Words by Calum Phillip
Pictures by D Stewart Sports Photography
Several of the club’s student athletes represented their universities at the Scottish Student Sport Cross Country Championships at Dechmont Law, Livingston on Saturday 18 November 2023.
On a challenging 8km course familiar to many as the recent host of East District League and Relay races there were several standout performances with Central athletes winning both individual and team medals.
Up first was the women’s race with Edinburgh University’s Grace Tindall securing a very impressive silver medal.
A relatively small field and a leading athlete of the calibre of Glasgow University’s Naomi Lang (GB hill runner) meant the field very quickly became stretched out and left Grace having to do much of the hard running on her own.
Nevertheless she stayed strong on the hills and in the mud to pull twenty seconds clear of third place Clare Stewart (Glasgow University). Grace finished in 32:31 and led her Edinburgh University teammates to second place in the team race. Glasgow University won the team race with University of Stirling third.
A pair of silver medals for Grace and a very successful first ‘long’ cross country outing of the season!
Onto the men’s race which saw a further four athletes from the club contribute to individual and team medals.
Making it a pair of second place finishes for Central athletes was Calum Phillip, the sole representative on the day for Edinburgh Napier University.
After a tight opening lap a strong move from eventual race winner Harry Henriksen (Edinburgh University) saw the leading group of five split up, Calum pulled clear of the pack to finish in 26:17, an equal eleven seconds behind Harry and clear of third place Andrew McGill (Glasgow University).
Also featuring in the chase pack and leading the University of Stirling team home was Ryan Martin, who stayed strong to clock 26:52 for fourth place. Stirling’s impressive team packing continued with GB mountain runner Jacob Adkin (who has been training with the club) hot on Ryan’s heels (26:59) to place fifth.
Next in for Stirling in seventh place was Luca Fanottoli (27:12), who in typical fashion moved through the field strongly and showed great determination on the last lap to hold off two Edinburgh University athletes.
Fourth counter on the day was Alastair Marshall, who battled through recent injury and discomfort to finish a very respectable 17th (28:12). An admirable demonstration of team spirit and commitment from Alastair.
An incredibly tight team race saw an exact tie of 33 points between Stirling and Edinburgh. With the highest placed last counter being used as a tiebreak Stirling were just edged into second by 12 seconds and two places. Glasgow University were in third.
Top twelve finishes for Grace, Calum, Ryan, Jacob and Luca earns them guaranteed Scottish Student Sport vests for the Inter District Cross Country Championships in the new year.
With two individual medals and significant contributions to a further two team medals it represented a very successful day for the club’s student athletes.