Look up the word endurance in the dictionary and you might just find a picture of Stornoway Running and Athletics Club athletes.
The official definition reads as ‘the ability to keep doing something difficult, unpleasant or painful for a long time.’
But our SRAC athletes, both in the junior and senior ranks, have a well deserved reputation for doing all of the above before they even start the actual endurance races that they take part in.
These are the serious races, the challenging races, the races that they have worked hard for in training over the winter months, the races they want to be competing in to gauge their individual progress.
But if you are a member of the SRAC squad then the test of your endurance starts way before the starters gun blasts off to signal the start of your race.
It begins at, literally, the crack of dawn and 6.15am when travelling athletes have to be down at the ferry terminal. It can even be up to an hour earlier if you have that extended journey from the rural districts of Ness, Harris, Tolsta or West Side.
Endurance levels for SRAC have been taken to new levels of late as they took ferry journeys and then 112 mile drives, to a Thurso Cross Country League meeting, or when they have to reschedule their trips to travel on the overnight freight ferry, leaving Stornoway at 10 ish to arrive in Ullapool at the unearthly time of 1am and then face a gruelling drive to a bunk house for a 2am check in.
This is all twinned with facing an 8am start to get to the Gordonstoun Northern Cross Country Championships.
All things considered taking part in these events require serious endurance and overcoming the sort of obstacles that might have really affected lesser mortals and their will to even compete at all.
But no freight ferry trip, gale or Berridale Brae in Thurso was going to keep the SRAC Elite back anyway.
It started with the cross country relays a month ago, followed by the long trek up to Thurso a fortnight later before building up to last Saturdays Northern Cross Country Qualifiers in Gordonstoun.
The top eight in each age group qualifying to represent the North of Scotland team in the National Cross country event in Glasgow in January.
To the action on the muddy trails and the clear outstanding result on the day was the golden gallop of senior runner Eilidh Mackenzie who romped to a gold medal in the senior womens race.
Junior team medals were achieved by two of the junior boy’s teams. The u13 boys made team silver off it and the u17 boys team took team bronze. Ever present and reliable u20 ladies runner Sophie Graham also took silver in her race.
Although yet to be formally confirmed, it looks like their tough Gutsy performances in their races have earned Kyla Macmurdo, Sarah Maciver, Charlie Morrison, Lewis Maclean, Rachael Murray and David Morrison a place in their relevant age group for the North of Scotland Cross Country team selection for the Nationals in January.
Endurance coach Willie Macrury stated that he was hugely proud of all the club’s junior competitors, they are working so hard as a squad and really do drive each other on.
“It’s possibly one of the best days I’ve ever had with SRAC,” he beamed. “I am so impressed with their attitude and commitment.”