The biggest Scottish inter club race of the season returned for the first time since 2020 last Saturday with the National Cross Country Championships. The races once again took place at the iconic Callander Park in Falkirk, and allowed athletes in all age categories to race against their peers from across the country.
Two busses of runners, parents and supporters let Greenock for the trip along the motorway to Falkirk for what proved to be another great day out for the club. The junior athletes got things underway, with five of our under13s having a go on this stage for the first time. This would be a great learning experience for them all as they see the possibilities that running for a club can do for them.
The under 15 girls, Summer and Erin, ran well and were able to provide the first warning to the older runners of the new feature of the course added this year. At the far end of the loop, the bridge across the muddy ditch was out of action and replaced with, well the muddy ditch! The steep run down to the mud and back up the other side proved to be a fun hazard throughout the day! Summer herself was a victim of the ditch, but no injuries apart from a bruised ego and muddy coupon!
The under 17s and u20s had been training hard as a group at the track for the last few months, and joining in with the seniors out there. They all ran well on the day, and Kyle and Jude once again had a good battle for position in their race.
The senior woman stepped up to race with Marian Monk leading the way. Marian has had a strong cross country season, leading by example by running all the events through the winter leading up to this one. It was good to see the ladies able to field a full team and register in the overall national standings. Viki Smith ran really well on what is a very short run for the ultra specialist.
Ladies captain Elaine Medinelli had rallied the troops beforehand to get the full complement, which had sadly reduced due to injury and illness. However Charlotte McKay ran her first national and was only one of only ten in a field of 268 in her age category. At the top end of the field, Mhairi MacLennan won her third National Cross title ahead of Scout Adkin and Morag Miller.
The senior mens race was contested by 627 athletes in the last race of the day, where the course was at its muddiest! Stephen Trainer made a starring return to club running, donning the famous vest and leading the men home in 66th spot. Andrew McCall and Oliver Reilly battled it out for second club spot, with the veteran McCall just edging it. Our only medalist on the day was Paul Monaghan who claimed a bronze in the v50 category, and rounded out our top six with Michael McLoone and Kevin Craig.
Some newcomers to the national cross country race included Colin McKnight and Craig Hyslop who enjoyed their experience. At the sharp end of the race, Central’s Jamie Crowe defended his title ahead of Ross Gollan and Andy Douglas. If you want to see the scenes of the first men through the ditch of doom, then head over to our Twitter page for the video shared by Bellahouston Harriers. A few cracking faceplants!
Thanks to all our supporters through on the day. Especially those that positioned themselves at the ditch and cheered our runners through the mud. You could hear the cheers throughout the course!
U13 Girls: Scarlett Farrell 18.16, Nuala Quigley 18.18, Ava Lyle 18.33
U13 Boys: Cameron Beck 14.32, Jonathan Lamont 15.02,
U15 Girls: Summer Taggart 21.18, Erin McEleney 23.15
U17 Men: Jude Dolan 24.32, Kyle Johnstone 24.58,
U17 woman: Ruby McGill 29.12
Senior Woman: Marian Monk 49.14, Viki Smith 52.18, Lynsey Mooney 56.49, Cheryl Thomas 57.37, Eileen Stevenson 64.56, Elaine Medinelli 68.12, Charlotte McKay 81.12
U20 Men: Shaun Wiseman 27.15
Senior Men: Stephen Trainer 36.53, Andrew McCall 39.57, Oliver Reilly 40.07, Michael McLoone 40.14, Paul Monaghan 40.36 (3rd v50), Kevin Craig 41.17, Steven Campbell 42.30, Stephen Hanley 43.01, Craig Hyslop 46.53, Colin McKnight 47.26, Campbell Cromar 47.35, John Stevenson 48.25, Stephen Reid 53.10