Lindsays National XC– Falkirk 2019

Eilidh smashes Nationals! Writes Rory Anderson

Eilidh Jaffray of Teviotdale Harriers proved that hard training pays off as she finished in a hugely credible 7th place at the Lindsays National Cross Country Running Championships held at Callendar park on Saturday. Competing against Scotland’s very best under 17 women Eilidh produced a superb run, showing great maturity and strength over the 6km cross country course. The race started with its usual frantic sprint and jostle for position as the field of 47 made their way around the scenic back drop of Callendar House, Eilidh starting off at a steady pace was able to pick up several positions during the undulating course. As the race continued, Eilidh’s great stamina enabled her to push passed a couple more of her fellow competitors flying round and clocking a time of 25minutes and 56 seconds.

In other age group races Iona Jamieson and Ava Hughes were the Harriers pair that battled it out in the under 13 girls category. With 146 runners and 3.1km to cover the race itself was exhilarating to watch with the first 100 athletes spilt by less than 3 minutes. Iona Jamison continued her highest standard of running finishing 19th with a time of 13:47. Ava Hughes who the day before had won the Local High School cross country established herself well into the pack before heading down the 200m home straight like a bullet out of a gun holding off several attacks while passing one to finish in 69th place, recorded time of 15:12.

Irvine Welsh and Robert Wood wore the maroon banded Harriers vest in the under 13 boys category over the same distance as their female counterparts.  Spurred on by the ever enthusiastic Harriers contingent both Wood and Welsh showed guts and determination to record excellent times, Irvine crossing the line in 89th (13:54) and Robert 162nd (15:31).

Solo Harrier Maisie Ballantyne continued the Teviotdale Harriers mantra of giving it 100% in the 4.1km under 15 girls category. Settling into the pack of over 110 runners Maisie made her way round the gruelling course before producing a finish which will be remembered for a long time. Heading back towards Callendar house Maisie moved into top gear reeling in two of her competitors finishing in 73rd place (19.00)

It was the trio of Thomas Macaskill, Robbie Welsh and Calum Renwick in the under 15 boy’s category. Macaskill started the faster of the three and was able sustain his speed throughout the race finishing high up the field in 74th place (16:34). However after 4km Welsh and Renwick were neck and neck with each runner taking the lead in their own personal battle. Coming down the straight the Harriers pair could not be split but eventually Renwick gained a yard and was enough to cross the line in 103rd place (17:26), Welsh 104th (17:28)

In the under 17 mens Fraser Clyne did well to compete after illness had prevented him performing anywhere near his best. Clyne did himself proud though completing the 6km course in 63rd place (25:35)

At 1pm it was the turn of the Senior Women to scamper around the gruelling 10km cross country, which Scottish Athletics has confirmed was the highest entry of runners on record for this event, an amazing 319 involved.  Helene Jaffray, Kirsty Hughes and Ann Aitken were part of this incredible achievement and each individual done their club proud.  Helene Jaffray was first home for the Harriers delivering a Personal Best time over 10km of 51:56 and finishing in 142nd place. Hughes supporting her striking headband for the first time was the second Harrier home in 291st place (1:03:12), Aitken in 314th had a time of 1:10:16.

Last to be set on their way at Calendar Park were the senior men, 720 of them contending the 10km course as the Senior Women had just completed. Rory Anderson, Alastair Walker, Raymond Jaffray, Derek Clyne, Alister Biggar, Derek Ballantyne, Paul Lockie and Alan Coltman had all made their way to Falkirk to compete in the pinnacle of Scottish Country Races. Anderson was first home in 110th place (39:38), Walker continuing his success was 161st (first vet 60) with a time of 41:04, Jaffray 282nd (44:20),Clyne 589th (51:49), Biggar 591st (51:54), Ballantyne 637th (53:55), Lockie 651st (54:25) and Coltman 703rd (59:12).

The Harriers calendar continues this Sunday with the Cup Races held at Hawick Moor, the last of the club races.