While the O35 masters team had the satisfaction of beating last year’s winners Thames Hare and Hounds and bettering our time from last year by 67 seconds the Cambuslang sextet had to settle for a distant second behind an all star Morpeth team. Indeed 5 of their team had competed for them in the recent UK 12 Stage Road Relay.
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Davie Cole, the Scottish Masters bronze medallist in his first season of club running, ran a controlled race over the testing 3 mile course clocking 16.00 minutes dead to hand over to Scottish Maters Cross Country Champion Kenny Campbell. Significantly Morpeth already were heading the field with Thames H&H 2 places behind Cambuslang. Kenny pulled strongly through to 5th courtesy of a 15.38 stint pulling Morpeth back by 28 seconds although Thames had moved up to 3rd. Iain Reid’s identical time of 15.38 advanced Cambuslang’s cause to 2nd overhauling Thames. However, Morpeth displayed their class with Peter Newton, the North East of England 10K track champion, recording the fastest time of the day (14.31) to extend their lead. Kerry-Liam Wilson, multi Scottish Masters Champion and now in the M45 category, reduced Morpeth’s lead by 35 seconds (15.31) to hold 2nd place ahead of Thames who were still hanging onto our tail. Any chance of pegging back Morpeth disappeared on leg 5 when Iain Hudspith, a former UK Internationalist and Commonwealth Games runner recorded the 2nd fastest time of the day with his 14.40 stint. Both Jamie Reid and his London rival were timed at 15.57 as the race for the silver and bronze medals continued. Going into the final stage the Cambuslang camp was quietly confident that the silver medals would be going home again north of the border as Robert Gilroy just turned 40 was launched into the fray. Although Robert was coming back from an enforced rest due to an Achilles problem he covered the course comfortably to seal the silver medals with the fastest leg 6 time of 15.22. Morpeth were worthy winners with a new course record while Thames H&H had pushed us all the way. Our 6 runners can be proud of their performance with only 38 seconds separating them. Simon Gold (18.17) running in the B team also gained useful experience in such a highly competitive race. Club member Martin Williams running for his English club clocked 15.17 on the opening leg for 3rd place. Kirkintilloch Olympians finished 21st in this race.
The M45 quartet of Tony McCutcheon (17.38), Chris Upson (17.50), Paul Thompson (18.09) and Mick O’Hagan (17.53) combined well to finish in a respectable 21st behind a strong 8th placed Kirkintilloch.
Unfortunately the M55 trio of Alick Walkinshaw, Frankie Barton and Colin Feechan were unable to retain the team title and had to settle for a plucky 4th. A well balanced South London Harriers team won gold from Les Croupiers and Woodford Green. Alick’s 18.07 had brought the club home in 8th with Frankie (18.09) moving up to 5th before Colin (17.54) had advanced Cambuslang to 4th. Colin, nursing an ongoing hamstring problem, had moved us up to 3rd with a mile remaining. However, with M60 world record holder Martin Rees (16.28) bearing down on him it was inevitable that Cambuslang was going to lose out on a podium place. Again like all of our athletes at Sutton Coldfield they had given their all.
There was also a Scottish presence in the O35 women’s race with Dumfries finishing a creditable 7th. It was a good day for race referee Archie Jenkins who witnessed his English and Scottish clubs seal a one, two in the men’s O35 race.
It was again a great experience to compete alongside the cream of UK master athletes and to make an impression on this UK championship event. It was worth the long journey in spite of Jamie, Kerry-Liam, Kenny, Iain and his dad Owen spending an extra 3 hours on the M6 due to a road accident and not getting into the hotel until just before midnight. Apart from the exciting competition the banter and the camaraderie were excellent. Finally Owen deserves a mention for his support on the day while awaiting his forthcoming hip operation. Thanks is also due to Colin for organising our travel and accommodation as well as being one of our drivers along with Owen, Jamie, Tony and Paul.