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SRAC Youngsters Inspired To 18 PBS At National Indoor Championships!

The SRAC Squad posing at the Emirates Arena
The SRAC Squad posing at the Emirates Arena

A selection of Stornoway Running and Athletics Club’s juniors - with the sprint squad in particular using the opportunity to get the competitive season underway – had a fantastic experience at the National Indoor Track & Field Age Group Championships recently. The 2 day competition took place on Saturday the 2nd and Sunday the 3rd of March at the stunning new 7,000-seater Emirates Arena in Glasgow - one of the city’s new state of the art venues for the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

With 849 athletes taking part in the weekend event for U14s through to U20s, and coming from all over the country – including the Western Isles with squads from North Uist AAC and Stornoway Running and Athletics Club - the standard was extremely high.  The 9 strong SRAC squad themselves clearly took inspiration from their amazing surroundings, and the performances from their fellow athletes, and raised their own game to record no fewer than 18 PBs over the course of the weekend !

Making their national indoor debuts were Jonathon Morrison (U16B  - 60m & 200m), Andrew Duncan (U18B - 60m & 200m), Amy Hutchison (U16G - 200m & 300m) and Eilidh MacLeod (U16G - 200m & HJ). The boys both ran well and weren’t at all overawed by the step up in class, going on to record PBs in both of their events, and this will be great springboard in their continuing development and the outdoor season.

The SRAC Squad posing at the Emirates Arena

Amy also had PBs in both events, the highlight being her 300m, an event she was running for the first time. She stormed out over the first half of the race – to the excitement of the rest of the SRAC team - taking control and leading the race through the 200m mark. While she then tired over the final third of the race, and was over hauled for the top 2 places, and a place in the final - she held on to finish 3rd in her heat in a time of 51.44 – a great first competitive 300m!

The SRAC Squad posing at the Emirates Arena

For Eilidh her 200m heat was scheduled for exactly the same time as her High Jump event. Eilidh though kept her cool, running a new PB in her 200m, and then going straight on to the HJ where, despite her 200m exertions,  she finished 10th,  matching her PB of 1.40m. This now sees her ranked at no. 17 in Scotland in HJ for U15 girls.

Of the other athletes who had experienced the Indoors Nationals before it was great to see Georgia MacLennan (U18G) back in competition. While she narrowly missed out on a 60m PB, she ran well over the 200m where she clocked a new best of 30.75. Finlay Summers (U16B – Shot Put), in his first competitive outing of the year finished 10th, throwing over 9 metres for the first time ever, and recording a new PB of 9.12m. Their fellow athletes, old hands  Jenny Mactaggart  (U18G – 60m &  200m), Abbie MacKay (U16G - 60m & 200m), and Alasdair Rigby (U16B - 60m & 200m)   progressed from their heats and collectively made  5 semi-final appearances  in the sprints, recording PBs in all their events along the way.

The highlight for Abbie was the new PB she ran in the 60m heat, where her electric start took her to a good second place and a new mark of 8.42 and a semi-final berth. Meanwhile after good solid performances in the 60m where Jenny matched her previous PB with 6.38 in the semi-final, the full winter’s training really showed in Jenny’s 200m heat where she ran a strong, well paced and controlled race, recording a new fastest 200m either inside or out, of 27.17 to again make it through to the semi-final.

The SRAC Squad posing at the Emirates Arena

Alasdair also showed how he’s benefited from the hard work he’s put in over the last few months with the sprint squad. The coaches were convinced that that was the reason for his good performances, and not his snazzy new lycra tartan SRAC shorts, but they maybe also played their part! Who needs ‘go faster’ stripes when you’re wearing a pair of these!After recording a brilliant new PB of 7.87 in the 60m heat , he just missed out on the final, after running 7.95 in his semi. Tied in 8th with another athlete from the second semi-final on the same time it went to down to thousands of a second, and he missed the final by a mere 7 thousands ! Gutting! Undaunted though he went on to again smash his PB in the 200m with a great run from start to finish, clocking 25.69, and qualifying for the semi-finals.   He then had another powerful run, reducing his 200m mark even further to 25.25 ! Almost a second and a half faster than his previous 200m best, either inside or out. While he didn’t make the final – finishing with the 8th fastest time and 6 going through -   this was great running from young Alasdair.

The SRAC Squad posing at the Emirates Arena

These performances also see Jenny, Abbie and Alasdair break in to this year’s National Scottish rankings for their age groups. For the U17 girls, Jenny is at no. 23 in the 60m with Abbie at 26, and Jenny is also ranked at no. 11 nationally over 200m.  Alasdair’s performances meanwhile see him at a fantastic no. 4 in the country for 60m and no. 6 at 200m for U15 Boys!

It goes without saying that the opportunities that these trips offer are invaluable to our young island athletes on many levels. It gives them a chance to compete amongst the best in Scotland, and savour the electrifying atmosphere of a championships event, and experience the discipline that’s needed in such an environment as the days progress.  
It was so rewarding for us as coaches to see the youngsters take their place with pride and great ability on a national platform, and also once again be a credit to their club and families.

Jim, Hamish & Seumas
SRAC coaches