Saturday 12th October saw the start of the 2013/1014 cross country season with the opening race, The West District XC Relays, taking place at Hamilton Park Race Course, Hamilton. This was the first cross country meeting at Hamilton for 45 years and it provided an excellent introduction to cross country racing for the younger and less experienced athletes amongst the 44 junior athletes who assembled for Seaforth. With the club going from strength to strength this was reflected in the number of teams that team coach Alan Sprang was able to muster with 8 teams starting in the girls race and 9 teams starting in the boys the race. These relays are ran over 3 legs with an u13 athlete running the first leg then handing over to either an u13 or u15 athlete who in turn hands over to either an u15 or u17 athlete for the last leg with each athlete running over the 2.5k course. Perfect conditions greeted everyone at Hamilton with the weather being dry and almost windless.
With the girls up first the meeting got underway and after 2.5k it was Emma Frew of Seaforth who handed over from 1st place to her team-mate India Birrell who in turn handed over to Kirstin Oakley from 7th place. Kirstin gave her usual gutsy performance and brought the team home in an excellent 5th place. In the first leg of the junior females race there were 61 starters with Emma Frew for Seaforth ‘A’ coming home in 1st place; Lucy Davidson for ‘B’ in 16th; Caitlin Chilton for ‘C’ in 22nd ; Emma Low for ‘F’ in 23rd ; Melissa Miller for ‘G’ in 26th ; Charlotte McDowall for ‘D’ in 39th ; Jena Anderson for ‘E’ in 42nd and Eilidh Carswell for ‘H’ in 45th place.
The second leg which had either u13 or u15 runners saw Seaforth with 7 competitors. India Birrell of Seaforth ‘A’ was the first Seaforth runner home in 7th ; Mia Cullis for ‘B’ in 22nd ; Rebecca Martin for ‘C’ in 31st ; Kate Alexander for ‘F’ in 39th ; Megan Short for ‘D’ in 47th ; Georgia Brawley for ‘E’ in 48th and Hannah Pettigrew for ‘G’ in 49th with 59 teams completing the second leg.
The third leg which had either u15 or u17 athletes saw Seaforth finish with 7 complete teams. The first runner home was Kirstin Oakley for ‘A’ in 5th place followed by Lisa Rennie ‘B’ in 19th ; Beth McRae for ‘C’ in 26th ; Rachael King for ‘D’ in 38th ; Rebecca Watson for ‘F’ in 44th ; Hannah Birrell for ‘E’ in 45th and Megan Miller for ‘G’ in 47th with 53 teams completing the third and final leg.
In the boys race Seaforth had 9 runners in the first leg with 64 teams starting. The first runner home for Seaforth was Daniel Martin for ‘B’ in 5th followed by Scott Sprang for ‘A’ in 12th ; Steven Martin for ‘C’ in 16th ; Greig Oakley for ‘D’ in 25th ; Aidan Copland for ‘E’ in 32nd ; Joshua Cooke for ‘F’ in 49th ; Alasdair Armstrong for ‘I’ in 59th ; Ben Smyth for ‘G’ in 60th and Callum Laurie for ‘H’ in 62nd place.
The second leg of the boys race saw Seaforth with 7 competitors. Fraser Stirling was the first runner home for Seaforth ‘A’ in 3rd followed by Lewis Ross for ‘B’ in 8th ; Jamie Brotherston for ‘C’ in 11th ; Cameron Ross for ‘D’ in 16th ; Fraser Angus for ‘E’ in 25th ; Fraser Patterson for ‘G’ in 44th and Blair Smillie for ‘F’ in 50th with 57 teams completing the leg.
In the third and final leg Seaforth had 6 runners. The first of those was James Pettigrew for ‘A’ in 4th place with Rhys Sim for ‘B’ in 12th ; Ross Nicolson for ‘C’ in 14th ; Matthew Brawley for ‘D’ in 19th ; John Hamilton for ‘E’ in 29th and Callum Meldrum for ‘F’ in 45th with 52 teams completing the third leg.
This was the first time in many years that Ayr Seaforth have managed to field so many runners and is surely testimony to the excellent work being done at the club. For the club to have 4 teams in the first 20 teams in the boys race was an amazing feat only equalled by the ever strong Giffnock North team from Glasgow and it is to be hoped that this is a sign of good things for the rest of the season. Well done to everyone who competed.