A scenic but challenging riverside route with the claggiest mud in the Borders greeted the 295 runners who travelled to Haylodge Park in Peebles for the third round of the Borders Winter Cross Country series on Sunday. Many runners enjoyed the proximity of the Tweed to wash off the mud post-race and recover from a lung-busting hill climb under blue skies and mild temperatures.
44 Gala Harrier juniors and 32 seniors enjoyed the picture-perfect weather conditions and put in some excellent all round performances with some high category placings yet again. (All results are up on the Norham Running Club website). In the junior race, Jamie Logan (8 minutes 29 seconds) repeated his top place from the previous round, closely followed by Callum Tharme (8.31) and Andrew Hogg (8.52) in 4th, with Corri Campbell (8.59) finishing strongly in 5th. Other excellent performances from the junior boys giving them a good age category result came from Gregor Collins (9.27 and 1st in his category) and Ruaridh Woodland-Broome and George Godfrey-Faussett (both 9.28 and 2nd in their two categories). Susannah Godfrey-Faussett came home as the first girl in 9.11, with some well-deserved second and third age group placings for Katie Rourke (9.44), Harriet Woodland-Broom(10.16) and Cara Hogg (10.24).
The massive field of 198 seniors included many Gala runners who consolidated their good performances from the earlier rounds. The top places were dominated by Lothian clubs but first across the muddy line for the Harriers was Fergus Johnston who was 10th overall in 28.11. Dianne Lauder secured first overall placing for the ladies in a superb 28.52, and there were high category positions for Kirstin Maxwell (30.44), Chrys Murphy (32.57 and 1st in 60+), and Andrea Pogson (37.13).
Just a day earlier in Sefton Park, Liverpool, former Scottish Athletics Chief Executive and now race commentator Geoff Wightman remarked “it’s yet another stunning cross-Border raid from Scotland”. A series of excellent Scottish performances at the British Athletics Cross Challenge ensured some top placings and selection for the European Championships for some young Scottish internationalists – and Gala’s Gavin Bryson was one of the hundreds of club athletes competing strongly around the attractive parkland course, finishing in an impressive 18 minutes 57 seconds in the Under 17 Boys.