Central AC Press Report – National Cross Country 25 February 2017
The Scottish Cross Country Championships were once again held in Callendar Park, Falkirk with the recent rain producing a testing course with deep mud the order of the day.
Highlights from Central Athletic Club saw Morag MacLarty winning the Senior Womens Championship title, the Club winning both Mens and Womens Senior Team Trophies and also, for the first time, winning the Trophy for overall Female team performance over all age groups.
Morag MacLarty went into the race on the back of useful form, but with the uncertainty of a new longer course as the Senior Ladies moved to cover the same distance as the Senior Men and the added challenge of the terrible underfoot conditions, this was always going to be a real test. However Morag skipped over the mud in a demonstration of front running as she finished well clear of 2016 Olympian Beth Potter, covering the course in 38min 32secs. Catriona Buchanan worked her way up through the field to take twelfth place (41:16) and with Jennifer Wetton (17th; 41:48) and Fanni Gyurko (18th; 41:56)
the team Gold medals were secured by a significant margin. Fiona Thompson (21st, 42:18), provided strong back-up and there were more top runs from Kim Timmins (70th, 46:31), Claire Houston (77th, 47:20), Pat Milne (105th, 49:42) and Alison Curry (227th, 59:41), on a day where every runner was a hero. ‘I wouldn’t say it was easy, but I’m pleasantly surprised at how far ahead I was’ said Morag. ‘I’m so happy. It’s been a long, long time. The past few years have been so tough, but I train at Central and the group I’m with there is absolutely amazing.’
Central Athletic Club’s Senior Mens Team had won the last six races at these Championships so the pressure was on to make it seven in a row. Nerves were quickly quelled as the yellow and blue vests moved through in top positions on the first of the three laps. As the race unfolded the Central runners further exerted their dominance finishing the necessary six counters in the top twenty and impressively, eight runners in the top twenty five. Under 23 runner, Jamie Crowe, coped well with the extreme conditions to finish fifth covering the 10,000metre course in 35min 29secs. The ever reliable Alastair Hay followed through in sixth (35.35) while Dale Colley worked through the field for eleventh (36.31). Ross Houston used all his experience with a conservative start but a significant end game to finish twelfth (36.38) while Cameron Milne (14th; 36.43) and Conan McCaughey (20th; 37.06) showed great resilience to complete Central’s Team scoring with 68 points, an emphatic victory from West Clubs Shettleston Harriers 155 and Cambuslang Harriers on 203. Michael Wright (24th; 37.24) and Scott Green (25th; 37.33) ensured there was plenty of back-up for the scoring runners. With the mud spattered runners coming through in droves Central newcomer Luca Fanottoli finished in 71st (39.46) ahead of Scott Brember (112nd; 40.57), Fraser Logan (133rd; 41.36) and Chris McHardy (187th; 43.00). There were further committed efforts from David Eckersley (286th; 45.38), Neil Cameron (295th; 45.54), Ross McNaught (310th; 46.21), Robin Mussett (318th; 46.38), Fraer Purves (363rd; 47.50), Charles Graham-Marr (375th; 48.00), Iain Dunsmore (427th; 49.29), Simon Barlow (502nd; 52.03), Allan Gall (596th; 57.33) and Kenny Hislop (617th; 59.32) in a field of some 647 finishers. Matthew Sutherland ran as an individual here but will soon prove another strong addition to Central’s team with his top 30 finish.
The Under 20 Mens Race was another high quality affair with Central’s Aidan Thompson, returning after injury, finishing ninth (26.30) over a 7.6 kilometre challenge. Cameron Harris also ran strongly to finish 16th (27.53) and Aidan Cameron stuck well to the task to finish 57th with 33.58.
Central’s Under 17 Ladies picked up the Silver team medals over a challenging 5.9kilometres through Kate Gallagher with a fine fifth place in 25:02, Lauren McCulloch 20th in 28:31, Fiona Davies 30th in 30:10, Bethany Burch 35th in 31:35 and Heather Scott 41st in 32:43. Eleanor Hanson was the sole Central competitor in the Under 20 Ladies race over 6.8kilometres, having a strong run in 21st place with 32:28.
Central’s Under 17 Men were well to the fore in their 5900 metre challenge with Keir Howlieson leading the Central challenge in 14th (23.23) and further quality efforts from Tom Graham-Marr (24th; 23.41) and Sandy Holl (28th; 23.52), all three should be proud of their efforts.
The Under 15 Girl’s had to contend with 4.2 kilometres and here Rosie Eckersley led her team home with eleventh place (15:03) with strong support from Kyra Gibb (25th; 15:53), Elizabeth Thompson (50th; 16:45) and Millie Stokoe (88th; 18:30) and a Team placing of sixth. The Under 15 Boys were always going to find this event a hard 4.2 kilometre challenge and here Ben MacMillan led the Central Team to record 13min 41secs and a fine seventh place in spite of losing a shoe early in the race. The remaining Central runners should also be proud of their achievements with Gregor MacArthur (42nd; 14.39), Thomas Wood (93rd; 15.40), Kyle Howie (105th; 15.59), Daniel Bruce (110th; 16.07) and Cameron Fraser (134th; 17.10) as the Central Team finished ninth overall with much more to come from this age group in the future.
In the Under 13 Girls race over 3.2 kilometres there was another good showing from Elise Graham-Marr (17th; 12:53), Jessica Turnbull (31st; 13:15), Grace Tindall (38th; 13:31), Anna MacKinnon (65th; 13:58), Summer MacLean (68th; 14.00), Finnlaidh Stokoe (83rd; 14:29) and Amy Cully (87th; 14:38), and another sixth place Team finish. The Under 13 Boys race was also over the 3.2 kilometre course and here Cameron Kerr led home Central’s effort in 20th (11.59) with other fine efforts from Euan Campbell (52nd; 12.42), Cameron MacMillan (78th; 13.03); Angus Henderson (98th; 13.24), Ross Lawrie (128th; 14.05) and Ryan McGuire (132nd; 14.19) and a seventh Team placing.