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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.
(photo's to follow)
Two weeks after their outstanding success at the Scottish Road Relay Championships in Livingston Ronhill Cambuslang Harriers took on a different challenge. A team of youth and experience travelled to compete at the English Road Running Association 12 stage road relays. The event is held annually at Sutton Coldfield just outside Birmingham and is the premier road relay championship in the British calendar. In recent years the venue has been a happy hunting ground for RHC in British Masters relays but the 12 stage was a new experience for all the team members and the club’s first venture into the event this century.
Most of the team and supporters arrived at the race base in a local Sutton hotel on the Friday evening by car, with a couple arriving later by taxi from Birmingham airport. An evening meal was followed by a quick team meeting for final plans for the Saturday. Race day dawned with unseasonal flurries of snow and an overcast sky. By the race start at noon the weather had brightened but throughout nearly 5 hours of running the athletes faced weather conditions from all four seasons.
Over 60 teams started the race which takes place over 6 “long legs” of 5.3 miles and 6 “short legs” of just over 5K on a hilly course. Our first runner Ben Hukins took a safety first approach to the long leg and started steadily towards the back of the cavalry charge that followed the starting gun. The cautious approach paid dividends as he worked his way through to a respectable 23rd position to set the team up for the race to follow. Showing great promise for the future of the club, Cambuslang fielded 4 athletes still in the junior, under 20 age group. Two of these Ross Stephen and Ryan Thomson took legs 2 and 3 against some experienced competitors. They kept the team in contention with Ryan particularly running strongly to keep the club in the mix at 28th.
Then followed our own version of the Campbells are coming, track specialist Alistair followed by name sake Alasdair eased the club up to 26th with Alistair having a short battle with Olympian Ross Murray from Gateshead. It was then another case of youth and experience from Cambuslang with youngest team member Scott Somerville followed by club stalwart Stuart Gibson making further progress as we moved up to 24th. This set up our fourth junior Craig Jardine for a storming leg moving the club through to 19th our highest and finishing position.
Long legs from the race club captain Iain Reid and Kyle McLellan, fresh from passing his driving test the day before, sandwiched big Ritchie Carr’s A team debut. All three ran solidly to pass the baton to super vet Stan Mackenzie to bring the team home in 19th, our best ever performance in this race.
The team had used our Scottish rivals Central and Corstorphine as markers with the former finishing 10th and the latter 21st. Within the race all the team had their individual battles with athletes from across the UK and have their own tales to tell of a successful club performance. With the varied weather conditions over the course of the race it’s difficult to compare individual performances, however three of the athletes featured in the top ten for their individual legs. These were Craig in 2nd; Stuart in 6th and Alistair in 9th.
Full results can be seen at http://www.race-results.co.uk/results/2016/nat1216.htm
Thanks to the support team of Charlie Thomson, who had competed for Cambuslang in our last tilt at the 12 stage, Robert Anderson, Owen Reid and Pamela and Colin Stephen but special mention must go to 13th man Chris Upson who had the thankless task of being warmed up and ready all day “just in case”.
A great team experience that will stand the club in good stead for the future.
PS – the runners and club supporters would like to thank Mike Johnston for his important role as team manager.
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