AFTER weeks of the white stuff, it was almost a relief to be running in mud and rain – and Deans Country Park in Livingston provided plenty of both on Saturday as the long-awaited East District Championships and League races took place.
However, Gala Harriers seem to thrive in such conditions and overall it was a very pleasing day, with great results for junior boys and senior women in particular.
Under-11s are not permitted to compete in the East District Championships, but the League event offered five young Harriers the chance to race around the undulating grassy 1.5km course. Andrew Hogg (6 minutes 44 seconds) Marshall Smith (7.34) and Mark Purves (8.14) all enjoyed their outing, as did Kara Hogg (7.15) and Rhiannon Fagan (8.03).
Another kilometre was added for the under-13 races, in which Jo Arres (11.43) and Alex Pye (11.49) in their respective races did very well.
The under-15 girls were represented by Kerry Sandilands, who came in well within the top half of the 30 finishers in 15.19.
Lucy Henderson-Morris (8th in 15.09) and Isla King (12th in 15.52) both ran strongly in the under-17 girls’ event to ensure that they placed fifth on the day and sixth over the season.
However, it was the U15 boys who stole the show for the juniors with the trio of Rowan Marr, Fraser Wardhaugh and Paul Henney who ran superbly over their 3.5km route to bring home a well-deserved third place in their category. Rowan ran out of his skin to take the silver medal in a time of 12.49. Fraser clinched 12th position in 13.58 with Paul not far behind in 14.20.
Dianne Lauder galloped through the field of 123 senior women in 25.26 to take third place individually and with Rachel Fagan (28.28), Kirsten Maxwell (29.08) and Fiona Dalgleish (30.20), the team were sixth in the championship, but clinched an excellent bronze medal position in the League.
There were some good runs, too, from the senior men, who fielded nine runners battling against the 240 on the start line.
Led home by Graeme Murdoch over the 10km course (24th in 36.22) the Gala men did well to finish 11th team out of 41 on the day, a consistent 11th over the season and a very creditable 10th in the masters category.
Following Graeme was Fergus Johnson (39.35), Mark Bryson (40.17), Euan Jardine (41.14), Martin Clarke (42.40), Magnus Inglis (45.05), Derrick Brydon (45.51), Dave Nightingale (46.00) and Alistair Laurie (46.46).