Scottish National Cross Country Championship - Callendar Park, Falkirk

posted 23 Feb 2014, 07:44 by Enquiries campbeltownrunningclub   [ updated 24 Feb 2014, 05:43 ]
I have finally got my first Cross Country race under my belt and I'm gutted it's taken me so long to do so as it was easily best running experience I've had to date.  James Murdoch was my partner in crime for this race (as usual) and we had already arranged to meet up with the 'coach' Graham Crawford who was competing for Springburn Harriers.  Graham is an experienced runner in these events so it was good to have a chat with him for advice prior to the race.

There were 566 runners competing round 3 laps of an extremely muddy, hilly park including some of Scotland's top elite and club runners can be daunting, but thankfully you soon find out that there are normal club runners participating as well which is probably the charm of this race.  Graham advised to take the first lap easy as legs can get tired easily in the tough terrain if you go off to fast and 7.5 miles is a long distance in these conditions.

The starting line up was narrow with a short straight before hitting the first hill.  Everyone starts off at a frantic pace (rather foolishly to be honest) and a bottle neck is created right at the first couple of corners.  At time is feels like you're in the middle of a herd of wildebeests!   James decided to run just behind myself and Graham at the start and was probably held up a bit more.  There wasn't much room to get past runners until after the first lap when the field stretched out.

This was a first attempt to try out the new trail shoes Elaine bought me for xmas and in these conditions you need shoes with a lot of grip.  Most runners were wearing running shoes with spikes, however even they struggled on some of the muddy hills if they weren't using long enough spikes.  This was a problem Graham discovered as he struggled with his footing up some of the steeper hills and he wished he used longer spikes.

I felt good after the first lap and lifted the pace in the second and third laps.  I managed to pick up a lot of places in these laps as many of the runners who went off too fast at the start were starting to ease up.  This was a similar story for James run and he kept a steady pace on the last two laps and managed to pick up a better position with a strong finish. 

Times didn't really matter as we've never done this before so had nothing to compare, however we were trying to achieve as a high a position as possible so the focus was just to hold off as many runners as possible.  I managed to finish in 175th position in 47:32, Graham was 214th in 48:45 and James was 263rd in 50:14.  Good times and to be fair to James I think he would have knocked off more time if he followed my line as my Garmin showed a I had ran a bit less distance than him....I've learned well from Neily MacPhail ;-) 

To be honest, we were happy just to keep in the top half finishers in the field and gives us something to work on for next year.  Hopefully we can get more of the club entering next year as it's a lot of fun and a good challenge at the same time....and more importantly it's on a Saturday so a good excuse for a night out in the city!

The full race results and timings can be found in the pdf attachment below.

By Stuart McGeachy

Enquiries campbeltownrunningclub,
23 Feb 2014, 07:44