A phenomenal 229 athletes, with school pupils represented from a dozen island schools, braved the snow and ice covered tracks and trails of the Lews Castle Grounds at the weekend for the second round of the Alex Murray Construction Cross Country Series.
There were stunning performances in all the races across the age groups as the athletes belied the difficult conditions underfoot to post impressive times and runs through Lady Lever Park.
The arrival of snow mid week raised questions as to whether Race 2 of the AMC cross country series might fall victim to the ‘white blanket’ spread across the Castle Grounds.
Hope was, that time was on the organiser’s side and that the white stuff would be clear for Saturday racing!
But this proved not to be the case and indeed dropping temperatures caused areas of severe ice and so, plan ‘B’ was hastily put into action!
The fast downhill sections of the route had to be removed due to the risk of falls and additional flat sections were added to make up for lost distance. (We wouldn’t want to short change the entrants after all!)
So, with that hazard removed the final detail to be taken care of to make the route safe was to remove 3 inches of ice on the castle green road crossing!
As the clock neared time for the first race some heavy spade work and a generous dose of salt ensured that the days racing would go ahead and with only a slight delay to the scheduled programme!
The opening race included U17 men and senior men and women, the women running 3 laps and the men 4 laps of the 1.1mile course.
Race favourite Michael MacMillan was unable to run due to illness and top racers Norman Ferguson and William MacRury were competing in the North League in Dores.
See this week’s Gazette to read the rest of the report. On sale now.