The final match of the East District Cross Country League was held on a testing and snowbound course above Broxburn on Saturday 20 January. While many football and rugby matches were called off the ‘whatever the weather’ slogan was rolled out for this cross country event. A good turnout of team members across the ages and abilities provided Central with three of the main team trophies from this fitting finale event.
The day commenced with the Under-11 races with both the girls and boys following a 1.4 kilometre test on snow covered paths. There was a good turn-out of Central Athletic Club’s Under-11 Boys with spirited performances from the Club’s youngsters including a fine sixth place for Joshua Kennedy recording 5 minutes 49 seconds. Owen Eckersley and Aaron Middleton finished together in 15th and 16th placings both recording 6.05 while there was further strong back-up from Alex Dunlop (39th, 6.30) and Logan Bell (76th, 7.23). The results ensured the boys finished in an excellent third place on the day also recording third across the whole season. Niamh McKinlay ran the equivalent Under-11 Girls race as sole Central competitor with a fine run in 44th place with 7.21.
The Under-13 girls and boys again had their endurance tested over a one lap 2.7 kilometre course featuring Lungbuster Hill. In the boys’ race Connor Bell again underlined his strong racing credentials to finish sixth with 10.42 ahead of further top class efforts from Euan Campbell (28th, 11.48), Euan Docherty (35th, 12.04) and Dylan McCulloch (92nd, 15.18). There was a great turnout from Central in the Under-13 girls with Anna MacKinnon (18th, 12.54), Catriona Kane (20th, 12.55), Brogan McMillan (26th, 13.17), Summer MacLean (28th, 13.18) and Megan Dunlop (48th, 15.05).
There was more excellent running in the Under-15 Boys race over a 4.1 kilometre course with Finlay Muir showing good form in finishing 16th (16.28) and Thomas Woods running well throughout (32nd, 17.01). The combined Under-15 Girls and Under-17 Women races ran the same course with Rosie Eckersley running with confidence in her best race of the season to date for 6th in 17.17 with good support from Heather Scott (43rd, 20.54) and Carla Subke (58th, 22.45). The Under-17 Men faced a two lap 5.4 kilometre challenge and here Tom Graham- Marr was always to the fore finishing seventh in 20.37 and with great back-up from Sandy Holl (11th, 21.14) and Telfer Gray (18th, 22.05) the club finished fourth in this age group across the season.
A superb team effort from Central’s Senior Men resulted in six League wins in a row and here it was outstanding performances over an 8.1 kilometre course that sealed the team victory on the day. There were top counting performances through Aidan Thompson (second, 27.43), Alastair Hay (third, 27.47), Cameron Milne (fifth, 28.24), Matthew Sutherland (tenth, 28.54), Michael Wright (15th, 29.32) and Scott Brember (18th, 29.56). There was again excellent back-up from Murray MacLarty (25th, 30.07), Conan McCaughey (27th, 30.21), Lewis Miller (33rd, 30.40), Fraser Logan (44th, 31.12), David Eckersley (107th, 35.28), Donald Shaw (128th, 36.28), Robin Mussett (145th, 37.33), Gordon Appelbe (153rd, 37.58), Jens Subke (163rd, 38.28), Iain Dunsmore (173rd, 38.56), Hugh Buchanan (175th, 39.04), Ben Noad (186th, 39.52), Colin Sinclair (233rd, 44.22) and Cameron Campbell (246th, 45.55).
In addition to the team victory in the Senior Men’s category Central also won the overall male league title covering all the age groups and testament to top performances from all Club runners across the season.
For the Senior Women, the club went into this last match with a narrow league lead and tying up the trophy proved no great difficulty through another strong turnout. Catriona Buchanan led the team in with a great 2nd place in 21.59 for the tough 5.4 kilometres, Lauren McCulloch continued to progress with 13th in 23.19 and Claire Houston stuck to the task to achieve 20th in 24.07 with strong showings from Kim Timmins (23rd, 24.25), Fiona Davies (30th, 25.06), Hazel Dean (39th, 25.45), Amy Hendry (48th, 26.24), Kirsten McStay (53rd, 26.33), Eleanor Hanson (64th, 27.31), Becky Hay (66th, 27.54) and Alison Curry (105th, 32.23).
As a footnote to the races Central Athletic Club had arranged the inclusion of a young visiting Hungarian athlete in the Under-13 Girls race. Dorottya Csuta from the Pegazus Budapest Club had wanted to experience some ‘real cross country’. The experience was fulfilled by the testing course and Dorottya showed her class with a front running performance to cover the course in 10min 19secs some 51 seconds ahead of the winner of the league race. Perhaps no real surprise as Dorottya is already a Hungarian champion on both hills and the track and could be a name to look out for in the future.