A stiff breeze looked likely to negate fast times at Grangemouth today at the Scottish Schools Champs but three of the four Moorfoots running produced PBs. The fourth, Charlotte Clare, ran her usual gutsy race but she is in a bit of a flat spot at the mo and was a fair bit off her best form in her U17W 800m heat. She is young in that age-group and will turn things round given time.
In the U20W 800m Ailsa Innes was just run out of an automatic qualifying spot in her heat, finishing a close 4th in 2.18 just outside her PB. That was a hard but highly commendable run given the windy conditions and it put her through to the final as a fastest loser. With a turn-round of only 90 minutes after the heats, the final was a race for the strong, and not only did Ailsa turn the tables convincingly on the girl who had kept her out of the top three in her heat, she put herself well and truly in the race for a medal. Down the back straight on lap two she latched on to her older Lasswade clubmate Lauren Dickson (Ailsa is Moorfoot trained but now races for Lasswade). With the front two clear, and a good gap back to fifth, it was a clear-cut match race between the two of them for bronze. With 150m to go Ailsa moved out to take over third spot and held a two metre advantage off the bend. But Lauren wasn't done for and with the crowd roaring the two of them down the home straight she eventually got back to Ailsa's shoulder and just, only just, sneaked it on the line. Gutting for Ailsa who had run such a superb race but she can be justly proud of a 2.16 PB on a windy day and with only 90 minutes recovery after a hard heat.
Charlotte Morrison's U15G 1500m went as a straight final and while not challenging for the podium she ran a faultless well-paced race for a three second 5.16 PB. Can't ask for any more.
Ethan Elder won the U14B 1500m last year but two separate 2-week lay-offs from training since mid-April due to an ankle injury meant he could not expect to be at his best in his attempt to repeat the feat in the U15 age-group. He had to work really hard in his heat to nab 4th on the line and sneak the final automatic qualifying place in a blanket finish, but his 4.33 time was a good nine seconds off his PB. Just one tenth of a second separated 2nd to 5th and with all four fastest losers coming from the other heat, Ethan made the final by the skin of his teeth. With some questionable timetabling by SSAA again meaning less than 90 minutes between heat and final, it was going to be a really tough task for him to be competitive in the final after a hard heat run and the four weeks of missed training. He looked goosed after his heat and it was as much a mental battle to get up for his final as it was physical. Thankfully someone had the sense to push back the final by 15 minutes to give the boys some additional recovery time (although no-one told the boys about that before they were due in the call room!). Thankfully too, the pace in what was the very last event of two full days competition, was sensible over the first two laps with Ethan able to sit comfortably mid-bunch. At the bell the expected kick came and spreadeagled the field. Although there was no instantaneous matching reaction from Ethan, he dug in to stay in touch with a possible medal position going down the back straight for the final time. With hot favourite Lewis Dow surging clear, Ethan showed incredible guts to haul in the others and push into second place round the final bend. Down the home straight his strength was evident for all to see as he made inroads into Dow's lead. Although clear, Dow was anxiously looking over his shoulder as the shouts for Ethan sent the message that he was not yet home and hosed. The gap proved to be too big for Ethan but it was an amazing turnaround and he so deserved his silver medal. On top of that it looks like he sneaked a PB of 4.23 although that is unofficial on the coach's watch, the official time TBC. Guts, pure guts, which was enough to elicit some post-race "French" praise from his coach.