Stornoway Running and Athletics Club
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Despite threats of horizontal rain and gusty winds over 150 competitors representing twelve schools assembled on the castle lawn last Saturday to compete in the first of three events scheduled for this years Lewis and Harris Cross Country Championships organised by Stornoway Running and Athletics Club.
Weather conditions were a worrying factor for co-ordinator Malcolm Crate as S.R.A.C. members marked out a 1500m. course in the early hours, would participants arrive??
Thankfully, winds abated and as the crowd gathered , grateful respect was felt to all teachers and parents for chaperoning juniors in such numbers leading to a record attendance.
This year for the first time, female and male seniors, u.17 and u.15 entrants lined up for the first event of the day. Competitors of all abilities appreciated uplifting encouragement over a three, 1 mile lap course with applause spurring newcomers to the end compared to previous years - running after the crowds dispersed !!.
S.R.A.C. Chairman Alastair Dunlop cruised around the course leading the 18 strong mixed pack with ease whilst U.15 M Murdo Mackenzie ( N.I. ) notched up a triumphant second place, leading the Nicolson team home. Organisers were also pleased to view mixed entries in the U.17 group led by Ross Hall offering fresh challenges for the adult runners, whilst U.15F.Chirsty Macleod, ( Lews Castle School ) flowed round gaining full league points. Meg Gordon and Chrisie Macrae representing senior ladies hope to inspire others to join them next time round.
Adults quickly changed to take up marshalling positions and excitement rose as the U.9 events sped off to the whistle around a 800m course, the initial 200m covered in sprint record breaking pace. Daniel Crossley ( Breasclete) maintained last year's form but a gutsy performance from Mark Mackenzie (Tolsta) lead to equal gold, crucial points for Tolsta in second team place behind Stornoway Primary lead in by Alasdair MacDonald, with Bryan Macleod's performance placing Sgoil Nan Loch in third.
Holly Mackenzie (Sandwick Hill) experienced in 3 mile fun runs pipped Ailis Murray from Stornoway Primary who's brave run aided Stornoway to the top of the school team league, whilst Louise Martin's bronze position provided necessary points to place Sgoil Nan Loch in second place only three points behind !!
Thirty eight U.11 boys wrestled for pole position on the grid, shouts of encouragement rang through the trees with Grant Stewart (Bayble ) emerging in a comfortable lead, fresh from his successful debut performance at a recent North District X.C. League event, with Gillies Maclennan (Scalpay) gaining a silver medal. Daniel Shaw's bronze position helped Stornoway Primary into a pole school team position, with others running gallantly to place Sandwick Hill, Back and Sgoil Nan Loch in close persuit.
As Roma Macleod ( Breasclete) lead a string of girls around the 1500m course, panic spread through S.R.A.C. officialdom as a wet squall prevented competitor's numbers from being written down. Vital seconds passed - and a few competitors, without numbers, apparently under jumpers or on jumpers discarded on the course - leaving officials the task of gathering names from exhausted participants. S.R.A.C. took the challenge to compile full results from official information taken on the day, video footage, digital cameras and observant teachers present who didn't run for cover at the time. Hopefully, everyone concerned will be happy with the outcome, although any discrepances will be addressed by S.R.A.C. who are grateful for the support and understanding from schools involved.
Provisional results are showing Stornoway Primary just in the lead with the aid of a bronze medal for Catherine J. Macphail, with Laxdale and Sir e. Scott not far behind
The U.13's mixed event ended the day with Jim Keenan ( N.I. ) showing the form that's currently keeping him in second position in the North District League, bringing the school team home, a minute ahead of Cailean McCombe ( Sir E. Scott), both remembering the Reebok finish tape, a keepsake from a recent event in Edinburgh.
The girls followed suit, courageous efforts throughout, with Jayne Murray
( Back) 14.23 showing last year's form , with Elaine Maclean (Bayble) close behind gaining valuable points to place Bayble in first team place, with Marianne Martin bringing the Stornoway team home into second position.
With individual and school team league points at stake, competitors are reminded of the next event on Feb. 2nd. S.R.A.C. ask you to note that the event will be held back on the castle lawn with grateful thanks to the Woodland Centre staff for permitting access for registration.
Overal league points for school team and individual entrants are accumulated over the three events. Individual medals are allocated at each venue in each event and S.R.A.C. welcomes new entries from all ages and abilites at the next event - come and join in the fun. Registratiion 9.45 - 10.50am, first race 11.00am. S.R.A.C. appreciates early registration, enabling a prompt start.
Cross country results, photos and a quiz relating to this weeks event can be found on the new website WWW.SRAC.ORG.UK.
Entries to the quiz placed in postbox at future X.C. registration areas, with 60% of the proceeds towards this year's S.R.A.C. nominated charity - The Western Isles Kidney Patients Association. Quiz open to all - S.R.A.C. welcomes your support.
At the end of the day, congratulations to all that took part.