Central AC played host to the first match of the season’s East of Scotland District Cross Country League over the Stirling University estate. There was a fitting tribute to Central’s current star Andrew Butchart when the large Senior Men’s field gave him a spontaneous round of applause as he joined the starting line-up. Just a few short weeks after his breakthrough run in the Rio 5000 metres final in the shadow of Sugar Loaf he made a return to a dreich day in Stirling when Dumyat was obscured by heavy rain.
Andrew skipped over the slippery course to win for the third consecutive year, covering the 3 lap, 9000 metre course in 27min 34secs. He led his Central Senior Men’s team to League victory on the day and the all-age Male team lead to a narrow lead at the top of table.
Central were ensured the league win in the Senior Men’s category through supporting strength in depth from Jamie Crowe (6th, 29.25),
Michael Wright (7th, 29.35), Alex Hendry (13th, 30.05), Conan McCaughey (14th, 30.07) and Under 20, Aidan Thompson (16th, 30.33). Euan Brownlie came through in 41st with 32.43 while Central’s first Veteran, Scott Brember continued his excellent form in 43rd (32.47). There was further superb back-up through Colin Logan (52nd, 33.38), Will Hensman (64th, 34.16), Ewan Jack (82nd, 35.06), David Eckersley (94th, 35.42) and Fraser Logan (100th, 35.53). Jamie Wastling showed progress to finish in 108th (36.18) leading in a string of Veteran runners through Andy Turnbull (109th, also 36.18), Charles Graham-Marr (139th, 38.13), Colin Alexander (164th, 39.33), Hugh Kerr (174th, 40.24), Fraser Purves (199th, 41.49), Simon Barlow (203rd, 41.56), Liam McCabe (211th, 42.47), Jamie Stokoe (220th, 43.47), Allan Gall (233rd, 44.56) and the ever inspirational Cameron Campbell (249th, 46.23).
Central’s leading Senior Women runners were away on a range of other commitments, and stepping up to the plate to keep the female team on track were Eleanor Hanson (28th, 26.34), Lee Houghton (72nd, 32.32), Samantha Hunter (74th, 32.46) and Emily Holl (80th, 34.05). Central’s Female team over all age groups are still in League contention in third place.
The Under 11 Girls provided an early highlight of the day as they headed their age group league table with the first race over a 1400 metre course. Melissa Turnbull (2nd, 5.49) led a team of Carys Gibb (9th, 6.22), Leah Stenhouse (17th, 6.28), Ellie Watson (44th, 7.32) and Mara Gillan (51st, 7.49).
In the Under 11 Boys race Cameron Darnbrough finished in 18th following a strong 6min 5sec run. Owen Eckersley showed good form to finish 61st in 6.48 while Sam Jones also came through well in 78th with 7.29.
The Under 13 races had a much more testing profile of racing as their lap took them towards the Wallace Monument across more difficult ground and a 2400 metre test. The Under 13 Boys showed great form to finish as second team with Finlay Muir
showing great character to finish 7th (10.23) followed by Sandy Buchanan (15th, 10.47), Euan Campbell (21st, 11.00), Cameron MacMillan (35th, 11.31), Euan Donegan (52nd, 12.20), Ross Lawrie (63rd, 12.56), Struan Craig (68th, 13.21) and Fi nlay Marchant (69th, 13.21), and all doing the Club proud.
Central’s Under 13 Girls team was fifth in the league standings through great running and teamwork through Jessica Turnbull (15th, 12.09), Anna MacKinnon (19th, 12.21), Naomi Howlieson (24th, 12.34), Amy Faunce Smith (28th, 12.48), Amy Kirkpatrick (32nd, 13.02), Fionnlaith Stokoe (37th, 13.09), Ellen Montgomery (54th, 14.18), Erin Miller (59th, 14.44), Megan Dunlop (60th, 14.46), Heather Riach (62nd, 14.59), Ellie Ross (63rd, 15.03) and Heather Hale (66th, 15.49).
The Under 15 Boys also proved their ability as fifth team with strong running from Ben MacMillan (9th, 10.41), Cameron Blance and Thomas Woods finishing together in 22nd and 23rd, both running 11.15, while Cameron Fraser should also be pleased with his run in 39th (12.42).
There was a combined race for the Under 15 and Under 17 Ladies over a pair of short laps to make up 2800 metres and in the Under 15s, Rosie Eckersley was 5th in 11.32, Skye Henderson (18th, 12.57), Millie Stokoe (28th, 14.13), Hannah Blance (29th, 14.25) and Rebecca Hogg (30th, 14.35). The Under 17 team was led in by Lauren McCulloch (7th, 11.49) followed by Madeleine Woods (10th, 12.18), Heather Scott (15th, 13.04), Fiona Davies (16th, 13.07) and Bethany Burch (18th, 13.30).
The Under 17 Men’s race saw more fine displays with Tom Graham-Marr finishing seventh with 21.32 and Sandy Holl in 14th with 21.55.
Full results are available on the Scottish Athletics website.