Scottish Disability Sport and Scottish Athletics returned to Bellahouston Park, Glasgow for the 2017 National Cross-Country Championships.
After some inclement weather and traffic challenges ensured the original date for this event was cancelled, a date was secured at the same venue in late April for another attempt at this event. Met office warnings of snow were unwelcome and, fortunately, unfounded although runners and officials can testify to the temperature fast approaching zero!
SDS and scottishathletics were pleased to welcome back the majority of runners entered for the original date, with a few more also able to compete thanks to the postponement. The course was looking excellent with spring daffodils providing a picturesque landscape for the runners to enjoy throughout the race.
The East and West series continues to grow apace with more entries and more races taking place each year.
The event featured races across three distances with competitors from primary age-groups to seniors with every secondary school stage also represented.
In the absence of the experienced GB athlete Owen Miller, fellow Fifer Sam Fernando secured the Open Senior 3k title with his stablemate Carter Taylor finishing second, followed by Forth Valley’s George Le Hardy.
Grampian’s Carl Furmann won the Senior title in the 1k race, finishing ahead of Forth Valley’s Liam Nolan, however the fastest 1k time of the day fell to Hamilton Grammar’s Alexander Thomson who won the S4 boys category in a time of 4.20.
A large entry in the girls sections was pleasing to see with Kimberley Walker transitioning from Primary to Secondary seamlessly adding the S1 female title to the primary title she won here last year. Further female successes came from Lochgelly’s Louise Harley (2k Girls Gold), Merkland’s Sara Stevenson (1k S4 Girls Gold) and Amy McAllister (1k S5-6 Girls Gold) amongst others.
The future for Cross Country is bright with impressive performances in the Primary section from representatives of Drummore, Firpark, Merkland and Craigmarloch. This is such an accessible sport for primary age pupils with varying distances available and plenty events to choose from. Jayden Okolo (Drummore) and Elliot Higgins (Merkland) were the girl and boy winners respectively.
Scottish Athletics and Scottish Disability Sport would like to highlight the work done by all the many volunteers and officials that ensure the event runs smoothly on the day, especially Angus Cameron and Doleen Galbraith – significant supporters of disability athletics.
Cross-country is an excellent route into athletics for youngsters around Scotland and strong programmes exist in various areas of the country from Highland to the Lanarkshires, Perth & Kinross which supplement the very successful series in the West of Scotland and the East of Scotland. SDS and Scottish Athletics would urge any youngsters interested in trying out Cross-Country to contact their local branch or the SDS office to find out how to access the sport.
If you are interested in finding out more about this event or any other Scottish Disability Sport event please contact Mark Gaffney on 013 625 4417 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks to Laurence Bisset for the cover photo and for further photos on the day.