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Scottish Medal and a Scotland Call-up

As the cross country and road racing season almost reaches it’s climax this month there was still time for our athletes to show what month’s of hard training through the Winter could do at the Scottish National Age Group Road Racing Championships last weekend at Battery Park in Greenock where Scottish vests were up for grabs!

This year’s chosen venue was a very popular choice as spectating at Edinburgh’s Riccarton venue for the last two year’s was not the best, however this year was a big improvement as all spectators were able to watch every race unfold in very open surroundings.

The first race of the day was the U13 girls and there were some fantastic runs here. We had 5 girls running and hopes were high for some strong performances. The course was two laps round the flat park in Greenock with little wind blowing despite the close proximity to the River Clyde. All the girls were grouped very close together round the course which was ideal for a top team placing & Lucy Muirhead was first home for the girls, as she returned to form after an injury ravaged Winter season, coming in 15th place over the 2.5k course in 9:16, followed very closely by Hannah Anderson in 20th place in 9:24 with Sarah Connolly right behind Hannah in 22nd place in 9:26. Next home for the girls was Morgan MacDougall in 10:30 closely followed by her twin sister Iona in 11:03. This fantastic effort rewarded the girls with a 5th place team finish overall, no mean feat at National level - Well worth noting the MacDougall girls commitment, as they both competed 24hrs earlier at the Emirates Arena in the Scottish Combined Events Championships with both setting new PB’s over the 800m there.

Next up were the U13 boys and Elliot Bain was first home for the club in 41st place with a very respectable time of 9:15 round the 2.5k course, with Thomas McCourt very close behind in an equally impressive 9:40. Unfortunately due to illness striking down Owen Selfidge, the boys didn’t have a third runner to count towards a team placing but two solid performances from the boys in their first year at this age group - showing that their hard training is paying off!

The next race to have an EKAC presence was the U17 Women over the 4.9k route that covered four laps of the park. Heather Addison was EKAC’s sole representative and she wasn’t to disappoint either. Heather ran a sensible race just of the leading group throughout the first three laps and on the last lap she began to show the benefit of her endurance training through the Winter months as she closed the gap on several of the other athletes, finishing very strongly in a fantastic 8th place overall in 18:36 -as this is Heather’s first season at U17 she will surely be targeting Scottish selection at this event next year?

Finally it was the eagerly anticipated U17 Men’s race and there were two of EKAC’s stalwarts at this age group, Aidan Gilbride and Martin Lynas were present to run over the 4.9k course, and hopes were high for Aidan who was third in this event two years ago. As a result he was selected to represent Scotland at the British Championships in London - a place on this team was his target once again. Martin also ran strongly at this event two years ago and was eager to have a good run once again too. From the gun Aidan was well placed in the leading group of around 10 athletes who broke

away from the field for most of the race, Martin on the other hand ran his usual steady race, pacing it well from the start in the chasing pack. As the race reached it’s final lap 4 athletes had pulled away, caused by a very fast pace and thankfully Aidan was still one of them. A move was made with around 1k to go from the British Triathlon silver medallist for U17 Jack Kerr of Central AC who broke away from the other three in pursuit, Aidan and Edinburgh AC’s Joe Arthur responded but found it tough to live with the injection of pace, but in doing so pulled away from the 4th placed Central AC athlete. By the time the race was coming to it’s climax Aidan was in a dogfight for the silver and bronze medals and unfortunately after a real battle up the home straight he just missed out on the silver by two seconds, with a fantastic 15:12 round the course, which all but seals his automatic selection for the Scottish squad next month and also his 2nd Scottish medal in as many months. Martin was to have a fantastic last lap also as he made his way through the pack to finish in a brilliant 18th place in 16:21 & in his first year at this age group too.

Aidan will be waiting for confirmation on his selection for his call up to participate in the British Championships incorporated into the London Marathon, where the athletes run the last 3 miles of the Marathon route itself. Aidan loved the experience the last time and is looking forward to it once again, apart from his 5am alarm call on the morning of the race!

Now the track season training begins for all at EKAC!!!


