Athletes do battle in ‘toughest conditions yet’

Gala Harrier Gregor Collins proudly display's his silverware after coming home in second place in the Great Winter Junior Run around Holyrood Park in Edinburgh
Gala Harrier Gregor Collins proudly display's his silverware after coming home in second place in the Great Winter Junior Run around Holyrood Park in Edinburgh
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The Morrisons Great Winter Runs and Inter-district Cross Country races in Edinburgh were held in some of the toughest conditions yet, according to competing athletes.

A combination of wind, snow and dropping temperatures took their toll on some performances, and the going underfoot had rarely been so muddy and treacherous.

Paula Radcliffe and Jonathan Edwards presented the international programme for the BBC against the background of a grim, wind and sleet-swept Holyrood Park.

Hard training over the autumn and winter months with excellent results ensured that six young Gala Harriers were picked for East of Scotland selection, along with three seniors.

In increasingly clarty terrain, Rhiannon Fagan (15.10) dug in well over the under-13 girls’ 3km course, while her East team took silver, and Jamie Logan (17.00) in the under-15 boys’ 4km was the sixth counter in his race for the East, securing his own well-deserved silver as part of his team effort.

Susannah Godfrey-Fausett (18.35 and seventh for East) was part of the gold-winning East team in the girls’ under-15 race, but was just out of the medals herself as only the first six count.

Thomas Otton (22.29) and Gavin Bryson (23.18) ran superbly for the under-17 boys, contributing to a gold for the East, with Thomas’s effort as sixth counter giving him a nice piece of metal to take home.

Three Gala seniors had been selected for district honours and it was Hawick’s Dianne Lauder (24.28) who stormed home in a stunning time over the 6km distance as the East team again picked up gold. She was the second counter in and was well backed up by Jedburgh’s Kirstin Maxwell (25.01), while an in-form Darrell Hastie (30.00), from Kelso, over 8km, was part of the runners-up team in the senior men’s race.

The popular Great Winter Junior Run stayed on the road around Arthur’s Seat, with Gala Harriers represented by seven young athletes.

Gregor Collins went one better than last year, coming home in an impressive second position over the 2.5km distance.

He was well supported by William Darling, who was third in his category, Andrew Hogg, George Godfey-Faussett, Evan McConnell, Cara Hogg and Jack McDonald.

Senior Harriers were also represented in the 5km race, with Graham Manczak (18.34), Wayne McIntosh (18.52), Dawn Grant (23.24), Katie Rourke (23.37), Elaine Johnson (29.55), Anne Purves (31.47) and Jill Grainger (32.18).