Central Athletic Club was the host for the first match of the East of Scotland Cross Country League on the Stirling University campus. A record 903 finishers from over 40 clubs found an already tough course made more so with wet muddy conditions and periods of rain. Central came away with match wins for Senior Men and Under-11 Boys and were standing top of the league across all male teams and third in females.
For the Senior Women, two laps of the 3,000 metre circuit suited the strength of Fanni Gyurko who came through to take the win on the second lap with a fine time of 22mins 35secs. Lauren McCulloch (15th; 24.23) and Claire Houston (16th; 24.25) were pleased with their consecutive top-end placings. Central’s large contingent was completed by strong runs from Eleanor Hanson (51st; 27.35), Amy Hendry (66th; 28.36), Kirstin McStay (78th; 29.43), Alison Currie (117th; 33.54) and Lee Houghton (121st; 34.27).
The Senior and Junior Men tackled a 9 kilometre course facing tough underfoot conditions as the course had cut up from the earlier races.
The Central contingent was always to the fore ensuring the club captured the lead in this first of the three race league series. Aidan Thompson, third in 30min 3secs and Alastair Hay (fourth; 30.19) underlined their form from the previous week and were well backed-up by further strong runs from Chris Smithard (9th; 30.54), Cameron Milne (13th; 31.35), Lewis Millar (14th; 31.46) and Scott McDonald (16th; 31.56). Scott Brember was first Veteran overall (22nd; 32.14) and Central’s seventh counter.
As the runners poured through there were others making light of the tough conditions including Michael Wright (32nd; 32.47), Ruaridh Miller (33rd; 32.50), Under-20 runner Euan Brownlie (68th; 35.05), David Eckersley (109th; 37.22), Andy Turnbull (131st; 38.20), Fraser Purves (154th; 39.20) and Robin Mussett (171st; 40.25). Also testing themselves were Neil Ferrier (172nd; 40.27), Hugh Buchanan (173rd; 40.33), Charles Graham-Marr (174th; 40.43), Jens Subke (201st; 42.01), Ben Noad (224th; 43.35), Raymond Milne (239th; 44.30), Liam McCabe (244th; 45.03), Allan Gall (254th; 46.16), Mark Logie (257th; 46.35), Cameron Campbell (278th; 49.36) and Kenneth Hislop (281st; 49.57).
The Under-11 races featured one lap of 1,640 metres, and among the Girls, sisters Carys and Leah Gibb finishing second (6.43) and 19th (7.14) respectively to lead in Niamh McKinlay (29th; 7.26), Alana Kerr (33rd; 7.37) and Isabella McGuire (67th; 8.49). The winning Under-11 Boys team saw Tom Campbell lead in his team-mates in seventh in 6min 28secs. Magnus Bryce ran well in ninth (6.31) just ahead of tenth place Aaron Middleton (6.35). There was excellent back-up from Joshua Kennedy (16th; 6.42), Oliver Ditchfield (56th; 7.22), Logan Bell (65th; 7.52) and Dylan McCulloch (76th; 8.52).
A great turnout of Under-13 runners took on a single lap of 2,400metres and the Girls team were rewarded with a third league team placing. Anna MacKinnon was top Central finisher in tenth place in 11.51 closely followed by Amy Cully (12th; 11.53), Summer MacLean (18th; 12.13), Mirren Henry (20th; 12.19), Catriona Kane (24th; 12.27), Mary Kealey (29th; 12.37), Brogan McMillan (36th; 12.51), Katherine Fowler (39th; 12.54), Ellie Ross (63rd; 13.53), Harriet Ditchfield (65th; 13.57) and Ellen Montgomery (73rd; 14.27). The Under-13 Boys followed the same course as the Under-13 Girls with the same third team result. Connor Bell showed committed running to finish seventh (10.18) followed closely by a determined Cameron Kerr (10th; 10.28) with Euan Campbell and Jack Campbell crossing the line together in 24th and 25th both recording 11.09. Cameron MacMillan came home in 34th (11.18) heading further good runs from Ryan McGuire (36th; 11.23), Euan Docherty (39th; 11.31), Jackson McKnight (46th; 11.45), Struan Craig (85th; 13.34) and Finlay Marchant (86th; 13.36).
For the combined Under-15 and 17 Women’s race over 3.3 kilometres, Grace Tindall had a great run finishing 17th Under-15 with 14.38; Skye Henderson was 15th Under-17 in 14.54 with Heather Scott next placed with 15.46. Central’s Under-15 Boys made an impact in their 3.3 kilometre challenge with Lewis Dow in eighth with 12.13 leading in further classy performances from Finlay Muir (13th; 12.36), Angus Henderson (29th; 13.32), David Cairns (45th; 14.42), Ben Hughes (48th; 15.12) and Cameron Fraser (51st; 15.25). It was good to see Under-17s Keir Howlieson and Craig McArthur test themselves over 6 kilometres with Keir finishing twelfth recording 22.18 and Gregor in 20th (23.26).