Report from Croy Thomson

GIFFNOCK NORTH AC’s Hamish Armitt stormed to a convincing victory at the prestigious UK Cross Country Challenge event in Liverpool last weekend. Over a twisting, tricky and fast 5.5k parkland course, the southsider bided his time in the leading pack until after half way, before steadily turning the screw on most of Britain and Ireland’s best Under 17s, to come home comfortably clear after 17 minutes and 20 seconds.

The increasingly popular race series, a form of Cross Country Grand Prix incorporating GB selection races, has two races to go, in Belfast and Loughborough early next year. Hamish currently is well placed in the standings for an overall podium place at season’s end.

Other Giffnock athletes catching the eye included Valencia Wright, fifth U15 girl, and Craig Shennan, seventh U13 boy. Harris Paterson, Jacob Luc and Ross O’Brien packed well in the top twenty in an Under 15 boys’ race renowned for its ferociously quick start followed by three kilometres of tortuous switchback turns.

We had athletes in almost every race and we contributed well to what is a highly successful event in the UK racing calendar.Our international on the day, senior gent Luke Traynor, started well, but a recurrence of a foot injury forced him to put discretion before valour, and he wisely dropped out.

Many thanks to the coaches, mums, dads and support crew who traveled on the day – what a journey, the somewhat chilly bus departing at 4:45 am from GHA – and on the day before, to help make this a successful experience for the athletes, who will always benefit from competing in races that are demanding from gun to tape, with every last gap filled by quality athletes from all over the UK.

HAVING READ THE RENFREWSHIRE Cross Country Championships report on this site, and from a personal point of view, I’d like to say how great it is to see Frances Lowrie in action and among the medals (third counter for the Senior Ladies behind the irrepressible duo of Jill Smyllie and Allie Chong). As a junior with Giffnock, Frances was always an ace in the club pack, with achievements including a Scottish National XC team gold. No pressure, Frances! Well done.

ALL IN ALL an enjoyable and rewarding weekend, so big applause to every last racer (EVERY athlete is important). Keep up the good work, and here’s to another fun, fast, fruitful and generally fantabulistical winter’s racing.

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