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SRAC Runners Win North Titles

NDXC SRAC Group on ferry

NDXC Results - NDXC Scottish Athletics Report - NDXC Photos

Evanton Wood was a happy “hunting ground” for the club’s runners as two individual North District Cross Country titles and a number of top place medals went to SRAC team’s and individual runners! The venue was a new course for all the club runners and was a fairly tough one; in fact one SRAC runner described it as, “a course that will sort the men from the boys”! But for all that everyone that finished the run seemed to be buzzing! For some that will be down to very good performances, for others it may have been just to get round the course and cross the finish line!

In the non-championship development race the under 11 girls and boys set off in one big pack with Ellie MacLean and Evan Trainer in SRAC’s well know red vest with gold hoop. The steep decent from the start line ensured a right gallop from the gun and the youngest runners of the day were into a speedy start in their first District race. After settling from the frantic start, the youngsters’ spread out and the fight for places began to shape up! Following close behind the leading string of boys was SRAC’s Ellie MacLean who put in a characteristic running effort to win the girls race. Unfortunately for Evan he slipped back down the field having picked up an injury, but he did bravely hang on to complete the race. Well done both.

In the first official age group race of the Championship SRAC had Catriona Rigby, Kyle Munro, Alasdair Binns and Rory Mighton racing the under 13 categories. Due to a “shoe malfunction” Catriona had a fairly rushed start to the race, but she remained composed and comfortably placed in the middle of the field. She’ll look to be back for more next year to climb the placings and hopefully have some club mates to make a full team to challenge for team medals! The boys did however have the required three runners to make up a team and all finished in the top fourteen to take the bronze medal. Their point’s total of 28, was two points behind Inverness Harriers, with a super East Sutherland team taking first place. Top placed runner for SRAC and leading the team home in placing third was Kyle Munro. Kyle who has showed fine form at the Lewis and Harris cross country event and the recent District team relays was in the lead group early in the race. But the front two runners pulled away leaving Kyle to fight for third with East Sutherland’s Fraser Roach. In the final decent from the forest hill Kyle lead with Roach pushing to overtake. But it was Kyle that came off the hill first and with good balance on “hitting” the road to the finish, made the sharp turn, kicked hard and took third with a five second advantage!

SRAC’s next success came in the men’s under 20 event with the consistently improving Duncan MacKellar taking the runner’s up slot. At the end of the first lap Duncan was a bit of the pace and the lead. But SRAC’s red army were delighted to see that through the second lap Duncan got the head down and worked from fourth to second place. Duncan’s recent successes on the road over 10k and running greater distances look to be working out well for the young Harris runner.

In the ladies event hopes were high that Eilidh MacKenzie would be in with a good chance in regaining the North title she had won on home soil in 2010 and for the first time in some years there was a ladies team. Katie MacKenzie and Lisa Weir were making their debuts at a championships’ event and Lisa only trying out “the country” for the second time! The two lap race came to life for SRAC on the second lap when Eilidh began to run away from the challenge of Moria Davie of Forres. After coming through the end of the first lap neck and neck, Eilidh put an extra push on the very stiff climb with just over a mile to go. The move was a decisive one and the Stornoway runner was able to keep a significant gap on her rival to regain her North title! Following Eilidh home for SRAC was Katie placing 10th in her first run for the club since moving to the island and a consistent run from Lisa was enough to see SRAC take third in the team contest. SRAC’s first team medal at a district championship, well run ladies!

The last race of the day was the senior men’s event which had a number of top international performers in the starting line up and so a tough ask to get well placed! SRAC’s top three on the day finished in the top third of the field and were lead by the impressive running of Murdo MacKenzie. His sixth place will have been SRAC’s highest placing at the district for some time by a club runner and he really looks to have the momentum to carry into a good season ahead! Jonny Pritchard and Willie MacRury continued their own personal tussle for bragging rights (for at least the ferry trip home) and it was nip and tuck over the 6mile route. Jonny did lead for a while, but Willie time spent training on grass this winter proved to be the difference as he crossed the finish line three places ahead. Watch the rivalry continue at the next Whacky racers event!

Thanks to the Lewis and Harris Sports Council for supporting the cub in attending this event.

A. Tupper