Murdoch.
Past President Tony Lunn thanked all the club members for their work in organising the successful event, especially Fiona Shepherd, Gerry Moss and Billy McCulloch, as well as the Carruthers brothers, from Hawick, who timed both races and Gala Rugby Club for the use of their premises and pitches.
Gala Harriers, who have just recently appointed a club development officer, Gavin Kelly, is now inviting new members to join them at Tweedbank running track on Thursday nights from 6.15pm. They also meet at the Queen's Centre, in Galashiels, on Monday night at 6pm and Tuesday at 6.30pm.
The next race for the club is the Eildon Hill race on Saturday, June 23.