Having missed a year due to Covid restrictions the Scottish Inter District Cross Country Championships returned for 2022 with the races moving to a course in Irvine. A number of Central Athletic Club athletes had been selected for the Scottish East District teams and others for the Senior Men’s Scottish Students team so there were great opportunities to test their New Year fitness.
The first Central athlete competing on the day was Niamh McKinlay who faced a 4 kilometre test in, for once, dry and benign conditions. The Inter District races are a move up in class as the season progresses and here Niamh, representing the East of Scotland, acquitted herself well to finish in 21st place in a useful 16 minutes 45 seconds holding off a number of her rivals.
Connor Bell had success at this event as an Under-15 Boy in Stirling in 2020 and here moved up to contest the Under-17 Men’s race over 6 kilometres. Connor finished with a superb silver individual medal in a time of 19 minutes 44 seconds and ensured his East of Scotland team won the team honours by a significant margin over the West of Scotland.
The Senior Men’s and Women’s races were contested by the East, North and West teams plus Scottish Students and teams from the North of England so were certain to be high quality tests. In the Women’s race Morag Millar again proved her ability to deal with the conditions and most of her rivals finishing in silver medal position and covering her 7 kilometre challenge in 24 minutes 50 seconds, leading her East of Scotland team to another win. Catriona Buchanan stayed ‘on task’ to come through in 32nd overall with a 27:48 timing.
The Senior Men’s race was also played out over the same 7 kilometre course and here it was former Scottish Cross Country Champion and Welsh International Kristian Jones who won in 21:16 and it was Central’s Under-20 athlete Alastair Marshall, wearing a Scottish Students vest, who caught the eye to finish in silver medal placing with 21:35. Hamish Hickey was also representing the Students and here finished in a highly commendable fifth placing in 21:50. Alastair Hay was also well to the fore with yet another strong run in 15th place and scoring for the East team with 22:25. There were further good performances for the Students from Central’s Tom Graham-Marr in 20th with 22:32 and Calum Phillip in 25th with 22:37. The overall Senior Men’s Inter District title went to the Scottish Students with the West in second and the East in a close third place.