This weekend saw the big names of Brendan Foster, Jonathan Edwards and Paula Radcliffe in front of BBC TV cameras in Holyrood Park on Saturday, where the BUPA Great Winter Run and the Inter-district cross country races make up part of the Great Edinburgh International Cross Country event. Hard training over the autumn and winter months with excellent results ensured that 6 young Harriers aspiring for similar greatness were picked for East of Scotland selection along with one senior woman, 3 of them coming away with a team medal from their various age group races, with an almost clean sweep for the East team.
Before that however, the popular Great Winter Junior Run in the park was the first race off with Gala Harriers represented by young Gregor Collins coming home in a an impressive 3rd position in 8 minutes 15 seconds over the 2.5 kilometre distance. Mark Purves also enjoyed his outing and finished in a very creditable 8.54. Senior Harriers were also represented in the Great Winter around Arthur’s Seat, with Dawn Grant (24:10) Gina Allen (24.04) Caroline McDermott (30.37) and Anne Purves (30.43) running strongly around the 5k course.
Holyrood Park must be one of the most scenic of locations in the cross country calendar, under Saturday’s clear blue skies but underfoot, conditions grew muddier and slippier as the day progressed. First off and before it got too bad were the Under 13 Girls and Boys over 3k, with 4 Gala juniors representing the East of Scotland. Arguably the best performance of the day came from Susannah Godfrey-Faussett, whose 7th position over the distance in 12.12 ensured she grabbed one of the gold medals as one of the first 6 counters from the East team. Cara Hogg (13.48), called up at the last minute, also ran well for the victorious team. Jamie Logan’s excellent 13th position in his U13 race in 11.34 made him the 4th counter in the East’s silver medal so he too came away with a nice piece of silverware, while Andrew Hogg also put in a strong race to finish in 11.54 for the runners up.
Joe Agnew won his first East District selection for the Under 15 Boys’ 4k race and was not overawed by the company and finished in a solid 15.09, as his team romped away with the gold again. Thomas Otton was one of the youngest boys in the Under 17 Men’s race, stepping up to this age category for the first time and he did well to negotiate the increasingly muddy course in a very creditable 22.01, while his older team-mates were capturing gold a little further up the field. And finally, Dianne Lauder, a veteran of District representation added another gold medal to her cabinet by finishing the Senior Women’s 6k event in 23.17 in 11th position. As the 6th counter for the East she too contributed to another top podium position for the team.
Borders X Country Paxton House
Only the next day, the equally stunning garden landscapes of Paxton House provided the backdrop for the 4th round of the Borders Winter Cross Country series. 97 juniors and 165 seniors from all over south-east Scotland populated the picturesque frosty routes around the estate, many of which were Gala Harriers…and some of whom had raced the day before in Edinburgh. 41 Gala juniors ensured that almost half of the young runners were green and white, with excellent category placings for many, including Jason McIntosh, Joe Agnew, James Mercer, Jamie Logan, Corri Campbell, Susannah Godfrey-Faussett and Rhiannon Fagan. The seniors were no less well represented, again with good individual placings for many, notably Fergus Johnston who was the first Harrier across the line, Chrys Murphy, Bob Marshall, Fiona Dalgleish and Kirstin Maxwell. see results page for more information.
Several hardy souls from Gala braved the January 1st Portobello 4 mile Promathon, again with Fergus Johnston (22.03) leading home the quartet of Fiona Shepherd (27.07) Amy Capper (28.14) and Graham Capper (28.47).
For the Sporting Week Ahead and upcoming events:
East District Cross Country League, (3rd round) Saturday 18 January at Broxburn and Feel the Burn Hill Race, Selkirk on Sunday 19th.