Central AC’s honours list from the annual East District Cross Country Championships continued to grow with four individual wins and a fine array of team championship medals. A new course at the Piperdam leisure resort near Dundee proved a testing environment for the club’s athletes with a total of three golds, one silver and one bronze in the team rankings to top the unofficial medal table for the event. For individuals, the event was also the trials for the East District teams for the annual inter-district championships taking place at Stirling’s King’s Park as part of the Run Stirling event on 11 January.
The Senior Men’s race saw Jamie Crowe surging to the front from the gun to establish an early lead which he extended on each of the three laps making up the 8.6 kilometre course to lift a well-deserved gold medal in emphatic fashion in 27 minutes 10 seconds, once again proving his class with a win of over 30 seconds.
Ross Houston was making his debut as a Masters’ athlete (Over-40) and came home in 13th place overall (29:09) to take the Masters’ gold some 26 years after first featuring in the Under-15 medal listing. Scott Brember’s solid run in 19th (29:35) was rewarded with the Masters’ silver medal, and with back-up from Matthew Sutherland (21st; 29:37), Dale Colley (23rd; 29:43) and Chris Smithard (26th; 29:50), Central took the Senior Men’s team silver medals, with Corstorphine AAC winning gold. A rejuvenated Luca Fanettoli came home in 28th with 30:13, leading in a large number of Central runners including Will Hensman (67th; 32:24), David Eckersley (124th; 35:00), Andrew Irvine (127th; 35:02), Donald Shaw (135th; 35:22), Charles Graham-Marr (162nd; 36:55), Iain Dunsmore (165th; 37:12), Ben Noad (181st; 38:06), Neil Cobb (198th; 39:02), Colin Alexander (208th; 39:33), Colin Sinclair (242nd; 44:42) and Cameron Campbell (249th; 45:46). Central’s team of Ross Houston, Scott Brember and Will Hensman lifted the Masters’ title for the first time in Central history, and Jamie Crowe’s third consecutive win in this event was his compensation for having narrowly missed out on European Cross Country selection.
The Under-20 Men’s race, over 6.4 kilometres, saw Central’s Hamish Hickey improve on last year’s bronze medal with a resounding victory in 20 minutes 51 seconds. Tom Graham-Marr showed his talent to take bronze with 21:30 and with superb back-up by Aidan Shea (seventh, 22:09), Central’s Under-20 Men came home with team gold medals.
Central’s Senior Women were running the same course as the Senior Men and a team of four took fifth place in another packed and competitive field. Morag Millar led Central’s runners in with tenth place in 34:37 followed by Claire Houston (30th; 37:22), Kirsten McStay (41st; 39:36) and Hazel Dean (45th; 39:46).
For the Under-20 Women’s race, Lauren McCulloch ran her best race of the season with a great performance against top opposition to take the bronze medal with a 25:05 timing over the 6.4 kilometres.
Sam Grivell was Central’s sole competitor in the Under-17 Men’s race over a 5.7 kilometre course and continued to show improvement finishing a highly commendable 19th in 21:16.
Grace Tindall continues to produce ever more mature performances and she gained automatic selection for the East District team with a top class sixth place in the Under-17 Women’s race with 23:02.
The Under-15 Boys tackled a 4.2 kilometre challenge and here Connor Bell proved to be the top runner in the field with a fine win in 14 minutes 2 seconds, a superb run as a first year Under-15, having won Under-13 gold in 2018. Back-up came from further excellent performances from Cameron Kerr (fourth; 14:47) and Cameron MacMillan (seventh; 14:55) to see the three Central runners lift team gold medals. Euan Docherty again looked strong in finishing 36th (16:30), as did the remaining Central boys Ruaridh Burns (44th; 16:49) and Ross Lawrie (59th; 18:09).
A strong squad of Under-15 Girls claimed bronze team medals. Summer McLean led the team in with a fine ninth place (16:47) and will have to wait to see whether she gets selection for the East District team. Amy Cully (15th, 17:14), Mirren Henry (18th, 17:36), Catriona Kane (30th, 19:06), Anna McKinnon (31st, 19:26) and Zosia Padden (40th, 20:21) showed the club has fine prospects in this age group.
The Under-13 Boys faced a 3.2 kilometre course and Joshua Kennedy caught the eye in eighth (12:01), leading in further highly competent efforts from Aaron Middleton (20th; 12:28), Alex Dunlop (42nd; 13:22) and Henry Crossley (44th; 13:25) as the boys proved that the green shoots of development are bearing fruit.
For Under-13 Girls, Carys Gibb led her team to fifth team place, just missing automatic selection with her ninth race position in 13:22, and was closely followed in by sister Leya Gibb (16th, 13:40) and Niamh McKinlay (30th, 14:30).