East Kilbride Athletics Club have two new Scottish Champions in Greg Kelly and Aidan Gilbride after a

fantastic weekend of racing at the Scottish Indoor Age Group Championships at the Emirates Arena in

Glasgow. The club had a strong presence at the Championships with athletes from U13 up to U20 taking part.

It was to be a very memorable weekend in particular for four of EKAC’s promising young stars on the track

who managed to medal against the toughest oppostion Scotland has to offer.

Greg Kelly (15) pulled off a sensational sprint double at the U17 age group over 60m & 200m. After

progressing nicely through his heats and semi-final at both distances Greg bossed both his finals from the gun

to comfortably take the titles and record two new personal bests (PB’s) in the process, running the 60m in a

fine 7.27secs and a scintillating 23.12secs over the longer sprint distance to round off a tiring but very

satisfying day for the teenager. Greg has been making fantastic progress under coach Gordon Bury and

hopefully has a good track season ahead of him with his continued hard work.

Middle distance athlete Aidan Gilbride (17) has just moved up to the U20 age group this season and ran a

very confident heat in the 800m to take first place and automatic qualification for the final later that day. In

the final Aidan got his tactics spot on from gun to tape as he tracked the leading athlete all the way round

and with 100m to go Aidan kicked for home as his competitors were left in his wake as he took the title by

almost 2secs in a very impressive new PB of 1:55.38 – amazing leg speed from the teenager despite being in

the middle of the cross-country season.

Young Hannah Anderson (12) continued her impressive start to her athletics career as she qualified very

comfortably from her heat in the 800m for the U13 age group and recording a new PB en-route also. In the

final itself Hannah was to run a very clever race, way beyond her young age would suggest as she put herself

in medal contention throughout. Her kick for home was to reward Hannah with a fantastic second place and

silver medal in her first experience at Championship racing and she was also rewarded with a new PB of

2:34.09 taking a massive 7secs off her previous best. This girl really looks like a star of the future if she

continues her development at the club.

Callum Field (15) wasn’t to be outdone as he also got in amongst the medals. Callum is becoming an

experienced Championship racer as he progressed through his heat to the final of the U17 400m with relative ease. In the final Callum gave it his all to get himself in the medals as he crossed the finish line in 3rd place

to earn very deserved bronze medal and also a huge PB of 51.7secs. Callum continues to improve over this

longer distance since his transition from sprinting and is also one who looks to have a good season in front of

him on the track.

The weekend also saw plenty of other fantastic performances particularly from the younger age groups who

continue to gain valuable experience for the future in Championship racing. There were no more medals won

but a number of the club’s “young guns” went home happy with their efforts as countless more new PB’s

were set throughout the weekend – Most notably young Ryan Clydesdale (14) who deserves a special mention

for his tremendous efforts, running no less than five PB’s on the same day as he qualified for both finals of

the 60m & 200m at U15 age group.

A great weekend for EKAC, so what’s next for club? Well it’s back to the mud of cross-country of course as

they gear up for the biggest event on the Winter calendar as they head to Falkirk for the National Cross-

Country Championships.

West District Cross Country Championships Linwood 6.12.14

Is this a WWII Battlefield? No it’s the West of Scotland on a dreich Winter day!

To say the conditions were tough at Linwood last weekend was something of an understatement, in what would have more resembled a battlefield rather than the West District XC Championships.

The horrendous conditions make what our athletes did last weekend even more admirable. Despite the appalling weather EKAC had over 20 athletes present desperate to run the course to the very best of their ability. The course itself looked fairly flat but the weather was sure to play a part as the day unfolded.

First up on the day were the U13 girls and we had five girls taking part this year. In a large field all five girls set off well from the gun running intelligently over the 3.2k course. As the race unravelled Sarah Connolly slowly began making her way through the field into a top 20 slot. Hannah Anderson continued to impress in her debut XC season for the club and battled very hard to stay in contention with the fast pace being set. Morgan and Iona MacDougall have also been a revelation at this age group since joining the club and both shone too in the tough conditions. Sophie Forsythe also worked very hard as usual round the tough course. Sarah was first home for the club in a super 17th place in 12:46 and was followed home closely by Hannah in 27th place in 13:30 with Morgan next in 41st 13:56 and then her sister Iona in 14:39 with Sophie not far behind in 15:09 for a great team effort which was rewarded with a fine 6th place team finish overall.

