*The 2013 Women’s medal winners (L-R) Morag MacLarty 2nd, winner Laura Muir, Rhona Auckland 3rd: Photo: Alison Muir)
From Bellahouston to Bulgaria; from Glasgow to Falkirk.
There are twin priorities for our elite cross country runners at the National 4K Champs on Sunday in the latest fixture in the Lindsays Cross Country Season.
The European Trial takes place in Liverpool at the end of November , with a number of Scots setting sights on places with Team GB and NI in Samokov on December 14.
It will preoccupy the likes of Callum Hawkins, Andrew Butchart, Scott McDonald, Craig Ruddy, Scott McDonald, Dan Mulhare (to represent Ireland), Rhona Auckland and a few others over the next three weeks. Perhaps even Laura Muir, who is due to defend her 4K title on Sunday, as well as clutch of U20 hopefuls (who compete in the Senior races).
For many of those mentioned plus other Senior athletes, the Scottish XC Grand Prix begins with Bellahouston the first in the four-race series which culminates (with double points on offer) in the National at Callendar Park in Falkirk on February 22.
The Grand Prix carries overall prize-money of £4000 with the women’s and men’s winners each to land £750. It includes the District XC races and the Inter-District race in Edinburgh in January.
Tewolde Mengisteab of Shettleston and Rhona Auckland of Banchory Stonehaven/Edinburgh Uni were the 2014 Grand Prix champions.
Auckland looks favourite for the Women’s title on Sunday after a great run at the Relays as she looks to regain a title she won in 2012. Muir took it last year with Rhona in third behind Morag MacLarty and the Central AC athlete looks likely to be in the mix with Edinburgh AC’s Maddie Murray another with medal potential.
Only three seconds separated Butchart and Hawkins in the fastest laps at Cumbernauld and the Kilbarchan AAC athlete ‘warmed up’ last weekend by taking part in the Glasgow training session on the same course.
For dozens of our U15 and U17 athletes, the targets on Sunday are more straightforward – bidding for podium places as individuals or teams or simply looking to improve their finishing place from the National Relays at Cumbernauld.
We’re delighted with another big entry for a National competition with over 800 folk signed-up for Sunday.
The Junior races were only added as National competitions in 2013 so it has been a great to get a response with more than 350 youngsters.
All the detail on the categories, medals available, number of counters etc, is on the comprehensive Road Running and Cross Country Commission website
*Central AC lead the Cross Country Team Challenge heading into the final fixture.
There is £250 up for grabs for each winning team (men’s and women’s) winners but only a single point separates Central’s squad from Inverclyde in the men’s.
The advantage is three points in the women with Edinburgh AC second and Fife AC currently third.
Race Times are as follows and chip timing is in operation. Note that declarations are at the Palace of Art (not the sports centre as in the past).
U15 Girls 11am
U15 Boys 11.15
U17 Women 11.30
U17 Men 11.50
Senior/U20 Women 12.10pm
Senior/U20 Men 12.35pm
Start-lists are on the Events page and those attending on Sunday are asked to read the information sheet on there, too.