CONDITIONS could not have been better for the second leg of the Borders Winter Cross Country series, held this year in Galashiels.
Blue skies, not a breath of wind and soft but not too muddy ground made for a perfect day out for the 104 juniors and 180 seniors who gathered in the Policies on Sunday.
The usual sea of green and white vests was very evident amongst the large junior field with 44 Gala youngsters representing the host club.
Excellent efforts from the front runners ensured an exciting tussle amongst the race leaders from the start, with Nathan Cox from Morpeth Harriers being reeled in by Thomas Otton of Gala but holding on in fine style to finish in 9 minutes 51 seconds, with Thomas closing fast in 10.09 and retaining first place in his age group.
Kobe Stevens from Moorfoot came an impressive third in 10.21, with competitive races from Gavin Bryson (10.27), Jason McIntosh (10.40), Joe Agnew (10.50), James Mercer (11.16) and Jamie Logan (11.24) to ensure a strong result for the home team.
In the girls’ race, Zoe Pflug, TJLT put in a great performance to storm home in 11.44, ahead of Fiona Grant (11.57) and Mairi Wallace in 12.29, both from Moorfoot.
There were grand runs from the local girls too, with Rhiannon Fagan (13.02) securing 1st place in her age category on the day.
180 seniors started half an hour later with local dogwalkers wondering what had hit their usually quiet Sunday morning stroll. The three top places went to Carnethy’s Michael Reid (21.43), Lauder’s Adam Craig (21.50) and Callum Reid (22.23) from Haddington East Lothian Pacemakers who all recorded fantastic times over the testing course. Graham Manczak (23.45) Mark Bryson (24.18) and Andrew Lawrie (25.03) were the first three Gala Harriers home, showing fine form.
Gala’s women stole the show with the top three places staying local, led home by an injury-free Dianne Lauder (25.27) in-form Kirstin Maxwell (26.30) and the club’s most improved runner of 2013, Jenny Forbes (27.12).
Andrea Pogson (30.07) came home first in her age category and it was good to see Paul Morris (35.43) showing a clean pair of heels after major hip surgery.
Thanks are due to all those who helped in any way on the day and previously for setting up the course, and for continuing permission to use the fields behind the policies which make the race so popular and challenging.
(All results can be found on the Borders XC website).
The previous day, two Gala women pulled on a Scottish vest after their spectacular and well-deserved recent selection for the British & Irish Masters Cross Country International in Cardiff. Rachel Fagan and Fiona Dalgleish, the former and current ladies’ club captains enjoyed the fast, flat course in Bute Park.
Upcoming date: Saturday 23 November, East District Cross Country League, Round 2, Alloa.