Cumbernauld will be the place to be this weekend – as the Lindsays National XC Relays play host to the biggest fields for a national cross country event in at least a quarter of a century.
Once again scottishathletics members and clubs have demonstrated a huge commitment to competition with the overall entry figure for Saturday hitting a quite remarkable tally of 2600.
We’ve had 568 teams entered which is a rise of 15 on last year and up by 30 teams from the 538 teams entered some two years ago. The big rises are in the women’s and men’s races for U20/Senior/Masters.
Last year, the entry tally overall of athletes was 2390 so 210 further names have been added and these figures are the best for the National XC Relays since the events for men and women merged back in the 1993-94 season. Saturday’s event is the 25th edition.
Sponsors Lindsays; Cumbernauld hosts North Lanarkshire Leisure and Cumbernauld AAC and Kirkintilloch Olympians; and video suppliers Vinco are all helping to contribute to the special atmosphere generated at the Lindsays National Relays.
Competition will be intense at the top end with Central AC defending the Men’s Senior title they have ‘owned’ for the past five years. Edinburgh Uni Hare and Hounds took the women’s title last year while Edinburgh AC will seek to defend both age group titles.
But is clear that rivalries extend further down the fields, too, as well as it being a great occasion to strengthen team spirit with the likes of Garscube Harriers running a cake stall for charity and Metro Aberdeen making video of their full day out in recent years.
‘Once again the entry numbers for a national championship are fantastic and reflect well on so many people involved in the sport,’ said Mark Munro, chief executive of scottishathletics.
‘I understand that an overall figure of 2600 represents the largest field we’ve had for any cross country national event for more than 20 years since the Men’s and Women’s events merged early in the 1990s.
‘That’s down to clubs showing a greater commitment to competition and I believe that’s great for the sport. Athletics is about competition and I think we are seeing clubs galvanised to get out there now and not be ‘afraid’ of racing.
‘I hear anecdotal evidence of rivalry within clubs for coveted team places, between clubs locally for bragging rights and between clubs and athletes nationally, too.
We’ve had a deliberate policy in recent years in terms of national championships to both try and make it a better experience on the day for those competing and to raise the profile of the event within our own community and beyond.
‘Our partners from Vinco are coming to Cumbernauld for the fifth successive year to supply video footage of the races and I know people really enjoy watching those. And there’s massive interest on social media, too.
‘Last year, we started a new four-year agreement with Lindsays as sponsors of the Cross Country Season following a successful first two years. That support from Lindsays helps us with issues like supplying the video coverage and has improved the event. In terms of Cumbernauld, we’re grateful once again also to North Lanarkshire Leisure for their continued support.
‘I think the National XC Relays is always one of the best days on the calendar for athletics in Scotland and I can’t wait to see that tented village grow on Saturday morning when the atmosphere is always special.’
Here’s the race timetable for Saturday:
12 noon: Young Females (Declarations Close 11.30am)
12.40pm: Young Males (Declarations Close 12.10pm)
13.20pm: Sen/Jun Females (Declarations Close 12.50pm)
14.45pm: Sen/Jun Males (Declarations Close 14.15pm)
All the Declarations take place at the course itself. Young Females and Young Males declarations open at 10am.
Please note, too, that there is no parking at Cumbernauld High School this year. Parking is at St Maurice’s High School in Cumbernauld and there will be a shuttle bus service to the course – please allow a little more time when planning your arrival.
All the details and other information is on the Events Section.
*Check out all the numbers for entries and finishers on the Archive section of the excellent Road Running and Cross Country Commission website.