GIFFNOCK North AAC’s Luke Traynor made his GB international cross-country debut in Budapest, Hungary, last Sunday, fighting his way to a hard-earned team bronze medal.
In sub-zero temperatures, racing over rutted, hard-packed snow on a scenic but relentlessly twisting 6k course, Traynor finished a commendable 38th of 128 runners, fifth Brit home in a championship contested by Europe’s under 20 elite.
Even getting to the event proved a test of stamina. The GB team plane was diverted to Vienna, Austria, after Budapest’s main airport was closed by a fire. Many teams didn’t arrive at their hotels until the early hours, little more than 24 hours before the racing began.
Nearer home, at Inverkip, Renfrewshire, Giffnock North’s junior cross country athletes enjoyed a medal-bedecked day in the mud of the West District Championships on Saturday.
Nicole Scott, Laura Penrice and Chloe Cowan took a coveted under 17s girls team gold, as did their u13 counterparts Erin Wallace, Nikki Miller, Danielle Kelly and Emma Lawton, who produced a seldom-achieved sweep of the first four places.
Under 13 boys Joseph and Michael Lowrie, Taylor Stewart and Ben Bicknall added the third team gold of the day, while the southside club’s u15 girls and boys claimed silver and bronze respectively.
Patrick Lonergan was to the fore in the u17 mens’ race and is well placed to join several clubmates in the soon to be announced West Team for the National Inter District Championships in Edinburgh in January.
Olympic track star Lynsey Sharp set aside her twice a day training schedule for a night at Giffnock North’s clubhouse last Friday, to present the prizes at the southside club’s annual Junior Awards celebration. Among those receiving prizes from the warmly welcomed 800 metre ace were:
Under 17 and overall athletes of the year — Chloe Cowan (middle distances) and Fraser O’Rourke (pole vault). U15 — Rachel Alexander and David Lambie. U13 — jointly Erin Wallace and Sophie Haldane, Andy Moses. U11 — Emily MacDonald, Reuben Nairne. Most Improved — Holly Still, Max Lancaster. outstanding Commitment to the Club — Paige McConville.