TWO TEAM GOLDS, two team silvers, three national titles and two more individual honours, plus the best-ever Giffnock North Senior Men’s finish at a National Short Course XC Champs: yes, we have exceptional reasons to remember, remember the fifth of November 2022.
The setting was a smirry wet day in Kirkcaldy, surprisingly blessed with decent conditions underfoot, on a rolling course with that good old favourite feature: the uphill start. And since the distances were as billed – relatively short – the pace was mercilessly fast from gun to tape in every race.
LET’S BEGIN AT THE END
In the day’s grand finale, the Senior Men’s 4k, our gents delivered our finest result yet at these championships, with a fighting fourth, denied bronze only on countback to Shettleston Harriers, equal on 102 points (and just six points off silver). Duncan Robinson (6th), Cameron Green (21st overall and 5th U20), Cameron Deverill (35th and 10th U20) and Ross Good (40th) were the athletes bringing us ever closer to a national team medal. All the more impressive to do it among a record field of 484 finishers.
Honourable mentions also to Nikolai Gajic, Conor Drummond, Ross O’Brien, Matthew Cox, Ali Stables, Oliver Traynor, Ruaridh Maclean, Michael Cross, Jordan Orr (special prize for most athletic photographer on the day, he was everywhere at once), Jamie Taggart, Donald Maclean, Eoghan O’Donnell, David Shaw, Garry Sturgeon, Ewan Wallace and Andy Munro. Some shift, lads.
HERE COME THE GIRLS
Never ones to shy away from a challenge, Giffnock’s Senior, U20 and Masters Ladies squad stepped up to their 4k circuit and came away with two national titles.
Young Hannah Ryding (17) gave as good as she got amongst such high-calibre opposition as Jenny Selman (Fife) and eventual runaway winner Megan Keith (Edinburgh University) but settled ultimately for fifth overall, and the not inconsiderable consolation of U20 gold. In close order, in the black and gold of her university this time, was Erin Wallace, claiming eighth overall despite a fall (“It was more embarrassing than painful”). Great to see you back out racing again, Erin, and recovering well from injury.
The composite Ladies team came home eighth overall, so congratulations Hannah, Allie Chong (V50), Kate Paul (U20) and Catriona Bark (V40). The irrepressible Allie confirmed her season’s fine form with national W50 gold, and was joined on the W50 podium by Hilary Carswell for bronze. Also contributing to a solid team effort was Kiara Meiklejohn (U20). No less than 260 women finished the race on another upbeat day for the sport.
UNDER 15 GIRLS SILVERS
In a pulsating finish to the 2k U15 Girls race, Scarlett Wilson stormed into the lead with 100 metres to go, only to be shaded on the line by a never-say-die surge from Inverness Harrier Lois MacRae, 6:36 to 6:37. Freya Campbell endured a foot injury but still raced in ninth, and with Lauren McPherson third counter Giffnock claimed national team silver behind Falkirk Vics.
Let’s also hear it for Isla Munro, Eva Saez (later spotted brandishing a Hallowe’en trident: you can spearhead the next team effort, Eva), Sarah McNulty, Lucy O’Donoghue, Erin Digby, Lexie Martin and major applause to two cross country debutants, Maya Pert and Sophia Hernandez. Welcome, girls, to the greatest show on earth. Well, mud and grass.
U15 BOYS TEAM & INDIVIDUAL GOLD
Calum Dick won the U15 Boys 3k in five minutes, 47 seconds, leading Thomas Reay (5th) and Matthew Shaw (15th) onto the top of the podium, ahead of Harmeny AC and Ross County AC. Also fighting the good fight were Patrick Fraser, Myles MacAulay, Charlie McAllister, Jude McGuigan and Jack Harcombe.
CHAMPION UNDER 17 WOMEN
For the eighth time in the nine editions of this age category, Giffnock North’s U17 women won the team crown. This year it was Ruth Walsh who led the squad home with a powerhouse performance over 3k, in 10:27 for seventh place, backed by Esme Dougall (9th) and Emma McLennan (11th) for the gold. Saoirse McNulty, Tuscany Wright, Scarlett Cunningham, Milli Macfarlane, Hazel O’Donoghue, Amy Vincent and Megan Smith all did the club proud.
Corstorphine – the only club other than Giffnock North to win this category – were second and the ever-improving Falkirk Victoria were third.
U17 MEN KNOCK ON THE DOOR
The U17 men’s Short Course team title has gone to seven different clubs across nine stagings. As yet, Giffnock North AC is not among those seven winners. It’s not for want of talent or trying – and we are very close. Last year and this we landed well-earned silver, and it was another sterling effort from the lads that saw us just edged out this time round.
Alasdair Nugent was first back for the amber and blues’ counting trio, in ninth, one place ahead of team-mate Oliver Macdonald, with Jack Wallace 19th for the medals. In hot pursuit were the redoubtable Glen Griffiths, Calan Chong, Alex Robin (grand to have you back racing, Alex, after injury), James Mowat and James Leaf. It’s worth noting that most of the U17s are first-year in the age group, so there’s more great days ahead for them and the club.
ALL TAKE A BOW
Apologies to anyone and everyone I’ve accidently missed out, mis-spelled or misrepresented. Many thanks to everyone who raced, supported, coached, hosted, officiated, stewarded, put up tents, took down tents, gave out tape, gave back tape, offered to share chips’n’curry sauce (you know who you are), didn’t clype me out for having an early roll’n’square and generally made this another memorable day out in the countryside for the club and the sport.
Report by Croy Thomson