Central turn on the style at National Cross Country Relays

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To say the National Cross Country Relays turned into a joy day for Central AC would probably be an understatement.

Defending the two main senior titles from 2012, the club duly made it a hat-trick by adding the Young Females race this time around to the titles at Senior Women and Senior Men.

Indeed, by the time the Central AC quartet climbed on the podium as a dry day became a wet afternoon their cup was running over – literally, as coach Derek Easton was showered in champagne by his happy runners.

It was deservedly so with the selection of Andrew Butchart, Alex Hendry, Robert Russell and Ali Hay winning impressively from Shettleston Harriers and Inverclyde.

The men thus matched the achievements of Central women Morag MacLarty, Jennifer Emsley and Fiona Thompson in repeating 2012 success.

‘It is another great day for Central AC,’ said anchor leg man Hay.

‘On the men’s side of things I think the confidence and enthusiasm has grown so much over the past 12 months. We went to the European Club Cross Country Championships in February and took a big lift from that.

‘There are probably about 15 to 20 men of a similar standard now training and racing together and we’ve guys like Scott McDonald who wasn’t involved today, as well.

‘It’s great for those of us involved and there are still one or two of us who are trying to qualify for Glasgow 2014.’

Hay is certainly one of those as he chases the 1500m qualifying time but that’s a story for another day.

Central always looked favourites in the women’s race and the real battle became for silvers on the final leg of the 4k route.

Kilbarchan’s Elspeth Curran had over-hauled Fife to push into third and she closed the gap on Edinburgh AC before Laura Dunn did just enough to make sure her team finished second.

That race featured an appearance from GB International, Laura Muir, wearing a Glasgow Uni vest. Unofficial results suggest that Muir lifted her team from 51st position to 13th for an excellent personal effort in her first cross country outing since representing Scotland in Cardiff last January.

The first race of the day was the Young Females with Giffnock North defending the title they had won last year.

It looked as though a repeat could happen until a superb final leg by Kathryn Gillespie took Central AC into the gold medals. Kathryn’s team-mates on Saturday were Jennifer Walls and Katie Gallagher.

Giffnock North had to settle for silver medals with the bronzes heading to Pitreavie AAC.

In the Young Males race, though, there was a repeat of last year in terms of the winners. Inverclyde AC always looked dominant through Cameron Watson and Ryan Gray to allow Jonathan Glen to see them home. Kilbarchan took second with Law and District claiming the bronzes.

In the veterans races; the men’s V40s and V50s were won by Ronhill Cambuslang Harriers. Also on the podium were Corstorphine and Bellahouston (V40) and Central and VP-Glasgow (V50).

Gala Harriers won the V40 women’s from Falkirk Victoria and Edinburgh with Giffnock North winning the V50s from Fife AC.