Central Athletic Club returned to winning ways at the Scottish Athletics Short Course Cross Country Championships. Record fields provided ferocious competition in all six of the races at Kirkcaldy with Central’s highlight being the Senior Men gaining the club three team trophies in three successive years and featuring a winning return to top class running for Cameron Boyek.
The Senior Men’s 4 kilometre race of two laps was certainly a case in point with some six athletes heading the field in a close bunch on the first lap. It was Central’s Cameron Boyek who seized the initiative on the second lap to open a 30 metre lead from his rivals. With dogged determination, Boyek held this gap to the finish to take the win in a keenly-contested race. Boyek’s victory, in 12 minutes 1 second, saw his next three rivals cross the line together just 4 seconds behind while Central’s Alastair Hay came home as a close fifth in 12.12. Team gold medals were also grasped by Central with excellent contributions from Cameron Milne (12th, 12.31) and Chris Smithard (28th, 12.52).
Boyek had helped Scotland to a Stewart Cup 4 x 1km Relay win at the Great Edinburgh Cross Country early in 2016 but the 1,500m runner has had injury problems in the interim. ‘It was good to win that and I knew reading the preview that there were some good names there and strong competition,’ said Cameron. ‘I just managed to get a bit of lead and then pushed it on when I could. I wasn’t sure what was going on behind me.
‘After the injuries that I’ve had, I am determined just to put in a solid winter and that means some cross country – certainly over this kind of distance. The 4K was probably ideal and I will be doing indoors as well. ‘I believe there is a 4 x 1,500m race at the Euro Cross and I think GB are planning to send a team to that so hopefully winning here helps me stake a selection claim for that.’
Also featuring for Central’s Senior Men were Murray MacLarty (13.07), Ruaridh Miller (13.09), Fraser Logan (13.21), Lewis Millar (13.49), David Eckersley (14.55), Charles Graham-Marr (15.32), Donald Shaw (16.15), Colin Alexander (16.17), Ben Noad (16.52), Gordon Appelbe (16.53), Kenny Hislop (18.50) and Allan Gall (19.11).
The Senior Women’s race was heavily featured in pre-race publicity, involving global top-flight runner Laura Muir running in her Glasgow University vest in a weekend’s break from her veterinary studies. Laura led from gun to tape, establishing an early and seemingly comfortable lead. For Central’s Morag MacLarty, there was an compelling battle for the minor medals, moving through a scattered main chasing group, to finally establish a bronze medal place (13.50). Kate Gallagher made a breakthrough run to take 11th place in the race (14.22), a huge step forward for the first year senior runner. Lauren McCulloch ran strongly for 31st (15.03) with Kim Timmins (66th, 16.22), Fiona Davies (17.88) and Becky Hay (18.03) completing a strong squad. Team medals were just outside their grasp with fourth place.
The Under-15 Boys race over 2,000 metres was also a hard fought race and here Lewis Dow was Central’s top counter in 24th placing with 6.48. Kyle Howie (7.15), Ben Angus Hughes (7.45) and Cameron Fraser (7.45) all ran with confident style and will have learned much from this top class racing.
The Under-17 Men’s race covered 3,000 metres and here Tom Graham-Marr was always well to the fore scoring a fine eighth place with 9min 30secs leading in further fine efforts from Ben MacMillan, Keir Howlieson (both finishing together in 9.54) and Sandy Holl (10.24) with the team in fifth place.
The Under-17 Women’s race covered the same 3,000 metre course and a strong quartet of Central runners took a very creditable 5th team place. Rosie Eckersley featured with 14th in 11.15 supported by Elizabeth Thompson (12.19), Heather Scott (12.56) and Skye Henderson (13.13). Central had an incomplete team in the Under-15 Girls’ race with great runs from Carrie Banks (14th, 7.16) and Eilidh MacKenzie (8.42).