The U13 boys were next to go and once again we had five taking part. It’s worth noting however that all five of these boys are first year U13’s so performances can only get better for this talented group over the next year. Yet again a large field was present and from the start the boys all showed great eagerness to put in a good performance. What young Elliot Bain gives away in stature he more than makes up for with guts and determination as he left a stream of older boys behind him as he found himself finishing in a fantastic 22nd place in 12:39. Not far behind him was Owen Selfridge in 30th place in 12:50, another talented boy giving the older boys a good beating! Thomas McCourt continued his fine cross country season with another solid run in 13:49 for 59th place, closely followed in after a hard working run from Hamish Anderson in 14:30. Young Declan McPhillie ran a truly gutsy run over the horrendous conditions to finish in 16:13. Once again the hard work from the boys earned them a 8th place team place overall.

The U17’s Women’s race had our very own Heather Addison as our sole representative, very determined to win a West of Scotland vest for the forthcoming Inter District Championships at Holyrood Park Edinburgh, early next year after last year’s disappointment when she missed out by one place. Despite Heather still carrying a couple of “niggling” injuries she set off in determined fashion over the 5k course. A fine run from Heather was rewarded with a brilliant 12th place finish in 22:43, but more importantly for Heather sealed an automatic selection place for the Holyrood spectacle in January 2015.

Next on the course was our U17 Men over their 6.4k “mudbath!” EKAC had three athletes in this race and all three worked very hard from the gun for both themselves and the team too. Aidan Gilbride sat prominently in 2nd place for most of the race looking fairly comfortable despite having missed the last couple of weeks training. He was to stay in this position until the last kilometre when maybe lack of training caught up with him and he was caught by several runners in closing stages to come home in 7th place with a time of 23:42. Martin Lynas continued with his good form running at a very good pace inside the top 15 all the way through the race. As usual Martin’s endurance was to help him over the closing stages as he picked off a few athletes to finish in a terrific 10th place in 24:05. Ross Malloch ran a great race also as he knew his placing could be vital for the overall team place and Ross worked very hard too over closing stages to come home in 28th place in 26:54. Aidan & Martin were both delighted to have sealed automatic selection for West of Scotland squad with their individual performances but all three were pleasantly surprised when news filtered through that they had secured third placed team, with Ross already half way home!

Once again the event was drawn to a close with the Senior Men’s 10k in a setting which now resembled “The battle of the Somme” and not the West District XC Champs!

Six athletes made the senior team and from the start it was clear that Grant Baillie would feature at the front of the field for EKAC after his brilliant run at this event last year which earned him a “West Vest” Grant worked very hard throughout and was rewarded with a superb 17th place finish in an awesome 37:00 over a tough course. Next to cross the finish was John Fergusson. John has been carrying an injury for a couple of weeks now but decided to run despite not being in his best shape. He still ran a very decent race and finished in 31st place in 38:38. I’m sure John would have placed a lot higher had he been 100% fit as he’s been running well this season. Our very own Jamie Clements was next home for the men just behind John in 40th place 39:06 – again a good solid run from Jamie as he has been battling with illness recently too! David Thomson followed Jamie in 4th place for the team in 42:44 with another super run in atrocious conditions. Veteran Brian O’Neill was next home for the men in 47:03, continuing his steady return to XC for the club after a long absence. Despite Brian’s apprehensions beforehand about finishing dead last it must be noted that there were over 60 runners behind him – well done Brian! Sadly for the men the final member of the team Niall Walker had to withdraw from the race, as he couldn’t continue with a toe injury and had to drop out or risk doing more damage.

Another great weekend for the club with more encouraging runs from our super “Young Guns” at U13, who continue to go from strength to strength. A superb bronze team medal for U17 Men and three West vests won by Heather, Martin & Aidan. More could follow after selection committee meet this week – watch this space!

LAAA XC Champs Saturday 29.11.14

Drumpellier Country Park provided the venue for the LAAA Cross Country Championships on Saturday. The conditions were near perfect on a crisp, sunny, winter morning with firm ground underfoot, promising fast racing.

