Olympian Freya Ross is taking it one race at a time on her comeback following injury rehabilitation.
The GB international marathon runner has been troubled by hip problems for almost two years and missed out on the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
But the multiple Scottish National XC champion made a solid return in the National XC Relays at Cumbernauld as she helped Edinburgh AC break Central AC’s stranglehold on the women’s race.
Ross was on the opening leg for Edinburgh and then Rachael Dunn and 2015 National XC champion, Australian-born Scot Maddie Murray, clinched victory from silver medallists VP-Glasgow with Central – winners for the past three years – forced to settle for bronze on a day when between 3000-4000 people converged on Cumbernauld.
Central AC Men proved unstoppable, however, in the Senior Men’s races with a fourth successive victory and the squad guideed by coach Derek Easton will head to Liverpool next month hoping to win progress to the European Club Cross Country early next year as GB’s representatives.
‘It is good to be back and very nice to be part of winning team in a National championship once again,’ said Freya, with entry fields at a 23-year high.
‘I’ve done a few parkruns but nothing like this so it was about getting out there and doing it. Rachael and Maddie had great runs and it’s a good day for EAC with success in the Young Females race, as well.
‘For me, it was just about getting back racing at the moment and I enjoyed it out there. I will see how it goes over the next few weeks.’
The National 4K Champs at Bellahouston on Saturday 7 November are next in the Lindsays Cross Country season organised by scottishathletics – and Laura Muir has confirmed she will race that day for Dundee Hawkhill Harriers.
Muir had opted for a first leg run with Glasgow Uni in her first race since finishing fifth in the World Champs 1500m final in Beijing. She didn’t disappoint the crowds around the course with a superb 13.35 run for the 4k distance and fastest women’s lap of the day.
‘I enjoyed it and about halfway I did wonder if I had done the first part far too fast,’ grinned Laura, in between signing autographs for young athletes.
‘It felt good but up the top I was very exposed in the wind with nobody to hide in behind! I am planning to race Bellahouston and will do that one for Dundee Hawkhill.’
VP-Glasgow’s silver medals were set-up by a great run on the opening leg by Gillian Black, with the best U20 lap and seventh overall.
Central AC men won their ‘Four-in-a-Row’ golds from Shettleston with Inverclyde AC taking home bronze medals. For Shettleston, it was silver for the 10th time in this event.
‘We are delighted to win the Senior Men’s race once again,’ said Central’s Alastair Hay, twice a National XC champion.
‘There was a lot of competition again this year from Shettleston, with a strong team, and Inverclyde but thankfully we’ve seen it through. I think continuing to defend our title simply underlines both strength and depth at the club – our B team was fifth, as well.
‘There’s a good spirit and everyone is pushing each other on. We’ve an eye on trying to qualify for the European Cross Country club event – after being there back in 2012. We will go to Liverpool at the end of November and try and get there.’
Andrew Butchart brought it home for Central on a day when Tsegai Tewelde (Shettleston) had the fastest lap with 12.07. Hay’s fine run arguably made the difference for Central on the third leg as he chased down Mike Deason.
‘I’m happy we’ve won it again and the lads set it all up for me,’ said Butchart, who was second fastest with 12.18.
‘We will back at the 4K Champs at Bellahouston but first of all four of us are off to Mallorca this week for some warm weather training.’
In the Young Females race, Edinburgh went through in third after the first leg thanks to Pippa Carcas and Eloise Walker and Zoe Bates took them up to first and held it. Giffnock North B team were only 14 seconds adrift and they managed to beat their A team by a single second as Erin Wallace tried to reel in Sarah Eunson.
Kilbarchan AAC were in second in the Young Males race when U13 Jack Patton handed over to Andrew MacAngus and U17 athlete Sam McNair duly saw them home.
Corstorphine’s Addison family of David, Stephen and Anthony made it a special day with a podium place for the silvers with Kilbarchan B too strong for the chasing Lasswade to add bronzes to the club’s golds.
Masters and V50 races continue to prove very popular, with the latter category having developed over the past few years at Cumbernauld.
Gala Harriers are no strangers to success in the Women’s Masters category and they claimed gold thanks to the efforts of Fiona Dalgleish, Anya Campbell and Jennifer Forbes. The silvers went to Shettleston Harriers with Edinburgh Ac taking bronze.
In the V50 Women’s category, there was a win for a Falkirk Victoria Harriers team led by home by Fiona Matheson after runs by Beryl Junnier and Caroline Lawless.
Second places went to Clydesdale Harriers with Kirkintilloch Olympians in third.
Ronhill Cambuslang Harriers enjoyed double success as they took both the Men’s Masters race and the V50 category.
Their winning team as Masters level was Kenneth Campbell, Frank McGowan, Kerry-Liam Wilson and Jamie Reid. The silvers went to Kirkintilloch Olympians and third to Corstorphine AAC. That’s five Masters title wins in a row for Cambuslang.
There were 14 teams in the Men’s V50 section with Cambuslang winning via the runs of Chris Upson, Paul Thompson and Colin Feechan. The other medallists were Strathearn Harriers and Edinburgh AC.