|800m to go. Ethan and Corran sit 2nd and 3rd, Forres 4th (hidden) and Chirnside 5th. (photo:Bobby Gavin)|
Callendar Park in Falkirk has been the home of the Scottish National Cross-Country Championships since 2006 and it is doubtful conditions have been any better than on Saturday for the 2016 Championships. A bright calm day dawned and the early morning frost was long gone under the warming sun by the time the races got underway. The soft but perfectly run-able underfoot conditions left no excuses for the record entry of 2,295 runners across the nine races.
And what a start when the U13 Boys race over 3.2km brought team gold for the boys from Moorfoot Runners. Unfortunately a glitch in the computer system which generated the team results meant no team score was calculated for the Moorfoot team and the medal presentation went ahead before the error was noticed. As soon as the results were displayed it soon became clear that the boys should have been declared Scottish champions. Enquiries followed with senior race officials which confirmed the error, but by that time three of the team of four were already half-way home to Peebleshire!
Corran Carrick-Anderson was like a scalded cat from the gun and was up with the pace throughout. Ethan Elder, after a steady start, had closed in on the leaders by the mid-way point and then upped the tempo. Although David Addison from Corstorphine opened a good gap, Ethan and Corran were second and third going into the final switchback climb with 500m to go but with Oscar Onley from Chirnside and Ben Cameron from Forres close enough to challenge for medals. Down the long home straight Ethan battled to hold off Oscar by one second, coming home in 12 minutes 24 seconds for a fantastic silver medal. Corran was just run out of it but was still delighted with his above-form 5th place in 12.28.
So with a mere 7 points from their first two finishers, all Moorfoot eyes turned to the 200m-long home stretch to see where their next two counters would come. Michael Girdler finished fast for 26th and Maxwell Drummond kept on well for 77th, just inside the top half in a massive field of 155 finishers. All credit to Maxwell who was recruited only three weeks ago through the help of Peebles High School PE staff as the required fourth team member. To finish where he did was just as valuable to the team cause as the other three. But would the team score of 110 points be enough to secure a national medal? It was a borderline score but it transpired not only that it was good enough, it was 23 points better than Giffnock North who were initially and erroneously awarded the team gold medals before the computer glitch was noticed. SCOTTISH CHAMPIONS!!!!!!
In the U15 Girls race over 4km there were three excellent top 20 finishes for the Moorfoot girls’ East District winning team with Mairi Wallace having a strong run for 11th in 17.05, Charlotte Clare picking up a dozen or more places in the second half of the race for 18th in 17.23, and Beth Hobbs staying on well for 19th in 17.28. Unfortunately two call-offs, both very capable runners, denied the girls the required fourth team counter otherwise another team medal looked assured.
In the U13 Girls race the Moorfoot team was again one shy of the required four runners, although this time not a threat to the team medals. Elena McGorum had her usual gutsy run for 43rd in 15.00 and Eilidh Mooney, who has shown good recent improvement, was only 15 seconds back in 49th. Charlotte Morrison gave it her all for 74th, still inside the top half of the field, in 15.40 and she knows she would have finished higher but for a couple of bouts of winter illness which have affected her training base.
Euan Hood, Moorfoot trained but racing for his track club Lasswade, was top Border runner in the U15 Boys 4km race finishing strongly for 31st in 15.33 with Craig Angus, the sole Moorfoot running, continuing his improved form for 48th in 16.04.
The U17 and U20 Women raced together over 4.8km but with separate results recorded. Moorfoot trained Ailsa Innes was in the Lasswade vest in 23rd in 21.24 and Fiona Grant, who was having her first race back after a knee injury, was 43rd in 23.02. In the U20 race Sophie Collins was in her Edinburgh University colours in 17th in 21.05 and another Moorfoot trained Lasswade runner, Niamh Shaw, was 21st in 21.36.
In the U20 Men’s race over 8km Lucas Cheskin had another improved showing after his excellent Carnethy debut for 30th in 31.17.
There was just the one Moorfoot representative in both the Senior men’s and women’s races. Home for a few days from her new base in York, the remnants of a cold saw Scout Adkin a little bit under par but still top Borders runner in 27th in the senior women’s race in 33.46 for the 8km course. And finally, after a long wait – in fact too long – we had all, apart from a very loyal Ethan, packed up and left by the time he finished – Alan Elder beat 128 in the senior men's race over 12km (that's runners, not his cadence per minute). Alan was 503rd of an incredible 631 finishers and was 57th of 79 in the M50 class.
|Charlotte, Mairi and Beth all smiles and rightly so|