With the recent launch of parkrun in Peebles, the Scottish Borders are quickly establishing themselves as a go-to destination for runners as well as mountain bikers.
But runners who want to race the region’s trails before the year is out had better act fast. Entries to some of the last events of the year – which all take place next weekend – close tonight (Monday, 12 November), with no entries taken on the day.
The Glentress Winter Trail Half Marathon (Saturday, 17 November) takes place on a challenging but rewarding route incorporating a superb variety of terrain, including hard-packed gravel trails and twisting forest singletrack. It also features sections – including an exhilarating descent – on the black-graded MTB route – access to which is normally restricted to mountain bikers.
The Glentress 10K Night Run (Saturday, 17 November) sees runners light up non-technical forest roads and singletrack. The route features sections of the forest’s waymarked walking trails, including the Glen Trail alongside Glentress Burn, and the Buzzard’s Nest Trail, which winds through magnificent Douglas firs. The route then follows the Time Trail, which passes fortified Iron Age settlements. The race, which has a total ascent of 330m, finishes with an exhilarating descent. Good trail shoes – and a head torch – are both essential for this early evening event.
Last, and by no means least, the Tweed Valley Ultra (Sunday, 18 November), a UTMB 2018 qualifying race, offers 50k and 65k options. Both follow an extensive network of secluded paths and tracks through the various forests, multi-use trails along the banks of the beautiful River Tweed, winding tracks over hills and short sections on minor roads. There are no real technical aspects to the course, but plenty of spectacular views over the Tweed Valley. And unlike with many other ultras, 65k runners can switch to the shorter, 50k version of the event where the routes split if their race isn’t going to plan.
Image courtesy High Terrain Events