Scotland’s runners more than met expectations at Saturday’s hotly anticipated, live streamed and televised XC event, Run Stirling.
In the Home Countries XC International – pitting Scotland versus teams from England, Wales and Ireland – Scotland’s Senior Men and U20 women both won team golds. In the Celtic XC International, Scotland’s runners regularly bested runners from Wales and Ireland for the podium spots. Overall, Scotland took home seven of the 10 sets of team golds up for grabs on the day – in conditions that were less than easy.
Andy Butchart took fourth in the Senior men’s Home Countries event, won by Wales’ Kris Jones (Dundee Hawkhill). He told scottishathletics: ‘I took the lead then took a really bad fall and so as soon as I hit the deck, I thought ‘that’s it.
"I wasn’t that keen when I saw the course with it being so muddy. It was just a matter of if you were fit and you could stay on your feet, you’d win the race. It was like an absolute mud-bath so you don’t get any traction. [The winner] Kris [Jones] is really good at these kind of conditions, having been in the mountains and everything. He’s so good in the mud so he’s just going to run away."
Butchart concluded: "So it was a hard day and while cross country is fun I can’t say I enjoyed that one."
Jamie Crowe, who took silver, agreed: ‘I’ve trained at Kings Park many times over the years, while at Uni in Stirling and with Andy Butchart with Central AC, and I’ve never seen it as muddy. So I’m chuffed to get second place in that kind of race and it just takes things on a wee bit for me after good progress in 2019."
In the senior women’s Home Countries competition, Scotland’s women came second against a dominant England.
Mhairi Maclennan just missed the podium, with Annabel Simpson (Fife AC), Nynke Mulholland (Inverclyde AC) and Fiona Brian (Metro Aberdeen) making up the rest of the team.
Image: Bobby Gavin (scottishathletics)