Finally, after a summer of dry and warm training, Cross Country season had come. The West Districts XC Relay champs was the first club race of the year, and we were treated to a day of excitement, an uncomfortably warm minibus and non-stop raining.
The race took us south-west to the “scenic” seaside town of Irvine. As we made our way to Beach Park, the race location, the towering chimneys and old industrial buildings added to the rustic, surf and turf race environment. While Hannah and John frantically searched for the declarations, Tom set up the impressive Hares and Hounds tent (pavilion) and provided sanctuary for all the keen runners to get changed, put on face paint and shelter from the rain.
The women’s race was up first, and Glasgow University was well represented with 4 teams and plenty of new club members. The first leg runners, Kirsty, Hannah, Emma, and Rhianna were off and had the difficult task of learning the course as they ran. They were greeted by sharp corners, tight uphills and zesty downhills. However, despite this, each of them made it back and finished strong, passing the baton, course info and tips onto the second leg runners; Emily, Izzy, Dominique and Caitlin. Quickly afterwards it was up to the anchors of each team. The pressure now was on Stefanie, Katherine and Juliet, who knew that top 10 finishes were in their grasp. After all was said and done, Glasgow Uni finished a superb 7th, 13th and 18th – setting a very high standard for Men’s teams up next.
Anthony and Euan were first up at the start line, eager to run and enter the pain cave. At the sound of the gun they were off with a sprint start. It was an exciting first leg, with plenty of action and pack running. Visor-Andrew and Arizona-Aidan were next to embrace the rolling hills and tight corners of Irvine, followed by Lewis and Gregor. Each ran strong and straight, again leaving it up to the anchors Robbie and Craig to bring it home. The Hares and Hounds managed an impressive 11th and 30th on a very competitive field of runners.
Soon enough, it was almost time to leave the beautiful Beach Park and make our way back to Glasgow. A quick game of Fives was played to decide who would take the drenched tent home to dry, which was conveniently ‘forgotten’ by Lewis. Tom made sure we were nice and roasty-toasty in the damp minibus for the return journey, and soon enough, we were all showered and drinking hot beverages at home after a very successful, soaking and satisfying outing to Irvine.
Words by John Melvin