A RECORD-BREAKING eight team golds were won by Giffnock North at the West District XC Champs last Saturday in Kilmarnock. Add a team silver for our Masters Women as well as individual titles for Duncan Robinson (senior men), Hannah Ryding (U20 women), Reuben Macdonald (U20 men) and Calum Dick (U15 boys), plus eleven more individual medals, and you have another day to remember for our whole endurance squad.
Just to notch up the pressure, the event was the official selection race for the West District teams for the prestigious Inter District Championships in January. First ten finishers enjoy automatic selection, another five at selectors’ discretion. So, lots to play for in all age categories.
SENIOR MEN SWAMP TROMP
In cold but dry and windless conditions, over a flattish testerof a senior course (any 8.5k circuit that features names such as “The Swamp” and “Zig-Zags” deserves respect, surely) Duncan bided his time, covering early efforts from such seasoned athletes as Shettleston’s Lachlan Oates, before letting himself off the leash with about a k to go, thensustaining his surge to hold off Shettleston’s impressive SeydTaha Ghafari by four seconds (26:57 to 27:01).
It was a well-paced, canny win for the former cani-cross champion, who led his team to a fine fourth behind tough rivals Inverclyde, Shettleston and Cambuslang: hats off to another strong run from Ross Good in tenth, backed by fellow counters Nikolai Gajic, Alastair Stables, Conor Drummond and Kieren Mooney among no less than 274 finishers. Major marks also to Andrew Campbell, our phlying photographer Jordan Orr, Jamie Taggart, Nic Boyle and Rob Crusher.
SENIOR & MASTERS WOMEN 8.5K
Our senior ladies took fifth, one point behind Cambuslang in fourth, led home by the irrepressible Yvonne McNairn. Allie Chong (first W50) Catriona Bark and Emily Crusher completed the counting four ahead of team-mate Jacqueline Campbell. Allie and Catriona also counted in the Masters Women’s race, where they won team silver, being joined on the podium for that event by Hilary Carswell.
Big well done and great-to-see-you-again to Heather Barnes, who came up through the junior ranks at Giffnock and currently is gracing the racing in the ebony-and-amber ofGlasgow University – Heather was 16th in the senior event, helping the Uni to the team gold. Flying colours indeed.
ONE TWO THREE GO U20 MEN
Glasgow Uni’s strong-running Andrew McGill looked like he might spoil the party for Giffnock’s Under 20s Reuben Macdonald, Conan Harper and Cameron Green, but the yellow-and-blue trio steadily tightened their grip on their 6.5kchallenge to race to an imperious sweep of the medals and the district title. They fought each other hard for the podiumhonours throughout, with Conan and Reuben sprinting the final 100 shoulder to shoulder, Reuben ultimately edging it 19:43 to 19:45. Cameron nailed down the team gold with 19:55 ahead of McGill’s 20:24. Innes McPherson in eighth can expect a West call-up and Findlay Pryor’s twelfth may get him to the Inters too. Well done, lads.
Hannah Ryding continued her season’s notable form with an emphatic victory in the U20 6.5k, striding clear of the pack with a mid-race acceleration that no-one had an answer to,and breaking the tape some 40 seconds ahead of Inverclyde’s Meredith Reid (22:08 to 22:54). Valencia Wright raced home fourth and Kate Paul sixth to clinch team gold. Kiara Meiklejohn posted twelfth place, putting herself in the frame for a coveted sky-blue West vest.
The Under 20 titles were the seventh and eighth team golds on an unprecedented day … hold tight, here come the other six:
U17 BOYS HIGH FIVE
Kilbarchan’s Oliver Patton is a class act, and try as they might our own exceptional U17 lads couldn’t quite get a hold of himthis time, as early on he established a little daylight with the accompanying U20 leaders (the two races ran together, albeit over different distances).
Our top five finishers, Alasdair Nugent, Matthew Knak, Jack Wallace, Oliver Macdonald and Calan Chong were always in hot pursuit in a remarkable show of strength in depth. Alasdair closed his Renfrewshire rival down to just six seconds at the end of the 5.5k, taking silver (16:25 to 16:31), with Matthew Knak’s outstanding effort earning him fifth (16:40). Calan powered through late for sixth and his share of the team gold. It’s only three to count in District Champs so it was tough on Jack and Oliver who had to settle for seventh and eighth and the consolation of another brilliant effort for the club. Zac Meiklejohn and Jamie Davidson completed our line-up in this always fiercely contested age group.
