Central AC had a busy weekend both on the country and the award stage: two athletes excelling in the UK cross country trials in Liverpool, and the club winning the Off-Track Club of the Year title at the annual Scottish Athletics awards dinner. Showing how that award was worthy was down to the club at the second match of the East of Scotland Cross Country League at a dreich Broxburn where the Senior Men took top team slot.
Central’s Senior Men were well supported with another top class run by Alastair Hay in sixth, covering the 8.1 kilometre, three lap course in 28 minutes 10 seconds, followed in by Matthew Sutherland in seventh with a strong run of 28:19. Ross Houston’s return helped the team performance, finishing in 28:42 for 11th heading in the overall first Master runner Scott Brember, in 12th overall (28:50). Robert Russell made an all too infrequent appearance to finish 18th (29:29) while Luca Fanottoli rounded off Central’s scoring six in 20th with 29:37. Telfer Gray was the first of Central’s Under-20 runners (24th; 29:42) in third Junior spot while another Under-20, Aiden Shea, showed his value to the team finishing 47th (31:00). Will Hensman led home the remainder of the Master’s runners (64th; 31:56) while Donald Shaw (118th; 34:16) put in another strong performance ahead of Alan Hume (123rd; 34:30), Jens Subke (135th; 35:15), and Ian Dunsmore (152nd; 36:26). Talat Aidi stuck to the task well in 168th with 37:01 as did the remainder of Central’s runners Charles Graham-Marr (172nd; 37:10), Ben Noad (178th; 37:38), Liam McCabe (223rd; 41:50) and Allan Gall (237th; 43:25).
It was a happy return to racing from a spell off with injury for Morag Millar, who put in a good run for second place with her 21:40 timing over two laps and 5.4 kilometres. Lauren McCulloch was also pleased to put in a strong race with her fifth place in 22:02. The squad effort was completed by Claire Houston (30th, 23:45), Mandy Williams (35th, 24:26) and Hazel Dean (48th, 25:35) with the team finishing in fourth place.
The combined Under-15/Under-17 Girls’ race over 4.1 kilometres featured another strong squad. Grace Tindall produced a top class performance with her sixth place in 16:38, Summer Maclean continued to show promise with tenth in 16:50 followed by strong showings throughout by Amy Cully (14th, 17:06), Mirren Henry (18th, 17:16), Catriona Kane (23rd, 17:42), Anna MacKinnon (26th, 17:49), Heidi Eik-Maxwell (47th, 19:46) and Zosia Padden (50th, 19:53) enabled the squad to take second team placing.
Sam Grivell was Central’s sole runner in the Under-17 Men’s race and did well to finish in the top half of the race in 13th recording 20:58 for his 5.4 kilometre challenge.
Connor Bell was always to the fore in the Under-15 Boys race over 4.1 kilometres finishing second in 14 minutes 10 seconds, a remarkable run as Connor has another full year in this age group. Ruairidh Burns again ran strongly (43rd, 17:16) while Ross Lawrie showed improved form (50th, 17:52) with back-up from Douglas Fleming (64th, 22:07).
In the Under-13 Girls’ race, Niamh McKinlay (36th, 12:25) and Leah Brown (44th, 12:44) ran creditable races and in the Under-11 Girls Dara Clark (19th, 6:32), Fia Watkin (21st, 6:36) and Ciara Middleton (33rd, 6:57) produced a great performance to finish seventh team. The Under-13 Boys ran the same 2.7 kilometre course as the Under-13 Girls and here finished first team through Joshua Kennedy (6th, 10:19), Aaron Middleton (9th, 10:22), and Jamie Oldham (19th, 10:53). Back-up here came from Jack Sutton (40th; 11:40), Alex Dunlop (43rd, 11:47), Jamie Connor (61st, 12:21) and Logan Bell (77th, 14:07). The Under-11 Boys finished seventh team through the efforts of Finlay MacGregor (24th, 5:57), Joel Gillan (29th, 6:09), Jake Drummond (39th, 6:09) and Gabriel Stewart (72nd, 8:07) over a 1.5 kilometre challenge.
The UK trials for the forthcoming in European Championships in Lisbon were held as part of the UK Cross Country Challenge in Liverpool. Hamish Hickey finished in eighth place at Men’s Under-20 race and Jamie Crowe took fifth place in the Senior Men’s race (eighth place overall but three eligible for the Under-23 team ahead) and both will await selection decisions. Cameron Kerr ran in the Under-15 Boys‘ race coming home in a more than worthy 30th place in a field of over 150 runners.