West Dirstict XC 2017 - Race Report

posted 21 Dec 2017, 05:46 by Enquiries campbeltownrunningclub   [ updated 21 Dec 2017, 14:30 ]

By Stuart McGeachy

It's the cross country season again and the first race attended this winter was the West District 10k at Irvine Moor Race Course on Saturday 9th December. It's fair to say the conditions leading up the race were a tad hairy, with heavy snow and freezing temperatures hitting Scotland.  Thankfully the weather improved on race day to permit 'semi-decent' driving conditions for the journey up.  Temperatures were still close to 0 degrees, however the sun was oot and underfoot was perfect for good times on the grass.

I managed to convince three other hardy b******* to join me and make the journey over to Irvine for the event.  Ewan Smith and Alisdair 'Elgy' O' May (aka Erchie Cook) were making their first outing for XC for CRC whilst Iain McKinnon is a regular for XC events. 

The Erchie Cook reference is related to a cast offjecket from Erchie's previous work, which Elgy inherited...somehow!  Quality jacket and nothing wrong with that you say, but what a state!  All other clubs are looking like pro’s in matching track suits and jackets…then there was the Campbeltown boys!  I mean ffs…. it went doon tae his ankles, with Erchies name fastooned on the chist, parading aboot the field like a young boy wearing his faither’s jecket!!  King! 

Anyway….. as I mentioned we were joined by fellow CRC member Iain McKinnon, who is based in Newcastle but shows his allegiance to the toon as he has family from the area..... and it's also cheaper than joining any other clubs down south 😊.  Really nice guy and in most excellent company with myself, a dooker and an Erchie Cook wannabe!  It was good to get a catch up with the guys prior to the race and managed a quick warmup before the mens event starting at 2pm.  There were 218 runners competing in the senior mens event, with a lot of familiar faces from central belt clubs suggesting it would be a tough race. 

As per usual the XC races starts off like a 100m sprint, jostling for position before the course narrows out.  It was a 3 loop route around the race course with a few tough hills (reasonably flat compared to other courses) and some awkward footing around some of the route.  It was good to see the guys at certain stages in the race to cheer each other on as the route overlapped at certain turns.

It’s fair to say I went off a bit too hard on the first 3 miles, settled in mile 4, and regained it from mile 5 onwards to breath oot my erse at the finish!  I think if you asked most runners out there they did the exact same thing, but I doubt I’d have improved my time going for negative splits as I hung on to a group of runners who I think pulled me along.

As XC races go, it wasn’t that muddy.  The frosty conditions meant the underfoot was quite hard so nowhere near as bad as my experience of West Districts two years ago at Bellahouston….which was just a mud bath!  As a result, times were quite fast was and really happy to finish in 37th place in 35:33.  Ewan Smith was next CRC member in with a brilliant time of 41:05 (125th), and if you look at the runners finishing behind Ewan you get an idea of how good a run that was.  Iain McKinnon wasn’t far behind in 45:55 (185th), which was another great time, especially considering recent injury issues he’s only overcome.  Elgy finished in 48:08 (200th), which is a decent time however isn’t really a true reflection of what he can do.  Elgy has been injured and in self-imposed hibernation from running recently, so just coming back into it and saw this as a good training run.  Fair play to him as it could have been easy just to blank it when not 100%.

Elgy, Ewan and Iain qualified as a master team as three members and finished 17th out of 19 teams.  Considering the quality out there, and the fact not everyone up to full fitness, I think we should be happy with that.  A couple of mins improvement would have seen them taking a good few positions, so something to aim for February.

Appreciate the guys making the effort up to Irvine, especially at this time of the year.  Hopefully we can bring a bigger group up for the Nationals in February.