More than 200 runners took on the winter whiteout of the Lews Castle Grounds for the second of three scheduled Cross Country races in the annual Alex Murray Construction series.
219 runners ranging from the under 8’s to senior men and women laced up their running shoes, and many matched them with gloves and wooly hats, for a stunning morning of athletics in the frost topped Castle Grounds.
Across the four-hour event a huge number of spectators, parents and pals were at the Lews Castle Green to cheer on their favourites and see a number of hugely impressive race times.
This cross country series of races has proven to be one of SRAC’s most important events, due to the fact that it is the first taste of competitive running that the younger age groups experience and subsequently gives them the taste for the sport and from a club perspective gives them the hunger for more of the same, thus then leading to club membership and an introduction to track and field events.
Many, if not all of the club’s most successful junior athletes first had a taste of athletics through their participation in the Cross Country series.
Stornoway Primary School alone had over 70 children competing, with strong representation from Lionel, Tolsta, Laxdale, Point, Lochs, Back, Shawbost, Pairc, Breasclete, Tong, West Side and older runners from the Nicolson Institute.
The younger age groups boasted the majority of the runners with the under 8s in particular having the most runners in both the boys and the girls group. 53 boys and 41 girls took to the field for their respective races.
All in all, it was an excellent day for cross country and the races were very well run, with some excellent performances all round.
In the senior races first in the ladies section was SRAC’s own Katy Mackenzie running the 4.8k race in a time of 24.11 , closely followed by Caroline Macdonald (WSR) and Jayne Miller (WSR). Special mention for Sue Emmott (SRAC) who is a new face to the Cross country scene, but ran a very good race indeed.
The Senior men’s race was won by Norman Ferguson (SRAC) with a time of 24.55 over longer course distance. Norman Maclean (WSR) took second with Pete Greenstock (SRAC) in third palace.
The Boys under 17 race produced the usual hard fought run to the finish between SRAC runners Finlay Emmot and Alasdair Binns, with Finlay coming out in top with a run of 18.48
The boys under 15 race saw David Morrison (SRAC) finish in first spot after an impressive run of 16.14 saw him finish over two minutes ahead of his SRAC club mate Aodhan Finnegan in second spot (18.28)
First spot respectively in the girls under 17 and under 15 went to Johanna Gilles (Srac) 19.57 and Isla budge 22.20.
In the Girls under 13 race Gemma Macritchie of SRAC, but running for the Nicolson Institute, ran another stormer of a race in a time of 15.56, finishing in first place ahead of Rachel Murray from Lionel and third placed Lyndsey Macdonald of Laxdale.
Another impressive run from Seb Connely, who has had a great season, saw him finish first in the boys under 13 section with a time of 14.53 ahead of Andrew Macleod of Stornoway Primary.
In the younger races with the impressively large field of runners, there were some cracking races, fast finishers and battles right to the line, all great competitive fun races, with smiles all round, regardless of finishing position, which is what it is all about.
In the 9-10 girls 800m race -Sarah Maciver from Tolsta stormed to the finish with a time of 7.33 ahead of Isla Mackenzie from Stornoway Primary, 7.53,and Kyla McMurdo from Back School 8.03 .
In the boys race of the same age group, Keith Bray 6.45 (Tong) - who is at his happiest if all the other runners are behind him, eventually battled to the front of the pack to win, ahead of Charlie Morrison 6.55 (West side) and third placed Iain Matheson 7.09 from Lionel.
Largest Packs of the day ran in the 8 and under races, where the biggest smiles of the whole day were displayed on little boys and girls faces from start to finish. Some there to win, some to run and some for fun, but all smiling.
In the Girls race Emily Murray from Lionel 5.16, lead the race from start to finish with Zuzanna Rogowska 5.32, Stornoway Primary and Jess Muir 5.41, Back School in second and third places.
In one of the closest finishes of the day, the boys race was won by David Maciver 4.43, from Tong school with Jordan Nicolson from Tolsta being edged out to second place in a time of 4.45, Noah Morrison from Stornoway Primary took a credible third place in a time of 4.57.
So a great day of cross country came to an end with the final day of the series still leaving final placings up for grabs.
The final placings are based on the cumulative points scored form all three races. With the lowest points gaining highest position, so one point for first, two points for second, three points for third and so on.
Add all your points together and the runners with the lowest number of points in all sections will have first three placings.
It makes for a very exciting final race day on Saturday February 18th. See you all there. SRAC, the race day organisers would like to thank all the competitors and their support for coming along to the Cross Country events.
A special mention also to all the SRC team who marshal and time keep and lay out the course markings.
Remember as well that we do hope to have the SRAC fundraising balloon race release at the final event, and all competitors should return their balloon race sponsor forms to their coaches on Saturdays before the end of January.
Contact the club for a form if you do not have one.