There may not have been any ploughed field or burn crossings but the conditions at Callendar Park, Falkirk for the Scottish National Cross-Country Championships on Saturday were as close to traditional cross-country as you’ll get with a tough undulating course and increasingly muddy conditions as the course churned up with each passing race.
The first crack of the starter’s gun signalled the start of a long day of racing with over one hundred and fifty lining up for the Under-13 Boys race over 3.2km. Craig Angus (Leithenburn branch) was the sole Moorfoot and was having his first taste of national level competition. He had an encouraging run for 64th, well inside the top half.
The Under-13 Girls race over the same distance was probably the strongest race for Borders athletes. Beth Hobbs was another having her first National outing and ran strongly for 10th with Mairi Wallace not far behind in 15th. Interestingly, whilst the National Championships does not cater for composite teams, with Gala girls in 5th and 18th had these four girls been running in a Team Borders vest then National Championship team silver would have come their way, a mere 4 points off gold.
The Under 15 Girls 4km race saw Zaynah Aziz (Selkirk branch) produce a very solid run for 13th. Fiona Grant seemed to find the going tough and was a bit below par with her 36th place finish.
Naimh Shaw, continued her return to fitness with a decent effort for 32nd in the U17 Women’s race over 4.8km.
In the U17 Men’s 6.4km race Kobe Stevens had a solid run for 33rd with Sam MacNeil not too far behind and winning a sprint to the line for 41st. An injury interrupted few months contributed to Ben Hindley unfortunately finishing well adrift of his true capabilities back in 80th spot.
Sophie Collins was another who battled adversity to get on the start line after two weeks of minimal training due to illness and in the circumstances she did very well to get home for 17th in the Under 20 Women’s race over 4.8km.
In what was billed as the race of the day, with virtually everyone who is anyone in Scottish women’s endurance running on the start line (apart from Sarah Mac!), 1st year senior Scout Adkin was the first Borders athlete home in 25th in the senior women’s race over 8k, an excellent effort given tired legs still from her 3rd place the previous Saturday in the Carnethy 5 hill race.
Finally, a big well done to Colin Williams who came home in 222nd place in a mammoth field of 566 in the senior men's race over 12km. Is this a first Moorfoot senior men's finisher in the National Champs? Certainly the first for a good number of years.