Central AC senior men continued their winning ways at the Scottish Short Course Cross Country Championships over a fast 4 kilometre course in Kirkcaldy. Andrew Butchart took his third title at this short distance, to add to the two over the long course championships and led home a winning Central team with the club’s newest young seniors well to the fore.
Andrew’s post-race interview gave a flavour of the race. ‘I thoroughly enjoyed it and it’s always good to claim a Scottish championship title,’ said Butchart. ‘If that’s five individual golds in cross country then I’m very pleased with that given I’m much more of a track runner now. But my roots were in cross country and I still love it. The mud today made it a bit harder for me than it might have been – I think when the surface is as soft as that it maybe suits others better than me. It was a good race. At one stage I heard the crowd cheering people and realised those behind me were not too far away. I felt the first lap would be quicker and that’s what happened and I put in a bit of a surge to get ahead.’
Andrew finished with a time of 11 minutes 54 seconds and always looked in control over a small set of serious contenders. One of those pressing Andrew was clubmate Jamie Crowe finishing in a close-up fourth place in 12:02 with an individual medal just out of reach. Central were once again the winning team through the efforts of Under-20 runners Hamish Hickey (16th; 12:34) and Ben MacMillan (30th; 12:52) with Hamish taking second Under-20 spot. There was further proof of the health of the Club’s future as another Under-20, Tom Graham-Marr came through in 32nd place with 12:54.
Club stalwart Michael Wright mastered the mud in 48th place (13:12) and there were further signs of progress from Under-20, Telfer Gray (13:29). It was good to see Scott Brember getting his competition year back on track as the fastest in his Masters age group and overall 69th, also with 13:29. Under-20s Sandy Holl (85th; 13:40) and Aidan Shea (90th; 13:43) put in solid performances in this highly competitive race, as did Fraser Logan (91st; 13:44). Kier Howlieson (Under-20) has been missing from recent competition but here showed good form with a tasty performance in 145th with 14:26.
As what seemed like an never ending stream of runners crossed the finish line there were more than worthy efforts from David Eckersley (218th; 15:22), Under-20 Sam Burton (236th; 15:36), Charles Graham-Marr (261st; 16:04), Iain Dunsmore (288th, 16:23), Ben Noad (337th; 17:22) and Colin Alexander (358th; 17:45).
Central’s Under-15 Boys faced a one lap challenge of 2 kilometres over the undulating course and here Central’s Connor Bell again caught the eye with a superb run to claim an individual bronze in a frenzied race to the line. Connor is a first year Under-15 so his 6 minutes 18 seconds showing gives a flavour of what could still be to come. There was also praise for Cameron Kerr’s sixth place run in 6:22 as Cameron underlined his quality start to the season. Euan Docherty and Ruairidh Burns both looked strong as they finished together with both recording 7:09 in 59th and 60th respectively as the Boys finished a fifth team in this age group.
Claire Houston was again Central’s first finisher in the senior women’s race over 4 kilometres with 16:28 for 70th , Trish Milne was 114th in 17:39, Under-20 Elizabeth Thompson was 130th (18:05) and Jane Waterhouse was 172nd (19:18), just outside medals in fourth in her Over-60 category, all in a field of 251 finishers.
A strong contingent of Under-15 Girls had the same 2 kilometre fast track as the boys, with Amy Cully (15th; 7:37) showing the fastest set of heels from the Central team, ably backed up by Mirren Henry (32nd; 7:48), Melissa Turnbull (37th; 7:53), Anna McKinnon (46th, 8:04), Leona Melville (54th; 8:15), Zosia Padden (57th; 8:20), Anna Buchanan (59th; 8:21) and Scarlett Roy (68th; 8:44) to finish seventh team in a highly competitive race.