The last time our men won the District Relays was in 1967.
When you combine a summer of training* with the enthusiasm of runners, both new and experienced, the conditions are just right for Edinburgh University Hare and Hounds to smash one of our own cross country records in our first official race of the year. Arguably the greatest aspect of running is its ability to transcend the boundaries of both team sport and solo performance. It tests our personal endurance and determination while also being a social activity. This balance could not be more apparent than in the East District XC Relays.
Held in Livingston on Saturday, 8th October, the races were the perfect way to kick off the highly anticipated cross country season. We quickly discovered that the Haries are happy to run for medals, but less interested in running to catch trains. Our social secretary Ben described the course as “exceptionally pretty” under the soft autumnal sunshine. Poetry. There was the usual gender segregation – women running in the first race and men in the second – but what made the event especially interesting was the relay aspect. So often our runners compete alone, and this gave the Haries the perfect showcase for our strong team work.
You need only to look to the fact that most Haries are dating eachother to see how well we work together.
Our women were up first. A strong force of seven teams, made up of three people running separate legs of the 4km race, readied themselves at the start line. It was fantasic to see so many new members taking part: Alex Tendler and Anna Vesaluoma joined forces to both run sub-18 minutes times respectively, and Josie Lewis teamed up with Eve Sealy and Eilidh MacQuarrie (who was awarded Harie of the Week for her performance on the day) to add another brilliant run to the club’s results. More fresh talent came from Ciara Newell, who ran an excellent combined effort with club regulars Leda Olia and Rosie Wright – who was also a member of a team with Eleanor Moccatta and Christine Irvine! That’s dedication to the cause.
The Amy dream team, made up of Captain Frankland and Treasurer Bristow, took the course by storm. Iona Evans, Lise Theron, and another fresh-face Helen Jones made up one of three teams to get into the top twenty with a combined time of 52:48. Coming in 11th place was Sophie Collins, Sarah Douglas and Katie Hall in an incredible 49:14. And finally, after a nailbiting race in which the fierce competition didn’t allow anyone to relax for 43 minutes and 2 seconds, our team made up of Steph Pennycook, Louise Mercer and Catriona Graves came an incredible second place! A result to be proud of.
After the success of our Women’s teams, the anticipation for the Men’s race was felt across both the runners and the enthusiastic crowd. The Haries entered four teams for this race, this time made up of four runners each – although the short (but sweet) distance remained the same. With a combined time of 1:00:23 was our team made up of Jack Luscombe, Lyle Griffin, Ben Murphy, and Alex Luetchford (who was making his racing debut in those fetching Captains shorts). Cracking the top 10 ranking with the combined time of 53:37 were orienteers Ali Masson, Alexander Chepelin, and Ewan Davidson, who had been lured out of the hills to join fresher Ben Remnant to complete a fantasic race.
In a Harie record breaking moment, two of our men’s teams dominated the medal rankings: in third place was the team made up of Elisha de Mello (who isn’t on FB so no point congratulating him), Callum Symmons, Andrew Lawler and and James Dunn in a ridiculously good time of 50:44. And with a final sprint that made me almost drop my camera, Euan Gillham secured FIRST PLACE along with Logan Rees, Scott Stirling and Michael Christoforou – no matter what anyone claims. Under a sky of blue, the medal line up was a sea of green. An incredible achievement from everyone (especially me, for managing to squeeze in such an tragically obscure Beatles reference). This was the kind of quality performance that reminds everyone just what an effective team of athletes the Haries are.
Tweet of the Week
“Heads up @ScotRail, there seems to have been a signal failure on the yellow train. Alternative green line recommended.” – @EUHareHounds
After the race, we descended on Captain Amy’s flat for a decadent potluck that made several members slip into a food coma. Special shoutout to Anna’s carrot cake. Top effort.
Congratulations to everyone who took part. The racing calendar has only just begun! Stay tuned for excitement from across the country – on road or across grass, up hills or down the coast.
Stay groovy, Alice.
*Or in my case, crashing my bike down a ravine. Wish I’d put it on Strava, pretty sure I’d be top of that leader board.