Inverclyde AC were well represented at Stirling in the Inter Districts, Home Teams and Celtic International, as part of the British Cross Challenge.
With athletes from all over the UK coming to race, the calibre of race was particularly high despite the ruthless weather conditions taking its toll on athletes.
Andy Douglas was subtly impressive throughout as he was a fair stride off the front five and in the second pack. Andy’s performance was strong, but just missed out on the top ten by nine seconds. A place in front of him was his mountain running fellow international and Commonwealth Games marathon bronze medallist, Robbie Simpson. In the inter districts race, Andy led the West team and finished third in the competition.
Jonny Glen perhaps had the best chance of causing a stir in the senior men’s race in the Scotland vest, having taken fourth in Cardiff and not far off the quality of the favourites in the race. Unfortunately, it wasn’t Jonny’s day, awkwardly slipping on the first lap and jerking his back – making the rest of the long course a real challenge. He slipped back into the midfield, finishing in 38th, albeit not a true show of form.
Ryan Gray was close to catching his teammate after finishing as one of the highest athletes in a West vest – coming in only 17 seconds behind Jonny in 49th. His older brother Ross has been going through a purple patch of recent, but struggled throughout in the same team as Ryan coming in in 70th. Jack Letson and Mark Doherty were virtually inseparable throughout as they raced in the open race in the Inverclyde black and white stripes. In 95th and 97th place, the two had a strong individual showing.
In the senior women’s race, Nynke Mulholland won her first Scotland vest and proved her worth. In the Home Teams race including England, she finished tenth in the competition as Scotland’s third counter close behind her teammate Annabel Simpson. Including all other categories, she was 13th overall.
From one promising female athlete to a couple of others, Abi Hammerman had a strong run in the under 17 women’s race as she finished as fifth counter for the West and 33rd overall, making the counting team. Iris Paterson similarly should be happy with her run in the under 13 girls’ race as she finished in 26th in a field of over 60.
In the under 17 men’s race, two athletes made the West team with Josh Law continuing to improve exponentially to finish 36th ahead of his teammate Peter Bradshaw in 40th who have had little to separate them over the cross country recently. Josh was also a pivotal part of helping West win the Inter district championships as the last counter, beating East by just four points. Finally, Ciaran Hogg, who was a reserve for the West team too, competed in club colours finishing 72nd in tough conditions. Still having plenty of great races so far this season, he can be happy heading towards nationals.