Scottish XC Championships: Muddy Fun in Falkirk

Scottish Cross Country Championships: the culmination of the cross-country season and the end of Creative Learning Week. Whilst Alice was indulging on Pastrami bagels and big fat donuts in NYC, and the Orienteering lads were ‘training’ in Alibanté, a select group of the hardiest Haries descended on Callendar Park to be met with some of the toughest cross country conditions this season. The mud in some parts can only be described as ‘soupy’.

Kicking off the Falkirk festivities were the U20 Women. Catriona Graves battled it out at the front of a very competitive field for 5th place. Eve Mackinnon, running for Ronhill Cambuslang and another of John Lees’ elite, followed her home in 6th place. A fantastic silver medal was secured by Rosie Wright and Jennie Glass in 17th and 19th places respectively. The team was completed by Eve Sealy in 27th place.

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The women’s race was next to start in the shadow of Callendar House and the iconic Angus BBQ van. The race which included the likes of Olympian Beth Potter and Commonwealth athlete Morag Mcclarty, was always going to be an exciting one. Steph Pennycook and Mhairi Maclennan held their own in a high-class field; both finishing in the top 10 in what was their debut among the senior ranks. Less than a minute behind, Louise Mercer bagged a commendable 15th place and Captain Amy Frankland “brought home the team bling” (yet another silver medal) with 45th position. Iona Evans, Genevieve McMahon, Christine Irvine, Amy Bristow and Rachel Stewart were completely undeterred by the new 10k distance. In fact, they loved it! Rachel was quoted as saying that it was by far her favourite race this year. Amy Bristow could be heard complaining that it wasn’t long enough and that she was only just getting warmed up.

Sophie Collins, suffering from Jimmy Dunn’s mileage had to pull out on the third lap with a calf injury. She’ll be back for a tilt at the KB5 title to continue her string of 5 mile road race wins.

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The men’s U20 race was contested by a disappointingly few Haries – I’m looking at you, Matthew Vu. Don’t drop out, it’s mean to Christine. In this race of torn allegiances, Euan Gillham, who forgot to wear green, had a tactically orgasmic run. He paced his effort to perfection to comfortably claim the silver medal. Logan Rees, wearing a Fife vest finished 5th. (1st place in Katie’s heart). He wasn’t particularly satisfied with his race so don’t ask him about it. Honestly, don’t ask him about it; he’ll cry. Looking on the bright side of life, he was part of the gold medal winning Fife team, along with the glory hunting Gregor Malcolm. So well done Fife. The ever-modest Thomas Otton, resplendent in his Player Layer vest had a run to be proud of, finishing just outside of the top 10 in 12th. I managed to stay upright on his way to 19th place. Mook was pleased because I actually finished and finally contributed some points to her fantasy league team.

The performance of the day has to be awarded to PlayerLayer sponsored athlete, Jacob ‘Pablo’ Adkin, who finished 23rd out of a field of 647. Craig Campbell capped off his best ever cross country season (albeit wearing an Inverness vest) finishing in 53rd. Hunting Craig down in the home straight was Alex Muir (57th)-all the more inspiring as he’s only running 20 miles a week. Captain Alex Luetchford, who has had an admirable string of results this season, slithered his way around the sinuous course for 63rd. He took the scalp of none other than James Dunn who finished close behind him in 65th. He wasn’t racing apparently; just a tempo. Ben Murphy, running for Strathearn Harriers ended his cross-country season looking fresh in 177th.

After his race, James Bryson received a hero’s welcome on his return to the Haries tent for the first time since his departure to HBT. Brown doesn’t suit you James. A special mention must also be given to “American Adam” who rocked up in road racing flats, proving that Americans have a complete lack of understanding of true cross country. Unsurprisingly he didn’t finish the race. I highly recommend a set of spikes for your next XC race mate. Run and Become sell cross country spikes, by the way.

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The mud was made manageable by motivating marshals Mook, Beth and John, who had optimistically donned some sick shades for the occasion. Notable supporters around the course included Katie Cutforth (who took some excellent photos of Amy Bristow and co.) Andrew Lawler (without the mankini unfortunately), Euan Gillham’s mum, Logan Rees’ entire family and James Jarvis.

Race report writing is fun (Editor’s Note: fun but wait until you don’t have anyone to proof read and your audience is full of hecklers). Vote Cameroni for Publicity in this month’s AGM (29th).

Back to Alice for next week’s KB5 road race.