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Scottish National Masters Cross Country Championships

02/02/2013

On Saturday 2nd February, the Scottish Athletics National Masters Cross Country Championships were held in Forres on the Moray coast and Jim Buchanan went off in search of age graded competition and mud...

Whilst most of the club were enjoying the club dinner lubrications, Jim drove north for five hours to Inverness for a pre-race quiet night.

The Forres cross country course is located in a town centre park with hilly woodland, but what is hidden initially by the trees are several lung busting steep climbs and descents. The races started with a snaking half mile across flat grassland followed by two miles around the woodland and back to the start for a second lap. Individual numbers were worn on the front, and age group numbers on the back of the club vest.

The Scottish Masters Cross Country Championship commenced in 1972, when the Scottish Veteran Harriers Club introduced an open championship - effectively a Scottish Championship since it was open to non-members. Masters Championships are contested in 5 year categories for athletes on or over 35 on the day of the race in accordance with the latest IAAF ruling. Races between age groups are usually combined for brevity, such as on Saturday  where the M35, M40, M45, M50, M55, M60 ran together over 8,000 metres and all women plus the M65, M70, M75 ran together over a 6,000 metres course.

Jim was keen to test his abilities against others in his age group, so by way of keeping tabs on who was who, decided to go immediately, in his words, "hot hooves" from the off. Jim recounts: "This meant staying with the front dozen, and counting that I was third M45. The first lap was an exciting ding-dong with several runners drifting back from the lead group, and a couple drawing up from behind. The second lap was a much harder slog, with more emphasis on keeping form and concentration on safe footing. Although I did drift back to 17th overall, and 4th M45 in 29.41, in the results I am sitting amongst runners who regular achieve a 34 minute 10k, so time to retune the training schedule and extend that lactate threshold!"

The Mens' championship winner was Robert Quinn (M45) of Kilbarchan in 27.21 whilst in the Ladies' race, the title went to Edel Mooney of Lothian RC in 22.20. Next year the race may be held in the Borders at Hawick, and Jim was keen to recommend that anyone over 35 should consider giving it a try by commenting that "It’s a very friendly set up, as I witnessed first hand, the start being delayed for five minutes as we gave an (standing) ovation to the last runner home in the previous race - a M75 gentleman. May we all wish to be capable of this when over 75!"

Full results can be found at:

http://www.scottishathletics.org.uk/calendar/events/15831-15738-scottish-athletics-national-masters-cc-championships

The accompanying photo is courtesy of Hannah Rogan of Forres Harriers.

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