East District XC League-Stirling

A sunny Stirling awaited us as we stepped off the train, eagerly anticipating a Saturday of proper cross country racing. Rachel had painstakingly planned for us to get off at Bridge of Allan and get a bus from there. Instead, we endured a 3 mile trek from the station to the university. Best laid plans and all that.

As we approached the course, the weather turned sour. True to the climate data for Stirling where the month of October experiences near peak rainfall of 157mm, we experienced a fair few of those millimetres.

The rain fell heavy, spoiling some lovely homemade race numbers and turning green face paint blue.  Arianne’s number fell off but the ink bled through, ruining a nice Playerlayer vest. What a shame. There were also some questionable fonts on the numbers of Oskar Fraser Krauss and Maximus Millarvie.

With the tent pitched and the flag expertly erected; it was soon time for the women’s race.

At the start of the race, Sophie Collins and Catriona Graves led the charge of Haries with fresher Naomi Lang running for Aberdeen slightly further in front. The girls experienced the very worst of the weather and over the attritional course it was Beth Hanson who came out on top in a fantastic second place. An impressive string of races from Beth over the last couple of months have seen her take the scalp of Emelie Forsberg and just last weekend she ran the fastest first leg at the FRAs. Catriona Graves ran consistently to take the final podium spot just three seconds back.

Naomi Lang hung in there after a fast start for fifth place as well as first junior. Interesting fact: Callum Symmons once coached Naomi at sailing.

Sophie “You don’t have to mention me in the race report if you don’t want to” Collins, took a break from her photoshoot with boyfriend, James Dunn to finish 8th and complete the winning team of women.

A fourth counting spot on the team and 26th place was the product of Sarah Douglas’s return to action after a year off through injury. Rhiannon Kirk had an equally strong run for 30th place.

It was good to see freshers’ Hannah Morrison and Arianne Holland continuing their cross- country campaigns as well as veteran Harie, Christine Irvine. Christine also demonstrated why she is such a valued member of the club-she’s pretty good at constructing flag poles.

Katie Cutforth was faced with her debut cross-country and fought a fine fight against Jocelyn, one of the most talented V70 runners in Scotland to deservedly earn herself Harie of the week.

Undeterred by the pathetic chants of Metro, the Harie men dominated the start line. I asked Ben to shout “Haaaiiirries” ala Leutchford. He chose not to as that pre-race ritual was never particularly popular.

Throughout the whole of the Men’s race, the Haries ran as a cohesive train. Not quite threatening the yellow train of Central AC but as a team of mainly U20 athletes, we should be looking to derail them in future years. The faux Haries leading the pack were Logan Rees who took the win and ‘Come-back’ Cal Symmons who raced spectacularly, just missing out on the win to claim 11th place. Logan rather modestly asked me to include his streak as a statistic: 2 wins from two races. Nice.

Jack Leitch was first of the Playerlayer loyals. I threatened him at one point but Jack surged on the third lap and I slipped backwards. Literally. Thomas Otton put the “wearing” Waitrose jokes behind him (take note Gregor) and raced stupendously for second Harie on the day and 18th place. He isn’t even training! Nicholas Heart throb Allen accelerated on lap 3 three and finished just behind the powerful Totton.

First and freshest of the freshers was Maximus Aurelius Millarvie who finished in 27th. A remarkable showing from Max who is on a heroic comeback from getting his stomach pumped in Zante during the summer. Inspiring stuff Maximus!

Under the watchful eyes of his proud parents, Andrew Johnstone held it together after a blistering first lap to finish 31st. The boy is running well-must be those Tuesday morning hill runs…

Ali Masson had a self-admittedly weak run but I wouldn’t write him off too early. Ali was 4th at the Pentland Skyline race a couple of weeks ago and was part of the silver medal winning team at the FRAs. We can expect big things from him this season.

Young guns Oskar Fraser Krauss and Daniel Smith, (formerly of PH Racing fame) kicked off their respective cross country seasons. Darko Perovic and Simon Mclaren also got a taste for true Scottish cross country. I asked Simon for a quote to sum up his Saturday:


“It was f**king muddy”


Well done lads and I look forward to more memorable quotes from Simon.

Captain Benjy was also in attendance, cheered on by his clueless parents who don’t know what ‘vegan’ means. Just kidding, they were very supportive and made some tasty (non-vegan) rocky road. Quite the reward after a big day out.

Onwards to Manchester and Cumbernauld. Catriona Graves will be a notable absentee from the women’s team but good luck to both Catriona and Ali Masson who are running the OMM this coming weekend.

For a full list of results from the East District league at Stirling see the links below.

Women’s results:  http://www.salroadrunningandcrosscountrymedalists.co.uk/Archive/East%20District%20League/Results/2010s/EDL%202017-8/2017-10-21%20Stirling/Stirling%20-%202017-10-21%20Women%20results.pdf

Men’s results: http://www.salroadrunningandcrosscountrymedalists.co.uk/Archive/East%20District%20League/Results/2010s/EDL%202017-8/2017-10-21%20Stirling/Stirling%20-%202017-10-21%20Men%20results.pdf