The 2019 edition of the East of Scotland Cross Country Relays were played out in bright sunshine on a testing course in Deans Country Park, Livingston on Saturday 12 October. There was great endeavour from all of Central Athletic Club’s athletes but it was late in the day before this was rewarded with Championship medals and it was Central’s Men’s Team of Ben MacMillan, Michael Wright, Jamie Crowe and Alastair Hay who picked up the silver medals in their event.
The Men’s race consisted of four legs of 4 kilometres with Under-20 runner Ben MacMillan on the first leg, bringing the team through in third position, covering the course in 12 minutes 58 seconds, the fastest by an Under-20 runner on the day. Michael’s fine 13:02 effort on the second leg brought the team through into second place but some 34 seconds down on what looked like an extremely competent Edinburgh University Hare and Hounds team. Jamie Crowe soon made inroads into the deficit with the fastest individual leg of the day (12:12) to finish his effort just 2 seconds down and setting up the final leg to be a real battle for gold and silver medals. Alastair Hay put in a fine effort on the final leg, indeed recording the 12th fastest time of the day with 12:55, but had to give way to an excellent run from the Edinburgh University team who won by 17 seconds after some 51 minutes of running.
The day had started with the young athletes’ relays following a three leg format of an Under-13, followed by an Under-15 and completed by an Under-17, each running 2.5 kilometres. The two Central Girls teams finished in the centre of the field but this didn’t tell the whole story with Carys Gibb bringing the ‘A’ team round in ninth place with a fine 10 minutes 46 seconds effort. Scarlett Roy put in a solid performance of 12:15 bringing her team round in 19th while Carrie Banks (10:23) had the opportunity to pass some of her rivals to finish in 15th overall. Leya Gibb also made a strong start of 11:04 for Central’s ‘B’ team in 16th place. Brogan MacMillan’s 12:13 contribution brought the team into 20th place while Kyra Gibb’s final lap (10:21) ensured a 16th place finish, just 14 seconds behind Central’s ‘A’ team and Kyra recording the eighth fastest Under-17 time of the day with Carrie as tenth fastest.
There was also an encouraging turnout of Central’s Boys with the ‘A’ team comprising Under-13 Aaron Middleton (9:27), backed up by another Under-13 Jamie Connor (11:39) and completed by Under-15 Cameron Kerr (8:55), with Jamie and Cameron both running up an age group, so a real test of stamina and character. Although the team finished 17th, Aaron was the third fastest Under-13 on the day and Cameron the fourth fastest Under-15. The ‘B’ team of Joshua Kennedy (9:32), Owen Eckersley (11:11) and Euan Docherty (9:39) – another Under-15 competing in the Under-17 leg – finished 22nd overall. The Central ‘C’ team of Henry Crossley (11:02) and Douglas Fleming (11:53) didn’t have a final leg runner to complete the race and were in 33rd place at the end of their effort. It is fair to say that all of the Girls and Boys proved their training was heading in the right direction to enjoy the forthcoming Cross Country Season.
The Senior Women raced over three legs of the same 4 kilometre course as the Men and here we saw Under-20 runner Lauren McCulloch bring Central’s ‘A’ team to the first changeover in ninth with a tasty 15:46 clocking. Claire Waterhouse had only been promoted to the ‘A’ team on the morning and shouldered her responsibility admirably with a 16:47 leg and the team now in 14th. A typically storming run from Fanni Gyurko (15:22) rounded off the team’s effort, finishing in ninth overall. The Women’s ‘B’ team proved to be a fine effort from three of the Club’s Under-20 runners, Heather Scott (18:22), Rosie Eckersley (17:54) and Elizabeth Thompson (18:24) to finish 26th. There were further good efforts from Julie McAfee (18:48) and Kirsten McStay (17:51) with this incomplete team running in 33rd place at the end of the second leg.
Central Men’s ‘B’ team came home in an admirable tenth place overall through Fraser Logan’s first leg of 14 minutes 7 seconds followed up by Dale Colley (13:34) and two Under-20 runners Sandy Holl (13:59) and Tom Graham-Marr (13:22). Central’s ‘C’ team was led off by Under-20 runner Telfer Gray (13:35), and with Gordon Appelbe (17:23), Ben Noad (18:19) and a further talented Under-20, Sam Burton (15:21), the team finished in 45th place overall. There was a more than useful effort by Central’s top veteran’s team through Charles Graham-Marr (16:45), Will Hensman (15:02), Jens Subke (16:20) and David Eckersley (15:34) with the team in 43rd at the end of their efforts. There was also a fine effort from Central’s final veteran’s team of Cameron Campbell (22:42), Colin Sinclair (17:54), Allan Gall (19:27) and John Millar (22:32), who were caught up in a tussle towards the back of the race, finishing in 72nd place. Liam McCabe (19:33) rounded off Central’s efforts on the day in an incomplete team.