West District XC Relays

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.img_7015

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

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Stirling Freshers XC

Six of us jumped into GUSA 10 on a lovely Wednesday afternoon as we prepared to set off to Stirling for the first cross country race of the semester. Tom the driver, 3 guys confusingly named Andrew, Andrew, and Drew, along with first timers Madeline and Vera.

Soon enough however, we were jumping back out again as the dashboard was signalling a braking fault. So ensued a long debacle of trying to find a replacement bus, failing to get a replacement bus, driving to the garage to see if they could quickly fix it, being taken on a test drive and performing an emergency stop to test the brakes, and then finally being told that not only were the brakes faulty but so were the airbags and other important features. It looked like all hope was lost.

But never fear. Through the grey clouds came the angelic figure of Tom with news of a replacement bus supplied by the mechanics. We were back on the road, but the ordeal wasn’t over yet. Time was against us. Leaving at 4:20 for a 5 o’clock race left no room for error and the early commuters were no help at all.

We managed to contact the organiser who would have our race numbers ready for us when we turned up, but we were cutting it very close. At 5:02 we arrived at the race HQ and everyone jumped out to make a dash for the start line.

As it turned out, the organiser had very kindly delayed the start by 30 mins just for us, so we were able to lower our heartbeats a little and warm up before we raced. A very stressful few hours were followed by some great racing by all with our boys ending up with 4th, 5th, and 11th to finish 2nd team, while Vera and Madeline came round in 37th and 48th.

A beautiful day for a not-so-Scottish cross country with no mud to be seen made for some fast running and sweaty faces and everyone enjoyed the experience thoroughly (aside from the bus dilemma)

Special thanks to the organisers from Stirling Uni, we were all very appreciative for the delayed start

Words by Andrew Merry

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