Central in medals haul
Central AC were in medalwinning form when they made the annual foray to Cumbernauld for the National Cross Country Relay Championships on Saturday.
This year record numbers of more than 2500 athletes took part with quads covering all ages and abilities and the Stirling University-based club were well satisfied with three medal winning teams and great levels of participation throughout the huge fields of runners.
The senior female athletes brought home two sets of silver medals to runners spanning ages from 17 to 64 while the senior men bagged bronze medals.
Central ladies were second behind Edinburgh University despite the uncertain nature of the side which had Morag MacLarty back to full training only days before the race and Catriona Buchanan doing little racing this summer.
Their experience was balanced by 17 year-olds Lauren McCulloch and Kate Gallagher.
Catriona led off on a combative first of four legs of 4000 metres in 15.11 to bring the team to the first changeover in 10th place.
Morag then quickly dispelled doubts about her fitness as she set about reeling in the nine teams in front of her to post the fastest time of the day of 13.51 turning a 70 second deficit into a full minute lead over Aberdeen.
First team debutant Lauren set about the third leg in confident manner and her time of 15.24 kept Central in first place and Kate Gallagher ran strongly with a fine 15.11 timing but could not hold off Steph Pennycook, seasoned international runner from Edinburgh University, but a silver medal placing was a great achievement for the team. The senior men made a determined effort over their four legs of 4000m.
It was good to see Scott McDonald back in form to complete the first leg in fourth spot with a 12.37 effort.
Lewis Millar proved his fitness with 13.17 and with the team in fifth place, Aidan Thompson’s superb 12.40 saw them in second behind a resurgent Inverclyde AC.
There was a dramatic final leg as Aberdeen overtook Central’s Cameron Milne (12.49) who held off a fast Shettleston Harriers for Central to bag the bronze medals.
The ladies B side finished in 15th - Claire Houston (15.34), Kim Timmins (17.12), Under 20 Eleanor Hanson (18.06) set up final lap runner Natalie Milne (15.01), who completed her race as part of her wedding weekend celebrations, tying the knot on Friday and racing at Cumbernauld on Saturday before heading off on her honeymoon.
A third team of Fiona Davies (18.16), Becky Hay (18.52) and Kirsten McStay (18.52) also did the club proud. Central had two ladies Masters teams running. The W40 team finished 17th through Alison Currie (21.18), Mary Kerr (21.47) and Lee Houghton (22.17) and the W50 team ran superbly throughout to take a second set of silver medals through Hazel Dean (17.29), Jane Waterhouse (19.34) and mother of the bride Trish Milne posted the fastest team time with 17.17 to bring the team home with 54.20 into second place behind Edinburgh AC. There was great endeavour from Central’s senior mens B team through Fraser Logan (13.44), Ruaridh Miller (13.26), Scott Brember (13.36) and Michael Wright (13.29) for 16th overall.
Murray MacLarty was back running in Central’s C team in 13.27 with back-up from Matthew Sutherland (13.46), David Lindsay (14.37) and Ross McNaught with 15.42 saw the team finish 32nd.
There was further true resolve from Central’s Masters teams through Colin Alexander (16.34), Hugh Buchanan (16.34), Fraser Purves (16.21) and Donald Shaw (17.04) to finish 17th team.
More endeavour was shown by Raymond Milne (18.01), Jason Saunders (17.26), Hugh Kerr (16.55) and Mark Logie (18.08) with the team in 24th.
For the men’s over-50 race the teams comprised three runners and Central’s fastest team finished seventh after strong runs by David Eckersley (15.03), Charles Graham-Marr (16.08) and Stuart Watson (17.33) with the club’s representation completed in 20th place by Cameron Campbell (20.00), Allan Gall (19.13) and John Millar (21.44). The junior girls team combined under 13, under 15 and under 17 legs of 2500metres.
The Central lead team took a creditable 16th place through Anna McKinnon (11.16), Kyra Gibb (10.11) and Rosie Eckersley (10.17). The other Central runners showed great determination through Mary Kealey (11.40), Brogan McMillan (12.08) and Bethany Burch (11.15) plus Mirren Henry (12.49), Amy Cully (11.30) and Heather Scott (11.59), Erin Miller (12.49) and Summer McLean (11.45) also ran well but had an incomplete team.
Central’s junior boys teams also ran 2500m legs and under 13 Connor Bell set off with real purpose to complete his leg in 9.34 backed up by under 15 Finlay Muir (9.36) and under 17 Keir Howlieson (9.08) finishing 20th overall.
The B team of Cameron Kerr (9.51), Cameron Fraser (11.07) and Tom Graham-Marr (8.48) produced another strong showing.
There were more solid performances from Owen Eckersley (11.16), Ben Angus Hughes (11.08) and Sandy Holl (9.10) in the C team. Brothers Cameron MacMillan (9.55) and Ben MacMillan (8.50) made up an incomplete team, both running strongly.