The athletics clubs of the Western Isles finished off the 2016 track & field season with a flourish earlier this month on a typical Hebridean Autumn day at the running track in Stornoway.
On a day in which the weather dipped a toe into all four seasons as it ranged from sometimes sunny, very windy and a liberal dashing of heavy showers added for good measure
The changeable weather though didn’t dampen the spirits of the 100 plus athletes from the North Uist, South Uist and Eriskay, and Stornoway Athletics Clubs, and the Westside Runners, and it was particularly heartening to see so many 8 to 10 year olds in action, with many good performances which showed great promise for the future.
Stornoway’s Logan Spence was the top performer amongst the 8 to 10 year old boys, with top performances and a hat-trick of good PBs in the 75m (11.95), 150m (23.69), and Long Jump (3.32m).
It was also good to see the emergence of club-mates Iain Matheson who ran Logan close in the 75m (12.11) and then went on to win the 600m, and Angus Morrison who took top spot in the Shot Put.
In the girl’s events for the 8 and 9 year olds, Stornoway’s Lucy Barron who had ran well earlier in the season was again in good form as she did the sprint double over 75 and 150m. There were also good performances from Lucy’s club-mate, Megan MacLean who won the 600m, and Sarah MacIver (unattached) who had the top LJ performance as well as being second overall over the 75m and 600m.
Top performer amongst the 10 year olds was a new name – Joni Smith of North Uist who was making her competitive début. She had the leading performances over 150m, and Long Jump as well as the 600m which she won in a fantastic time of 2:09.80 in gusty conditions – the top time amongst both the boys and girls on the day.
In the U13s, Stornoway’s Gemma MacRitchie ran another superb race to be top girl over the hurdles in a very fast 12.69 in to a strong headwind, showing just why she has finished the season ranked 11th in Scotland.
There was also a very good debut by 11 year North Uist girl Amie Ringstead who clocked 14.92 in third.
Gemma also was took top place in the Long Jump with a jump of 3.79m, just ahead of team-mate Ania Lisowska’s 3.70m – both good PBs for the Stornoway girls.
Gemma also came home first in the 800m, the first of 4 U13 SRAC girls running under 3 minutes. Kirsty MacLean was second, with Ania Lisowska third, and Hannah MacKenzie fourth.
In the sprints it was SRAC girls who were again the top performers on the day. Hannah MacKenzie won the 75m race with Krysta Bray taking the 100m.
With both girls going head to head in the 150m there were again fine performances from both, with Krysta winning in 23.00, and Hannah second in 23.90 – a PB for the younger athlete which was all the more impressive because of the strong headwind the athletes were running in to.
Calum MacDonald of North Uist had a great day in the U13 boy’s events. He was top over the 100m and the 200m, but his standout performance was a massive Long Jump PB of 4.14m to take the top spot ahead of team-mate Kevin Beaton who also had a great PB jump of 4.02m.
These jumps also see the boys break in to the Scottish U13 rankings at 41 and 59 respectivley.
Kevin also did well over 200m, finishing second and had a great tussle with Stornoway’s Seb Connelly over the 800m with both boy’s making their 2 lap debut. Seb had run bravely from the front, taking the race to Kevin, not an easy task in the windy conditions. He held off Kevin’s attempts to come past him numerous times over the race, but in the final 100m Kevin made his decisive move. It was a great race to watch, and both boys should be delighted with good PBs of 2:39.66 and 2:43.84.
It was heartening to see quite a few U15s, and U17s in action on the day as well, and there were numerous highlights.
SRAC U15 Ewan MacLeod saw all his hard work in training start to pay off with a deserved double over the 200m and 300m in PB times of 29.99 and 45.60 – no mean achievement in the windy conditions down the back straight.
There was also a sprint double over the 100m and 200m for his club-mate, U15 Sian MacDonald. Sian had a great head to head race with her U17 team-mate, Mary MacLeod over the 100m, with both girls running excellently and the lead changing hand numerous times.
As they dipped for the line it was impossible to tell who had taken it – it was that close. In the end, even the Photo Finish couldn’t separate them – the result a dead heat of 13.80.
There was also plenty going on in the field. U15 Shona Steele of South Uist had a massive PB of 4.08m as she took top spot in the Long Jump, and another Southern Isles athlete recording an excellent PB was U15 Marion MacCorquodale of North Uist in the Shot Put. Her 8.20m winning throw was a PB bov over half a metre, and sees her break in to the Scottish rankings at no. 30.
Marion’s U17 team-mate, Uilleam Brass also had an excellent PB jump of 11.50m which sees him move to 9 in the national rankings – excellent news.
U20 sprinter Eilidh MacLeod on her way back from injury had a solid 13.30 run over the 100m, but it was her performance in the Shot Put – for fun – which caught the eye.
Eilidh made the most of her height with an excellent throw of 7.83m which sees her ranked at no. 31 amongst the U20 women in Scotland Not bad for a sprinter.
There was also a good High Jump PB of 1.34m for U15 Angela Horne, and U17 Annabel MacKay had a fine PB double of 1.31m in High Jump and 4.57m in the Long Jump.
In the top mixed 800m race, U17 team-mates Kyle Munro and Ali Binns had an excellent head to head with both running close to their PBs as they came in first and second in 2:12.90 and 2:13.70.
It was also good to see U20 Peigi McKellar with a fine season’s best run of 2:25.19 in the same race. Excellent runs in conditions that were anything but perfect.
The top 100m race saw SRAC U17 Andrew Horne come home first in 11.9, and it was good to see NUAAC U20 Ruaraidh Muncaster chasing him home all the way in a fine 12.1 season’s best time as he comes back to form after some time out injured.
Andrew also made his début in another event in typical end of season style and he didn’t disappoint. Giving the High Jump a go for the first time, the bar continually went up and up, and those who had gathered wondered where it would top.
In the end Andrew cleared a very respectable 1.64m. Not a bad effort at all from another sprinter trying out a new sporting discipline.
With some relays for fun bringing the day to an end, it was the North Uist teams who took home the bragging rights ! An excellent way to end the season for all as the athletes now take a well earned break before the Xcountry season and the winter training starts in earnest.