CHALLENGING underfoot conditions, commonly known as clarty, met Gala Harriers as they reached Falkirk’s Callendar Park on Saturday for the culmination of the annual cross-country season.
Last year, following silver medal success in 2010, the Gala Under-15 girls could only field a depleted team, but with all the girls moving up to the Under-17/20 women’s category – and with the addition of Hawick’s Louise Mercer running for the first time in a Gala vest, hopes were high for a podium place of some sort.
Kerry Sandilands ran what her coach describes as the ‘best race of her life’ and ate up the ground in 19.23, with Mercer just a handful of seconds behind her in an excellent 19.39 and Becky Couch in a determined 19.56, made all the more so for being her first in this competition.
Their respective 11th, 15th and 19th places in the age group ensured a richly-deserved bronze medal position, behind the big guns of Edinburgh AC and Glasgow School of Sport teams who took gold and silver.
Laura Anderson (21.09) and Emily Jones (24.22) also ran very well to support the team.
Junior coaches Neil Renton and Graham Capper were delighted with all the squad’s efforts, in particular, the bronze medal-winning girls.
“Given the tough conditions, this was an excellent result and a testament to the hard winter of training,” said Renton.
Other results – Juniors: U13 girls, Katie Browne 16.49. U15 boys, Paul Henney 15.20; Thomas Otton 15.39; Nathan Cox 15.42. U17 men, Rowan Marr 26.56; Cameron Burnett 29.18.
Senior women: Rachel Fagan 36.51; Fiona Shepherd 38.56, Eileen Nicol 39.36, Andrea Pogson 41.15.
Senior men: Fergus Johnson 45.44, Colin McCall 48.18, Sinclair Hill 48.28, Graham Manczak 50.50, Derrick Brydon 54.38, Dave Nightingale 55.30, Martin Clarke 58.16.
z Earlier this month at the Scottish National Masters Cross-country Championships at Kilmarnock, Gala Harrier Bob Marshall achieved an impressive fourth position in his age group.