Expectations were promptly delivered in the under 11 girls race with some impressive times suggesting the course may have been a little short of the billed 1.2k. Abbie Kirwan and Kayla McCrone had a real ding dong battle over the last 200m with Abbie sneaking past just before the line to claim 6th overall in 3:21. Kayla was 3 seconds adrift in 7th. Leah Muirhead crossed the line in 11th at 3:28 to round off a gold medal winning team performance. Two of our younger members Madeleine Hopkins and Claudia Harris also competed posting excellent times of 3:47 and 3:48 respectively.

In the under 11 boys Cameron MacDonald lead strongly from the gun and survived a late challenge from a Motherwell athlete to win by a second in a time of 3:03. Ross Hamilton was hot on their heels to claim 3rd in 3:07. Nathan Young, in only his second race, was the third EKAC athlete to make the top 10 with 7th place and a time of 3:15, claiming a second team gold for the club. The club had three other boys in the race, all making the top twenty. Paul Cairns ran exceptionally to take 14th in 3:20, Thomas O’Neill finished his first race in 19th at 3:29, narrowly pipping Evan Selfridge who picked himself off the ground earlier in the race to finish 20th on the same time.

The now overexcited coaches and parents settled down to watch the start of the 2.5k under 13 girls race which started at a blistering pace. The runaway winner was an athlete from Law who finished 11 seconds clear in a time of 9:12. The club however was well represented by three athletes in the top ten and one in eleventh place. First to cross was Sarah Connolly who finished strongly, making up three places over the last 100m in a time of 9.24. Hannah Anderson and Morgan McDougall weren’t far behind in 5th and 7th places with times of 9:34 and 9:48, providing another team gold medal. Iona McDougall put in a gutsy performance to finish 11th at 10:06 and Georgia Hernon fought well up the back hill to finish at 12:08.

The under 13 boys looked like they thought they were in a sprint as they took off down the hill. We had a young team involved with all of the boys in their first year at the age group. Fastest was Elliot Bain who kicked hard in the last few metres to beat a local rival and claim 6th in 9:13. Thomas McCourt and Joseph Hagan ran very well to finish 14th and 15th respectively with times of 9:47 and 9:57, securing another team medal, this time silver. Hamish Anderson worked hard up the long hill to finish 17th in a creditable 10:21

There were solid runs in the older age groups too with the following results:

Under 15 Girls Rebecca Russell 17th in 15:24 and Jessica Hagan 27th in 19:17;

Under 15 Boys Matthew Kirwan 16th in 13:48 and Aidan Abberley 19th in 14:27;

Under 17 Women Mhairi Boyle 5th in 22:57

Under 17 Men Martin Lynas claimed the bronze medal in 16:10;

Senior Women Rachael Thomson 11th in 22:25

Senior Men Grant Baillie 4th in 33:05 and David Thomson 18th in 37:29.

All in all it was a highly enjoyable trip to Drumpellier. The team results in the junior races were a great achievement, reflecting the strength and depth of talent we have at the younger age groups.

Kilmarnock Harriers Open Cross Country – Kilmarnock 09.11.14

John Fergusson – A Master Class in Cross Country Running!

Sunday saw the return of the Kilmarnock Harriers cross country event. This has always been a very popular event in the past for EKAC athletes, on a course which normally proves to be a real challenge for all age groups.

In the U11’s boys race over 1.2k young Ross Hamilton continued to impress by coming in a brilliant 7th place overall in a scorching 4:10. Ross was followed home closely by Cameron McDonald who is also progressing very well at the moment too as he crossed the line in 9th place (4:17) Nathan Young was next home in an impressive 10th place (4:19) followed by Evan Selfridge in 20th place (4:34)

Next up the U11’s girls had a strong presence with another very impressive run by Abbie Kirwan who was first home from the girls of EKAC in 9th place in a blistering 4:27. Abbie has recently started showing real signs of improving significantly with real hard work in training and she is starting to see big improvements in her performances as a result of this. Young Leah Muirhead was close behind Abbie in 10th place (4:30) this was also a fabulous run from a young athlete who has just recently turned 9yrs old! Leah too, is showing significant improvement in her performances with lots of hard work. Holly Coutts backed up the girls superbly well with another great run in 4:47 for 22nd place and we had another 9yr old Claudia Harris in 28th place (4:58) with a fantastic run too. Maria May was next home in 31st place and also done very well by breaking the 5min barrier running the 1.2k in 4:59.