U17 GOLDEN GIRLS
Ruth Walsh gave it all she had in the final 100, only to be pipped for bronze by Law’s Jessica Inglis, but Ruth still made it to the top of the podium with her gold-medal winning team-mates Emma McLennan (5th) and Saoirse McNulty (7th). Tuscany Wright’s 10th assures her of a West invitation, while Scarlett Cunningham’s 15th puts her in with a shout. Thumbs up to Hazel O’Donoghue and Megan Smith who also put in great efforts for their team over the 5.5k challenge.
U15 BOYS 1,2, 7
Calum Dick imposed himself on the race from the start and never looked back. If he had, he’d have seen team-mate Tristan Robin just eight seconds back in second, and the ever-reliable Thomas Reay not far behind either, in seventh to wrap up the team crown ahead of Springburn Harriers. Also powering round the 4k of loop and occasional gloop were the redoubtable Matthew Shaw, Aaron Reid, Myles Macaulay, Patrick Fraser and new prospect Dillon Sim. Good shift, gentlemen, another fine squad effort. Lewis Davidson had to withdraw unwell on the day – get well soon, Lewis, your team missed you.
U15 GIRLS 2, 3, 4
Only two seconds separated Giffnock’s Freya Campbell from Kilbarchan’s Zara Redmond at the business end of 4k, but it was Redmond who won out, 15:11 to 15:13. Eight seconds back was Scarlett Wilson for the bronze, followed home by fast finishing Freya Scobie in fourth to seal the team gold. Lauren McPherson, who’s enjoying a consistently good season, nabbed tenth and the final automatic District spot, while Amy Gallagher in 14th has to be in with a shout as well.
Isla Munro, Erin Reilly, Aneesa Phillips and Sarah McNulty raced into the top 25, with Ella McWilliams, Hannah Slumanand Lexie Martin completing a good day’s work for their squad. Coincidentally, the athlete who finished right behind Lexie was called … Lexie. What are the chances? Anyway, you can never have too many Lexies.
U13 BOYS 9 IN 11
There’s a commanding performance and there’s our U13 Boysand Girls. Nine in the top eleven was more than good enough for the boys’ team gold and – had rules allowed – would have taken team silver and bronze into the bargain. However, rules is rules, and Louie Muir (2nd in 11:18), Finlay Laskey (3rd), Ethan Scobie (5th), Kian Dick, Cameron Nugent, Logan McNulty, Joseph Mowat, Cameron Mitchell and Max Deery(6th to 11th respectively) will have to be content with onegleaming team title and the knowledge they’re all pretty much guaranteed West District selection. Adam Tortolano, Matthew Digby, Joseph Igoe, Ruaridh Mostyn and Noah Slumanrounded out a remarkable squad.
Winner was the always impressive Rhuaridh Laing of Victoria Park, who led from gun to tape, covering the 3.2k in 11 minutes flat. He’s small, but then so are diamonds.
U13 GIRLS 10 IN 15
If you think the U13 boys’ squad did well, you’re right … but they had to because in the first race of the day U13 girls hadpacked ten athletes into the top 15 in their 3.2k event. Only Erin Burnett of Garscube in first place prevented Eilidh Caldow, the swift-finishing Holly Simpson and Millie Boothman claiming a clean sweep of the medals on top of the team title. Emma Johnston (8th) and Isabella Wilson (10th) are up for automatic West selection places, and Nicole Yates, April Macaulay, Eve Cameron, Orla Yeates and Anna Ross pack in brilliantly for 11th to 15th.
Also racing hard for the team and helping make everyone’s day were Samantha McKeown, Eve Wilkinson, Megan Jackson, Beth Adams, Gabriella Amorati, Lilah MacIntyreand Neve Reilly.
THANK YOU ALL
Massive applause to every single athlete and the families, coaches, cheerers, consolers, tent putter-uppers, time-keepers, officials, organisers, whoever thought of lining the finishing straight with colourful flags of many nations, host club Kilmarnock Harriers, the cheery bloke in the burger van, the nice ladies who were selling very good cakes in aid of Ukraine, our friendly rivals and anyone else in the general vicinity.
Apologies to anyone missed out, mis-spelled or mistakenly misrepresented.
Full results for your delectation: 12564-2022 WD Results.pdf (sportserve.net)
Report by Croy Thomson