XC Inter Districts Report

Report by Croy Thomson

“Alice was just in time to see the White Rabbit pop down a large rabbit hole … down went Alice after it, never once considering how in the world she was to get out again.”

SO MANY were the rabbit holes at Irvine Beach Park last Saturday, it’s a wonder(land) we ever saw any of our athletes ever again, never mind watch them conjure up another memorable day’s racing, this time in the sky-blue of West District, at the Inter District XC Championships.

Happily for all concerned, the hard-working course setters had filled in every hole on the courses, so the running was fast and true over this fabled roller-coaster of a venue. Weather waswindless and near perfect … okay, a bit dreich but come on it’s January in Ayrshire.

First out of the traps were the Under 13 Boys, and Calum Dick sustained his consistently fine winter form with a hard-won second, behind only the impressively composed Howie Allison of East. East took team gold ahead of West by a single point, 39 to 40, squeakiest team finish of the day. Aaron Reid (9th) was fifth of West’s six counters, while Patrick Fraser, Ethan Scobie, Cameron Mitchell and Myles Macaulay all raced strongly over the 3k challenge.

West’s Under 13 Girls also ended up behind East over 3k, but the club has the proud consolation of four of our girlscounting for the team silver: let’s hear it for Freya Scobie’s well-paced fourth, Eilidh Caldow 8th, Millie Boothman 9th and Aneesa Phillips 14th, as well as April Macaulay, Eva Saez and Sarah McNulty racing home hard to earn that West vest.
Freya Campbell, West District champion at Balloch last month, led the U15 Girls race from gun to tape in imperious style.  The 4k test took the athletes out on the coastal route beyond the swan pond and Freya flew round in 15 minutes, 24 seconds, some 20 seconds ahead of Glasgow School of Sport’s resurgent Millie McClelland Brooks. West claimed team gold in front of East, with Scarlett Wilson 15th and sixth counter. Not far behind, Lauren McPherson and Mili MacFarlane also packed in well.

In the Under 15 Boys event, Craig Shennan took a leaf out of Freya Campbell’s book of tactics and similarly blitzed the 4k from the front, pursued only by clubmate Alasdair Nugent. Impressive as it was, their one-two at the finish wasn’t enough to prevent another team win for East, who crammed into the next six places. Calan Chong (9th) and Jack Wallace (15th) counted for West, with James Mowatt (16th), Ruari Laskey and Oliver Macdonald backing up the sky-blue effort.

The Under 17 Girls raced over 6k (you can never have too many hills) and Hannah Ryding gave chase to West team mate Louisa Brown as they ran away from everyone else. Louisa took the tape in 22 minutes 11 seconds with Hannah 12 seconds behind – that’s impressive over Irvine’s ups, downs, twists and turns, where there is no let-up in the changing demands from the course, little rhythm to be found and next to no shelter from the elements. West claimed the team golds, with Giffnock North’s Esme Dougal (6th), Kate Paul (10th) and Emma McLennan (12th) counting.  Tuscany Wright and Ella Youngs raced to the last stride, commendably scrapping it outtogether over the final 100.

Also over 6k, East’s Under 17 Boys delivered a remarkable team effort in the final junior race of the day, eight black vests swarming round the two blues of Reuben Macdonald and Cameron Deverill, who were seen as major pre-race threats for the medals. The tactic paid off, with three East runners breaking clear of the bunch on lap two: East eventually put six athletes in the top seven. Reuben (6th) and Cameron (8th) led West to team silver, backed by Cameron Green (11th and fourth counter), Matthew Knak and Josh Adams. Yvonne McNairn was Giffnock’s representative for West in the Senior Ladies 7k, running strongly to 31st; Calum Young was exactly that same place for West’s senior men; Lynn McKenna counted for the Scottish Students Select in their bronze team medal performance; former club member Megan Crawford was tenth in the Senior Ladies, counting for East in their gold-medal team; ex-Giffnock North athlete Ruth Joss finished 37th for West. Freya Ross sprinkled Olympian stardust on proceedings, sixth counter for East’s victorious senior ladies.

The impression at the end of the day was that East dominated the junior team events, taking home four of six team golds, but West won two and were one place off winning a third. West had three individual champions to East’s two and if you take a 3-2-1 points system to the individual medals, West edged it 17 to 16*. Giffnock North athletes claimed two individual crowns and three silvers. So, as the Cheshire Cat may well have said, there’s lots to smile about.

If I’ve missed anyone, apologies. Off with my head. Full results here: https://data.opentrack.run/en-gb/x/2022/GBR/saintdis/

COMING SOON: Home Countries XC International Belfast (Saturday 22nd January) featuring Giffnock North athletes;Renfrewshire Road Races, Greenock, Sunday 6th February; Lindsay’s National XC Falkirk, Saturday 26th February.

*Yes, that is how anoraky it gets in coachville.

Thanks very much to Croy for this Report. He sends it from the sand dunes at Irvine however, and not Wonderland !

Photos courtesy of Coaches & Parents . More on Scottish Athletics website and social media from Bobby Gavin .