Well the more robust Moorfoot gazebo survived a somersault this time in the increasingly gusty conditions as the races progressed at the National Cross-Country Championships at Callendar Park, Falkirk today, unlike a good few other club tents whose twisted metal littered the park and even the course on a couple of occasions, thankfully without wiping out any passing runners. (Thanks to all who acted as ballast for the gazebo post-somersault!)
On a day of record fields and on an altered course, it was a shame that conditions deteriorated to become very testing with heavy driving rain throughout most of the races and a course which soon resembled a sloppy ploughed field and was a challenge for even the longest of spikes.
First off in relatively benign conditions, albeit with a constant drizzle, were the 166 U13 Boys racing over 3.2km. After his late arrival at the last Borders Series race, when a last-minute dash from the car saw him set off a couple of hundred metres behind the rest, Ethan Elder made it to the start line and even had time for a bit of a warm-up! Ethan has been running well over the winter and a positive start saw him up near the front of the field. Another improved performance saw him finish in 19th in 12.05, very encouraging given he is still in this age-group next year. He was the 8th finisher home from East District clubs, up from 17th in the East Champs.
Craig Angus followed Ethan home in 44th in 12.36 with Finlay Collins 60th in 12.54 and first-time racer Patrick Harrison battling on for a top half finish in 76th in 13.10. The boys team (4 to count) was 8th of 23 complete teams.
The U13 Girls followed and Beth Hobbs made her usual aggressive start and got right into the race in the stampede from the gun. Managing to maintain a good rhythm throughout, she dug in down the home straight for 13th in 12.47 just missing out on a top ten finish in a bunch sprint. She was the 3rd finisher from East clubs. Molly Falconer was next home in 45th in 13.43 just ahead of Elena McGorum in 13.50, both girls having a strong second half. Another Moorfoot first-timer Charlotte Morrison came home just inside the top half of the 168-strong field in 81st in 14.21 with Eilidh Mooney not far behind in 94th in 14.37. The girls team was 10th of 19 complete teams.
Euan Hood was the sole Moorfoot in the U15 Boys race over 4km and continued his return to some sort of form with a decent midfield finish in 72nd in 15.21, fair hurtling down the home straight at some lick. The U15 Girls followed over the same course and all three had decent runs. Mairi Wallace led them home in 23rd place in 16.05 with Ailsa Innes keeping on well for 43rd in 16.48 despite paying a little for a pretty fast start. Not bad for someone who was running 300m indoors a couple of weeks ago! Fiona Grant was the third Moorfoot finisher with a top half 53rd place finish in a field of 111.
A field of 83 U17 and U20 Women ran in a combined race over 4.8km but with separate results recorded. Niamh Shaw, fresh for a fantastic bronze medal in the Scottish U20 indoor 1500m last week, was 33rd U17 in 21.02 and Sophie Collins, running for Edinburgh University, was 20th U20 in 20.03.
With the weather and the course deteriorating fast, 95 U17 Men ploughed their way round their 2-lap 6.4km course, fortunately missing the flying gazebos (sounds like a circus act!). Kobe Stevens gave it his all for 28th in 23.22.
The Senior Women were next up with a massive field of 226 providing a fair sight on their way up the first wee climb of their 8km test. Scout Adkin, taking time out from her final year studies at RGU in Aberdeen, had an excellent run for 15th in 30.47.
Wee bro Jacob also starred in his Edinburgh University vest in the U20 Men's race over the same course. After a tentative start Jacob picked off runner after runner on the second lap finishing an excellent 10th in 27.24. Lucas Cheskin was 39th in 31.27 and Benjamin Hindley 41st in 31.58.
And so to the final race of the day with Alan Elder the one intrepid Moorfoot among the 571 in the senior men's 12km race. Wearing his number 666 he had a devil of a run, holding off GB internationalist and eventual winner Andrew Butchart down the home straight (ok, so Alan veered off on lap 3 as Andrew headed for the line but it sounds good!). Alan slipped and slid his way to 459th and 44th M50.
Well done all.