There was a welcome return to cross country racing for the six PH athletes who made their way to Galashiels for the East District XC Relay Championships at Gala Academy. The single lap 4k course was described by most as more of a hill run, with the addition of a burn crossing, so it was certainly a tough route.
After a couple of drop outs the Men’s A team comprised Aaron Bennet, Darren Jubb, Paul Kieran and Mark Webster. Under 20 athlete Bennet got the team off to a solid start finishing his lap in 28th position with a run of 16:22. Next up was Darren Jubb who put in the fastest time of the quartet, hauling the team into 20th position with 15:32. Paul Kieran was only a second slower and was able to maintain the same place before handing over to anchorman Mark Webster who brought the team home in 18th position from 40 complete teams, timing himself at 16:44.
Unfortunately, the B team was incomplete but Colin Somerville and Ross Bennet still gave their all. There had been some debate about the fourth member of the A team and, as it turned out, Colin’s time of 16:35 was slightly quicker than Webster’s. It is always hard to compare times at cross country though and with the amount of rain on the day, who is to say Mark couldn’t have run 10 seconds faster on a less chewed up course? Well done also to Ross Bennet, who stepped up initially to complete a team, and was looking forward to teaming up with son Aaron before his own promotion to the top team. It was certainly a tough outing for Ross’s first cross country race in many years but will stand him in good stead as he rebuilds his fitness.
The club will be hoping for an improved turnout for the National Relay Championships at Scone Palace next weekend and also the first meeting of the East District League the week after. Having come very close to winning the Men’s Masters League last time out in 2019/20, and with the Women’s team previous winners, we will also be looking for some excellent performances in the league. Every runner counts though so any members reading this who aren’t sure about running cross country should definitely get involved – not only is it great fun it is also excellent training for the next road season.