Home Countries International XC preview

Wednesday 16th March 2016

Scotland vest



Home Countries International XC recent history

Michael Ferguson wins his first Senior Scotland international vest this weekend – when Callendar Park plays host to the Home Countries International XC event.

It was over 12K at the Falkirk course last month that a fourth-place finish in the Senior Men’s race catapulted the Aberdeen AAC athlete into the thoughts of selectors.

Now he hopes to demonstrate the range in distances – he once represented Scottish Schools at 400m – which coaches Ken and Joyce Hogg insist upon and has brought the best out of the likes of GB international Rhona Auckland.

‘I had a really good run at the National XC to finish fourth and I was pretty pleased on the day,’ said Michael.

‘But I must admit that, going into the race, I wasn’t thinking about coming back to Falkirk for the Home Countries International!

We probably were thinking that selection was out-with my reach and to be honest it was only when travelling back home on the Saturday that I remembered and thought fourth place might give me a shout.

‘I was delighted when contacted and asked if I wanted to be considered. I have represented Scotland before at both Celtic Nations and Home Countries but this is my first Senior vest and that is pleasing.’


Three of Scotland East team from Inter-Counties last weekend now race for Scotland at Falkirk – Alex Hendry (left), Michael Ferguson (right) and Ben Stevenson (2nd from right)

Ferguson was fourth last year at U23 level at the Celtic Nations XC in Ireland on a day when Scotland took positions 1,2 and 4 as Max McNeill won the race from Luke Traynor.

Joining Michael this time in the Senior Men’s selection are Andy Douglas (Inverclyde AC), Alex Hendry (Central AC) and Ben Stevenson of Falkirk Victoria Harriers.

Hendry and Ferguson came home from the inter-Counties last weekend with silver medals with Scotland East as Michael finished first Scot in 15th place.

There’s a North look to the Senior Women’s team with Fiona Rudkin (Metro Aberdeen) and Eilidh Mackenzie (Stornoway RAC) each making first appearances at Senior level as well as Sarah Inglis (Lothian Running Club) and Mhairi Maclennan.

Inverness Harriers athlete Mhairi is currently studying in Spain and finished 2nd U23 in the National XC Champs there last weekend (23rd overall).

England selections

‘There are a few athletes from the North and from Grampian involved this weekend and that’s good to see,’ added Michael.

‘I’ve been coached by Ken and Joyce Hogg for five or six years now, with them guiding my dad prior to that. The 400m was really coming from Ken’s point of view that if you have a bit of speed you can add mileage as you get older and move up the distances. It is more about 1500m and 3000m for me on the track.

‘They are great coaches and when you see what they achieved with someone like Rhona Auckland then it really motivates you to listen and to follow their advice. She’s in America now and has her sights firmly set on the Olympics.

‘Within Aberdeen AAC as a club, we are getting a bit of strength in depth now. There were youngsters in the age groups getting fourth and fifth place finishes and teams picking up medals at the National XC.’

Rudkin for her part is the first woman in Metro Aberdeen’s 25-year history to earn full Scotland honours.

‘I am delighted to get the call-up from scottishathletics,’ she told the Aberdeen Evening Express. ‘I knew I’d had a good run at the National XC and that I would have an outside chance of selection and winning the Scotland vest.’

The Scotland U20 teams are led by our National XC champions Jonny Glen (Inverclyde AC) and Steph Pennycook (Fife AC).

Timetable for Home Countries International XC races:

2.10pm: U20 Women 6K

2.35pm: U20 Men 8K

3.00pm: Senior Women 8K

3.30pm: Senior Men 10K

Inter -62333

Sarah Inglis – in Senior Women’s team


Andrew Douglas – won Inverness Half last weekend


SENIOR MEN: Andrew Douglas (Inverclyde AC); Luke Caldwell (Dorking and Mole Valley); Michael Ferguson (Aberdeen AAC); Alex Hendry (Central AC)

U20 MEN: Euan Gilham (Kilbarchan AAC); Aidan Thompson (Central AC); Ryan Thomson (Ronhill Cambuslang); Callum Symmons (Aberdeen AAC)

SENIOR WOMEN: Sarah Inglis (Lothian RC); Fiona Rudkin (Metro Aberdeen);  Mhairi MacLennan (Inverness Harriers); Eilidh MacKenzie (Stornoway)

U20 WOMEN: Steph Pennycook (Fife AC); Louise Mercer (Edinburgh Hare and Hounds); Gillian Black (VP-Glasgow); Eve Mackinnon (Ronhill Cambuslang)


Tags: Callendar Park, Falkirk, Fiona Rudkin, Home Countries XC International, Michael Ferguson

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