Antonine Wall site is perfect backdrop for National XC battles

Thursday 23rd February 2023

Entry lists and key info

By Peter Jardine, Head of Communications

The Romans built a wall in Callendar Park around 142AD, with three legions apparently numbering 7000 men wrestling with the Scottish weather and underfoot conditions.

Such was the challenge faced, it is believed the Antonine Wall took a number of years to complete.

A well-worn sign on a rock at Callendar Park commemorates the presence of the Romans and describes the Antonine Wall as the ‘Frontier of their Empire’.

But who will win more modern battles of Falkirk when 2000 or so athletic ‘legions’ seek to conquer the courses at the Lindsays National XC on Saturday?

The event always captures the imagination of our community and it is brilliant to have  now fewer than 101 Scottish clubs represented on the entry lists.

Podium places are coveted by teams as well as individuals and for many endurance athletes – of all ages and stages – this is THE event to peak for of the winter.

We’ve mentioned already the 2236 names on start-lists and our Cross Country GB element with £4000 of prize-money to be shared out among Seniors.

Thanks are offered in advance to Lindsays, Falkirk Council, Falkirk Victoria Harriers, the Road Running and Cross Country Commission and a team of volunteers from 21 clubs led by Alex Jackson.

So let’s take a brief look at the two Senior races – with 405 names on the Women’s start list and 898 on the Men’s.

The Women’s race begins at 12.55pm and, without dwelling too much on ‘absent friends’, it looks a safe bet to suggest the podium places here could be more open than for some years (with recent medal winners not in attendance and GB international Megan Keith in New Zealand).

Who will walk through this open door at Falkirk? Will hill running GB internationals take advantage? Could that lead Carnethy HRC to the podium or even the title?

It’s over 10k and with six to count, of course, as all our Female and Male distances are equalised.

Here are some names we think might be prominent: Scout Adkin, Alice Goodall, Steph Pennycook, Holly Page, Naomi Lang, Catriona MacDonald (West champion), Catriona Graves (North champion).

Edinburgh Uni Hare and Hounds will start as favourites for the team title; they often do. Seeking to challenge the students and the hill runners will be Shettleston, Edinburgh, Fife and perhaps Glasgow Uni.

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Cross Country GP to conclude with £4000 to be shared

The Men’s race closes off the 10-race programme and starts at 2.30pm.

Central AC duo Jamie Crowe and Hamish Hickey are certainly among the favourites. Jamie has won the last two editions in 2020 and 2022 – three-in-a-row would be a spectacular achievement.

Other names who could be in the frame? Former winner Adam Craig of Inverclyde, Scott Stirling of host club Falkirk Vics, Logan Rees, Ross Gollan, Jamie Burns and Lachlan Oates of Shettleston, Duncan Robinson (West champion) and Hamish Armitt of Giffnock, Max Abernethy (North winner), international triathlete Grant Sheldon, Christian Graham, Central’s ‘support squad’.

Central will start as favourites for the team title; over the past decade they have been untouchable. Looking to threaten will be Shettleston, Cambuslang, Inverclyde and Corstorphine.

That start-list of 898 names includes Les Nicol, the venerable Metro Aberdeen M85 athlete, who won gold at the Masters XC on his 87th birthday earlier this month.

And the reach of the Lindsays National XC stretches beyond the mainland shores with athletes due to line up from Stornoway RAC, North Uist AAC and Shetland AAC.

The medal charge begins at 11am with the U13 Girls and will continue deep into the afternoon.

Come Sunday and Monday, we hope and expect to deliver short highlights films of each of the 10 races on our YouTube channel, working with partners YFS Media.

Here’s the Race Schedule 

U13 Girls: Race at 11am; Declare by 10.30am. 3.2k

U13 Boys: Race at 11.16am; Declare by 10.46am. 3.2k

U15 Girls: Race at 11.32am; Declare by 11.02am. 4.3k

U15 Boys: Race 11.53am; Declare by 11.23am; 4.3k

U17 Men: Race at 12.15pm; Declare by 11.45am. 6.2k

U17 Women: Race at 12.20; Declare by 11.50am. 6.2k

Senior Women: Race at 12.55pm; Declare by 12.25pm. 10k

U20 Men: Race at 1.50pm; Declare by 1.20pm. 6.8k

U20 Women: Race at 1.55pm; Declare by 1.25pm. 6.8k

Senior Men (and Non-Binary): Race at 2.30pm; Declare by 2.00pm. 10k

Tags: Falkirk, Lindsays National XC

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