National XC events are proving a huge challenge with Covid-19 restrictions in place across Scotland. We are working hard to deliver a Lindsays Cross Country Season in some form.
But, in the meantime, small-scale localised events within a single club or with a handful of clubs competing in an inter-club event are a good way to deliver competitive athletics.
Over the past weekend, there were inter-club events in Glasgow and Edinburgh . . .
By John Mackay (Shettleston Harriers)
Little did we know back in March as we organised and delivered the highly successful 50th anniversary Allan Scally Relay this would be the last event in Glasgow until November!
Times have been hard but the delight on the faces of all the competitors and officials as we delivered the Inter-club Event last weekend was obvious to all.
Alexandra Park has had to wait even longer for an event to return to it. December 1887 was the setting for an inter-club run between Edinburgh Harriers and West of Scotland Harriers in the East End park which was opened in 1870 by Princess Alexandra of Denmark the future wife of King Edward V11.
After finishing at Dennistoun baths for washing both clubs retired to a Glasgow restaurant for a smoker event – how times have changed !
This park was also use by Frank Clement (fifth in the 1976 Olympic Montreal 1500m) along with a host of top middle runners in the 70s and 80s as a training base.
It was great to see athletes back racing today. Well done @ShettlestonHarr for putting on a great event. Your hard work is appreciated. Great support from @AllyParkHub and lots of positive comments from athletes, parents and coaches. pic.twitter.com/0hbfev5r93
— Tracey Fox (@fox_tc) November 14, 2020
Events cannot take place without helpers and the club is grateful to the Milnbank Sports hub and the host of helpers from all the clubs involved.
Special mention must be given to Alex Mackay, who made sure we followed all the Covid-19 regulations and John Duffy and his team who set a testing course for the athletes.
It was great to renew our close links to the clubs and these inter-club events which were the feature of athletics until the 1950s when more races appeared. Transport links then ensured it was easier to travel around the country.
The six-race programme featured some of the best talent in Scottish athletics cross country with a mixture of youth and more senior athletes.
The Senior men’s race featured three international athletes from Shettleston – Lachlan Oates, Jamie Burns (U20) and Ally McLeod (GB Orienteer international) and a full complement of 30 athletes from Glasgow University, Strathclyde University Garscube Harriers and Kirkintilloch Harriers.
Shettleston women have claimed a record eight victories in the past nine years at West District level and were represented 1-2-3 by Kayleigh Jarret, Ruth Joss and Avril Mason.
Clubs are looking forward to more of these events. Planning is already under way for Shettleston to host another event at Alexandra Park in the New Year.
— Mary Senior (@mary_senior_) November 14, 2020
Photo via Twitter
Holyrood Park in Edinburgh is a well-known and much-loved venue for cross country and it proved so once again over last weekend.
A group of eight clubs – Harmeny AC, Edinburgh AC, Livingston AC, Team East Lothian, Lasswade AC, Musselburgh and District AC, Dunbar RC and Haddington RC – agreed to work together to try and organise a cross country event.
The Lothian Junior XC was thus set up and delivered for younger age group athletes from these clubs over the familiar courses of Holyrood Park.
Very well done to these clubs for setting this up and many thanks to the volunteers involved.
— Musselburgh Athletic (@MusselburghDAC) November 14, 2020