Scottish National Cross Country, Callendar Park – a fine day out for Bellas

Report from Gerry.

Saturday (23 Feb) proved to be a grand day for us Bellas, with the Scottish National Cross Country championships taking place at Callendar Park, Falkirk followed by a celebratory get together and meal later, open to all club members, at Mother India’s in the west end.

For the first time we put on a bus to take us from Bella ski centre to Callendar Park and back. This seemed to go down well developing a good team spirit for the day ahead. Things looked ominous as we boarded the bus with snow starting to fall and cold conditions setting in. Little did we know that by the time we reached our destination we would be set for the finest of spring days, a clear blue sky overhead and fairly mild conditions.

With a few call offs, always to be expected at this time of year, we still had a good turnout of 16 guys and 6 girls to take part in the men’s and women’s events. We also had excellent support from club members not taking part on the day (Robert, Tammy, Brian, Elsie, Jackie, Graham and Chi)

First off were the girls (Louise, Judith, Sarah, Sabina, Rose and Maree) to tackle two laps (5 miles) of a tough but excellent test of cross country running. We were lucky that the cold conditions leading up to the event meant that the ground was generally firm so allowed for quite a fast course. All appeared to adapt well to the course, putting in sound performances and our girls team finished in 22nd position out of 25 competing teams. For Maree this was her first outing at cross country so well done you.

The final race of the day was the senior men’s event over 7.5 miles, three laps of the hilly course. With over 500 guys on the start line, all quite nervy and ready to run, it feels that something special is about to happen. It is. Unlike previous years there was no lead up to the gun to announce the event and some of the main contenders. So the start gun went suddenly and off jolted 500 runners in what felt like a stampede, well an orderly one, with the ground below shaking with all these feet pounding it!

The 16 Bellas taking part were: Kieran, Greig, Matt, Ciaran, Craig, Grant, Mark, Brian, Ollie ,Iain ,Gerry, Peter, Barry John, Allan, David and Bryan. The team of 6 counters (Kieran, Greig, Matt, Ciaran, Craig and Grant) put in a very creditable performance finishing eighth place overall of 30 counting teams. So well done guys.

After returning home it was a quick turn around to get back out for the all important food and to join up with others who hadn’t signed up for the race earlier. In total 29 turned up for food. Just shows that food is more popular than running in our club!

The meal began a little later than expected and in slightly more cramped conditions than ideal. However hungry runners appeared to enjoy the food and the evening, scoffing the feast and then a few keen ones had a night cap at Dukes Bar.

Highlights of the night included Shona’s Willy Willy wine and Alex and Maree being crowned this years Bella Bingo Champs. Worth mentioning Bob and Tony who scored the single line prize of an apt single malt.

So a good night was had by all and special thanks to Derek for being the southside taxi service to a number of attendees.

A huge thanks goes to Tammy for organising the meal, bingo and quiz as well as the team bus. What a talented social secretary we have.

And finally, due to the restaurant getting our arrival time wrong and cramping us we’ve been give a voucher, a meal for 2 at Mother India.

Full results of the day’s races are available on the Scottish Athletics website