Saturday, 11 June 2016

Scottish Schools Golds for Michael and Ethan

Racing in the U14 age-group, Michael Girdler and Ethan Elder won their respective 800m and 1500m finals at Grangemouth today to take championship gold for PHS in impressive style. Their respective winning times of 2.06.28 and 4.26.00 were both PBs and only  c.0.5 of a second off the Championship records.

It was a chilly, damp and breezy start to the day, and having qualified very comfortably the previous day, hopes were high that in a tactical final Michael would have too much speed for his rivals (especially as, unbeknownst to his coach, he had taken part in the 200m the previous day after his 800m heat, taking the bronze medal in the final in a time of 24.93s!).

But things were not to go all his own way, with one of his rivals taking it out really hard, stretching the field, and testing Michael's stamina to the limit. With 200m to go he was still 5m adrift with the leader maintaining a relentless pace and it looked for a moment or two that the gap was not going to close. However coming off the bend, Michael had started to narrow the gap and the Girdler burners were lit down the home straight, taking the lead with 50m to go and crossing the line with a clear winning margin of 7 or 8 metres. His winning time was a marginal PB and given the conditions, he came remarkably close to Ben Greenwood's championship record.

Ethan had a clear and very positive race plan going into his 1500m final which he executed to perfection, holding a prominent position through the first two laps and then moving up to the leader's shoulder as they hit the bell, the two of them with good daylight back to the spreadeagled field. This prompted a determined but ultimately ineffective wee surge from the leader who kicked 2m clear again, but with 300m to go Ethan was back on his shoulder, applying the planned for pressure. There was only one winner from then, with Ethan stretching into a 5m lead down the back straight and storming home for a near 6 second victory with one of the most impressive performances of the day. He too came very very close to the championship record.

Kobe Stevens (over-18 800m) and Charlotte Clare (U15 800m) both qualified for their finals finishing 6th and 8th respectively, as did training group member Ailsa Innes, who now races for Lasswade, in the U17 800m. Mairi Wallace (U17 3000m) and Beth Hobbs (U15 1500m) enjoyed the "luxury" of straight finals, both recording good PBs in finishing 9th and 13th respectively, and Craig Angus ran well in his U15 1500m heat and was half a second inside his PB but didn't make the final. Same for Charlotte Morrison and Eilidh Mooney (U14 1500m) who nevertheless ran well, setting PBs in the process.

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