The U13’s boys had two athletes representing the club over the longer 3.2k distance and both didn’t disappoint. Owen Selfridge continued to show that he isn’t just a great little sprinter but also has fantastic endurance by flying round the course in a very fast 13:09 for 10th place overall with Thomas McCourt not too far behind with another determined run in 14:25 for 17th spot.

Our U13’s girls had four entries ready to take on the tough 3.2k course. First home for the girls was the ever reliable Sarah Connolly in 12th place with an impressive 14:08, Sarah was followed home closely by a “new recruit” with a fine debut run by Morgan McDougall with a fantastic 16th place in 14:27. Not too far behind was Morgan’s sister Iona with a fine debut run also in 15:21 for a 29th place finish with Sophie Forsythe giving her all in 32nd place with a time of 15:54.

Luke Kirwan was our sole representative in the U17 Men’s 6.4k race. Luke is still continuing his slow return to athletics after a long injury lay-off and ran very well over the now extremely tough muddy conditions to finish in an impressive 8th place in 29:54 getting another race under his belt.

The best run of the day was probably saved for the last race of the day in the Men’s senior 9.6k. John Fergusson was EKAC’s only runner but John has been running very well recently and hoped to continue his rich vein of form in this event. He didn’t disappoint as he continued his outstanding form to blitz his way round the course with only one Irvine athlete being able to stay with the fast pace he was setting. As they both entered the home straight John managed to hold off the attempts of the Irvine athlete to take the lead from him and he held on to win in a brilliant time of 34:22.

If John continues this kind of form throughout the Winter he will surely be aiming for a high finish at the Scottish Nationals in February next year at Callendar Park Falkirk. 

National Short Course Championships – Bellahouston Park Glasgow 09.11.14

 EKAC were on their travels once again with the choice of two events last weeked. First of all there was the National Short Course Championships in Bellahouston Park for U15’s and above and also the Kilmarnock Harriers annual XC event, open to all ages.

9 of our U15 age group through to senior athletes made the trip to Glasgow to test themselves at the Bellahouston event, an event which has been increasing in numbers over the last two years helped with the introduction of the younger races over 2k for U15’s & 3k for U17’s.

First off round the fairly flat course was young Matthew Kirwan, giving away almost 18mths to some of his peers in this race, but Matthew as usual, put in a determined run including a fine finish to come home in 62nd place in a time of 8:48 from the largest field assembled on the day from all the junior races.

Next up for EKAC was the Women’s U17’s over 3k and both Heather Addison and Rachael McCusker represented the black & yellow on the start line. Heather ran a fantastic race as she continues her way back to full fitness and you can clearly see the improvement in her running since she joined the club and began training with the endurance group. Heather managed to maintain a top 15 place for most of the way round the course and crossed the finish line in 15th place with a brilliant time of 12:11, no mean feat for her in her first year at this age group. Rachael also ran well despite this not being her favourite discipline and she finished the course in 37th position with a time of 16:15 and still managed to have a smile on her face as she crossed the finish line.

Last junior race of the day was the U17 Men where EKAC had three entrants - Ross Malloch, Martin Lynas & Aidan Gilbride. Aidan made the late decision to run despite having a heavy cold, a decision he was later to regret! From the gun the three EK athletes worked hard round the now “muddy” course. Aidan made his way into 2nd position as they made the last turn for home and looked in serious contention with Martin making his way through the field in his usual fashion with his usual superb pacing over cross-country and Ross dug in deep as he tried to keep the team in contention for the team prizes. With around 800m to go Aidan had no more to give as he struggled a little to breathe and began dropping back behind the group chasing the leader, unfortunately he was to cross the line in a tired looking 9th position in 9:51 but will surely learn from this. Martin on the other hand continued moving up through the field to a very impressive 21st place in 10:02. Ross gave it everything he had also and crossed the line in 48th place with a time of 11:46 to give the team a 7th place finish overall.

Once again it was the U20 & Senior race, that brought the event to a conclusion as both age groups were merged and EK had Jack Kirwan in the U20 race with Grant Baillie and Jamie Clements both running the senior race. A huge field made their way to the starting line with 227 runners taking part with ages ranging from 17 to 78!

