The day we have all been waiting for, the cross-country season was finally ready to begin. Haries, new and old, turned up on platform 10 at Waverly all fired up, ready to take the 4k Livingston course by storm.
Team spirits were high, and our very own hares were right in amongst the action. First up, Holly Page finished leg one just seconds behind the leader, clocking the third fastest leg of the day in a swift 14.45. Zoe Pflug took the metaphorical baton over and surged to the front, putting a big 30 seconds into the Fife athlete. Rebecca Johnson closed for the A team and managed to hold on and bring the hares their first silverware of the year, with a second-place finish.
Just over 30 seconds behind, the B team was taken out by fresher Eilidh Jaffray, who ran well on her Harie’s debut, Laura Stark made her return to racing in fine fashion and Constance Nankivell lead home the B team, running the 8th fastest leg of the day, finishing just 12 seconds from a bronze medal.
Hannah Morrison has been in fine form, recently clocking a 10k pb in the Great Scottish Run, and swapped her racing flats for spikes and got the C team off to a good start, handing the baton over the Polly Edwards in 9th place, who was very happy with her run considering her recent injury troubles. The C team was rounded off by medic Rhiannon Kirk, finishing in 8th place overall.
Next up, Abi Plowman was on first leg for the E team, she loved the mud, but admitted watching Kipchoge was more fun, and she handed over to our new jogging secretary Catriona Allan, who completed the 4k course in 16.51. Carly Cameron was up next and was pretty excited to get her cross-country season underway, she had a great run, but sadly not good enough to catch up and overtake her big sister.
Captain Lydia had brought the Spanish sun back, all the way to Livingston and clocked 17 minutes for the 4km course. She handed over to social sec Katie Lowery, running one of the fastest legs of the day in 15.36, which had Katie already planning her post race pint! Completing the Haries D team was Rosina Graham, who was pleased to get round the course pain free after recent IT band issues.
The girls’ team kept coming through the finish thick and fast, with the F team made up of Harie’s debutant Elodie Chatel, orienteerer Helen Ockenden and last year’s captain Katie Hall, who found Livingston’s hills no bother compared to Chamonix, finishing in 19th position. Next up, Caterina Mrose, Ellie Enichen and Eliza Cottington finished in 29th position and last but not least, Jenny Hall and Tara Kursinsky rounded off a great day for the girls!
2.20pm couldn’t come quick enough, and the boys were all feeling extremely inspired and ready to run at a much slower pace than we all watched Eluid Kipchoge run earlier that morning. Eilisha De Mello was looking sharp in his 1980’s Aston Villa kit and he took the race out from the get-go, flying round in 12.45 and in second place. Alex Carcas’ fashion was on point to, sporting the classic orienteer’s head band. Alex bettered Elisha by four seconds and handed over to Max Milarvie in first position. Max had a good run but was hunted down by Central’s Jamie Crowe, setting up a nail-biting race over the final leg. Jack Leitch, recovering from a cold, took over from Max two seconds ahead of Ali Hay, and ran 12.40, the fourth fastest time of the day, to hold of Central off and take the win by 17 seconds. The hounds stepped up to it and showed Central what we’re all about, 10 in a row? Don’t think so.
First up for the B team was Dan Stansfield, who managed to hang on to Eilsha for a bit, but ultimately dropped back, finishing his leg in fifth spot. He handed over to second year Callum Tharme, who had a great run, finishing in just over 13 minutes and picking up one place on his way. Max Bloor was next up running 13.30 and he handed over the Gregor Malcom, who had a great run after his recent mountain marathon exploits, he didn’t quite have the best sprint finish as quite literally fell at the last hurdle to bring the B team home in 6th place and just over a minute away from the podium.
Robert Sparks lead the way for the C team, swapping his Fife vest for the green of the Haries. He came home in 28th spot, and handed over to Paul Morrison, who had an exceptional first race back, after a long struggle with injuries. Paul picked up ten places and handed over to fresher Ifan Oldfield, who picked up a further four places. GB Orienteerer Alastair Thomas ran well, picking up one more place, bringing the C team home in 13th.
Captain AJ was first up for the D team, minus the captain’s shorts, moving well round the now very muddy course, finishing in 21st spot. I took over and had an average run, losing out on two places over the course. Alasdair Pedley took over for leg 3, and moved through the field and ran his third fastest ever 1k to finish in 19th. Fresher Josh Liddle ran with a fractured wrist, after falling at parkrun last weekend. This didn’t at all hold him back as he picked up three places and took the D team home in 16th place.
Our very own Scottish Highland dancer Kai Hugenburg loved the hills and flew round in 13.53, he handed over the Jackson Woodruff, who ran well through the mud. Conor O’Riordan ran his first race since he fell asleep in a nightclub after the Manchester Relays almost a year ago to the day. He also ran well and brought the E team up by 5 places. Top triathlete Ollie Teenan made his return to cross country, wearing spikes for the first time in years, and he brought the E team home in 23rd position.
Last but not least, the men’s F team, made up of Angus Pope, Harie of the week Ethan Fiallo, Roy Griffiths and Harry McCaughey rounded off a record-breaking day for the Haries finishing in 49th position.
The hounds did some more fast running, post-race, whilst everyone else ate Laura’s Grandmother’s cakes and headed back to the Capital for some recovery pints at The Pear Tree. This successful day at Livingston is hopefully a sign of things to come for the Harie’s this cross-country season. Central better watch out. 10 in a row? Don’t think so.