Hill runners savour races and training; North 10k at Elgin

Monday 25th March 2024

By Phil Mestecky

A busy week of junior hill running saw over 100 young athletes in action, racing and at training camps across the country.

Saturday saw the first race in the new Scottish Athletics U20 Hill Running League at the Birnam Hill Classic.

Wins for Andrew Grant (Strathearn) and Rachel Giffen (Springburn) got their league campaigns off to the best possible start with Aedan McGonigle (unattached) and Katie Meeks (Inverness) both also securing valuable points for their respective second-place finishes. In the junior race, there was a good turnout of 19 runners with the wins going to Seb Darlow (Gala) and Robin Perez-Reid (Strathearn).

Meanwhile, at four locations across Scotland, Scottish Athletics delivered U13 taster days to 50 aspiring young hill runners.

With a mixture of sessions on up and down-hill technique, navigation, kit requirements, relays and games the young athletes got an excellent introduction to the sport which will should translate into more participants in the races over the summer.

Huge thanks to the four teams led by Helen Fallas in Edinburgh, Ross Grieve at the Peebles Hydro Hotel, Jill Stephen in Aboyne and Jethro Lennox in the Campsies.

On Sunday, SA Endurance Manager, Angela Mudge and Junior Hill Running Co-ordinator, Phil Mestecky delivered a training day on Dumyat hill near Stirling to around 30 U18 hill runners.

In great weather, the athletes were put through their paces with a challenging hill-rep session in the morning, and a navigation challenge in the afternoon interspersed with talks from Scottish and GB Hill Running Champ, Holly Page, on her progress from Junior to Senior and Steve Winter on use of map and compass.

Thanks also to Gregor Malcolm, Mark Johnston and Tracey Brindley, Graeme Gatherer and Gav Brown for their help with the day.

Further south, in the Yorkshire Dales, Harris Pagett (Strathearn), Isla Paterson (Gala), Jonathan Downey (Kilmarnock), Ruth Walsh (Giffnock) and Thomas Hilton (Moorfoot Runners) were participating in the U20 GB Mountain Running training weekend ahead of the Keswick-based trials on April 19 (uphill only) and April 21 (up and downhill) for the team to go to the European Championships in Annecy, France.

More photos and details of junior hill running can be found on the dedicated Facebook page.

*Thanks, as always, to Crieff Hydro Family of Hotels for their most welcome support of the 2024 Junior Hill Running League and related activities.


James Wilson of Moray Road Runners won the men’s North District 10K title in 31:54 at Miltonduff near Elgin from Sean Cumming of East Sutherland (32:21) and Donnie MacDonald (Inverness) in 33:01.

MacDonald also won the M40 Masters title from Norman Ferguson of Stornoway and Stephen Carmichael of Moray.

Moray’s Gemma Cormack took the women’s gold in 38:08 after a battle with Helen Leigh of Highland Hill Runners (38:31) and Jessica Haworth (Moray) was third on 41:56.

The women’s Master  gold went to Kasia Klanowska of Forres from Susan McNairney of Moray and Iona Robertson of Highland Hill Runners. Grace Jenkins of Moray was the first Under 20.

The first woman across the line in 36:38 was Inverness Harriers national U17 5K bronze medallist Caitlyn Heggie who is still ineligible for the senior championship.

With thanks to Charles Bannerman


Tags: hill running

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