Award-winning Harriers raise the bar in national competition

BORDER Sport and Leisure Trust’s Club of the Year, Gala Harriers has been celebrating its new status with inter-county selection and some solid performances inside and out over the last two weeks.

Thrilled to be nominated and ultimately declared winners of this prestigious award, the club is determined to justify the confidence that the judging panel placed in it, both in terms of its club ethos, and team and individual performances.

Last weekend, 11 young athletes travelled to the iconic new Emirates Stadium in Glasgow for the National Indoor Age Group championships, held over two days.

Over a range of track distances from 60m sprints to 1,500m, there was a clutch of green and white vests striving against the rest of Scotland and doing their club proud in an indoor setting with which most of them were very unfamiliar.

On Saturday, Fraser Wardhaugh competed in the under-18 boys’ 400m, with Cameron Burnett and Rowan Marr going one better and progressing through their heats, in third and first places respectively, to the semi-finals.

On Sunday, Christie Rout, Katie Browne and Bethany Wardhaugh competed over the 60m sprint in their various age groups, with Katie progressing to the semi-finals.

Rhiannon Fagan joined them for the 200m, where Katie again qualified for the semis before trying her hand at the 800m.

For the boys, Isaac Bacon had a good day, progressing to the finals of both the under-14 60m sprint and the 200m, with times which were as consistent as they were impressive.

Josh Abbott joined him for the 200m and also the 400m, with Jason McIntosh qualifying for the final in the 800m after coming a strong second in his heat. In the longest distance run on the day, the 1,500m, Thomas Otton came fourth in the under-16 boys, as a nice wee sharpener for what was ahead for him the next weekend.

Not to be outdone, at the same time, the seniors were racking up some excellent personal bests in Midlothian in the tough and hilly Lasswade 10-mile race.

With 327 runners taking part, Gala did well to feature strongly, with excellent performances from everyone, especially those who chose to use it as a training marker for upcoming spring marathons.

First home for the club was Fergus Johnston, placed 13th and breaking the hour-mark by 15 seconds, with Dave Nightingale (1.09.11) next in.

For the ladies, Anya Campbell and Gillian Duncan shared a time of 1.11.18, with Fiona Shepherd (1.14.37) Anne Weir (1.18.11) Nicola Porterfield (1.19.16) and Sheila McNab (1.20.06) all feeling pleased with their day’s work.

Their performances at the National Cross-country Championships in Falkirk earned junior Thomas Otton and senior Dianne Lauder richly-deserved selection for the Inter-counties Cross-country Championships in Birmingham on Saturday.

Thomas finished well up the field of 288 runners in the under-15 boys, coming 55th in a grand time of 17.14. Dianne came 56th out of 291 runners in 29.55 – and both should be very proud of their selection and performances on the day.