Monday, 14 August 2017

Rollercoaster Report

The 8K "Women's" prize-giving!
A total of sixty-nine runners finished the three races which incorporated the Scotland Trial races for hill running’s Junior Home International, with the first two finishers in each age category being certain of being offered selection for Scotland. The International will be held on the same courses on Saturday 16 September with two additional athletes selected to make up each Scotland team of four for U17 Women, U17 Men, U20 Women and U20 Men.

Race 1 was over 3.8km with a climb of 176m and incorporated the U17W Scotland trial race. Seventh overall and first home in that age-group was regular Scotland internationalist Lynn McKenna (Giffnock North) in a time of 18.10. But hats off to Scottish U13 Cross-Country Champion, now first-year U15, Anna Hedley (Fife AC) who stunned everyone by romping home to be first female in 16.54. Anna put the cat amongst the pigeons for the selectors by finishing third overall in the race, just twelve seconds off the winner and was only narrowly beaten home by two U15 boys. James Connelly (Garscube) gained two places on the final descent, including passing Anna, to take the win in 16.42, and Ben Cameron, who had made the long journey south from Forres, was second in 16.46. Our own Beth Hobbs had a strong run to finish twelfth overall and fifth in the U17 trial race in 20.00, a few seconds ahead of Scotland internationalist Zoe Nicholson (no relation). With one of the U17W who finished ahead of Beth twisting an ankle on the home run, Beth will have at least put herself in the minds of the selectors. In any case, she has another year in that age-group. Eilidh Mooney won her own "race within the race" to finish 16th overall and fifth U15G.

Race 2 was over 5.8k/321m race and incorporated both the U20W and U17M Scotland trial races. First overall and U17M trial winner was Robert Sparks (Fife AC) in 27.58. Elliot Duff (Garscube) took second in 28.18 with Yousuf Khursheed (Gala) third in 28.54. Next to finish in this race in fourth overall in 29.24 was the U20W trial winner Lauren Dickson (Lasswade) in what was just her second ever hill race. You couldn’t get any more local than veteran Sue Ridley (EAC) - well not until that McKean woman gets herself entered - "next year", so she promised. Sue was racing just over her back wall, and she showed she is still in good form by finishing eighth overall, second female and first female veteran in 32.19.  Moorfoot and Scotland Internationalist Mairi Wallace made a late call to race having only just returned to full training after injury and finished in good shape in twelfth overall and third U20 in 35.33. With a couple of the top U20W missing the trial it remains to be seen whether Mairi might sneak selection for the JHI. She has another two years in the U20 age-group.

The final race of the day incorporated the U20M trial and took in the steep climb to the Cademuir summit twice for 8k/433m. This, as well as the start-line explanation that this year's route went straight on over the first hill, elicited a few groans at the start. This start line explanation was also to make sure that Kenny Davidson knew where he was going, having not done his homework on the change of route before leading others astray on his pre-race recce! 

Gavin Bryson (EAC) showed a return to form to run out a convincing winner in 36.07 and seal his Scotland selection. Clubmate Freddie Carcas chased him home for the other guaranteed international selection in 37.09. Fourth overall and third home in the U20M category was Faisal Khursheed (Gala) in 39.23. He was preceded by the evergreen fifty-something and Hawick resident Colin Donnelly (Cambuslang). Unusually, this race turned out to be an all male affair so with the Race 2 female winner being under-age, the women’s 8k prize of a Franco’s meal voucher and bottle of top-notch prosecco was gratefully received by "Mrs" Donnelly.

Kenny found his way round to come home 12th overall and third vet in 44.45 with Alan Elder 22nd and 12th vet in 53.52. (Both invited to blog from the runner's point of view.)

The final word goes to the final finisher in the 8k, Frank Birch from Teviotdale Harriers who was applauded home in 71.18, a shade less than double the winner’s time. “Thanks for such a brilliant race. It was a comprehensively organised, marshalled and signposted event. It was tough going on occasions, but I enjoyed the challenge!”

Under-age Lauren, so no prosecco sorry

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