The club’s very own Scottish warrior, Kenny Mac, reports from the BMAF Cross Country Championships.
This year it was the turn of Scotland Veterans to host the BMAF Cross Country and Tollcross Park was the chosen venue. The changing rooms were the newly refurbished International Swim Centre which is to host the 2014 Commonwealth Games.
Tollcross is in the heart of the East End of Glasgow near to Celtic Park. The Park itself was purchased in 1897 to commerate Queen Victoria’s Silver Jubilee. The land can however be traced back to 1290 when the owner was Baron Roger Corbett and the land seperated Tollcross from Shettleston.
Well by the look of some of the athletes today they may have stood watching the Lord Provost Sir David Richmond perform the opening ceremony of the Park way back in 1897.
Arriving in good time we made for the Swim Centre and by good luck all the TBH clan were in the car park waiting for us. Micky Baker and Andy Harrison had travelled by train and on arrival I heard Micky trying to convince a bewildered V75 friend of mine, Watson Jones, that he (Micky) was born in Corbridge, but the wily Watson wasn’t having it!
I seemed to know every Athlete at the event, all the Cambuslang lads, the Kirkintilloch boys and of course the invading Army of runners from the North East. Paul Merrison from Sunderland, the Morpeth trio of Michael Thomsen, Phil Walker and Paul Waterston and then the Legions of Gladiators from North Shields Poly, led by their Lanista Vaughan Hemy.
The ladies went off first with the older men and they did three laps of the course to our four. Lindsay Walsh was first home for us followed by Sinead Coffey who smiled and waved her way around. The wind was shocking and huffed and puffed its way around the undulating course.
Then it was the turn of the Male 35-64 Category to go off. The start took a steep rise up a bank before traversing around an open swaithe of land with views all over Glasgow. A sharp downhill before more climbs and falls and we were back to the start. I started off steady and was running alongside Paul Waterston for the first lap. Michael Moore from NSP was slightly ahead of us and further ahead was his team-mate John Baty. A sideways angle gave me the chance to see Stevie Cairns and it was comforting to see him in the advanced pack. The quality of the field was excellent and Michael Thomsen from Morpeth and Paul Merrison from Sunderland were a good distance away as I caught up with Paul Waterston on the third lap. I could see I was edging closer to Colin Feechan of my Scottish club Cambuslang and as we went up the first hill of the final lap I timed myself and was only 3 seconds behind him. I tucked in at a windy section and then overtook him on the downhill. John Baty had been caught by this time and I continued to plough the field. The last downhill I just gave it laldy* and all of a sudden Michael Thomsen unique style appeared in my crossfires. I overtook him just before the devil of a final turn and V55 Gold winner Paul Merrison, the wily old fox was ahead again. The line was 100 metres away and I went for it and just beat Paul to it.
Stevie Cairns had as usual performed admirably and had finished 2nd V45. Andy Harrison ran a stormer with Paul Hilton not far behind. Then one after the other Dave Rowe and Micky Baker crossed the line. Unfortunately Dave Wright pulled up injured.
For the first time in a while I was satisfied with my run and hopefully will return to form. Back to the Centre and very quickly the results were called out. North Shields Poly V35 ladies won Gold and Jarrow and Hebburn won Bronze and the Poly V45 Ladies also got Silver in the V45 which to me was the team result of the day.
My Scottish team Cambuslang scooped V35 and V55 Gold to show their strength in depth. Jarrow and Hebburn won V45 Bronze, edging out North Shields Poly by 3 seconds, and the trio of Stevie Cairns, Kenny Mac and Paul Hilton won Silver in the V45. I make no excuse I wanted Gold and we lost out to Salford by 2 seconds but that’s the beauty of running and good luck to Salford for winning.
It was great to see Vaughan Hemy back running again and enjoying it and on a personal note my own form has not been brilliant over the last few months so maybe it humbles you to appreciate when other Runners get injured and scratch and fight their way back.
I also make no apologies for including all the above teams in my report as the level of support and brotherhood was second to none. Next year the race is being hosted by Welsh Athletics in the beautiful Denbighshire Market Town of Ruthin. Go there, hitch hike, borrow a car, cycle, fly or take the train but give it a try you won’t regret it.