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Cambuslang Harriers, since its formation in 1948, has become one of the premier cross country and road running clubs across all age groups in Scotland. We also have a very talented girls and ladies group who now regularly win major team honours.
After a 2 years absence the Scottish Short Course Championships made a welcome return to Lanark Race Course. The dry weather conditions were in sharp contrast to the very heavy rain there in 2021. Nearby Tinto Hill was clearly visible in the distance whereas previously it was hidden from sight by the very low clouds. Cambuslang Harriers fielded teams in the U15 boys and U17 men’s 2K and 3K events and in the separate 4K races for the senior/master women and men. Teamwise the highlight was a silver medal for the senior men while the U15 boys in 4th place and the senior women in 6th spot acquitted themselves well. The Cambuslang trio of Colin Feechan, Eddie Stewart and Dave Thom swept the M60 board to capture the gold, silver and bronze individual medals.
Impressive runs by 5th placed Daibhidh Kinnaird and 9th placed Euan Reid helped the U15 squad to 4th in the team contest. Rory Barclay was the 3rd counter and close back up was provided by Angus O’Neil and Jack Gillon. While Daibhidh has consistently been performing at this high level in recent races this was a significant step up for Euan and a just reward for all his hard work in training alongside Daibhidh. In the U17 men’s team competition the trio of Zach Zeenan, Chris Black and Gabriel Murphy claimed 11th spot. Chris was making a welcome return to racing having shaken off an injury. U17 Sam McCarthy, who had earlier in the morning clocked a fast 16.12, a 35 seconds improvement, for 5K at Strathclyde Park, was in attendance to cheer on his teammates.
Just under 300 athletes toed the line in the senior women’s event. As expected on the flat course there was an initial cavalry dash which clear race winner Eloise Walker seemed to sustain from gun to tape. Cambuslang’s Stefanie Tucker and Eve MacKinnon maintained their places in the chasing pack and can be well pleased with their finishing positions of 6th and 9th. With support from Hannah Addison and Catriona Bain the women finished 6th team thus achieving their highest position to date. A posse of red and white vests closed in after Catriona. Kirsty Wright led the charge closely followed by the masters duo of Nathalie Brohan and club captain Kirsty O’Brien, Marie Kane, Natalie McWilliams, U20 Eilidh Kennedy and W60 Erica Christie. Zoe Pflug had made a tentative start but pulled out early to avoid exacerbating a long-standing injury. Rachel Wardrope was running in the colours of Edinburgh University.
If the women’s start was a cavalry charge, the men’s was more like a stampede with over 500 athletes jostling for positions. Unfortunately Gavin Smith was accidently tripped which lost him some vital early ground. Callum Tharme was in close attendance at the front with Jamie MacKinnon, Gavin Smith and Mike Christoforou making up Cambuslang’s 4 counters. A spirited Callum sustained his challenge to cross the line in 5th place and was followed home only 3 seconds later by the fast finishing Jamie MacKinnon in 10th spot. Gavin (24th) and Mike (26th) who had advanced steadily during the 2nd lap clinched the team silver medals sandwiched between defending champions Central AC and Edinburgh University. Two years ago at the same venue the students had pipped Cambuslang for the silver medals by one point. This time the red and whites had a 32 points advantage. A further 20 club athletes crossed the finishing line in the order of Andrew Carey, U20 Seonaidh MacInnes, 4th placed M40 Gordon Robertson, Brendan Carey, U20 Finlay Robb, M40 Stuart Gibson, Steven Fitzpatrick, U20 debutant Joel MacInnes, 4th placed M50 Mark Gallacher, Ian Hodge, the 3 M60 individual medallists Colin, Eddie and Dave, new member Findlay Dickson, Callum Wright, M60 Stan MacKenzie and then a quartet of M50s tent organizer Dan O’Connell, coach Iain Crawford, Iain Wallace and Chris Paton. Another U20 Zak Povey, running in the colours of Glasgow University, put in an excellent performance. Kevin Farmer forfeited his chance of running the national 4k to act as a race volunteer.
Later that evening Cambuslang Harriers held its 75th Anniversary Celebration Dinner in Rutherglen Town Hall. Just under 100 people were in attendance including past and present members and Lindsay McMahon, the National Club Manager for Scottish Athletics. There was a 70 years age gap between Lewis Roddis, the youngest athlete present, and the eldest guest, former Scottish Marathon Champion Gordon Eadie. The assembly included a mixture of former and present Scottish, UK, European and World Medallists, coaches, club officials and some partners. In the absence of Club President Des Dickson coach Graeme Gallie ably performed the Master of Ceremony duties although later in the proceedings a congratulatory message from Des was relayed from Dubai. Former Club President David Cooney spoke briefly about the gradual transition of the club from its humble origins to becoming one of the leading distance clubs in Scotland. After a splendid 3 course dinner and some liquid refreshment former and current club captains Richie Carr and Kirsty O’Brien revealed the 75th Anniversary T Shirt designed by club member Colin Reilly which were quickly snapped up. There were two other surprises, one for a member and one from another member. Peter Ogden who has been a loyal member for 40 years was deservedly awarded a life membership to a rapturous audience response. A new club signage manufactured by Willie Fairley was displayed and it will be positioned at the Coats Park Grounds to advertise the whereabouts of Cambuslang Harriers. The committee is also indebted to Andrew Bain who kindly supplied the music for the evening.
