This Saturday all roads led to the National Cross-Country Relay Championships at Scone Palace in Perth. This venue provided a fantastic course and splendid weather for the depleted team of 9 Glenparkers.
The first team selection was Steven Campbell (new Club Captain), Oliver Reilly (the way he’s been running of late you’d never guess he’s just off the back of a 2hr 48mins at the London Marathon), Alan O’Rourke and Frank McMahon, who’s training’s been going so well recently he ousted the cream of the club to clinch his first 1st team slot!
The vet’s team “nearly never made it” with recent new member Gavin Morrison and his well kent camper careering headlong into the muddy car park twenty minutes before the start. Gavin was running the first leg, followed by another recent new member Campbell Cromar, just back from a month’s injury and Danny McLaughlin also just back from injury running the anchor leg.
Unfortunately, with only 2 ladies; Marian Monk and Nicola Doohan available to run, the objective was to get a good time and some fun on the single lap scenic course.
Marian inspired the other team members with the run of the day on the first leg of the Ladies Senior race. Marian finished in 17 minutes exactly, an excellent time on the windy 4,000m course which consisted of two challenging hills in the first half followed by a long fast section on the run-in. Marian finished 133rd out of the 294 senior lady starters and 45th in the V40 category. Marian moves up to the V50s next year and will soon be securing top 10 placings.
Nicola went off like a pocket rocket on the second leg, passing runners right, left and centre but unfortunately after the hills section had an exercise-induced asthma attack and had to retire from the race just before half way. The team consoled Nicola and reassured her that with a steady start next time she would comfortably complete the course with a time to be proud of.
In the men’s race, Steven got the first team off to an excellent start, finishing in 82nd place out of the 155 starters in a time was 14:13. Taking over from Steven, Oliver ran a blinder, passing 18 runners and finishing 65th. Oliver was delighted to discover his time (13:58) was 15 seconds faster than Steven. Steven however wasn’t slow in reminding him he was 15 years younger and that he “should’ve been even faster!”. That’s good Captain’s psychology Steven ! Alan ran his race of the season with a cracking 16:38 to hand over to Frank who held on well to finish in 83rd place overall in a time of 18:35. A brilliant effort in the circumstances for a much depleted 1st team.
Steven and Gavin on the 1st Leg
Campbell and Oliver on the 2nd Leg
In the vet’s race, bottles were crashing all over the place after Marian’s fabulous run.
Gavin took the first leg, with a seriously gritty run, having just recovered from a bad cold. He clocked an excellent time of 15:36 despite the fact he hadn’t trained properly in the lead-up. Campbell also dug deep to try to equal Marian’s time. Turning up ill prepared as usual, with track spikes in, Marian offered Campbell a new set of 15mm cross country spikes. This kind but serious tactical blunder on Marian’s part gifted Campbell a few precious seconds. He finished in a time of 16:20, handing over to Danny who ran so fast in the first half trying to beat Marian’s time that his “flipping sole” came off the bottom of his spikes (no joking) ! After tearing it off at the half-way point it was thankfully reasonably flat and firm underfoot all the way to the finish. Danny finished in 17:01 and afterwards had a bit of sole searching to do. The team finished 17th overall in the V50 category.
The banter on the way back was hilarious and a few ears were burning!
As is tradition for all races up Perth-way, the bus driver took a slight detour to Aberfoyle and the legendary chippy. Danny (our new Janny) had a sausage supper, Frank a pie supper and everyone else has a fish supper, except Nicola who had a bag of chips and a diet coke!
Let’s get the numbers up for the next few SAF races. It’s a brilliant day out !
Apologies for not managing to get a photo of Nicola. If anyone has one, please send it on.
Thanks to Campbell Cromar for the brilliant report. If you want a race report published, then please email in!