This week saw Andrew Butchart travel to the Antrim International Cross Country to represent Scotland in the senior men’s race. Butchart continued his strong start to 2016 finishing sixth (22min 34secs) in a stacked field of international cross country stars. The British international athlete worked hard around the undulating course to collect the full allocation of Cross Challenge points. Butchart commented afterwards: “I am really happy with that run and I worked hard against some of the best runners in the world. I consider my performances over the past eight days to be very good (He finished 7th in Edinburgh). “It is nice to come to Ireland and repeat my Edinburgh performance. I was very impressed with the support here.” Conor McCaughey also should his character here to finish 20th overall (24.28) in this same quality field.
The Final Match of the East District Cross Country League was held in testing and frozen conditions at Broxburn on 16th January, the course featuring the infamous Lungbuster Hill and a somewhat icy water splash. There was much to play for with Central Athletic Club’s Teams in contention for a number of League trophies.
The day commenced with the Under 11 races with both the girls and boys being spared the hill and water splash in their 1.4 kilometre test of frozen paths. Testament to Central’s youngsters that all conquered the difficult conditions to pass with flying colours. Melissa Turnbull led home the girls with another mature run in sixth place with 6min 31secs, followed by Anna McKinnon (18th; 7.01), Ellie Ross (31st; 7.20), Rebecca Organ (37th; 7.42), Dharma Davlett, (40th; 7.49), Heather Hale (45th; 8.11), and Hana Littlejohn (48th; 8.25). The boys also featured a strong turnout led home by Euan Campbell in a superb fourth place (5.49) and with back-up from Connor Bell (13th; 5.59), Cameron Darnbrough (29th; 6.31) and Finlay Marchant 55th; 7.30), bringing the boys home in a useful third place on the day and also an excellent third across the whole Season.
The Under 13 girls and boys again had their endurance tested over a one lap 2.7 kilometre course featuring the aforementioned Lungbuster Hill and the water splash. Kyra Gibb proved strongest on the day finishing fourth (11.06) and with back-up from Carrie Banks (eighth; 11.43), Jessica Turnbull (19th; 12.23) and Naomi Howlieson (46th; 13.43)the Team finished in a fine second overall and second over the Season. Cameron Blance (twelfth; 11.04), Finlay Muir (19th; 11.10), Thomas Woods (28th; 11.39), Sam Metcalfe (29th; 11.39), Jacob Organ (34th; 11.51), Angus Henderson (46th; 12.42), Caneron Fraser (48th; 12.58) and Toby Mooney (53rd; 14.12) ensuring the yellow and blue vests were again well to the fore.
The Under 15 Girls again ran with the Under 17 Ladies, tackling a 4.1 kilometre course and here it was no surprise to see Kate Gallagher repeat a three year winning streak in the event with a fine front running display covering the course in 15min 24secs. Rosie Eckersley (U15) finished eighth overall (16.42) to again underline her progress. Jodie Currie (20th; 17.30) finished just ahead of Fiona Davies (21st; 17.31) and were followed in by Under 15’s, Elizabeth Thompson (30th; 18.17) and Heather Scott (32nd; 18.28). Eleanor Hanson (34th; 18.37) and Under 15’s Cerys Gilbride (35th; 18.37) and Hannah Blance (53rd; 20.51) rounded off Central’s efforts as the Girls retained the Under 15/Under17 Quaich for winning team. There was more determined running in the Under 15 Boys race over the same 4.1 kilometre course with Keir Howlieson (fourth; 14.42) again showing his considerable promise and an improved run from Kyle Middleton (28th; 16.47). Under 17 Jamie Wastling did the Club proud in the Under 17 Mens race over 5.4 kilometres finishing 19th with 22.35.
The Senior Ladies race over a two lap 5.4 kilometre course showed solid performances from Hazel Dean (41st; 24.58) and Alison Curry (104th; 30.55) but with no real back-up the Womens League Trophy slipped from Central’s grip.
There was no concern over the Senior Men’s Team’s ability to make it four League wins in a row as the yellow and blue vests featured once again at the front of the field. This week it was Dale Colley’s opportunity to shine as he powered through to win with 27mim 4secs for the 8.1 kilometre course just ahead of Alex Hendry in second (27.06) and with back-up from Aiden Thompson (sixth and first U20; 27.46), Cameron Milne (seventh; 27.52), Michael Wright (13th; 28.17) and Jamie Crowe (14th; 28.19) the points were secured. Further support came from Colin Logan (34th; 30.01), then a group of Under 20 athletes Euan Brownlee (36th; 30.11), Jack Kerr (41st; 3032), and Iain Davies (48th; 30.57). Robert Russell was a welcome addition to Central’s team finishing 43rd (30.45) ahead of Will Hensman (68th; 31.47), Scott Bremner (99th; 33.28), Ross McNaughton (124th; 35.03), Simon Barlow (139th; 35.22), Ian Dunsmore (142nd; 35.27) and Robin Mussett (152nd) who crossed the line with Fraser Purves (153rd) with both timed at 35.46. The Central runners continued to filter in through Hugh Buchanan (158th; 35.57), Jan Subke (174th; 26.43); Charles Graham-Marr (187th; 37.21), Jan Thompson (235th; 40.20) and Cameron Campbell (265th; 44.05) in another record field for the race.
Thanks are again due to Team Managers Derek Easton, Mary Kerr and John Millar for their superb work throughout the Season.