The National XC Championships 2017 From Ross Cairns

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The National XC Championships 2017

As messaged up yesterday “A proud day to be associated with Inverness Harriers” and what a month for the club. We are winning on the national stage in numerous areas now from the Emirates, Antrim and now Falkirk in the space of less than a month!

A big thank you goes out to everyone who made the journey to these events, competed and acted as helpers on the day you all provided the conditions for a great and memorable day. Small things like putting a timing chip on the feet of a slightly apprehensive junior prior to their race makes a world of difference. Thank you!

It was one of those days where it all kind of clicked into place. The club started the day for the majority at 06:30am and travelled in plush bus with lots of leg room to arrive on site to slightly calmer conditions than overnight and into a nice Gazebo ready for them (Thanks UHI) then off to our first race of the day the U13 Boys where quite honestly a stunning performance by the team to win their age group by 50 points and have all four counters in before the second counter of the other teams! The boys came home Lucas Cairns (2), Euan Rollo (9), Angus Rutter (19), Duncan MacDonald (21), Ben Sharpe (41), Finlay Raynor (58), Eric Robinson (68).

A first individual national medal by Lucas Cairns as runner up and with it silver and a performance to savour. He was one of three individual medalists for the North (Anna McFadyean U20W (2) and Sunny McGrath U15B (3).

The great running continued with Kirsty Arnaud in U13G placing in the top 30 and top North athlete with 26th in an excellent controlled race over conditions that were deteriorating after every race.

Our U15B in Finlay Rutter and Angus Smith secured 44th and 99th place in their first year at this age group and came away with strong positives from this race.

Our U15G in Jennifer MacKenzie, Rebecca Johnstone and Kate Gilles ran really strong for 36th, 65th and 92nd. Rachel Gilles unfortunately had to stop but really great that you toed the line and gave it a shot with multi-colored taped-up knees!

Our U17 mens team came 8th with counters from Luke Williams (42), Aidan Ferry (48), Ben Johnstone (58), Ruiaridh Fraser (72), Lewis Esslemont (79) and Robert Thorne (Guess at 94). Robert chip was broken and had to carry his chip in his hand but it has not recorded on the official times.

Our U17 women’s pair or Sophie Young and Connie Campbell ran great races, despite cross country being their training rather than racing focus, they came home in 40th and 44th respectively. Both had strong opening laps so taking that positivity into the track season will be great.

In U20 Men’s we had Cameron Young competing for Edinburgh University and finished in 19th which is a fantastic run showing strong progress from inter-districts.

Similar set for great results for Heather Campbell with a 16th place finish in the U20 women’s race.

Senior Men were met with what can only described as a hill and a waterlogged ploughed field to contest and from that we had a fantastic run by Gordon Lennox to finish in 21st place out of 600+ runners, Craig Campbell won the best sprint face image of the day just missing out on top 50 (53) which is fantastic considering he is in his final year of his Master’s degree so lots of other priorities.

Finlay MacLennan ran a solid race for 206th in conditions not suited to his recovery from injury. Unfortunately, Chris Fife went airborne (over Gareth Jenkins and several others) at the start and picked up a tweak so did a lap. I should have joined him but never listen and after my usual several km looking after the juniors ran full tilt no quarter given for 409th!

Senior women contested the first national race at 10k and Catriona Fraser was first home in 162nd with Ann Smart running a fine race for 214th. 269 Women contested this race at 10k. Harrier Mhairi Maclennan competing for Edinburgh University ran for a top 10 place with 9th.

For the 30+ harriers that took part regardless of times and positions you are all stars for the support and atmosphere you put on for everyone competing in what turned out to be a fantastic day for the club.

Till next year….