GOOD DAY SUNSHINE
Giffnock North AC enjoyed a field day at a sun-drenched Lindsays West District Cross Country Relay Championships 2022 at Kings Park, claiming four titles, two silvers and a bronze across the six team categories. But cold numbers cannot convey the drama that unfolded.
Had there been any seats, everyone would have been on the edge of them. On the final leg of the final race, the Senior Men’s 4x4k, Kilbarchan’s Cameron Wright set out twenty seconds clear. But he was a marked man: Inverclyde’s Andy Douglas and our own Duncan Robinson were in hot pursuit. The gap to the leader shrank, shrank and shrank some more to only three seconds. Pressure built, a super-enthusiastic crowd roared the runners on … 300 metres to go and the tiring Kilbarchan man strayed off course! He gamely returned to the fray but his fragile grip on gold was gone. The door was open for a two-man showdown over the final stretch.
100 metres to go, at the end of a thriller of a hunt, Duncan edged ahead of the tenacious Inverclyder to win by just three seconds. What a race by all three clubs.
TO THE FOUR
On that switchback rollercoaster of a course, Duncan did not do the job on his own: far from it. His 12-minute eight seconds circuit capitalised on outstanding performances by team-mates Reuben Macdonald (fastest U20 12 minutes 12 seconds), new recruit Conan Harper (U20, 12:19) and Cameron Green (U20,12:43). For such a young squad to take gold is a memorable achievement. For the club to retain the title proves that last year was no fluke.
Behind them our B Team of Conor Drummond, Calum Young, Ross O’Brien and Nikolai Gajic raced home a solid ninth. In 17th were Oliver Traynor, Matthew Cox, Josh Adam and Ruaridh MacLean. Russell Whittington, Mark Sutherland, Andy Munro and Cris Walsh were 16th in the Vets category.
As ever, Giffnock ladies more than graced the day. Over 4k, our A Squad of Katy Brown, Hannah Ryding and Yvonne Hamilton powered to a fine bronze. Hannah’s 13 minute 57 second effort was third fastest by any woman and took the team into first, but Shettleston’s Fionnuala Ross’s 13:37 on the last leg decided where gold was going. Second-swiftest lady was Giffnock member Lynn McKenna on 13:56, starring in Glasgow University gold and black.
The irrepressible Allie Chong led our Lady Veterans team gold, ably backed by Mary McCutcheon and Jill Smyllie. Allie’s 15:59 was fastest V50; third fastest was Mary, fourth fastest was Sheila Lewis. Catriona Bark was fifth V40.
GIFFNOCK’S JUNIORS always put on a show and they fully lived up to expectations, delivering a double one-two in the Boys and Girls mixed age-groups relays.
GIRLS GIRLS GIRLS
Over 3k, Eilidh Caldow (U13), Freya Campbell (U15) and Esme Dougall (U17) led from start to finish, imperiously lifting the Young Females’ crown in an aggregate 33 minutes 44 seconds, ahead of club-mates Millie Boothman, Freya Scobie and Emma McLennan. Kilbarchan came home third, with Giffnock’s April Macaulay, Amy Gallagher and Ruth Walsh fifth, and another five Giffnock girls’ trios in the top 19.
We had a remarkable turnout of 13 complete teams (39 girls) in the category which attracted 161 finishers in total – well done all, it’s brilliant to see so many youngsters taking part over the country.
BOYS WILL BE BOYS
As is their prerogative as relatively inexperienced athletes who’d had a heavy race schedule in the previous seven days, the U13 boys decided to enliven their coaches’ morning by completing their 3k lap in a refreshingly unexpected order, but hey that’s sport, and, undeterred, the U15s and U17 rapidly set about their own tasks. By the end, the A Team of Cameron Mitchell (U13), Calum Dick (U15) and Craig Shennan (fastest U17 in a blistering nine minutes seven seconds) emerged triumphant, ahead of club-mates Louie Muir, Thomas Reay and Alasdair Nugent.
A formidable fourth were Logan McNulty, Matthew Shaw and Oliver Macdonald; a fighting fifth were Finlay Laskey, Lewis Davidson and Jack Wallace. All in all, we fielded 11 complete Junior Boys teams, contributing significantly to the massed rank of 146 finishers in the category.
Giffnock North AC hosted the Championships, with the tireless efforts of David Shaw in particular deserving big applause. We must thank near neighbours Cambuslang Harriers for their much-appreciated assistance on the day, as well as help from our other local West District clubs, and the RR & XC Commission. We’re all in this together.
That’s before we get to the hard-working officials, organisers, course setters, marshals and volunteers who gave so generously of their time and talent. Hats off (well, it was a warm day) to the mums, dads, pals and supporters who helped create such an inspirational atmosphere, it really was something special. And it’s never a cross country day without the tantalising aromas of the burger van!
There are too many names to be able to include everyone who raced, so apologies to anyone and everyone I’ve omitted. Major cheers to every single athlete in all the squads who turned out, from absolute beginners doing their first ever XC, to the evergreen veterans of many a championship.
For those who didn’t quite get what you wanted, the consolation is you’re another tough race richer and wiser and you’ll be an even better athlete next time out. For those who did achieve their aims and more, good on you, you’ve raised the bar, you’re strengthening the squad and you know how rewarding cross country can be. As we head into winter, remember: EVERYONE is important.
Finally, let me highlight how nice it was to see Andy Macdonald lining up on the start line beside his son Reuben – these are the kind of family moments that help make sport great, come rain, hail and shine.
PROVISIONAL RESULTS (10.10.22): West-District-CC-Relay-Champs-2022-Results-Summary-Provisional-1.xlsx (live.com)
NEXT UP – National XC Relays, Cumbernauld, 22nd October, where even more adventures await us. Won’t you come out to play?
Report by Croy Thomson