Sadly on the same day as the 75th Anniversary Celebration former club president, coach and club champion Andy Fleming passed away at the age of 94. His greatest achievements were to have represented Scotland in the 1959 Cross Country International and to have won a bronze medal in the 1966 Scottish Marathon Championships.
Nine club athletes had the honour of representing Scotland on home soil at Tollcross Park in the British and Irish Masters Cross Country International. The opening 6K race involved the over 65 men and women. Colin Feechan was cited as one of the pre race favourites given his recently acquired 4 M65 European gold medals. Colin made a positive start in the initial downhill charge matching strides with his rivals. However, on the first testing climb he opened up a slight gap on his opponents. Using his local knowledge of the course he pushed on relentlessly and managed to increase his lead as the race progressed. Encouraged by the enthusiastic shouts from fellow Scottish athletes and supporters Colin breasted the tape 34 seconds and 39 seconds clear of the silver and bronze medallists from Northern Ireland and England. His win also paved the way for a Scottish team victory which fellow Cambuslang athlete Paul Thompson also contributed to. Erica Christie finished 4th overall and was a member of the victorious W65 women’s team. In spite of a persistent knee problem M70 Frank Hurley helped his Scottish age group team to the silver medals.
The 3 age categories within the men’s 50 – 64 age groups participated in a separate 8K event. M50 Justin Carter’s team picked up the gold medal award but Stan MacKenzie and Dave Thom, the first 2 M60 Scots home in 7th and 8th positions, just missed out on the team bronze medals. Unfortunately Chris Upson could not take up his place in the team due to a hamstring issue.
Likewise, the M35-39, the M40-44 and M45-49 athletes also covered the 4 lap 8K distance in the final international event of the day. M35 Colin Reilly competed well to assist his age group team to the bronze medals. The M45 team for whom late replacement John Speirs was drafted into also secured the same colour of medals. Although having competed in the Frankfurt and New York Marathons in the previous 2 weeks the lure of a first Scottish masters vest was too good an offer for John to turn down.
Under 17 athlete Sam McCarthy made the long trip to Cardiff to compete in the UK Challenge Cross Country Event. Against strong opposition from all parts of the UK Sam ran strongly to take 23rd place.
There were 2 back to back local 10K road races at Newton and at Bellahouston Park. 17 Cambuslang runners made the very short journey to contest the former event. The club’s first 6 finishers, namely Steven Fitzpatrick, Gerard Higgins, Richie Carr, 3rd placed M40 Iain Murphy, Tom Adams and Kevin Farmer, posted times ranging from 34.08 to 38.41. Next home in a time of 40.58 was the 3rd woman Kirsty Wright with M45 Paul Kernoghan, on the comeback trail after a lengthy lay off, one second adrift. M50 Dan O’Connell then led another 5 club athletes home – Marie Kane who set a pb of 44.47, M50 David Wardrope, Iain Wallace, Rachel Wardrope and M60 Eddie Carr – all with times inside 47 minutes and 24 seconds. M50 Chris Paton was only 4 seconds short of a sub 50 minutes performance with the leading M70 Peter Ogden and W40 Suz Ross just over a minute behind. In the accompanying young athlete 3K there were podium places for U11 Rory Dodds and U13 Eve Campbell who finished an excellent 2nd and 3rd. Fellow U13 Aiden O’Connell was well placed in 6th spot while Iona Campbell and Gemma Drummond gained useful race experience.
A further 8 Cambuslang athletes lined up the following day for the Jimmy Irvine 10K. The senior men, the M40 and M50 prizes went to Alasdair Campbell, Stuart Gibson and Mark King with Richard Cooper finishing runner up M50. Scottish hill running internationalist Alasdair was having a rare outing on the roads as his preferred terrain is on the hills. It was good to have Mick O’Hagan competing again after a lengthy spell on the side lines. Georgia Freeman-Mills took 7th spot in the senior women’s category and Paula McCabe and M50 John Henderson were respectively just under and just over the 49 minutes mark.
Further afield on the same weekend Katie Clubb set a female course record of 38.10 for the hilly Spriggie 10K in Shetland thus eclipsing top W40 runner Michelle Sandison’s record by 24 seconds.
On the following Sunday M50 Mark King and Georgia Freeman-Mills enjoyed a double victory in the Bellahouston Park half marathon. Elsewhere Colin Feechan, Paul Thompson and Barnie Gough were representing the club in the BMAF M65-74 Road Relay at Mallory Park near Leicester. Barnie who is in the upper age bracket and competing against younger opponents on the opening leg hung in well to set up Paul and Colin to advance the red and white cause. With Colin and Paul recording the 2 fastest age group times of the day the silver medals were secured much to the delight of all 3. For the record Barnie had also led off the victorious M40 8 Men Road Relay Team in 1999. This was a welcome return to form for Paul who is getting fitter again after a lengthy injury. As for Colin, it was further confirmation of the superb shape he is currently in having recently achieved 4 European gold medals, a Scottish 10,000M track record, Scottish M60 Short Course gold, a clear victory in the British and Irish Masters Cross Country International and now another gold for the fastest M65 time in the BMAF Road Relay Championships, all as an M65 athlete.
Later that day both Stuart Gibson and Kevin Farmer also crossed the border to participate in the Brampton to Carlisle 10 Miles Road Race. Stuart’s speedy clocking of 54.05 earned him the 2nd M40 award while Kevin came away with a 3 minutes pb.
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