Hardy Harriers beat Snow, Sleet and Hail to Compete in the Nationals

Teviotdale Harriers descended on Callendar Park, Falkirk on Saturday for the Lindsay’s Scottish Athletics National Cross-country Championship 2020. This annual event brings together the country’s top runners from as far as Stornoway to the Borderlands of Hawick to battle out for Scottish Athletics top prize. 

Irvine Welsh and Glen Jamieson were the first of the Harriers to take up the challenge of the multi terrain, multi weather course in the under 13 boys’ championship. Unfortunately Charles McKay although travelled to the event did not start. Ground conditions had the going of soft to bottomless, understandable giving the storms that had passed over the country in the last few weeks, and the weather gods weren’t on the Harriers sides either on Saturday. As the under 13 duo stepped onto the start line a sudden flurry of sleet and snow made visibility poor and the challenge only greater for the field of 157.

Welsh continued his recent excellent form and with a gutsy performance crossed the finish line in 32nd place in a time of 12:34. Jamieson who has yet another year at the under 13 age group finished 147th with a time of 16:33.

In the under 15 girls’ race, Glens sister Iona , Ava Hughes and Kelly McKay donned the maroon striped vest competing over the two lapped race, Kelly was forced to pull out due to an injury after the first lap. Iona and Ava both running fantastically coped great in the slippy underfoot conditions. Iona finishing with a time of 19:03 placing her 42nd. The Hughes customary sprint was put to good use in the closing stages with several places gained by Ava who finished 84th in a time of 21:13.

The Harriers quartet of Conan Harper, Callum Renwick, Robbie Welsh and Robert Wood were in the fiercely contested under 15 boys age group. From the gun Harper latched onto the leader’s group and battled it out with several national class athletes for the top spots. Conan was able to cross the tape in 13th place with only 59 seconds splitting the top 13. Renwick was the 2nd of the Harriers home with an exceptionally strong second lap finishing 36th, Welsh who was unable to shake a stitch showed a huge amount of determination to finish in 137th, one place behind was Wood in 138th.

Times Harper 15:53, Renwick 16:35, Welsh 19:53, Wood 20:36.

Solo Harriers star Maisie Ballantyne was competing alongside 55 girls in the under 17 girls’ race. Maisie was able to settle in the early stages of the race working with a group of around 10 girls in the middle of the pack. Towards the final stages of the race the Harrier began to increase her pace finishing strongly in 31st place with a time of 27:28.

It was then turn of the Senior Women to scamper around the gruelling 10km cross country, an amazing 315 completing the course.  Kirsty Hughes was the first of the 3 Harriers home, her recent training regime put together an outstanding performance finishing 215th in a time of 58:15, 4 minutes quicker than her time last year.  Ann Aitken and Donna Inglis traded places multiple times on the course but it was Ann who crossed the line first in the 304th, Donna 305th. Their times 1:08:19 & 1:08:42.

9 races complete, thousands of feet already over the bottomless ground, it was now the turn of 670 Senior Men to step up and give it their all in the National. The eight Teviotdale Harriers involved were Rory Anderson, Greg Walker, Alastair Walker, Alan Inglis, Andrew Gibson, Degsy Scott, Paul Lockie & Derek Ballantyne. To make matters worse for the Senior Men, half a mile into the race a timely hailstorm passed over Callendar Park battering a few men into submission and forcing them to pull out. The 8 hardy Harriers continued on their quest for greatness and Anderson was first home in 73rd place (40:09), Greg Walker finished 147th (42:37), Alastair Walker finished 217th (44:36), Inglis 387th (49:23), Gibson 404th (49:56), Scott 515th (53:27), Lockie 607th (58:14) and Ballantyne 622nd (59:39).

A massive shout out to all Harriers spectators who made the journey to Falkirk and cheered Teviotdale around the course. It truly made a huge difference and you done the club proud.

The Harriers complete their season on the 7th March at Hawick Moor.