VIDEO: Western Isles Athletics Championships

With just two weeks to go until our athletes pack their passports, running spikes and vests for the NatWest Island Games many of our medal hopefuls were in action on the local scene competing in the Western Isles Athletics Championships.

Island Games heavyweight Donnie Macleod was back on home soil from his usual running patches in the central belt and he was among the most impressive performers.

The current national senior 800m indoor champion, and multiple Island Games medallist took part in the 400m, running a fine SB of 49.3 –  the 10th fastest run by a Scots male this season.

In the boy’s U20 events, the 800m title went to WIIGA team member Connor MacLean as he ran sub-two in the blustery conditions, winning in a fine 01:58.10, ranking him no. 11 nationally.

His training partner, Michael MacMillan meanwhile took the 400m title in 52.3, which sees the current national 800m no. 2 now also ranked 21 in the 400m. North Uist’s Ruaraidh Muncaster also had a fine sprint double performance, taking the 100m in a PB of 11.7, ranking him nationally at 22, and the 200m in 24.0.

Fellow WIIGA team runner Murdo Mackenzie was also looking good as he ran an 800m in just over two-minutes, clocking 02.58, as he, like Connor, continued his preparation for the longer events at the Island Games with both running the 1,500m and 5,000m in Jersey.

North Uist’s Paul Morrison was a double gold winner in the U17 boys, as he took the 200m and 800m titles, and Alasdair Rigby had a great 100m win as he took the gold in a huge PB of 11.5.

His first sub 12 run sees him break in to the national rankings at 4. His team-mate, thrower  Haran Rabe, also had a great PB performance as he took the discus title with a 33.44m throw which sees him ranked no. 8 in Scotland.

In the U20 girl’s competition Abbie MacKay had a fine sprint and Long Jump gold double. She took the100m title with her  first sub 13 second run,  clocking 12.9 which sees her ranked no. 6 U20 girl in Scotland, and she took the Long Jump title with a leap of 5.01m which sees her currently ranked no. 9 nationally.

This trio are all Island Games bound in three-weeks time.

Another athlete who will be flying the flag for the Western Isles in Jersey at the end of the month is SRAC’s U17 girl Eilidh Macleod and she enjoyed a successful warm-up for the Games with double gold success following confident runs in the 200m and 300m.

Eilidh’s 27.0 in 200m is very close to her PB.

Their team-mate, Caitlin MacKenzie showed the strength of the SRAC throws group, with three gold medal performances in shot, discus and javelin, the highlight being her new discus PB of 23.15m which sees her now ranked at no. 11 in the country.

Special mention also to South Uist’s Heather MacKinnon, another who is part of Team Jersey, who leapt to golden glory with a winning triple jump PB performance of 10.09m which moves her to a ranking of no. 8 in the country.

Despite taking place in the first week of June the SRAC hosted Western Isles Athletics Championships took place in most unseasonably grim weather.

Particularly early in the day the event was soaked by drizzly showers while athletes’ running were hampered by a head wind howling straight in their face.

The conditions meant it was a very challenging day for the athletes. Despite this though, there were some fine performances on both the track and field, as over 120 athletes gathered from the North Uist, and  South Uist athletics clubs, and the Westside Runners and Stornoway Athletics Club.  

While many of the afore-mentioned established order of the clubs, and big medal prospects worked on their sharpness and honed their PB’s at the other end of the athletic spectrum were the next generation of stars.

The future top athletes of the Western Isles with some as young as nine competing for the first time.

Amongst the new stars to emerge in the younger age groups, the relatively new South Uist and Eriskay Athletics Club (SUEAAC) were to the fore with the 9 year old girls. Emma Scott took double gold in the 75m and Long Jump, with her team-mate Leah MacIntyre, taking the 150m gold.

In the boy’s competitions it was two SRAC boys who led the way, both taking double gold on the day. Logan Spence took top spot in the 75m and 150m, while Keith Bray won the Long Jump and 600m.

Top performances in the 10 year old age group for the girls came from SRAC’s Amy MacMillan as she picked up golds in the 150m and the 600m. In the boys’ competition there was a fine triple gold performance for North Uist’s Shuan Macdonald as he took the 75m, 150m and Long Jump titles.

Young SRAC sprinter and jumper Mollie MacSween was the standout performance amongst the U13 girls. She took the 100m title in a new PB of 14.8, and also set a huge PB in the Long Jump, winning with a leap of 3.84m, a performance that sees her break in to the national rankings at number 28 in her age group.

Amongst the boys, there was a triple gold performance from SRAC’s David Morrison as he took the 100m, javelin and 800m titles, with his 800m PB of 02:31.48, the pick of the performances.

This now sees David ranked at no. 23 in Scotland in his age group. Meanwhile his SRAC team-mate, young thrower Andrew Hughson, continued his recent good form as he took the discus and the shot put title. He set a new PB of 7.04m in the shot  and moves to no. 18 in the country.

The U15s girls’ competitions were also dominated by the performances of SRAC athletes and two girls in particular. Sian MacDonald took the 100m title in a PB time of 13.5, a time which sees her ranked 12th in the country, and she also took the Long Jump and 200m titles.

Meanwhile Ellie MacLean took the shot put and javelin golds and also ran a fine PB of 14.25 to take the 75m Hurdles title. In the boy’s events, the top performer was North Uist’s Uilleam Brass. He took triple gold in the 100m, Long Jump, and Triple Jump. Indeed his 10.01 Triple Jump leap sees him break in to the Scottish U15 rankings at number 5 ! Stornoway’s

Scott MacIver also had a great championships taking the silver in the long jump, and golds with PB performances in the 200m (27.4) and the 800m (02:22.55).

In the U17 category Mary MacLeod had a fantastic day as she picked up two golds and a silver. She had a PB of 13.4 in the 100m, another PB of 4.67 in the Long Jump giving her a national age group ranking of 32, and she was runner up in the 200m.

The Western Isles Athletics Championships was a huge success and was run impeccably by the organisers who successfully pitted athletes from the length and breadth of the isles in sporting combat.

As the summer’s Island Games now move into sight our athletes are looking hungrier and fitter than ever while the future looks bright with potential packed kids emerging from all clubs throught the island chain.