Grant Baillie got into his stride from the gun and quickly put himself in a very respectable place early on with some strong running. Jamie Clements on the other hand had a very strong second half of the race as he paced the race very well making his way through the field on lap 2. Jack settled into his running early on too, still making his way back to full fitness after injury. Grant was the first EKAC athlete to cross the line with a great finish in 13:30 coming 31st in the senior race with Jamie not too far behind with his trademark blistering finish, passing several athletes in the last 50 metres of his run to record a time of 13:48 & 39th place finish. Jack too, should be very pleased with his showing as he finished with a fine 36th place in 15:35. It should be noted that in that U20 race he up against some superb athletes, proving once again that he is making significant strides on his journey back from injury.

Report on Kilmarnock to follow..... 

National Cross-Country Relay Championships 25.10.14


Last weekend saw EKAC return to the familiar Cumbernauld venue for the National Cross-Country Relay Championships. The weather conditions didn’t look too favourable in the week leading up to the event, with gale-force winds blowing and expected to continue throughout the weekend too.

Despite the forecast EKAC had 21 athletes competing and almost 4 full teams for the Junior Boys Relay – First up was the Junior Girls race over the testing 2.5k course and we had 4 athletes present. The first legs were ran by Sarah Connelly & Rebekah Sykes, both girls worked very hard over the extremely tough |”hilly” first half of the course after the initial melee on the start line as over 106 athletes fought for position early on. Rebekah negotiated the tough terrain to the best of her ability and managed to finish in a time of 14:26 - no mean feat for the young track starlet but unfortunately Rebekah had no-one to run the 2nd leg for her team. Sarah made her way sensibly round the course, moving up through the field gradually to find herself in a fantastic 22nd place (11:50) as she passed to Hannah Anderson - also an U13 athlete who was given the responsibility of running against girls much older and more experienced for the U15 2nd leg. Hannah, competing in her first Cross-Country season for the club ran a super leg keeping the team in the top 30, (12:31) surely we will see lots more from Hannah in the future. Heather, just back from a difficult time out injured was desperate to get back competing again for the club and she set about trying to improve the team’s overall position on the final leg. As the course unfolded for Heather she was able to catch a number of girls in front of her despite not having much training under her belt lately and she came home in a fantastic 25th place overall for the team in a time of 12:12. If these girls can stay fit I am sure they will improve on this place next year too.

Next up was the Junior Boy’s race with no less than three full teams entered for the club. With only one U15 athlete present - Matthew Kirwan, we had to call on the help of some of our very talented U13 athletes to run the difficult 2nd legs at U15 level. Team D were the unfortunate boys who had no 3rd runner but consisted of the consistent Joseph Hagen (12:21) and Ross Malloch (11:13) who both ran well despite having no-one to finish the race for them. Team C saw the debut of young Hamish Anderson (12:54) in a team with the always determined Kirwan brothers - Matthew (12:11) & Luke (11:06) – once again good efforts from all three to come home in 83rd place overall but more importantly, good experience for Hamish & even Matthew on a difficult course and also good to see Luke making his steady return to competing once again.

Team B faired slightly better and managed to come through at the end in 71st place overall. A tremendous effort at this level, for a team with two U13 athletes competing. Young Thomas McCourt continued his development, (12:15) being ably backed up by David McGiven giving his all on leg two (12:27) and the always-dependable Martin Lynas (9:59) on leg three who made up a number of places on the field in his final leg.

Team A included two of our fine young athletes from the U13 age group. Young Elliot Bain (11:31) & Owen Selfridge (11:19) both ran way beyond their years with Owen managing to “mix it with the big boys” on leg two, keeping Aidan Gilbride (9:33) in a top 50 place as he began the 3rd leg. Aidan worked hard on the final leg to bring the team home in 36th position overall – a very good position considering we had two athletes aged 11 & 12 on the first two legs. The number of U13 athletes on show augurs well for the future of the club at this event, with many gaining valuable experience.

