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The first ever Borders Primary Schools Cross Country Championships has been hailed as a runaway success.
More than 130 young children from 17 different schools took part at Netherdale in Galashiels last Friday.
The four races – P6 Boys, P6 Girls, P7 Boys and P7 Girls – were all run over 2,000 metres.
Graeme Murdoch, assistant manager with Borders Sport and Leisure Trust’s Active Schools team, was delighted with the inaugural event. He said “I think the whole day has been fantastic. When the Borders Athletic Development Group first indicated they were going to host cross country championships for the primary schools it was always going to be a case of let’s try it and see what happens. To have so many schools from so many different parts of the Borders is really encouraging, and I’m sure the event will go from strength to strength.
There is a strong tradition of athletics in the Borders and events like this can only help”.
Stow’s Jamie Logan used all of his experience with Gala Harriers to produce a terrific run to win the Primary 7 Boys title.
The 11-year-old maintained a 50-metre lead throughout the closing stages to break the tape in a time of 7 minutes and 50 seconds. He said “It was really challenging but I still enjoyed it. I wasn’t sure if I was going to win but I managed to open up a little gap and I just kept going”.
Gregor Lamb from Priorsford in Peebles chased Jamie home. And it was another Peebles athlete, Donald Tait from Kingsland, who finished third. The P7 Boys team prize went to Kingsland.
Caddonfoot’s Zaynah Aziz was the impressive winner of the Girls P7 race. The 11-year-old, who is part of the Selkirk Track and Field club, stormed into a 100 metre lead in the opening lap – and slowly increased her lead approaching the closing stages. Zaynah, who broke the tape in 8 minutes 18 seconds said “I went off really hard and relaxed a bit as the race went on. I’m really pleased to have won as I was a little nervous before the start”.
Mairi Wallace from Newlands Primary stayed on strongly to finish second with Ishbel Inglis from Trinity Primary in Hawick sprinting home to take third. The P7 Girls team race was won by Priorsford.
Kelso’s Josh Abbot is one of the rising stars of the Borders Winter Cross Country Series – and he showed why in the P6 Boys race.
The 10-year-old from Edenside Primary managed to up the pace in the closing stages to win by 20 metres from Scott Lawson of Kingsland Primary and Priorsford Primary’s Euan Hood. Josh, who clocked 8.07.80 said “I really enjoyed the race. I didn’t think I would win as there were a lot of boys around me on the first lap, but I managed to speed up. The P6 Boys team went to Kingsland.
The P6 Girls race was also won by Edenside Primary with Skye Chatburn. The 10-year-old broke the tape in 9.07.66 to win from the fast-finishing Anna McGorum of Priorsford Primary and Trinity Primary’s Morgan Riddell. Skye told us “It was really tiring and I was glad that I had won”. The P6 Girls team race was won by pupils from Priorsford. And it was Priorsford Primary won the overall team title.
Shortly afterwards, the 139 boys lined up for their turn. Taking a strong lead was Wilton Primary School’s P6 pupil Fraser Clyne. Fraser continued this lead all the way round the course closely followed by P7 Newcastleton pupil Aiden Armstrong then when descending down the hill at the Boer War Memorial Aiden made a sprint attempt for the line and took 1st place in a time of 8.29 beating Fraser by just one second (8.30). Third place was taken by Mark Gallagher of Denholm Primary School in 8.52.
Once all the runners were in and had caught their breath there was a short presentation by Teviotdale Harriers Club President Rob Halliday. Medals were awarded to 1st, 2nd and 3rd girls and boys as mentioned above. There were also team trophies for the first school to have 5 pupils over the line with Drumlanrig in this inaugural year taking the double. Teams were girls: Emma Suddon, Phillipa Robertson, Rachel Shiel, Mairead Cottrell and Eilidh Jaffray. Boys: Hamish Murray, Barrie MacLean, Lewis Robertson, Greg Johnston and Aidan Murphy.
The event was deemed a great success by all and will now be an annual event.