Well the last cross country of the season fittingly had it all, at least in terms of the weather, as what had been a gloriously sunny week until Saturday turned into a sad, soggy, mud-soaked Sunday. But we are Haries, and we were not to be deterred by such a simple thing as the weather. We endured.
The first race off was the U20 women’s race at 12:35. This was paired up with the U17 women’s race, to try and make the field a little bigger- there were only 28 U20 finishers, 12 of which were Haries. An impressive turnout, and a team which included some equally impressive runners: Mhairi Maclennan out-sprinted Garscube Harrier’s Catriona Graves to take home the silver medal in a time of 17:21 over the 4.8k course, a great way to end her final year as an U20! Steph Pennycook arrived home soon after in 17:36, taking 4th place, and Sarah Douglas completed our gold medal winning team in 9th, with a time of 18:16. Congratulations girls! There were some gutsy runs from the rest of the team too- some solid team packing from the Haries meant that had we been allowed two team medals, Louise Mercer, Amy Frankland and Bronagh Wishart, in 11th, 12th and 13th places respectively, would have taken the silver. In fact, even our C team (Isla Mackay, Sophie Collins and Eliza Cottington) finished on the same amount of points as the team who were awarded the bronze. Christine Irvine, Amy Bristow and Leda Olia were the final members of our 12-strong finishing team. The small field means that the positions don’t really accurately reflect the quality of all our runners on the day, so well done girls! Full results here
Next up were the senior women at 1:25 – the rain was really coming down at this point, and the course had been further churned up by the U17 men who had run in between. However our ladies captain, Georgia Tindley, has been known to thrive in such condition and led the team home in an incredible 14th place, completing the 2 lap, 8k course in 30:42. Sophie Horrocks was next Harie home in 32nd place (32:05) followed by Steph Lawrie just 1 second later in 34th place (32:06). Our A team was completed by Hazel Murray in 84th place (34.54), finishing strongly in a field of over 200, and giving the Haries a 7th place team finish. Congratulations to Verity King and Hannah Mason who finished their first ever cross country race in 153rd and 183rd place, a commendable effort, and definitely a baptism of fire in terms of the conditions! And of course, great congratulations to the wonderful Mook, who completed the Harie contingent in 202nd. Full results here.
After what already felt like a long day for our cold, damp women, the U20 Men’s race kicked off at 2:00pm, with conditions further deteriorating. A small field of under 50 runners and a relatively short 8k meant for a fast and competitive field. Andrew Lawler came in 9th, but once again forgot his green vest. We only had three men in green in this race, meaning that we could not qualify for a team medal, but there were still some great individual performances. Jacob ‘Pablo’ Adkin finished one place behind Lawler in 10th, in a time of 27:24. Fraser Drummond finished in 30th (29:39) and Alex Luetchford in 36th (30:36). Results are here.
FINALLY, we made it to the Senior Men’s race. By this point, all the ladies who had finished racing two hours previously were suffering from probable frostbite, whilst the men had no dry clothes left and just wanted to get on with it. The course was an absolute mess. At one point during this race, a club tent blew onto the course and knocked over a competitor, which can’t have been good for him. So that helps to paint a picture of the rain and wind that was being dealt with. (Our tent did not survive either, RIP tent). Having waited all day, the field of over 800 men (yes, 800) seemed to take over the park as they set off round the snaking laps of Callendar Park, being asked to complete three for their 12km race. Kyle McLellan was first Harie round, or would have been if he hadn’t been running for Ron Hill Cambuslang. Words were had. Actual first Harie round was Auld Itchy Dick Stevenson in 25th place, which is quite high when you think about it. His time was 41:31. Next home was the man in the form of his life, Mr. Calum. G. Murray, finishing 41st in a time of 42:42. Third team counter was the suffering Scott Stirling in 51st (43:12), nursing both his legs and probably his ego after a rare defeat to The Murray. The team was completed by Matty Rall in 129th, Tim Gibney in 132nd and John Yells in 175th, bringing us in as 8th team on the day. Also completing the absolutely minging 12k course were Iwan Smith (194th), John Creamer (258th), James Bryson (304th) and the injury-prone Captain Jack Luscombe, who managed to avoid rogue sandwiches to finish in 305th, which was still well into the top half. Results are here.
Well done to all involved: it was a horrible day to be standing around outside for five hours and so it was a great effort that we all managed to stay and support each other, despite a huge desire to just bugger off to somewhere warmer. I hope the Germans have cross-country because I don’t know whether I can live without yesterday’s style of madness for the next 18 months…
p.s. This race report is 982 words. If I’d spent the last 30 mins writing 982 words towards my essay, it would be finished. Y O L O.