The final race of the day for EKAC was once again the Senior Men’s race. So far this season this team have been running very well together in the relay format and they had high hopes again for a high position. This time Jamie Clements was entrusted with running the important first leg for the full A Team and was right up there from the gun as the huge mass of athletes set off round the 4k course. Jamie put in a strong run (14:42) to pass over to John Fergusson on leg two in a top 30 place, something that John could build on over his run. After his fine start to the Winter season John again pushed up through the field, working hard to make up some ground on other athletes ahead of him and was rewarded with a brilliant (14:01) leg to set Grant Baillie away in a very decent 17th position for the penultimate leg. Grant was his usual reliable self and he too kept the team in a high position as he used his vast experience to negotiate the course. He came home in a very respectable (14:17) to set his colleague Niall Walker away for the final leg of the day in 15th place. Niall was running very strongly when disaster struck around 1k into his run, with a shoe coming off and rather than stop to put it back on he decided to continue running as opposed to losing too much time on others. This certainly affected Niall’s determined run as the course is difficult enough with both shoes on never mind running ¾ of it with one. He made the best of the situation and brought the team home in a very respectable 18th place overall with a fine run (15:16) in one shoe – there is little doubt the team would have been in the top 15 if Niall's spike had stayed on!

There was also a B team running with Vincent Hastings & David Gorman making up the two-man team. Vincent put in an equally inspiring first leg to come through in 37th position (14:55) to hand over to David Gorman who ran well (17:36) despite knowing that he had no-one to pass to at the end of his run.

Once again the club had a day to remember with our younger U13 athletes making up almost half of the EKAC young athletes team's.



EKAC usually have a great turn out for this annual event and tend to bring back lots of medals from it & this year didn’t disappoint.

After last year almost being a washout with heavy rain, the weather was much more favourable, although there was a strong wind blowing on the day. Unfortunately some of the teams had to be re-organised at very short notice by the team manager’s due to a number of “no shows” on the day.

The first race of the day was the U11 Girls and the only full team we had on the day had a race to remember as the girls ran steady and controlled legs over the 1.2k course to come home in 2nd place and silver medals for the girl’s. Leah Muirhead 4:32, Holly Coutts 4:46 & anchor leg Abbie Kirwan 4:39.

Madeleine Hopkins 5:34 & Cara Gilbride 5:18 made impressive debuts on the road for the club but unfortunately had no third leg runner for them.

Following the girls were The U11’s boys who also had a strong team and ultimately lead from start to finish. Adam Muirhead 4:13, Ewan Sweeten 4:37 and Ross Hamilton 4:19 were rightfully crowned the boys Lanarkshire Champs, and a huge well done to all three. Young Joseph Goncalves 6:29 also competed on his own undeterred round the course gaining more experience for the future.

We had two junior girls teams in the U13/15/17 relay. Our A team managed to come 10th overall, consisting of Sarah Connelly 6:15, Rebecca Russell 7:26 & Megan Barrie 8:29. Team B being made up of Sophie Forsythe 7:00, Lara Brown 7:16 & Jessica Hagen 8:44 came home in 15th place overall.

Next came the U13 boys and once again we had an incomplete team consisting of Finn Caulfield 12:07 & Aaron Gilbride 11:20 who both worked hard round the windy course. The complete team faired better coming 7th place with the boys Benjamin England 9:43, Ewan Barry 10:32 and Joseph Hagen 10:00.

Matthew Kirwan was our only U15 boy and he ran the course in a gutsy 9:36 unfortunately unable to hand over to any club colleagues for the 2nd leg.

In the U17 Men’s race we had a strong presence with all three athletes coming in the top 5. Aidan Gilbride ran very well to take the Lanarkshire title over the 4k course in a very fast 12:52 being backed up by Martin Lynas in a fantastic 3rd place with an equally impressive 13:47. Unfortunately despite his best efforts, Ross Malloch was just out of the medals taking 5th place in 15:33. This is becoming a fine young team and if all three get a good winter’s training under their belts, they should certainly be in contention for a top three team placing at the Scottish Road Race Champs in March.

