Scottish Athletics Scottish National Cross Country Championships Sat. 18th Feb. 2012, Callendar Park, Falkirk
This is a huge event and surprisingly popular with 9 separate races from under 13’s upwards and a whopping 724 entrants in the Senior Mens race. Quite daunting, especially as the seniors race distance was 12km/7.5 miles and I was quite nervous on Saturday morning, not helped by snow showers and a cold wind.
However, Callendar Park is easy to find, plenty of parking, reasonable changing facilities at the High School and the event itself was well organised. And only one snow shower then lots of sunshine. Great for spectators as well and I watched some of the under 20’s mens race whilst warming up (Ross Matheson of Lasswade was one of the favourites). I did feel a bit on my lonesome until I bumped into Dave who was acting as assistant referee for the event.
Lining up at the start with hundreds of runners was more like the Edinburgh Marathon except that it felt a lot more competitive. The stampede after the gun was hectic, but I didn’t see anybody get trampled and we settled into our respective paces quite quickly.
I had started a little bit too far near the front and runners came past me every now and again. I also felt slightly sluggish after the Carnethy 5 and was conscious of the distance. The course was a classic 3 laps around the loch and park on grass, gravel and mud with 4 short climbs. I was going OK with as many runners behind as in front until the end of lap 2 when whap – my ankle turned over on a low kerb. I hopped and skipped painfully for the next few hundred yards but thought I could survive the last lap. It was pretty gruesome but I somehow managed to fend off some of the overtakers and eventually the pain of the ankle was forgotten in the last half mile effort to the line.
As soon as I stopped running things got quite ouchy and I hobbled straight into the First Aid tent! A very nice lady handed me an ice pack and took some details. She even managed to get hold of Dave who came in to offer sympathy and to check that I would be able to drive home.
Despite the stupid ankle, it was a ‘good’ or at least ‘useful’ experience and I would recommend it (but watch out for the kerb!). I ended up placed 214 out of 505 starters with a time of 50:24. Full results on the Scottish Athletics website. As I am sure that I haven’t put anyone off (and the senior womens’ course is only 2 laps, 5 miles), maybe we could organise a few more Harriers runners next year.