West Districts XC relays – Irvine

Craig Ross submitted this race report:

On a warm and uncharacteristically sunny day, four Bella teams participated in the West District relay champs, this year held at the Royal Academy, instead of the beachy Magnum Centre. 

Despite torrential rain in the days leading up to the event, the course was relatively dry underfoot, which suited many of us unaccustomed to the dark and mysterious arts of off-road running. Some say that it’s not a real cross-country unless it is chucking it with rain, and you end up covered in mud, but I’ll take a dry track any day thanks. 

The men’s A team was lead out by novice stand-in captain Craig Ross, who muscled and cornered econmoically around the course to have the team well placed after the first leg. Marcos SanzGomez then took over and finished stronlgy before tucking into a meal of home-made pasta in a trademark plastic container. Jim O’Hara in his debut XC ignored all advice and took off like a rocket, and worked hard in the final stages before handing onto Gordon Durnan, up until this time a Bella race virgin. The A team finished in a respectable 20th place in strong field. 

For the B team, Euan Black started well before handing onto a hungover Dougie MacGregor, and then onto Norman Boyle who despite fancy new bold spikes had his efforts impaired by a bad cold. The team was anchored by Chris Doak who had a strong run, to bring the B team home in 44th. 

For the ladies’ team, Louise Ross finshed looking remarkably fresh before handing onto Emma Simpson, who had been out of XC for 16 years. Iona Robertson finished typically strongly, and clawed back several places to bring the team back in a commendable 10th. 

For the ladies’ vets team, Karen Clarkson (who had been roped in after a few drinks the night before at the Awards night) started things off, before passing onto the consistent Julia Harris, and finally Maddie Smillie brought the team home in 17th, after some time spent running the wrong way. 

All told, a great day out, and notable for the number of athletes who made their XC debuts.