AROUND 600 runners took part in the second Tweed Valley Tunnel Trail Run in Peebles last weekend, up 20 per cent on the inaugural race in 2016.

For many, the day was all about the challenge and fun of taking part rather than competing for podiums, and the event shared the friendly, community atmosphere typical of many Tweed Valley outdoor adventure and sports events.

The local community played a big role in hosting the event, with Scottish Borders Council leader Shona Haslam welcoming runners at event registration.

The Tweed Valley event takes in the autumnal tracks beside the Tweed, before climbing up for sweeping hill-views before plummeting back down for an underground finale. The main feature of the run, the disused 600m Neidpath railway tunnel, was specially lit for the occasion with lighting normally found in concerts or a nightclub.

The event is organised by Peebles events company Hillside Outside, who also manage TweedLove Bike Festival and the Tour O The Borders cycling events.

Organiser Neil Dalgeish told the Peeblesshire News: “This year's run went really well, and places to take part sold out well in advance. It is great to do something different and to have great assets to create a course like this for the runners. We've had folk from abroad, and around the UK come to Peebles for this, and they have been blown away with the tremendous landscapes, woodland trails and a surreal underground experience along the route.

“Since our first run last year, we've made a few tweaks to the course, and added some new paths from the Forestry Commission at Cademuir. Thanks to everyone in the community for their co-operation and support. This was a really friendly event, and it was nice to see so many smiling faces.”

The event featured a 10km or 20km route choice, with local athletes Ruth McKean and Andy Wardman taking top step for women and men respectively over the shorter race, while the longer version, which featured over 500m of ascent, was won by Sheena McLullich (Roslin) and Alastair Brockie (Edinburgh).

Plans are underway for a third run in 2018, and organisers hope to announce a date soon.