A sizeable squad of 16 SRAC juniors got their outdoor track and field season off to a flier in the Edinburgh sunshine last weekend at the Lothians and Borders Time Trials, hosted by top Scottish junior club, Edinburgh AC at Meadowbank Stadium.
It proved to be a busy and very competitive event, with a fairly big entry - just what the young athletes were looking for - and the development team of sprinters, middle distance runners, jumpers, and throwers didn’t disappoint, recording a stunning 25 Personal Bests.
16 seems to be a lucky number right now for the Lewis and Harris club as SRAC was celebrating the recent news that 16 athletes have been selected for the Natwest Island Games in Jersey.
Previous team members, Donnie MacLeod, William MacRury, Eilidh Mackenzie, Murdo Mackenzie, and Jenny Mactaggart are joined by 11 debutants - Connor MacLean, Michael MacMillan, Andrew Mackenzie, John MacAskill, Alanna Goddard, Peigi McKellar, Abbie MacKay, Eilidh MacLeod, Alasdair Rigby, Ross Mactaggart, and Andrew Horne - with the 2015 Jersey Games being seen as great development opportunity for some of the club’s next generation of senior athletes.
The Edinburgh action started with U17 Women Eilidh MacLeod having a solid 1.45m clearance to get her High Jump season underway, despite limited preparation over the winter months. A good opener with more to follow.
The first SRAC event on the track was the 100m, with the red and gold being represented across the age groups.
U13B David Morrison got thing started with a fine Personal Best run of 14.80 to finish 3rd in the top heat. U15 Girls Sian Macdonald then followed that with another great run as she won her heat in a new Personal Best time of 13.78.
This then set the scene for the day as more 100m Personal Bests followed with the U17s. Mary MacLeod representing the girls ran strongly to record 13.70 finishing 4th in the top heat.
Andrew Horne then stormed to 12.14 for 4th in the boy’s top heat, and Jonathan Morrison just missed out on breaking 13 seconds in his heat - running a new Personal Best of 13.01 for 5th place.
The U20 Women sprinters then had good solid season openers as they began the process of moving from the winter training work to sharpening up on the track.
Jenny Mactaggart came 4th in the top heat in 13.53, and Abbie MacKay won her heat in 13.27 breaking in to the national rankings.
The focus on the track then moved to the 800m, and the SRAC performance of the day over the 2 laps belonged to U15 Boy, Alasdair Binns as he smashed his Personal Best by 6 seconds, running 2:29.18! In a fast paced race he stayed with the leading group, and in true Alasdair style gave it his all, leaving nothing on the track as he came home 6th in the field of 13.
U13 training pals, David Morrison and Aodhan Finnegan were also in action over 800m. The boys have had a great Xcountry season over the winter and have both taken the top spot across the various races they’ve contested.
How would the first track event go? Well they both ran well, but it was David who edged it this time with a fine PB run of 2:36.28, as he finished 7th taking a second of his previous best. Aodhan was just outside his Personal Best in 9th place with a solid 2:42.63
SRAC’s male throwers were also busy in the field throw events. U17 Haran Rabe threw a new PB of 21.64m in the javelin, and U15 Evan Traynor recorded a PB of 5.91m in the SP, both having just moved up to the new age group and new weights.
There was also a good javelin PB throw of 17.89m from Evan, and Haran had a best SP effort of 9.04m. Haran in his favoured event, the discus, also set a new PB of 28.59m which will see him break into the national rankings once again in his new age group.
A great achievement from the 15 year old who has only been throwing for just over a year!
The throws performance of the day though came from U13 boy, David Morrison as his performance saw him soar to the top of the Scottish U13 Age group rankings after a fantastic PB javelin effort of 23.43m. While it’s early season, that’s a 3m improvement on last year, and there’s more to come from David after what was a great start to his season.
Elsewhere in the field, the long jumpers had a reasonable start to their year as the ‘found their feet’ so to speak after a long winter lay off. Sian MacDonald, Annabel MacKay, Mary MacLeod, Abbie MacKay, and Andrew Horne were all taking part, and attempting to get rid of the ring rust, and did well for their opening long jump efforts. The pick of the jumps was Mary’s 4.43m effort – not far from her Personal Best.
Back to the track and there was a fantastically committed 300m Personal Best run by Eilidh MacLeod in the U17W race as she came home 2nd, running 42.85 ! Annabel MacKay also had a good run with 49.55 - just outside her best, as she tried the event for only the second time. Eilidh’s time sees her again break in to the national rankings.
There then followed a huge Personal Best for Ross Budge in the U17M 400m. He smashed his previous best by 2.5 seconds, going under 60 seconds for the first time, with another gutsy and committed run as he recorded 58.45.
After a break for lunch and a quieter period for the SRAC athletes, late afternoon saw the action begin again as Edinburgh was bathed in some late afternoon spring sunshine with the SRAC sprinters tackling the 200m.
More Personal Bests followed. First up was the spring heeled U13 Aodhan Finnegan who took about 2 seconds of his Personal Best, running 31.83. U15 boy, Evan Traynor then took a second of his 200m Personal Best, running 31.05.
U15 Girl, Sian MacDonald, then smashed her PB by almost a second and a half, in a fantastic run from gun to tape to win her heat from the outside lane 8. Her new best - 28.12 – which sees her also make the national rankings.
There were 200 Personal Bests for the U17 Girls too. Eilidh MacLeod ran another strong race finishing 3rd in 27.15 in the top heat, another national ranking performance and Mary MacLeod came in second in her heat with 28.82.
The U17 Boys also kept the Personal Bests flowing. Andrew Horne ran 24.59 as he finished 7th in a very tight top heat, with Jonathan Morrison coming out top in a head to head with SRAC team-mate, Ross Budge as they finished 4th and 5th in their heat.
Jonathan’s new Personal Best mark is 26.58, and Ross went sub 27 for the first time with a fine 26.99.
The SRAC U20 women again ran well for their season openers, with solid 200m performances - Jenny Mactaggart (27.50), just pipping Abbie MacKay (27.55) as the girls finished 2nd and 3rd in the top heat.
The final event of the day saw SRAC’s dynamic endurance duo, U20s Connor MacLean and Michael MacMillan, after a hugely successful winter Xcountry season, turn their attention to the track with a great one-two in the Men’s 1500m.
Connor went to the front from the gun and controlled the race in typical fashion, and gradually cranked up the pace to pull away from Michael from the half way stage, coming home in a fine 4:01.65. Michael’s reward though was a good Personal Best of 4:09.59 in second place. Both national ranking performances.
So the beginning of an exciting season for many of SRAC’s juniors as they expand horizons and push to make further impact at national level, and a memorable opening day which promises much for the season ahead.
Indeed, with the Natwest Island Games in Jersey on the horizon for many of our older juniors as they get a great development opportunity, the future of athletics in the islands is looking very bright !
Next up the SRAC’S Open Graded April Meeting on Saturday 18th April at the track in Stornoway.
The event is open to all, and entry forms can be can be found on the SRAC website –www.srac.org.uk, and at the Sports centre. Completed forms must in by Tuesday the 14th.