Athletics - season opener sees 150 athletes in competition

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The Western Isles local track and field season started with a bang on the May weekend with over 150 young athletes from aged eight through to 18 gathering at the track in Stornoway for SRAC’s May Open Graded Athletics Meeting.

It was a fantastic turnout, and despite a few technical challenges, and a chilly wind, it was at least dry. Represented on the day were the North Uist and South Uist and Eriskay Athletics Clubs, as well as the Westside Runners and Stornoway Running and Athletics Club, as well as a number of athletes currently without clubs, so there was a real buzz at the Smith avenue track.

For some of the older athletes this was a chance for final prep ahead of the North Districts, which were a mere week away. The local events though are also a great opportunity to see the next generation of youngsters coming through and this one didn’t disappoint.

With hurdles having more of a focus at SRAC in recent months, the day started off with fine performances from SRAC’s female hurdling group. There was a fascinating tussle between the U13 SRAC training pals, with all three girls running good PBs. Gemma MacRitchie came out top on the day in 13.52, with Maryanne MacPhail and Krysta Bray a close second and third, and all three girls break in to Scotland’s top 20. In the older U15 age group, Ellie MacLean was back hurdling for the first time in almost a year, and had a great run of 13.23, chased home by her team-mate, Sian MacDonald in 13.53 – with both girls again making the national rankings at 16 and 25.

Next up on the track were the 800m races. In tough windy conditions the top performances - all PBs - came from SRAC U13 girl Gemma MacRitchie (2.46.94) and SUEAAC’s U13 boy, Liam MacKinnon (2.46.95), and there was also a good committed opening season performance of 2.04.19 by NUAAC’s U20M Paul Morrison.

The sprints then followed with a number of 100m heats. In the top race, SRAC’s U17M Andrew Horne broke the 12 second barrier for the first time as he recorded a new PB of 11.83 to move to no. 11 in the national rankings, and was pushed all the way by his SRAC training pal, French student, Alois Creppy who also broke 12 seconds, with a PB of 11.98.

Heat 2 saw fine runs from North Uist’s U17M, Uilleam Brass who won in 12.78, just holding off SRAC U20W, Abbie MacKay who smashed through the 13 second barrier for the first time with a fine time of 12.85 – which sees her ranked no. 8 in Scotland.

The highlight of the remaining heats, was SRAC’s U15G Angela Horne’s 13.85 PB run, taking a full second of her previous best !

In the shorter 75m sprints, there were numerous good runs from the U11boys and girls. In the girls’ races, Katie MacDonald (NUAAC), Emma Scott (SUEAAC), Sarah MacIver (Unattached), and Kyla McM urdo (SRAC) all had promising performances, but the top effort came from SRAC’s Lucy Barron with a good 13.09 run. In the boys races, NUAAC’s Thomas Brennan had a good run, but it was SRAC’s Logan Spence who came out as top U11 boy sprinter with a fine 12.2 time.

The U13 girls 75m race was a cracker with a really competitive race from all, and particularly between North Uist’s Elisa Morrison and Stornoway’s Maryanne MacPhail. Elisa took the honours with a superb 11.11 run, and Maryanne’s 11.40 in 2nd place was pretty impressive too, which sees the girls both making the national rankings at 14 and 23.

As well as the track, there was plenty of field action during the day as well. Indeed during the course of the day there were almost 80 long jumpers in action ! Top performances – all PBs - amongst the younger age groups came from SRAC’s U13G Maryanne MacPhail (3.66m), SUEAAC’S U13B Liam MacKinnon (3.91m), and SRAC’s U15G Angela Horne (4.29m). SRAC’s U17W Mary MacLeod had a good 4.63m jump, and there was also a very good 4.99m PB from North Uist’s U17M Uilleam Brass. Top jump on the day came from SRAC’s U20W Abbie MacKay as she recorded another 5m jump, leaping to 5.09m.

In other action on the track a combined 1500m race saw SRAC U20M Michael MacMillan get his season going with a 4.05.15 run in blustery conditions ranking him no. 13 U20 nationally. His team-mate U17B, Kyle Munro ran a good PB of 4.32.60 to also break in to the Scottish rankings at no. 34. There we also a fantastic 5.29.46 run from NUAAC U13B Kevin Beaton - which takes almost 20 seconds of his PB - an excellent effort !

In the 600m for the younger athletes, Sarah MacIver (unattached) was the top girl with a fine 2.16.88 run, and Logan Spence of SRAC (2.18.40) was pushed all the way by NUAAC’s Seumas MacIain (2.19.10) amongst the 9 year old boys. The 10 year old boys saw SRAC training pals and rivals, Keith Bray and Charlie Morrison go head to head. In the end, Keith came out on top with a very impressive time of 2.07.05, and Charlie’s was also a great run – 2.11.17.

The 200s were next and SRAC’S U17M Andrew Horne had a great PB run of 23.35, an Island Games qualifying time, and a time that sees him ranked no. 5 U17 in the country. It was also good to see Ross Mactaggart, his U20M SRAC team-mate back in action after an injury hit 2015. He took almost a second of his PB with a fine run of 23.95, breaking 24 seconds for the first time! In the other heats, SRAC U17M, Endurance athlete, Scott MacIver showed a great turn of speed to come home first in race 2, running 26.03, and he was the hare for U20W Eilidh MacLeod to chase as she recorded a fantastic 26.40 PB, which sees her ranked no. 12 in the country, and bags herself an Island Games qualifying mark in the process. There were also great PB runs from SRAC U15 team-mates, Matthew MacLeod , his 30.26 a 3 second improvement; and Angela Horne improved he PB by a second with a very good 29.45 run!

North Uists’ U13 boys were also in great sprinting form. Drawn in separate heats, Shuan MacDonald was the top runner with 31.50. Kevin Beaton also ran a fine 31.61 and there was another good PB run from Calum MacDonald - 31.80.

In the 150m heats there were a fantastic 11 races in total! Amongst the U11 girls, across a number of different races there were good runs from Sarah MacIver (unattached) – 25.70, and Emma Scott of South Uist – 25.80. The top time though came from SRAC’s Lucy Barron once again – following up on her earlier top 75m time!

The boys times were equally close. Again in different races, SRAC’s Charlie Morrison ran a strong 25.86, and there was a very good 25.52 run from NUAAC’s Thomas Brennan. However, it was SRAC’s Logan Spence who pipped Thomas once again to come out on top as he also took the double with a time of 25.41.

These young sprinters will be going to head to head in a couple of weeks time at the Western Isles Championships, and the closeness of their times will make for some great races at the start of June!

The U13 girls also ran over the 150m, and SRAC’s Krysta Bray had a storming run, winning the race with strong, determined run from the tight lane 1 in a great time of 22.37 which sees her ranked no. 15 in Scotland.

Pictured is a glorious 1-2-3 for SRAC in the U13 girls hurdles where our athletes enjoyed a poidum clean sweep.