It was a return to good, old fashioned, real, proper, cross country running at Bellahouston Park on Sunday, November 22. In a course based on the famous 1978 World Cross Country Champions route.
On that occasion Glasgow greeted the athletes with torrential rain, snow, strong winds and a traditional course full of hills, thick mud and puddles. A young man from a little known Irish village in County Waterford called Villierstown, set the athletics world alight with a performance of true world class. John Treacy on a course and in weather conditions that suited him perfectly ploughed through the terrain to become, at 20 years and 294 days, the youngest ever winner of the World Cross Country title. Easing away on a downhill stretch with a kilometre to go, Treacy went on to finish three seconds clear of Lithuanian Aleksandr Antipov, with Karel Lismont of Belgium third, pre race favourite Tony Simmons of England fourth and Scotland's running legend Nat Muir seventh.
Almost One Hundred Runners Help Turn Back the Clock
Thirty-one years later, whilst the weather remitted for the duration of the race, the heavy underfoot conditions, the hills, the mud and the puddles combined to ensure the course was as arduous as ever. Although the standards may not have been as high as in 1978, there were still some great performances from the 63 men and 33 women who participated in the 2009 Renfrewshire AAA Cross Country Championship.
In the men's event Kilbarchan's veteran Robert Quinn led from the start and increased his lead as he made his way around the three loops of the six mile course to finish in an impressive 36:09. Runner-up was, host club Bellahouston Road Runners new find, Peter Devenport in 37:59. Inverclyde's Sean Gaffney illustrated the spread of talent across the Renfrewshire clubs by earning third place in 38:31. BRR's own Irish sensation Liam Conway finished runner-up in the vets' race in 38:49 with club mate Neil Farnell claiming third in 39:39.Bellahouston Harrier Andy Campbell finished third male senior in a time of 39:27.
Men's Team Race
In the men's team races it was Bellahouston Road Runners that took Gold, ahead of Inverclyde Harriers. Greenock Glenpark Harriers earned Bronze, ahead of Bellahouston Harriers, Kilbarchan and Giffnock North.
Competition was strong in the women's race with Kilbarchan's Lianne Hamilton leading the field around the first of two loops before being overtaken by Inverclyde starlet Emma Rice who raced home to complete the four mile course in a time of 28:50. The 17 year old school pupil's strong finish ensured that she beat her 34 year old rival by 21 seconds. Runner-up Hamilton had the consolation of finishing first Senior, one minute in front of Bellahouston Road Runner Jane Simpson, who earned Bronze with a time of 30:11.
Women's Team Race
Giffnock North's Mary McCutcheon won the vets' race completing the course in a time of 31:21. Her strong performance helped to ensure that Giffnock took Gold in the women's team race, with Bellahouston Road Runners in Silver place and Bellahouston Harriers in Bronze. Greenock Glenpark placed fourth with Kilbarchan AC in fifth.
Women's race winner Emma Rice told www.scottishrunningguide "I've run as an under-15 and as an under-17 but this was my first race as a Senior. I found it really hard going, with the hills, the mud and the puddles but I did enjoy it, really! The course was testing, the organisation and marshalling were great and the post-race spread was superb."