Jamie Crowe takes victory at Scone (photo by Bobby Gavin)
(NOTE: we plan to cover U17/U15/U13 races in separate story on here on Sunday. Thanks for your patience).
The strong winds cutting across the course at Scone Palace had turned a little icier just as Megan Keith expressed her hopes of a World Cross Country assignment in Australia.
Jamie Crowe wouldn’t be averse to a race opportunity Down Under, either, as British Athletics ponder selections for the World Cross in Bathhurst, New South Wales.
Keith and Crowe underlined their current status as the No 1 cross country exponents in Scotland with convincing victories in the British Cross Challenge and Scottish Inter-District XC in Perth.
It was a second Scottish title for Megan this season to follow on from the Short-Course while for Jamie, twice winner of the National XC at Falkirk, that’s three victories in three visits to Scone Palace (albeit one on the final leg of relay).
In truth the conditions overhead for almost the complete eight-race programme were as good as could have been hoped for in midwinter in Scotland – the sunshine lighting up the Palace backdrop for photographers.
Underfoot was a little different, the rain which swept the country for many travelling to and from the event on Saturday simply adding to recent wet conditions to deliver the proverbial mudbath.
There were only a limited number of English and Irish visitors in what was an open Cross Challenge event but it was nonetheless excellent to welcome larger fields than normal for our Scottish Inter-District races.
Photo by Bobby Gavin
Keith always looked strong favourite as she followed up her Euro Cross U23 silver medal in fine style, winning in 28:58 over approx. 8k and with a 14-second victory margin.
GB international hill runners, and Irish international Fionnuala Ross, pursued with determination and were rewarded with podium places – as Scout Adkin (running as an individual for her club) took third.
GB international Alice Goodall, representing the East District, took third on the Inter-District podium headed by Megan for the Scottish Students and Fionnuala for the West.
In the Inter-District team race, there were golds medals for the East; silvers for the Students and bronze for the West.
‘It was a very hard race against the girls today,’ said Megan, who is coached by Ross Cairns.
‘The hills and the mud certainly made it a tough one. I was cautious over the first lap and a half, and then I tried to put in a hard last lap, but the conditions made that harder today.
‘I’d love to be involved for Australia for the World Cross – I think that would be a fun event to do.’
Jamie Crowe only returned from a lengthy injury absence with a win at Bathgate in the East League last week.
English visitor James Kingston of Tonbridge occupied the Central AC runner for the early part of the race before the Scot was able to get clear. He duly won in 24:55, with a victory margin of 11 seconds.
Welsh athlete, GB international Kris Jones, represented the East of Scotland, closed strongly to take second in the Cross Challenge podium from Kingston in third. Lachlan Oates, representing the West, collected Inter-District bronze after finishing fourth overall.
Now Crowe’s radar over the coming weeks could take in Spain (with Central AC in the Euro Clubs Cross); Australia for the World Cross; and Falkirk for the Lindsays National XC.
‘I have surprised myself over the past eight days to be honest,’ said Jamie, who is coached by Derek Easton.
‘I have had some consistent training recently, but I didn’t know how fit I was, so I was happy with that performance today.
‘I’ve raced here three times and won three times, so it is always a good course for me.’
East won the men’s team golds from Scottish Students with the West taking home the bronze medals.
There were two U20 races over 6k with World Athletics age groups applying – and athletes hoping to impress British Athletics ahead of that World Cross team selection.
Edward Bird of Poole AC won the Men’s race from Sam Hodgson of Windsor, Slough and Eton and Joe Ponter of Taunton.
Megan Harris of Chelmsford took the Women’s U20 gold from Rebecca Flaherty of the North of England as the West’s Hannah Ryding claimed bronze.
*We could not have staged the event without a lot of help from our endurance Officials, the Road Running and Cross Country Commission and host club, Perth Road Runners. Thanks also to British Athletics for their support.