The East Cross Country Series is organised by Scottish Athletics and Scottish Disability Sport and run over four rounds. Three rounds are held at Peffermill in Edinburgh and one in Fife at the Beveridge Park in Kirkcaldy. The Fife event is organised by Disability Sport Fife and Fife AC with support from Kirkcaldy Rugby Club and Sports Leaders from Kirkcaldy HS.
Throughout the East Series, separate sections are offered to athletes with a physical, sensory or learning disability and athletes have the choice of competing over 500 metres, 1K, 2K or 3K. Overall Series Champions are presented with Scottish Athletics medals at the conclusion of the fourth round and this year Fife athletes recorded their best Series results to date. To be considered athletes have to compete in at least three rounds of the East Series.
Sophie Coughlin from Bell Baxter HS was the outstanding S1 athlete of the Series with three wins from four for a total of 30 points. In her first outing Sophie completed the course in 6.37 for second place and in the fourth and final event she set a personal best time of 5.58. An improvement of almost 40 seconds. In the equivalent event for boys Nathan Smith from Woodmill HS won the gold medal with 29 points and Stephen Davies Lochgelly HS and Richard Myers Woodmill HS finished second and third with 26 and 24 points respectively.
Three Fife S2 pupils won the girls 1k Series medals with 30, 28 and 24 points. Amy Dignan Lochgelly HS won the gold medal and demonstrated an improvement from first to fourth race of 35 seconds. Chloe Ramsay Lochgelly HS and Saskia Taylor Woodmill HS won silver and bronze. The boys S2 1K was won by Edwin Barron Woodmill HS with 30 points and a personal time improvement over four rounds of 26 seconds. Landon McKinnon and Reece Philip from Lochgelly HS won silver and bronze with 27 and 22 points.
The girls S3 Series over 1K resulted in another clean sweep of medals for Fife athletes. Megan Wilson Woodmill HS won gold with 30 points, Billie Lowe Balwearie HS won silver with 28 points and Kayshaleigh Lambert Lochgelly HS won bronze with 24 points. The 1 K Series for S3 boys with a physical impairment was won by Connor Brown from Woodmill HS with 30 points. Connor set the fastest time of any S3 boy in the 2016/2017 Series. Owen Handley Woodmill HS and Shakeel Ul-Haq Lochgelly HS finished second and third in the Series for athletes with additional support needs with 23 and 21 points.
Derry Reilly Lochgelly HS and Kerry Kotlewski Bell Baxter HS finished second and third in the S4 girls 1K Series with 26 and 20 points. Arran Howe from Bell Baxter HS was the outstanding S4 boy over 1K with a total of 30 points and a personal best time of 4.40. Arran’s PB was the fastest time recorded by any athlete over 1K in any year group at the 2016/2017 Series.
Taylor McDowall from Balwearie HS won the S5/S6 girls 1K with a total of 27 points. Reece Dickson Balwearie HS won the boys S5/S6 Series with 30 points and improved over four races by 35 seconds. Scott Combe Woodmill HS won bronze with 22 points.
Twins Louise Harley (30 points) and Michelle Harley (28 points) from Lochgelly HS finished first and second with 30 and 28 points in the S3-S6 girls 2K Series. Fife pupils collected gold, silver and bronze in the boys S5 Series with 28, 23 and 20 points. Mathew Blair Woodmill HS won gold, Callum Harrison –Jones Balwearie HS silver and Gary Fraser Lochgelly HS bronze. Brandon Eason Balwearie HS was second overall in the boys 3K Series of races with a total of 16 points.
These were the best East Series results recorded by Team Fife since the event was first established. Disability Sport Fife hopes to field a strong team for the Scottish Championships (Thursday 23 rd March) when the leading athletes in the East take on the West and the North at the National Championships organised by Scottish Athletics and Scottish Disability Sport at Bellahouston Park in Glasgow. In addition Fife athletes are also looking forward to the Fife Championships organised by Disability Sport Fife and Fife AC at the Beveridge Park in Kirkcaldy on Thursday 18th May. Cross country has become one of the most popular activities on the DSF calendar of events.
Richard Brickley MBE
President, Disability Sport Fife