Harriers in muddy marvellous effort

Gala Harrier makes his way through the mud to an impressive sixth place
Gala Harrier makes his way through the mud to an impressive sixth place

A hardy bunch of Gala Harriers travelled to Callendar House, Falkirk, for the National Cross Country Championships last weekend.

Just as forecasted, the weather turned on its most biting winds, driving sleet and underfoot glaur imaginable but the park welcomed over 1500 athletes and as many brave spectators.

The Under 13 Gala girls and boys each fielded teams of three, with the girls packing together well over the 3.2 kilometre course to finish near the top third of the large field of 168 runners. Rhiannon Fagan (13 minutes and 49 seconds) led home Eilidh Forbes (13.52) by a whisker, with Molly Morris just another five seconds behind. George Godfrey-Faussett (13.11) came in a very creditable 17th place from a large field of 166, while Jack McDonald and Innes Campbell supported each other round, both finishing with 15.19.

Four Under 15 girls put in good performances in the testing conditions over 4k, particularly Susannah Godfrey-Faussett (15.22) who was 12th in the field of 111. Katie Rourke (16.39), Lindsay Jack (16.40) and Elena Heger (18.05) completing the set. 130 x under 15 boys lined up next, with excellent performances from all the lads who had represented their club so well in the recent Borders Winter series. Callum Tharme (14.12), Andrew Hogg (14.27) and Jamie Logan (14.29) led the strong Gala contingent home.

Perhaps the best performance from a junior on the day was from Gavin Bryson who stormed to sixth in the Under 17 Boys race, taking only 21.57 to eat up the increasingly muddy 6.4k route. Thomas Otton ran well too to gain 15th in 22.45 but there were no more counters on the day for a team placing.

The senior women’s race covers eight kilometres and 10 Gala ladies took on the distance amongst the large field of 226, with a turnout of some of the best of Scotland’s top endurance women.

Dianne Lauder mixed it with the internationalists up front with a stunning seventh place in 29.35. Kirstin Maxwell (31.07) Kate Jenkins (32.45) and Fiona Dalgleish (33.32) were the other three counters in the sixth place team finish.

A record-breaking field of 571 senior men included 15 Harriers who took on the even longer 12 kilometres as the last race of the day. Darrell Hastie (42.24 in 36th place) led the Gala team home, followed by Graeme Murdoch (45.53) Fergus Johnston(47.04) and Wayne Mcintosh (47.57). All results can be found via the scottishathletics website.