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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.
The winter season for runners, which had begun with the West District Cross Country Relays at the beginning of October, ended in late March with the Scottish Young Athletes Road Championships and the Seniors and Masters Road Relay Championships. Cambuslang Harriers concluded the season with an individual U17 ladies bronze medal for Millie Nicholl and team gold for the M50 team of Mark Gallacher, Chris Upson, Richard Cooper and Kerry- Liam Wilson while Andre Carey picked up a bronze senior team medal in the colours of Glasgow University. Cameron Smith too rounded off his season on a high when helping his English club Notts AC to victory in the Midlands 12 Stage Road Relay Championships and in so doing clocked the 4th fastest long stage. Owen Walpole who has recently returned to Scotland played his part in Sunderland taking 9th spot in the Northern 12 Stage.
Pride of place deservedly goes to Millie for her U17 bronze medal in the U17 Scottish 5K held on a fast flat course at Greenock. Her new personal best time by 57 seconds of 17.48 puts her 3rd in the Scottish and UK rankings for her age category. Millie’s progress this winter is all the more remarkable considering she only returned to competition in September after an absence of 3 years from the sport. Eilidh Kennedy also set a pb to lower her time to 21.57. Likewise, U17 men Lewis Roddis and Finlay Robb significantly reduced their pbs to 16.15 and 16.57. Olivia McNicol registered the competitive time of 15.55 in the U15 Girls 4K while her male age counterpart Sam McCarthy, with the respectable time of 13.47, led home his club mates Chris Black, Gavin Kelly, Lewis Cook and Gabriel Murphy to 5th place in the team competition. The U13 Girls trio of Emma Ritchie, Erin Kearney and Megan O’Brien finished 9th team. Alistair McLachlan and Euan Reid had another close encounter in their U13 3K race with Alistair having the upper hand on this occasion.
The senior men and women and masters men were blessed with un-seasonally warm temperatures for their National Road Relays at Livingston which was last held in 2019. On that day Cambuslang won the senior men and the M40 events with the M50s securing bronze medals. The senior and M40 relays consist of 6 legs and 4 for the senior women and over 50 men with alternative short and long laps of 3.1 and 5.9 miles. The M50 event was a closely fought contest between defending champions Cumbernauld, Cross Country Champions Perth Road Runners, Corstorphine and Cambuslang. However, with Mark and Richard recording the 2 fastest times on the short circuit, Kerry-Liam being the quickest on the long route and Chris putting in an impressive age graded performance, the club secured a 15 seconds victory over Perth with Cumbernauld a further 21 seconds adrift. The M50 team successfully maintained their unrivalled record of having medalled in every competition since the inception of a M50 team award in 2013. Out of 8 competitions the harriers have won 6 gold medals, 1 silver and 1 bronze and Chris has featured in 4 of these teams.
Paul Thompson now in the M65 category ran the excellent time of 19.03 in spite of a nasty fall early on in the opening leg. This was Paul’s first race since winning the Antarctica half marathon (yes Antarctica!) in February.
The M40 sextet of Brian Douglas, George Pettit, Kevin Newberry, Gordon Robertson, Iain Nicholl and Justin Carter after 2 hours and 40 minutes of running time narrowly lost out to Gala Harriers for the bronze medal position. Although the club had to surrender their team title to Corstorphine AC all 6 runners gave their all and can be pleased with their combined efforts. However, it was always going to be a tough task with only Justin Carter available from the 2019 victorious squad. However, it was good to have a number of athletes returning to racing after injury such as Brian Douglas, George Pettit, and Iain Nicholl and also to have Kevin Newberry, now in the M55 bracket, back after an absence of 30 years from running.
With so many U20 and senior men unavailable for a variety of reasons Cambuslang were out of the mix in the contest for a podium team placing. The honours went to Central AC, Corstorphine and Glasgow University with the team of Kevan Harvey, club captain Richie Carr, Fraser Stewart, Colin Reilly, Shaun Butler and Stuart Gibson in 14th place. It was encouraging to have Kevan competing again in his first race since sustaining an injury in early October and also Shaun in his first competitive outing for the club since 2019. Richie was unfortunately hampered by an ongoing achilles issue but battled on although obviously in some discomfort. Both Colin and Stuart have also had problems with injuries and Covid but hopefully they are now on an upward trajectory. Fraser although making his marathon debut the following week was still keen to represent the club. He ran a short leg rather than his traditional long one and his 5K time of 15.28 was the 5th fastest of the day. Hopefully his marathon debut goes well.
The senior ladies team of Catriona Bain, Lesley Blackwood, Paula McCabe and Kirsty O’Brien finished a creditable 10th which is the 2nd highest position ever achieved by Cambuslang. This was Catriona and Lesley’s first taste of this national competition and both acquitted themselves well over the 2 opening legs and Paula and Kirsty held the team position over the 2 closing legs. Masters Bernie O’Neil, Erica Christie and U20 Rachel Wardrope made up an incomplete B team. Both Bernie and Eric were members of the club’s W40 team which lifted the bronze medals in 2016.
As usual there was a strong team spirit and camaraderie from all our athletes who put their bodies on the line at Greenock and Livingston. Our coaches, officials and parents who offered their customary support in both competitions are due our thanks as are David Stirling and John McCluskey who were volunteers stewards at the Livingston event.
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