The final race of the day as usual was the Senior Men’s Relay over the 4k course. EK had a strong team with the inclusion of Grant Baillie. Once again John Fergusson was given the task of running the 1st leg and delivered as he had done at the recent West District Relays. This time John brought the team home in 1st place in front of Law & District with a time of 13:04. John handed over to Grant Baillie and Grant had the unenviable task of keeping the talented athletes behind at bay. Unfortunately, despite a brilliant effort by Grant he was caught by Ronhill Cambuslang’s fine athlete but still managed to hold off the impressive Shettleston team. Niall Walker was again given leg three and worked very hard to try and keep his team in a medal position which he did in a time of 13:47. Once again Jamie Clements anchored the team with the Law & District athlete not too far behind, both in contention for the bronze medal. Jamie closed the door on the chasing Law athlete by increasing his lead to finish in third place by some 34secs and earn all four well deserved bronze medals. U20 athlete Jack Kirwan ran the first leg himself just looking to get back to full fitness in a time of 14:32.

In summary, a fantastic day for East Kilbride with lots of medals won by the club but once again the number of “no shows” is cause for concern as it clearly affects some athletes getting the opportunity to run as part of a full team.



The cross-country season began in earnest recently with the very popular West District Relays being held at Birkmyre Park, Kilmacolm. There was a last minute change of venue due to the original course being deemed too dangerous for the athletes.

First race of the day was the Junior Girls relay, unfortunately the girl’s had an incomplete team with only Sarah Connelly & Robin Peacock available to run on the day, however both ran very well. Sarah set off first in the U13 leg and competed strongly near the leading group of the huge field assembled to come home in 13th place, with an impressive time of 9:52 over the 2.5k courses. Next up was Robin who also dug in deep round the course to almost maintain the girls position only dropping back one place, bringing them home in 14th place with an equally impressive 10:01. Sadly this would be where the day ended for the girl’s squad.

Next up were the Junior Boy’s and two teams were entered with a number making their debuts over cross-country terrain. Both boy’s on the 1st leg, David McGiven & Benjamin England started fairly conservatively but both began making their way through the vast field over the 2.5k route as it unwound. David was first home for EKAC in a very gutsy 9:54 in 35th place with Benjamin close behind with a great time also of 10:15 & 48th place. The 2nd legs for both teams were entrusted to two of our fine young athletes deemed able to compete with older athletes some up to 2/3yrs older than them and both held their own throughout. Elliot Bain was running well beyond his years with older boys to not only maintain the A team’s position but even managed to bring it home in a higher position to pass onto Aidan Gilbride on the final leg with the team now in 34th position after running a superb 9:27. For the B team young Thomas McCourt also ran very well in a very decent 10:18 and 44th place overall. Martin Lynas took the last leg for the B team and as usual work tirelessly to catch as many runners as possible bringing the B team home in 38th overall with a brilliant time of 8:22. For the A team Aidan ran a very determined leg also, making his way through the field in front, managing to make up quite a few places for the team, running through the finish line as the 21st placed team overall, but was also rewarded for his gutsy run by hearing he ran the fastest leg of the day from all entrants in a scintillating 7:44. This was Aidan’s last appearance in the West District Junior Relays at the event before he moves up to the senior ranks next year.

This event was a great introduction for our younger athletes to cross-country running and will help them gain valuable experience for the future - especially the forthcoming National Relays at the end of October in Cumbernauld.

The final race of the day was the eagerly anticipated Senior Men’s Relay where EKAC were looking to replicate or even better last year’s fantastic 6th place overall over the 4k course for the four man team. John Fergusson was given the job of leading the team out to a good start and he didn’t disappoint. From the start John was well placed at the back of the leading group and as the leg progressed John made his way to near the front of the field to pass to Vincent Hastings in a brilliant 4th place with a superb time of 12:16. The young U20 athlete Vincent worked hard for the team but was up against some fantastic opposition and dropped down to 12th place overall with a time of 14:09 on the 2nd leg. On the penultimate leg EK had the experienced Niall Walker who held position strongly with a fine run in a time of 13:12 before passing to club mate Jamie Clements running the anchor leg. Jamie, another experienced member of the four man team worked very hard also trying to maintain the team’s position. His hard work was rewarded with a 12th place team finish in a time of 13:17. The signs are there for the Senior Team as there were a couple of notable absences from last year’s team who would have helped today had they been available but they now look forward to Cumbernauld at end of month too, hoping to improve on today’s place.

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