PICTURES: Success for Moray Road Runners, Forres Harriers and Elgin AAC at North District Cross Country Championships at Gordonstoun
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ATHLETES from across the north and north-east made their way to Gordonstoun school for the running of the North District Cross Country Championships.
The onset of coronavirus meant the event had taken a two-year break but was back on the calendar for 2021, testing the fitness and endurance of runners from under-13 age group to seniors.
A few North District league events had taken place ahead of the Gordonstoun races, which were also used as the Interdistrict Cross Country selection races.
With Storm Arwen the week before leading to a tree falling on the usual route, the race hosts Moray Road Runners, had to do a last-minute diversion on the course.
Then with heavy rain leading up to the event, there was an abundance of mud at Gordonstoun.
In the men’s race, Max Abernethy of Fraserburgh took gold when he claimed victory in a time of 25:40 and was an impressive 17 seconds ahead of Kenny Wilson of Moray Road Runners who finished in second place. Finlay Wild from Lochaber took bronze (26.08).
Inverness Harriers won the overall men’s team title with Lochaber second and Highland Hill Runners in third place.
The winning Inverness team were John Newsom, Stuart Gardiner, Finlay MacLennan, Donnie Macdonald, Robin Burnett and David McColl.
Highland Hill Runners won the overall women’s team title with Moray Road Runners second and Lochaber third.
Catriona Fraser–Lennox won the women’s title in a time of 31 minutes and 11 seconds and was 19 seconds ahead of nearest challenger Kirsty Rogan of Highland Hill Runners.
Rogan hails from Forres and has also run for Moray Road Runners.
Sarah Attwood of Skye and Lochalsh took bronze in a time of 31.47.
Inverness Harriers had the leading three places in the under-20 men’s race, Luke Davidson winning ahead of team-mates Lucas Cairns and Euan Rollo.
Buckie High and Milnes High pupils did well in the junior races.
Milnes’ pupil Alexandra Whelan finished fifth over 3k (15:21) in the under-13 girls’ cross country race won by Inverness Harriers’ Lois MacRae (14:10). Fellow Milnes’ pupil and Moray Road Runner Rhian Cantlie was 13th in a race of 27 runners.
Fraserburgh’s Israel Noble won the under-13 boys event ahead of Elgin AAC’s Finlay McLuckie in second out of 21 runners.
There was a thrilling finish to the boys’ under-15 event, with Angus Laird (Inverness Harriers) just pipping Forres Harriers’ Michael Bishenden by a second to the finish line in a race run over 4k.
Buckie schoolboy Roy Taylor dominated the under-17 men’s race to complete the 5k in 20:10 and win by seven seconds for Elgin AAC ahead of Stornoway’s Murray MacDonald.
Elgin team-mate Tom Palmer was fifth.
Buckie’s Isla Coull was 12th in the under-17 women’s race for Moray Road Runners.
Two over-70s completed the senior men’s race with Inverness’ Alex Sutherland first in 35:47.
Fraserburgh’s Keith Buchan was second in the male 45-and-over category while Moray’s John Urquhart won the over-55 race (32:08) and Forres Harriers’ David Weir was first to the line in the over-60s category, clocking 32:35.