Teviotdale Harriers were well represented by 25 runners at the National Cross Country Relay Championships last Saturday, held once more in Cumbernauld Park.
The cream of Scottish cross country running was on display, resulting in fierce and fast competition with eight national titles up for grabs.
In blustery conditions around a course with a few sharp hills to sap the legs, the seven and a bit teams representing the club gave gutsy performances across all the categories with one or two standout runs amongst them.
With the base tent being erected, Alan Inglis took the juniors on a much needed warm up and we were almost ready for the action to commence.
First event of the day was the junior girl’s race, three members in a team, each running a 2500m lap. Teviotdale had two full teams among the 82 entered. Iona Jamieson (U13), Maisie Ballantyne (U15) and Lucy Ash (U17) competed as team ‘A,’ with Ava Hughes (U13), Kelly McKay (U15) and Eilidh Jaffray (U17) team ‘B.’
Ready to run leg one, Iona Jamieson and Ava Hughes stood alongside the rest of the under 13 girls. As the starter’s gun fired, elbows flew and the pack of young girls all pushed and jostled desperate for a fast start.
Iona (10:42) ran a fabulous first leg and at the changeover was in 13th place as Maisie Ballantyne set off on leg two. Ava (12:48) tired slightly through the second half of the loop but raced hard to the line picking up a place or two to let Kelly McKay away in 82nd position.
Maisie (12:04) ran competitively and still looked strong as she completed her leg with the team now in 43rd. Meanwhile Kelly was finding the course conditions quite difficult as around the first small loop she lost one of her trainers in the mud, gamely she continued on, no doubt slipping at every turn. As she made her way towards the finish line, Kelly (13:21) was 84th and clutched something in her hand, unbelievably her other trainer had also come off. Huge credit must go to Kelly though as the timing chip was attached to this trainer and she had the presence of mind to pick it up and carry it the rest of the way. No timing chip would have resulted in a disqualification.
Junior Girls Club Captain Lucy (12:00), looking as though she is getting back to some of her best form finished the job well and gave the ‘A’ team a final position of 49th in a total time of 34:46. Eilidh (10:59) ran a superb last leg for team ‘B’ and lifted them to a final position of 69th and a total time of 37:08.
The junior boy’s race followed the same 3 lap race as the girls before and would be contested by 96 full teams. Conan Harper and Callum Renwick started the race among the under 13’s. Thomas MacAskill (U15) and Fraser Clyne (U17) would complete team ‘A.’ Callum however was on his own with no other members in the ‘B’ team.
Junior Boys Club Captain Conan, like Iona before him, started fast and got himself amongst the leaders around the early stages. Conan (9:48) pushed all the way and again Teviotdale were 13th after leg one. Callum (11:59) showed great character to dig deep and finish off with a sprint to cross the line in 102nd.
Thomas (10:27) and his distinctive style ran well around the second leg to hand over in 39th position. Fraser (8:58), as is his way, ran a consistent, strong last leg and the boy’s placed 32nd in a total time of 29:13.
The senior/masters/over 50’s women were the next and all raced at the same time. An impressive 49 complete senior teams declared for the four leg race. Teviotdale could have fielded a competitive master’s team but decided to compete in the senior category as only three runners were needed for the master’s team. Kirsty Hughes would lead them out, followed by Donna Inglis, Ann Aitken and final leg runner Pauline McAdam.
Racing over a 4000m distance, including a long uphill stretch into a head wind, Kirsty (21:52) fought her way around the first leg. With the team in 65th Donna (22:01) took over and keenly made her way up to 59th, before Ann (22:01) ran with her usual purpose to leave the team 54th. Ladies Club Captain Pauline McAdam (21:39) finished it off with a solid final leg and lifted the team to 49th and a total time of 1:27:33.
The final race of the day, also over the four lap 4000m course, included 3 full Teviotdale Harriers teams with one in each of the three age brackets. Running for Teviotdale in the 88 team senior race was Men’s Club Captain Greg Walker, then dad, Alastair Walker, Bruce Hughes and last leg runner Rory Anderson.
The masters team, competing against 29 others, included Alan Inglis, Raymond Jaffray, Brian Harper and Alister Biggar and our third team would compete in the 21 team, over 50’s category with Paul Lockie, Alan Coltman and Bill Knox the running order.
Greg (14:53), Alan Inglis (16:24) and Paul Lockie (19:30) all negotiated the hectic and tricky first leg well before handing over to Alastair in 64th, Raymond in 21st and Alan C, also 21st in their respective races.
Perpetual performer Alastair ‘Sammy’ Walker has plenty previous when it comes to this event. Sammy was part of a hugely successful Harriers team alongside K. Logan, R. Hall and D. Cavers that previously won this National title at Inverness in the 89/90 season.
Walker senior completed his fine leg in 14:45, lifting the team to 54th. Raymond (16:38), enjoying a return to competitive running, claimed one place on route to set Brian off in 20th position. Alan C (20:08) gained a place and handed over to the waiting Bill in 20th.
Bruce (14:17) picked off runners around his leg to make the changeover in 46th, Brian (17:42) ran a consistent leg and returned back in 20th and Bill (21:38) completed the over 50’s race with Teviotdale enjoying a final position of 21st and a total time of 1:01:16.
Rory (14:54), after a slow start, got into his running and claimed a place on the final leg to leave the senior team 45th overall in a total time of 58:49.
Alister (17:29) also overtook on the last leg to place the masters team 19th overall and stop the clock at 1:08:13.
The next event on the Harriers calendar is this weekend’s Jubilee Races up the Mare, which start at 1:30pm. Followed that evening at the Cricket Club by a quiz where all friends and family are welcome.
Bruce’s photos on Flickr