British and Irish Masters Cross Country

Great news from the weekend: The club had two representatives at the British and Irish Masters Cross Country in Bellahouston Park. Russell Whittington was running in Scotland’s V35 team (and came away with a Silver medal), and Julia Harris representing Wales in the V40’s.

It was certainly a wet and windy Saturday afternoon, so huge congratulations to everybody who took part.

Russell sent in this superb event report:

On Saturday I had the amazing opportunity to run for the Scottish Masters team in the British and Irish Masters Cross Country in the home surroundings of Bellahouston Park. The race is split up into age categories in five year groups starting at V35 and going up to V70 for the men and V65 for the women. The event is made up of teams from Scotland, England, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

I was put in a strong looking V35 team along side David Miller, Jamie Reid, Robert Gilroy, Joe McKnight and Iain Connell.

The weather and course conditions were very challenging. The weather was wet and windy and the the course was muddy and hilly so all in all it was a proper cross country.

The first race was for all the women and the male V65 and V70 categories and was made up of one big loop and one smaller loop. The Scottish women got the team off to a great start with stand out performances from Lesley Chisholm third overall and second V35, Melissa White 4th overall and first V45 for the second year in succession and Fiona Matheson 5th overall and first V50. The F35 and F45 teams were both one point behind England in second place and the F50, F55 and F65 teams all took bronze medals.

Our own Julia Harris was representing Wales in this event and finished 75th overall in a time of 27:15.

The male race for categories V35 through to V60 was two big loops of the course. The race started at 12.45 and started on the pitch and put area. From there we headed uphill through the wooded area of the park followed by the downhill heading towards the House for an Art Lover. This descent was the trickiest part of the course as it was very muddy and several runners fell over in this section. After the House for an Art Lover we headed into a strong headwind past the Palace of Art and then up the second of the tough hills. The loop finished with a lap around the back of the cycle track before setting off on the second muddy lap.

I finished in 76th place in a time of 28:39. Peter Matthews was first home for Ireland in 24:54. First Scot was Jamie Reid who was 7th overall and 2nd V35. My V35 team finished 2nd overall one point behind the winners Ireland. The four to count for the team were Jamie Reid, David Miller, Robert Gilroy and Joe McKnight. Fortunately for me there were medals for all six of the team and so I am the very proud owner of a British and Irish Masters silver medal. The V55 team also won a silver medal and the V50 team won the bronze.

The event was followed by a dinner dance and awards ceremony at the Crown Plaza which I went along to with my wife Maureen. There was some very entertaining ceilidh dancing later in the night with more marks for effort than quality, but all teams got involved and the dance floor was always full.

Next year I think that the race is due to be in Belfast and I am going to give it my best effort to retain my place in the team and make the trip over the Irish sea for the event.

And Julia added:

Yes, it was a fantastic opportunity and although no medals for my Welsh team (I was put in with the young V40’s) and I slipped and went down my full length both times on the wee boggy downhill, I thoroughly enjoyed it. Cymru am byth.

Full results available on the Scottish Athletics website.

For more on Scottish Masters Athletics, they have a website here.