Central Athletic Club were again hosts for the first match of the East of Scotland Cross Country League on the University campus. Benign weather and dry underfoot conditions favoured the runners and there were some exceptional performances from Central Athletic Club’s runners, with Alastair Hay and Morag Millar winning the two senior races. Central finished the match in overall top place in the female half of the competition covering age groups from Under-11 to Senior.
The Senior and Junior Men tackled a 9 kilometre course and it was soon evident that the fast going suited Central’s Alastair Hay as he sped to victory in a time of 28 minutes 25 seconds. It was good to see Scott Green back competing locally and also delivering a fine second place run with 28:46. With excellent back-up from Michael Wright (10th; 29:44), Scott Brember 15th and first Veteran in 30:31, Under-20 runner Telfer Gray (26th; 32:01) and Dale Colley (46th; 33:23), the Senior Men finished close-up third on the day. Andrew Orr should be pleased with his 66th placing in 34:31 as should Chris McHardy (79th; 35:18). There were further fine efforts from Donald Shaw (98th; 36:30), Iain Dunsmore (136th; 38:50), Ben Noad (140th; 39:00), Hugh Buchanan (167th; 40:57) and a close tussle between Allan Gall and Cameron Campbell finishing in 203rd and 204th spots with Allan recording 44:47 and Cameron 44:54.
The Senior and Junior Women’s race was over two laps of the 3 kilometre course and Central took top honours for both individual and team. Morag Millar followed up her fastest lap at last week’s relays with a comfortable win in 21:43. A strong team effort then followed through Rebecca Craig in 12th (23:34), Lauren McCulloch in 15th (24:11), Abby Rowley making her senior debut with 19th place (24:34), Claire Houston (23rd; 25:13), Amy Hendry (31st; 25:55), Becky Hay (52nd; 27:15), Kirsten McStay (53rd; 27:19), Eleanor Hanson (63rd; 28:18) and coach Rhona Scott (101st; 32:29) showing a fine example. The Women, who won the league last year, started this new season by topping the league after this first match. Their points total set the pattern for the day and Central topped the rankings for the Overall Female trophy.
The Under-11 races featured one lap of 1,650 metres with the Under-11 Boys led home by Ray Taylor with a fine fifth place in 6:08 and back-up from Lewis Henry (27th; 6:50) and Rory Mackay (54th; 7:31). For the Girls, Leah Gibb (8th; 6:45), Niamh McKinlay (17th: 6:58) and Isla Henry (37th; 7:41) did a great job of filling the essential three counting places with some good running.
A great turnout of Under-13 runners took on a single lap of 2,400 metres. In the Under-13 Boys race Aaron Middleton led home the Central team in 17th with 10:50 followed closely by Joshua Kennedy (18th; 10:52) and Tom Campbell (32nd; 11:14). There were more encouraging performances from Owen Eckersley (40th; 11:37), Ruairidh Burns (52nd; 11:56), Henry Crossley (56th; 12:12), Sam Gardner (57th; 12:13), Harris Whyte (68th; 12:33) and Angus Kennedy (85th; 15:10). For the Under-13 Girls, Melissa Turnbull (5th; 11:06) was impressive leading the way for the team, with strong support from Carys Gibb (14th; 11:42), Catriona Kane (15th; 11:42), Mary Kealey (30th; 12:25), Brogan McMillan (32nd; 12:29) and Zoisia Paddon (45th; 13:31).
Central’s Under-15 Boys made an impact in their 3.3 kilometre challenge with Cameron MacMillan again showing great form to finish second with an inspiring 11:05 clocking, backed-up by an excellent 11th place by Cameron Kerr (11:35) and Euan Docherty (32nd; 12:53). Euan Campbell came home 43rd in 13:30 followed in by Ross Lawrie (55th; 16:09) and Adam McGregor (57th; 19:06) with the Under-15 Boys finishing second overall.
Ben MacMillan was always to the fore in the Under-17 Men’s race, over 6 kilometres and racing to a close-up second overall with 20 minutes 20 seconds. Cameron Fraser stuck in well to come home in 34th place and a time of 27:27.
The combined Under-15 Girls and Under-17 Women’s race had the same course as Under-15 Boys with another strong set of results for the home squad. Rosie Eckersley (Under-17; 8th; 12:30) was first home for Central with Kyra Gibb (Under-17; 15th; 12:52), Grace Tindall (Under-15; 22nd; 13:11), Summer Maclean (Under-15; 34th; 14:07), Naomi Howlieson (Under-15; 47th; 15:02), Heidi Eik-Maxwell (55th; 15:35) and Anna MacKinnon (62nd; 17:08). This team were fourth against strong opposition but played a key role in the overall female league position.