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National XC Relays 2023


(Credit: Bobby Gavin )

Inverclyde Athletic Club continued its strong presence in the senior men’s race at the Scottish National Cross Country Relay Championships, taking the bronze medal at Cumbernauld.

The team went into the event as one of the podium favourites, having missed the West District Cross

Country Relay Championships two weeks earlier due to flooding in Greenock.

Making up for their losses there, the quartet of Gregor Yates, John Bell, Ross Gray and Ben Potrykus recaptured the fine form of last year, with the team finishing second in 2022.

On his first A team appearance at Nationals, Gregor started off with a gutsy run, finishing 18th on the opening leg, a week removed from winning the Aberfoyle Trail Half Marathon.

He was closely followed by B team runner Michael Houston, making his relays return after five years, in 22nd.

John Bell had the task of chasing down a packed top 20, picking up seven spots to move the team into 11th at the halfway stage, still a minute behind third-placed Glasgow University.

Perhaps the most impressive performance of the day was that of Ross Gray, who was a late substitute for his brother Ryan in the A team, who succumbed to a late injury.

Ross ran the 12th quickest time over all legs, charging in the second half of the race to bring the team into fifth place, now less than 10 seconds behind Glasgow Uni, who still occupied the final medal position.

Ben Potrykus quickly swallowed up that lead, bringing the Zebras into the medals for the first time in the race, but had to deal with quick anchor leg runners from Cambuslang and Kilbarchan from behind.

A well-managed race saw him with the fifth quickest time of the day, pulling away from the chasers behind, but still 17 seconds down on the silver medal, which went to Edinburgh University.

Central AC, who were in a tight contest with Inverclyde last year for gold, retained their title.

The veterans team of Robert Paterson, Alan Callan, Pete Tucker and David Tamburini narrowly missed a medal, placing fourth in their category. Rob would come home in second on the first leg, also recording the second-best Vet 50 time of the day.

Following Michael in the B team was club captain Sean Gaffney and Jason Kane who ran almost identical times and Thomas Jamieson anchored the team home, finishing 40th, close behind the veterans team. On his senior debut, Keir Arthur gave a good account of himself in the incomplete C team, with more to work on for the rest of the season.

Achievement was found in the women’s race too, with two complete teams showing the success of the club’s jogging wing.

Nynke Mulholland-Stummer was the quickest of the club’s runners, finishing fifth on the opening leg, posting the 10th quickest time overall.

Kendall Gregory had her first outing at Cumbernauld and despite her inexperience, put in a strong performance after setting off near the front of the field.

Club captain Rachael Cunningham was in top form to pull the team up seven places before handing over to Hannah McGeehan who ensured the A team came home in 25th

.

Fielding a veterans team for the first time, Caroline McConnell, Faye Currie and Kim Law gave a fantastic account of themselves, finishing 15th in their category.

The senior teams now look toward the Short Course Cross Country Championships, set for Lanark at the start of November.

Inverclyde Athletic Club narrowly missed the medals in the junior girls’ race at the National Cross Country Relay Championships at Cumbernauld, but recorded their best-ever result at the race in fourth place.

The team of Olivia Lyne, Emma Binnie and Millie McClelland-Brooks were just four seconds adrift of Falkirk Victoria Harriers who completed the podium after two teams from Giffnock North.

Consistency from the first two legs was key – with Olivia finishing the under-13 leg in eighth and Emma taking the team to ninth in the under-15 stage, setting up well for Millie who came off a summer of representing Scotland at the Commonwealth Youth Games.

It was by far the fastest time of the day, finishing in 9:28, with her closest challenger being 24 seconds back.

A solid showing from the B team saw Nuala Munro, Grace Barry and Keira Gregory finish 30th, with a special showing from Keira, who raced an age group above her own.

Iona Wilson showed there’s depth in the under-13 girls group, having finished 32nd

for the C team, followed by Pearl Paterson on the under-15 leg – with both age groups having another athletes to complete teams at the West District and National Cross Country Championships.

In the junior boys’ race, Inverclyde finished 36th overall.

Charlie Lyne got the trio off to a strong start in the top 20, with fellow under-13 Sol Currie racing in the age group above, bringing the team back in 31st.

Under-17 Liam Kane put the hard work in to bring them home on the anchor leg.

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