West District Cross Country Relays

Alexandra Park, Glasgow – 7th October 2023

With a team of 18 ladies and 20 men entered on the eve of the first race of this year’s cross-country season, there was a great buzz of expectation. The forecast was wet, but that didn’t dampen spirits. Everyone was raring to go!

Then reality struck. Torrential rain all night brought a deluge of water from the hills, blocking roads throughout Inverclyde. The meeting time of 10:45am was brought forward to 10:30am and then soon afterwards, with the road outside the clubhouse like a river in spate, the decision was sensibly taken to cancel the bus.

Thanks to Messenger and quick decision-making by John Stevenson, members enroute were able to turn back home and batten down the hatches, largely avoiding the chaos.

However, despite the flooding mayhem going on in Gourock and Greenock, there were a few ‘Portonions’ who managed to make it through to Alexandra Park. Stephen Hanley, who was working in Edinburgh managed to make sure we had a team entered comprising himself, the Doherty brothers and Andrew McCall.

Although the road and driving conditions were treacherous, the course itself was perfect for cross-country; heavy mud, loads of hills and plenty of rain!

Out on leg one, Stephen Hanley ran with the leading pack for the first kilometre, working hard up the hills and finishing strongly. This was an excellent first leg from Hanley as his time of 15:53 was on a par with his best over this course in much better conditions.

Leg two for the club was James Doherty. James was delighted with his run, especially after enduring the stress of driving the team through the severe flooding to get to the course. James finished in a time of 19:34.

Leg three was James’ brother Daniel who had the run of the day for the Men, storming through the field to bring the team up to 31st position. Daniel recorded a watch time of 15:08 over the 4k course.

Anchor leg runner Andy McCall, set off with fierce determination and a firm intent of pulling in as many vests as possible. Andy overtook 2 runners in the first kilometre and was chasing down the pack ahead. He managed to pull in and pass a further 3 vests before the finish, clocking the fastest time of the day for the club in 14:47.

The team finished 26th out of 41 teams competing.

Other club members competing were Harry and Ruby McGill, representing Glasgow University. Harry finished in an excellent time of 14:54 on the first leg to clinch a brilliant 8th place in the Men’s team competition. Ruby’s time of 18:21 helped her team finish in 25th in the Ladies’ race.

Finally, a special mention goes to Dylan Crawford competing in the Eastern District relays, representing Stirling University’s B Team which finished 15th. Dylan’s time was 13:48.

Full West District results can be viewed here.

Full East District results can be viewed here.