Derek Hawkins and his Kilbarchan team-mates celebrate in Livingston – photo by Bobby Gavin
Kilbarchan AAC ended Central AC’s recent domination of the club endurance scene in Scotland as they claimed golds in the Road Relays in Livingston with a terrific team effort.
The combination of two Commonwealth Games athletes and some promising U20 talent in black and gold vests proved too much for the holders with the final leg a showdown between Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games duo, Callum Hawkins and Ross Houston.
As Kilbarchan savoured gold for the first time in the 40-year history of this event, Central had to settle for silver after starting the day chasing a fourth successive win in the Senior Men’s race. Ronhill Cambuslang – imperious at V50 and V40 in the men’s event – took home the bronze medals.
Lothian Running Club made ‘home advantage’ count to win the Senior Women’s race with Sarah Inglis impressive on their final leg to finish ahead of second-placed Fife AC and bronze medallists Inverness Harriers, who were making a first appearance at this event.
Kilbarchan’s wnning team was: Callum Matthews, Derek Hawkins, Gavin McArdle, Euan Gillham, Scott MacAulay and Callum Hawkins.
‘From what I hear about the history of the club, I think Kilbarchan have only ever won one bronze medal at this event and that was back in 1999,’ said Derek Hawkins, who clocked the fastest men’s long leg with 28.08.
‘I know myself I have not won any relay either in road or cross except at county level. We have some promising U20 guys and that’s what has made the difference this time.
‘Over the past few years, we’ve only really had Callum at that age to add to the Seniors to complete the team. But this was a strong team and we’re delighted to win it. And it always helps when you have someone of Callum’s calibre on the final leg.
‘You want to see more depth in competition in athletics in Scotland in our National Championships events, so if we have contributed to that in a small way then that’s pleasing. Maybe this can spark a reaction.
‘I’m sure it will give Central a wee jolt and if may give other clubs a wee jolt, as well, and that would be better for everyone in my opinion. What I mean is: maybe others can think they can be more competitive if they can pull together their strongest team.’
Callum Hawkins was nine seconds down on Houston for the final, long leg and the Glasgow 2014 marathon man held off the Hampden 10,000m runner initially.
‘It took me quite some time to get beyond Ross and he ran extremely well,’ said Callum, who ran 28.29 for second fastest on the long legs with Houston the third-fastest with 29.19.
‘I don’t really know how far it was in terms of the distance and up on the long road section I was trying to stretch it but he kept pretty close. Ross had me worried for a bit at that stage but we are delighted to win it and it was a really good team effort by all six athletes.’
Central, of course, were without GB international Andrew Butchart because of his World Cross involvement but there was a very sporting tweet from Houston, with scottishathletics social media reflecting on an event which had a record entry number of teams.
Ross said: ‘Good day at SALRelays: tried to hang on as the Kilbarchan AAC bus drove past, but Callum Hawkins was speeding.’ Kilbarchan fielded a trio of U20 athletes in Matthews, McArdle and Gillham and Central’s Aidan Thompson and Dale Colley and Cambuslang’s Ryan Thomson, also U20s, picked up medals, as well.
Lothian Running Club won the Senior Women’s golds
The women’s race was a terrific contest with a number of teams in contention for the medals and the lead changing hands.
But it was host club, Lothian RC, who emerged victorious with Canadian-based student Sarah Inglis bringing it home on the final leg ahead of Fife’s Megan Crawford.
Sarah, who is at Trinity Western University in Vancouver, is in Scotland for five weeks and had been told in no uncertain terms some time ago that Lothian wanted her to run the Road Relays. The rest of the team was Edel Mooney, Yvonne Crilly and Jo Williams.
Edel said: ‘We kept telling Sarah that if she could be here then we would supply the rest of the team! We’ve been talking about it for some time.’
Sarah said: ‘I enjoyed it because I have trained on that route often enough down a number of years. I wanted to run the event and thankfully it coincides with me being home at the moment for a few weeks.
‘When I return to Canada, I then have a four-week spell of altitude training coming up in Boulder which will prepare me for the summer season. I am looking forward to the track.’
The run of 32.36 by Inglis was in fact the second fastest on the long leg of the Livingston course by women over the 17 years of the event there, with Hayley Haining the fastest at 31.04 back in 2007. Fife AC’s Stephie Pennycook was the fastest on the short legs when she lifted her team from 10th to 1st with a run of 17.55.
Fife AC had thus led into the final leg but they had to settle for a repeat of their 2014 silver medals. For Inverness Harriers, the quartet of Mhairi Maclennan, Sarah Liebnitz, Catriona Fraser and Jenny Bannerman were delighted to pick up bronze medals.
This was a first time at the Road Relays for Inverness in terms of either men’s or women’s teams – good to see more clubs engaging with National events and adding to the depth of competition on the occasion. Believe Aberdeen AAC made their debut in the men’s event, and Metro Aberdeen were well-represented, as well. This is further encouragement for the sport.
The Women’s race also featured the very welcome sight of Freya Ross in an Edinburgh AC vest in competitive action once again. The Olympian has been running a few Parkruns recently as she recovers from injury and Livingston was another step on the road to recovery.
Ronhill Cambuslang won the Men’s Masters race with golds for: Jamie Reid, Kerry Liam Wilson, Craig Harrow, Greg Hastie, Mick O’Hagan and Stevie Wylie. Kirkintilloch Olympians were second and Shettleston were third.
In the Women’s Masters race, Gala Harriers were gold medallists again thanks to Fiona Dalgleish, Gillian Duncan, Rachal Fagan and Kate Jenkins with Bellahouston Harriers taking silvers and bronzes! Well done to those eight athletes from Bellahouston.
Ronhill Cambuslang added the Men’s V50 title thanks to Dave Thom, Paul Thompson, Chris Upson and Colin Feechan. Falkirk Victoria Harriers won the Women’s V50 golds thanks to Beryl Junior, Fiona Matheson and Janette Stevenson.
Ronhill Cambuslang Harriers – Men’s V50 winners again