All roads lead to just one place this weekend as the Lindsays National XC takes centre stage – Callendar Park in Falkirk.
The event has attracted the biggest fields in 25 years of combined male/female championships with 2458 names on start-lists and, remarkably, just over 100 Scottish clubs represented.
There are now 10 races in the programme, which starts at 11.00am, and runs through to the Senior Men’s race at 2.50pm – with a staggering 970 names on the entry list for that one!
We’ve big plans around our online video coverage and look out for long-form highlights from around 7.15pm through to 10pm on Saturday evening on Vinco’s website and then shorter highlights of each race on scottishathletics TV – our You Tube channel. Highlights are also being shown in North America.
It promises to be a thrilling day throughout and at this juncture we want to thank our Officials and volunteer race marshals, the Road Running and Cross Country Commission, event sponsors Lindsays, Falkirk Community Trust and course-builders Falkirk Victoria Harriers.
It’s the 120th version of the Men’s event and the 74th of the Women’s. And one look through the start-lists for the races at Senior level reveals the wide appeal of the Lindsays National XC in terms of the athletes committed to competition.
Steph Twell will race for Kilbarchan AAC as she contests Falkirk for the first time and she could be joined by fellow Olympians Derek Hawkins and Freya Ross. Andy Butchart, a two-times former winner and Rio Olympian, is on the start-list but not expected to race.
There are all sorts of other elements, too, like the Scottish Cross Country Grand Prix and the Lindsays Trophy.
Here’s a few more names to look out for:
GB international and defending champion Mhairi Maclennan, Paralympian Derek Rae; Triathletes Marc Austin, Grant Sheldon; GB ultra internationals James Stewart, Marco Consani, Kyle Greig; GB hill runners Andy Douglas and Jacob Adkin; Glasgow 2014 marathon runner Ross Houston, Irish XC medallist and Euro Cross representative Fionnuala Ross.
And some top Scottish and GB international XC exponents like Morag Millar, Steph Pennycook, Fiona Brian, Lachlan Oates, Alastair Hay, Cameron Milne, Euan Gillham, Kenny Wilson, Sean Chalmers, Calum McKenzie, Michael Ferguson and Cameron Strachan.
Senior Men’s race:
The ‘cavalry charge’ start could be something to behold at 2.50pm with hundreds of club vests on show. The top 10 or so should be stacked with quality and the interest in the men’s team podium is intense.
Central AC made it eight-in-a-row last year to match a Record set between 1987 and 1994 by Cambuslang Harriers. Expect Inverclyde AC, Corstorphine, Edinburgh Uni Hare and Hounds and Shettleston to be in the mix as well as those two mentioned, with the Central squad coached by Derek Easton intent on creating Scottish XC history and retaining the Elkington Shield.
Butchart, who is not expected to race, had no doubts that Central would top the podium once again when he spoke to us about Glasgow 2019!
It’s understood defending champion, GB international Kris Jones, unfortunately misses out.
Senior Women’s race:
This might be the highlight. It’s off at 1.00pm with the women, of course, competing over the same 10K distance as the Senior Men following a move to equality a couple of years ago. It’s five to count for the team race this year as they contest the Daily Record trophy.
A Record entry of 406 suggests the Women’s race at Falkirk is still growing in terms of quality and the presence of Twell should add to that, although the likes of title holder Maclennan and former winner Millar will want to challenge hard, too. Look out for Cambuslang’s Moira Stewart, a Czech international who is already selected for the World Cross in Denmark.
The past three years have seen three different clubs top the podium: Hunters Bog Trotters 2016; Central AC 2017; Edinburgh Uni Hare and Hounds 2018. Fife AC Women, of course, represented Britain at the European Champion Clubs XC in Portugal recently.
Age Group Races:
At U20 level there are a couple of GB internationals to look out for in the Women’s race – with Anna Macfadyen (Edinburgh Uni Hare and Hounds) looking to defend the title she won last year. U17 winner from 2018, Eloise Walker of Edinburgh AC, steps up and could challenge. Add another GB international, Giffnock North’s Erin Wallace, to the mix and the finale to this could be well worth watching.
The Men’s U20 might be more open and some of the contenders could include Cameron Wright (Kilbarchan AAC), James Donald (Dundee Hawkhill), Freddie Carcas (Edinburgh AC), James Gillon (Law and District AC), Jamie Burns (Shettleston), Gavin Smith (Cambuslang Harriers). There will be others harbouring podium hopes, too, because this field looks competitive.
The 2018 U17 gold medallist, Kilbarchan’s Jack Patton, returns to try for two-in-a-row at that age category with Inter-District champion, Hamish Armitt, a big threat.
In the U15 and U13 age groups, the focus should probably be on team medals – with Giffnock North, Kilbarchan and Edinburgh AC invariably prominent.
Here is the schedule:
U13 Girls 11.00
U13 Boys 11.16
U15 Girls 11.32
U15 Boys 11.53
U17 Men 12.15
U17 Women 12.25
Senior Women 13.00
U20 Men 13.55
U20 Women 14.00
Senior Men 14.50