The Scottish National Cross Country Championships 2018

A lovely winter’s day saw 19 passionate Teviotdale Harriers travel to Falkirk for the National XC Championships. The biggest race in the calendar for some, writes Thomas MacAskill.

The first race of the day saw three U13 girls from Teviotdale take to the 3.1km course. The terrain was hard frozen ground with some soft patches in places. As the three girls made their way to the start line they got themselves into a good place to get the best possible start at a big event.

The starter shouts 1 MINUTE to go. With slow drumming music building the tension, the girls are seconds away from starting their race, BANG! The gun goes and the three Harriers set off up the first incline of the race before doing a small lap and then on to a medium lap. The girls set off at a great pace. Iona Jamieson found herself in a good position going into the half way marker followed shortly by Kelly McKay and Ava Hughes. The three girls giving full effort and dedication came past the Harriers tent and up the last hill of the race. With lots of cheering and encouragement helping the girls up the last hill before making their way swiftly towards the finish line. Iona motored her way through the last 200m followed quickly by Kelly and Ava. Ava, the new Hawick schools cross country champion showed what she had left producing an astonishing sprint finish not far behind Kelly who also had a great run with a strong finish.

The second race for Teviotdale saw two flying machines Conan Harper and young Robert Wood. The two U13 boys had the exactly the same course as the U13 girls. Conan Harper was in peak performance leading in to this race and Robert Wood was also training well for the event. The gun fired again and they boys were off. Conan and Robert were having astounding runs. Conan found himself in a pack of runners which helped him through the tough course. Robert Wood was running impeccably as well. The 2two boys flew up the hill making it look so easy. Conan Harper finished in a breath-taking 37th place and speedster Robert Wood finished in a brilliant 148th place. The future holds a lot for these determined boys.

Maisie Ballantyne was our only runner in the U15 girl’s race. The U15 races are notched up 1km to 4.1km. Maisie is really capable of this distance. Maisie put on her spikes and was raring to go for her National XC. Maisie absolutely motored through the course finishing in an absolutely incredible time of 19.15 and a well-earned 97th place.

The next race on the cards for the Harriers was the U15 boys. Thomas MacAskill was our solo runner. He set off with a great pace hoping to get a good place. He found himself going very well indeed leading up to the half way marker and then tried to hold the same pace for the rest of the race. Thomas said; “The encouragement was great and I definitely needed it.”

Thomas turned on the heat for the last 200m with one of his best finishes in a Scottish event. Thomas added; “I really enjoyed the course and it was great weather.”

Next to run for the third oldest running club in Scotland was Eilidh Jaffray in the U17/U20 Women. This course covers a distance of 6.1km (just under 4 miles). Eilidh ran in the Inter Districts in January alongside two other Harriers, Iona Jamieson and Fraser Clyne. Back to the race. There was quite a small field in this race compared to the others. The U17/20 Women went off and the runners were hoping to make themselves and their clubs proud. Eilidh got a good start and was sitting in a very good position with only a medium lap to go. Eilidh was cheered on by fellow club mates and family. Eilidh has a very good sprint finish and showed that she still had it left in the tank. Eilidh had a very impressive run and completed the course in 27.14 which placed her in 16th place. That’s incredible. Eilidh added; “It was a great course and perfect conditions.”

Next on the schedule for the Harriers was the U17 Men. Our solo Harrier for this race was new Club Champion Fraser Clyne. Fraser also had to cover a 6.1km course. Fraser had a good start, with again not a huge field. Fraser was running excellently as he came past the club tent alongside his Borders XC rival Fraser Kelly from Team East Lothian. Fraser was sitting in about 27th place with 1/2 mile to go. The potential young man flew swiftly down the last 200m and had a really impressive finish. Fraser finished in an amazing time of 23.11 and earned himself 27th place. Fraser reports; “Think I ran as well as I could, but I was hoping to be a bit further up the field.”

Our penultimate race for the Harriers was the Senior Women. The Women as well as the Senior Men had to run 10km. The Harriers had two of our finest runners, Helene Jaffray and Kirsty Hughes. The Ladies had a terrific run and both enjoyed themselves. Kirsty Hughes had a great run and got under the 1 hour mark which is just superb. Helene Jaffray was really commited towards her race and powered through the course. The 2 ladies both had very great runs.

The last race of the day was the Senior Men. The Senior Men like always had an absolutely magnificent turnout. This year saw a whopping 623 runners take on the 10km course. The Harriers had 8 men running and they all performed really well. Our first Harrier in and the marathon training man was Greg Walker. Greg showed perseverance and a non-quitting attitude as he rapidly shifted through the course as the first Harrier home. Rory our newly crowned Men’s Club Champion had a superb run also as he showed his winter training is paying off finishing only 31 seconds behind Greg. Greg averaged a fantastic 3.42min/km or 5.58min/mile. Also from the club saw highly talented Bruce Hughes, Alan Ingils and Degsy (Derek Scott). Degsy had a great run as he moved rapidly round the National XC course. Our Senior Harriers all had very good runs and Chris Watson, Paul Lockie and Alan Coltman had very superb runs as well.

Greg 38.54 134th

Rory 39.25 150th

Bruce 41.10 209th

Alan 45.37 388th

Derek 46.08 400th

Chris 47.06 437th

Paul 52.59 561st

Alan 55.46 589th

That’s the Scottish National XC wrapped up for another year and this year has been one of the best years so far. From U13s to seniors everybody had an enjoyable, fun, awesome day out.

Next race is the historic Cup Races at Hawick Moor.