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PICTURES: Success for Moray Road Runners, Forres Harriers and Elgin AAC at North District Cross Country Championships at Gordonstoun


By Craig Christie

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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.

Start of the Under 20 and Senior Women race. Picture: Daniel Forsyth..
Start of the Under 20 and Senior Women race. Picture: Daniel Forsyth..

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.

The final race of the afternoon - the senior and under 20's men make their way around the cross country track. Picture: Daniel Forsyth
The final race of the afternoon - the senior and under 20's men make their way around the cross country track. Picture: Daniel Forsyth

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.

Gordon Lennox (left) and James Wilson tackle the North cross country course. Picture: Daniel Forsyth
Gordon Lennox (left) and James Wilson tackle the North cross country course. Picture: Daniel Forsyth

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).

Scottish international Kenny Wilson finished second overall in the Senior Men's race with a time of 25:57. Picture: Daniel Forsyth
Scottish international Kenny Wilson finished second overall in the Senior Men's race with a time of 25:57. Picture: Daniel Forsyth

Inverness Harriers won the overall men’s team title with Lochaber second and Highland Hill Runners in third place.

Kirstie Rogan finished the Senior Women's race in a time of 31:11 in second overall. Picture: Daniel Forsyth..
Kirstie Rogan finished the Senior Women's race in a time of 31:11 in second overall. Picture: Daniel Forsyth..

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.

Inverness Harriers' Catriona Fraser finished first overall in the Senior Women's Cross Country race at Gordonstoun in a time of 31 minutes and 11 seconds. Picture: Daniel Forsyth..
Inverness Harriers' Catriona Fraser finished first overall in the Senior Women's Cross Country race at Gordonstoun in a time of 31 minutes and 11 seconds. Picture: Daniel Forsyth..

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.

Moray Road Runners' Zoey Gordon (left) and Forres Harriers' Susan McRitchie (right). Picture: Daniel Forsyth
Moray Road Runners' Zoey Gordon (left) and Forres Harriers' Susan McRitchie (right). Picture: Daniel Forsyth

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.

Inverness Harriers' Lois MacRae won the Under 13's Girls race with a time of 14:10. Picture: Daniel Forsyth
Inverness Harriers' Lois MacRae won the Under 13's Girls race with a time of 14:10. Picture: Daniel Forsyth

Fraserburgh’s Israel Noble won the under-13 boys event ahead of Elgin AAC’s Finlay McLuckie in second out of 21 runners.

Moray Road Runners' Lewis Paterson finished the U15 Boys race in a time of 15:38 in 7th overall. Picture: Daniel Forsyth..
Moray Road Runners' Lewis Paterson finished the U15 Boys race in a time of 15:38 in 7th overall. Picture: Daniel Forsyth..

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.

Forres Harriers' Michael Bishenden came second overall in the U15 Boys race with a time of 14:38. Picture: Daniel Forsyth
Forres Harriers' Michael Bishenden came second overall in the U15 Boys race with a time of 14:38. Picture: Daniel Forsyth

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.

Bill Symon, of the Forres Harriers, finished the U15 Boys race with a time of 15:51. Picture: Daniel Forsyth..
Bill Symon, of the Forres Harriers, finished the U15 Boys race with a time of 15:51. Picture: Daniel Forsyth..

Elgin team-mate Tom Palmer was fifth.

Buckie’s Isla Coull was 12th in the under-17 women’s race for Moray Road Runners.

Moray Road Runners' Niketa Cruickshank negotiates the water on the Gordonstoun route. Picture: Daniel Forsyth..
Moray Road Runners' Niketa Cruickshank negotiates the water on the Gordonstoun route. Picture: Daniel Forsyth..

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.


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