A strong contingent of twenty brave Harriers headed to Alloa, Fife to compete in race number 2 of the 3 part East District Cross Country Series writes Rory Anderson. The day of running was to be thoroughly entertaining with strong fields in all of the age grouped races along with a sprinkle of festive snow to make underfoot conditions an added challenge. The excitement from the widely age ranged harriers was felt as they departed from their minibus (kindly provided by Hawick Boxing Club) to an extremely busy Alloa High School, the events 5th consecutive year at this location.
It was Kelly McKay who would compete in her debut East District Cross Country Race, in the under 13 girls race, a short but furious 3000m through bottomless forest tracks and snowy fields looking onto picturesque Ben Cleuch. Kelly finished in 55th place with a time of 15:06, an excellent performance on her first outing to an East District Race.
Four under 13 Harriers boys were next to take to the start line repeating the course already churned up by the girl’s race prior. Conon, Callum, Robert and Liam bustled their way to the front of the 95 energetic ready to race under 13 boys. From the outset the effort from these young Harriers were etched on their faces, with the Langholm based Conon Harper first home in the maroon band vest with an impressive time of 15:06 placing him 14th overall. Callum Renwick and Robert Wood were fighting for positions throughout the race with a magnificent sprint between them to gain 77th & 78th place. Callum recording a time of 14:23, Robert 14:28. Liam, who was one of four Jaffrays competing on the day completed the course in 15:11 in a position of 89th.
In the under 15 girls race it was solo Harrier Eilidh Jaffray who fought hard through the two lapped 3800m cross country. Competing along with the under 17 ladies, Eilidh positioned strongly in the early part of the race and remaining strong to the finish completing the course in a time of 17:28, 12th under 15 to cross the line, an excellent performance by Eilidh.
Thomas MacAskill, who this year has moved up an age group category to contend in the under 15 boys race. Ground conditions were deteriorating as the afternoon sun thawed out the blanket of snow to reveal the wet glare that lay beneath. Thomas showed his winter conditioning training was paying off as he run a credible time of 17:14 positioning him 36th in the standings.
With three races left, Fraser Clyne a certain prospect in cross country running set off in the gruelling, explosive pace under 17 mens race. The 6200m contest contained the never-ending knee deep mudded forest tracks, with 39 runners battling for better ground. Clyne of Teviotdale Harriers showed great energy to remain in the group of leaders and was commended with a top 10 finish. Fraser crossed the line in 23:23 and 7th overall.
The last two races of the day were the Senior Men and Ladies. Twelve senior Harriers Club Runners had ventured north to partake in the East District Cross Country. The ladies team were led home by Lauren Corbett 62nd in a time of 31:21 followed by Helene Jaffray 70th 32:08, Pauline McAdam 96th 36:13, Donna Inglis 99th 36:50 and Ann Aitken 102nd 37:52.
The Senior Men finally received the welcome sound of the starter’s gun at 2.15pm wrestled their way round the 8000m track. The morning delight of snow and sun had now disappeared to overcast clouds and tricky ground conditions. Nevertheless Tevitodale Harriers done their club proud, Rory Anderson first home in 38th place with a time of 35:25, Raymond Jaffray 110th 40.08, Alan Inglis 135th 41:34, Brian Harper 183rd 46:00, Paul Lockie 217th 50:34, Alan Coltman 223rd 52:45 and Frank Birch 234th 1:03:33.
A huge well done to all Teviotdale Harriers runners & spectators that braved the winter conditions at Alloa. The next date for the diary in the Harriers Calendar is Saturday 9th December, East District Championships at Livingston.
Alex Corbett’s photos