The 23rd running of the Lindsays Scottish National Short Course Cross Country was played out on a flat course at Lanark Racecourse on Saturday 6 November. The course may have been flat but the high winds and intermittent rain ensured the event was a true test for all the competitors. With three Tokyo Olympians running, namely Laura Muir, Andrew Butchart and Jake Wightman, the senior races were guaranteed to be of the highest quality. The Senior Men’s race of 4 kilometres saw Central Athletic Club’s Andrew Butchart take charge to win by some six seconds from clubmate Jamie Crowe. This was Andrew’s fourth individual win in this event and he expressed himself delighted to be back to the grassroots of the sport. Andrew’s time for his effort was 11 minutes 47 seconds and with Jamie’s hard fought silver medal effort of 11:53 backed-up by superb runs by Under-20 Champion Ben MacMillan (fifth; 11:58) and Tom Graham-Marr (15th; 12:23) Central’s Men’s Team topped the podium for the ninth time in the history of the race.
If B teams had been allowed then team silver medals would have come home with Central through further classy runs from Alastair Hay (16th; 12:24), Under-20 athlete Alastair Marshall (17th; 12:25), Luca Fanottoli (19th; 12:29) and Dale Colley (27th; 12:44). To add a little perspective, Olympian Jake Wightman running for Edinburgh AC, finished fourteenth overall with 12:22 with a contingent of Central’s yellow and blue vests around him. As the runners came through in an incessant stream it was good to see Calum Phillip (36th; 12:48) giving another fine performance as well as Scott Brember (60th; 13:17) finishing as third Master (Over-40) on the day. Josh Wood (69th; 13:25) and Sandy Holl (71st; 13:27) stuck well to the task as did Sam Burton (106th; 13:50), Under-20 Sam Grivell (130th; 14:06) and Andrew Irvine (153rd; 14:18). David Eckersley led in a string of the Club’s Masters runners in 257th with 15:41 ahead of further resilient runs from Charles Graham-Marr (298th; 16:08), Iain Dunsmore (321st; 16:46) and Colin Alexander (383rd; 18:22).
The 4 kilometre Senior Women’s race saw the expected fine display from Laura Muir as she lifted her fifth title in this event with 13:09. Behind Laura there was a real tussle playing out between Central’s Morag Millar and Glasgow University’s Eloise Walker with both highly rated runners finishing on the same time of 13:18 as Morag prevailed to take a fine silver medal whilst her daughter Molly looked on from the side-lines at her first cross country outing. Central finished as fifth team in the Women’s event and here Katie Phillips (39th; 15:13), Under-20 Grace Tindall (43rd; 15:19) and Heather Scott (46th; 15:23) backed-up by Claire Houston (69th; 16:13) proved how competitive they can be in search of medals.
The event had started earlier in the day with a series of junior races. The Under-15 Girls were faced with a 2 kilometre test in the relentless winds and driving rain so it was great to see Niamh McKinlay finish in a fine 21st position followed in by tenacious efforts from Leah Brown (49th; 7:55) and Robyn McKerracher (56th; 8:04). Zosia Paddon was Central’s sole Under-17 Woman and here continued her early season with another robust effort in 47th with 15:05 for her 3 kilometre challenge. Connor Bell continued his good early season form in sixth place with a charging 10 minute 1 second effort in the 3 kilometre Under-17 Men’s race. Facing a high class field Connor was always in contention and will have another year to prove his credentials in his age group.
The day will live long in the memory for podium places with much of the centre stage belonging to the incessant winds.