Camperdown Park next to Dundee Ice Arena was the venue for Saturday’s East District Cross-Country Championships and the conditions matched the adjacent venue with a sprinkling of snow lying on icy hard ground on a damp raw day. But temperatures were soon up as the racing got underway with the U13 Girls race over 3.2km. Packing well up front early on, the Moorfoot trio of Mairi Wallace, Beth Hobbs and Anna McGorum retained their positions to finish 6th, 7th and 8th respectively for a team total of 21 points, 12 clear of nearest rivals Central AC. A golden start to the day. Gala’s Susannah Godfrey-Faucett also ran well for a top ten placing, with Cara Hogg 14th in a well-judged race.  Had there been a third girl to count, Gala might have had a shout at the bronze medal.

And it was soon two from two team wins for the Borders. A strong combined Team Borders squad leads the way in the U13 Boys age-group in the East League and an intriguing battle was in store as individual club rivalries between Gala Harriers, Moorfoot Runners and fledgling club Chirnside Chasers were restored for the Championship race. And it was the Gala Harriers team of Andrew Hogg (5th), Jamie Logan (7th) and Corri Campbell (14th) which prevailed, not just in the Borders battle but winning gold overall, a first ever for the club in this category. But for a twisted ankle in warm-up which ruled out their first-string runner Rory Williams, Chirnside would probably have been Gala’s nearest rivals. As it was, their team counters Jamie Kinghorn (11th), Josh Abbott (12th) and Harry Fuller (28th) still did well to finish in 5th. Unfortunately with two of their three suffering with the cold, the potential Moorfoot challenge failed to materialise.  Mark Purves from Gala put in a solid race despite the conditions, finishing in 59th place.

In the U15 Girls race over 4km the Moorfoot team, all eligible again next year, finished just outside the medals in 4th only five points shy of Central AC’s bronze, thanks mostly to a fine 4th place finish by Zaynah Aziz. Fiona Grant was 10th and Ailsa Innes 30th.

There were no team challenges from the Borders clubs in the U15 Boys or U17 Women’s races but Joe Agnew for Gala had a decent effort for 13th in the former, with Joe Wilson (42nd) also representing his club. In the U17 Men’s race over a gruelling 6.4km, the form book suggested that the team race was clearly between Edinburgh and Aberdeen. But there was still a bronze there for the taking with both Gala and Moorfoot possible contenders. Fine runs from Thomas Otton (13th), Jason McIntosh (15th) and Gavin Bryson (16th) proved enough to secure the metal for Gala with the Moorfoot boys back in 6th.

Unfortunately a virus stricken John McLean’s earlier withdrawal had put paid to the Moorfoot team medal hopes in the U20 Men’s race over 8km but there was a very strong 3rd place individual finish and bronze for Adam Craig (TLJT). Moorfoot Jacob Adkin also secured a top ten place in his first year of three in this age-group, with Andrew Lawrie from Gala in 19th. In the Women’s U20 race Louise Mercer continued her return to form with an excellent run for 5th in Edinburgh University’s colours.

But there was still more gold to come the Borders’ way this time from the Gala golden girls themselves who secured team victory in the Masters category of the Women’s senior race courtesy of Jenny Forbes (3rd), Fiona Dalgleish (4th) and Anya Campbell (14th). Jenny herself took the individual bronze medal and there were fine runs from Scout Adkin (Moorfoot) in 6th and Gala’s Dianne Lauder in 10th, securing overall 4th place for the club. Top orienteer Kirstin Maxwell, running for Edinburgh University,  showed good form without the map for 15th.  Other Gala vests included Kate Jenkins, Rachel Fagan, Nicola Porterfield, Fiona Shephed and Dawn Grant who all played their part in minimising the threat from other teams vying for medals.

Nine Gala senior men, led home by Fergus Johnston (58th) and Graham Manczak (70th) featured well in the 252-strong men’s race, with good runs too from Wayne McIntosh, Sinclair Hill, Mark Bryson, Rory Campbell, Dave Nightingale, Derrick Brydon and Alan Johnston.

Full results here

First published on 8th Dec 2013.