The national cross country championships took place in Falkirk on Saturday, with the Harriers being well represented across all of the age groups. The seniors mens and womans races are now equal in distance with both being billed as 10k. The ladies were out first on the course and were the first ones to discover that the 10k wasn’t quite as billed, with an extra 700m thrown into the tough course!
The course has changed over the years, but as always the steep muddy hill leading to the forest section of the course was still there in all its glory, with runners tackling it three times during their race. Cheryl Thomas mastered this and all else that the course threw at her the best, returning home as first female harrier. Claire Monaghan paced her race well and picked off plenty of runners on the way as she finished not too far behind Cheryl. Marianne McKay was third back and was loving the hills as always, she even managed to stay on her feet this year! Lynsey Mooney wasn’t so fortunate, as she took a nasty stumble on the gravelly section of the course and sadly could not finish. Debbie McKenzie and Heather Lafferty did well at their first nationals as well.
The two under 20s races interjected the seniors races, with the course getting to its ultimate chewed up state for the men to tackle it. Although, even a bit of rain during their rain was not able to really result in a muddy course this year. Paul Monaghan was first to return home for the men with a run of just over 40 minutes, with Steven Campbell not far behind.
Paul Beaton and Neil Lafferty had a great battle for third spot, with Paul showing a little bit more experience on the cross country terrain to finish just ahead. It was a really good debut on the cross country for Neil, and a sign of things to come for both in the future. It was a similarly promising debut for Oliver Reilly, who ran cross country for the first time ever, and managed a very respectable finish.
Danny McLaughlin had a great run to put a few of the younger guns to shame! Bragging rights were deservedly his on the bus trip back home (although some dodged the bus to avoid the pelters!). Last weeks winner Kevin Gill was brought back down to earth, sadly no trophy on offer for 631st this week, but a great run nonetheless. Alan O’Rourke said he felt the benefit of the Monday night hill sessions he has been running for the past few months, closing the gap on those ahead of him compared to previous weeks results. Can’t get a better advert than that for our regular training sessions, so get yourself along! A big shout out to the support of the seniors and juniors who cheered everyone on as they flew past the club tent. Brilliant to see so many through with plenty of bobble hats on show.
The cross country season is now at a close but the racing never sleeps. A few big races coming up in the next month or two with the Balloch to Clydebank half marathon, Tom Scott 10 miler and of course the GGH Doherty Cup. Greenock parkrun celebrates it’s 250th event this Saturday and there will be pacers on the day, a great opportunity to get yourself a shiny new pb.
Womans ’10k’: Cheryl Thomas 53.17, Claire Monaghan 53.42, Marianne McKay 55.05, Debbie McKenzie 60.25, Heather Lafferty 64.42
Mens ’10k’: Paul Monaghan 40.27, Steven Campbell 41.17, Paul Beaton 43.13, Neil Lafferty 43.32, Danny McLaughlin 45.58, Oliver Reilly 46.55, Stephen Hanley 47.24, David Roberts 48.13, Alan O’Rourke 49.52, Scot Hill 52.35, Kevin Gill 53.45, Frank McMahon 54.33