What a difference 12 months makes! After last year’s wet, windy, and very muddy Nationals, it was a relief to arrive at Callendar Park in Falkirk for this year’s National Cross Country Championships to bright sunshine, and after a week of dry weather the course was firm underfoot, with only a few muddy sections – a great test of running, even if it was slightly longer than usual!
First up were the juniors, with Harry McGill, Scott Meechan, Ewan Ferguson, and Ben Campbell all running well in the under-13 boys race, with Harry first home for the club, well inside the top 50, and Scott and Ewan only one second apart!
In the under-15 boys race, Alan Mollins and Ryan Brown both continued their good form, finishing only a few places apart, and both inside the top 100.
The senior womens race saw several of the Harrier ladies making their Nationals debuts, and they certainly didn’t let the side down, with good performances all round – hopefully they will all be back next year for another go! Leading the way for the ladies was Suzanne Coyle, with captain Marian Monk not far behind, despite a bad cold, and closely followed by Donna Clark, showing signs of a return to form. The final counter for the ladies was young Nicola Stevenson, making an impressive Nationals debut – a good prospect for the years ahead.
The mens team finished in a creditable 12th place, despite missing the unavailable club champion, Stephen Trainer. Shaun Lyon stepped up to lead the team home with his highest ever National finish, in 52nd position. Kevin O’Donoghue also had a very impressive run, well inside the top 100, followed by Stevie Campbell, Paul Monaghan and Andrew White. The final counter for the men was Daniel Doherty, with a very strong performance in his first National. He was closely followed by Mark Vance, Andrew Osborne, and Gordy Hepburn, all making their Nationals debuts. As is customary for the club, it was the masters athletes who impressed most, with Robert Wilson and Micky Dunn finishing 2nd and 3rd in the V60 category, and Frank McMahon, amazingly running his first Nationals at 65, finishing 5th V65.
Under-13 boys (2 miles) (15th team)- Harry McGill 13:38, Scott Meechan 14:14, Ewan Ferguson 14:15, Ben Campbell 17:46
Under-15 boys (4km) – Alan Mollins 17:09, Ryan Brown 17:32
Senior women (8km) (28th team) – Suzanne Coyle 41:10, Marian Monk 42:11, Donna Clark 42:33, Nicola Stevenson 43:15, Silke Loehndorf 43:56, Lana Hanson 46:13, Angeline Austin 48:12
Senior men (12km) (12th team) – Shaun Lyon 44:51, Kevin O’Donoghue 46:37, Stevie Campbell 47:30, Paul Monaghan 47:55, Andrew White 48:57, Daniel Doherty 49:55, Mark Vance 50:19, Andrew Osborne 52:05, Gordon Hepburn 53:50, Robert Wilson Sr. 53:56, Micky Dunn 55:40, Stephen Reid 59:42, Frank McMahon 1:04:00, Kevin Gill 1:05:03, Simon Hutton 1:12:37