There was a great Westies turnout of 15 runners for the start of the Winter League on Saturday at the West District Relays at Kirkintilloch. In the best traditions of cross-country, it was raining, the course was a bog and there were midges abound. In defiance of the usual Westies traditions, everyone turned up on time, no-one got lost, and everyone’s limbs were intact by the end.

A late call-off by Muffy due to earache, a condition she is more prone to provide than receive, was the worst possible start to her championship defence of the Women’s title. Chris was the fastest Westie of the day on the first stage, coming in 8th overall in 17:51 before handing over to Helen. Helen slipped a couple of places to 10th in her stage before passing on to Jane, whose time was only 4 seconds slower than Chris as the women’s team finished 9th overall. Unfortunately, Muffy’s absence meant that only Liz and Pat were able to run in the second team. Liz showed clearly that she was a first team contender with a time of 19:14.

In the men’s race Mark McColl demonstrated clearly that he was the man to beat in this year’s League, leading the A team in the first leg with a time of 14:52. Old man Gibbie wasn’t far behind in the second stage whilst Blair, Archie, Charlie and Dave battled it out for the minor placings, with just over 40 seconds separating them. Archie’s official time in the results mysteriously shows a minute faster; the brown envelope that Archie handed to the officials just before the start of the race has roused some suspicions. In any case, Archie will be extremely worried that Dave, starting to come back after a year sidelined through injury, was only 8 seconds slower. The brown envelopes will need to be thicker in future. Although Tony had the home advantage of a trail just oput the back door, he was unable to make anything of this and subsequently failed to pick up any position points.

Further back, Drew was only 9th Westie male, so his chances of regaining the Men’s crown this season took a severe dent at the first hurdle. Ian Struthers was over a minute faster , and Ian Murray, after finishing only a few seconds slower, declared that his goal for the year was to grab Drew’s scalp, a feat which seems physically impossible to me. Watch your back, Drew! Talking of which, Don Reid pulled out earlier on the Saturday complaining of back pain. One reason for Blair to breath a sigh of relief, although the rest of us will be disappointed at missing out on the rivalry between the two.

The excitement continues next week at the Dunbartonshire Relays at Garscube.

Women

Fastest 15:00 Jill Shannon, Kilbarchan

First Team Shettleston

Westies A

8th Chris 17:51

10th Helen 20:12

9th Jane 17:55

Westies B

12th Liz 19:14

12th Pat 21:57

Men

Fastest 12:32 Bobby Quinn

First Team Inverclyde

Westies A

26th Mark 14:52

28th Gibson 15:28

31st Blair 16:43

29th Archie 17:20

Westies B

47th Tony 18:04

44th Charlie 17:04

42nd Drew 20:42

38th Ian S 19:09

Westies C

45th Dave 17:28

47th Ian M 21:02

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