Fifers flourish as they rise to the challenge in Wales

Annabel Simpson at the Celtic NationsAnnabel Simpson at the Celtic Nations
Annabel Simpson at the Celtic Nations
There were a handful of noteworthy performances from Fife runners at the final British Cross Country Challenge event at Blackweir Park in Cardiff.

The event, which coincided with the Celtic Nations Cross Country International, saw Logan Rees, Annabel Simpson, Tristan Rees and Robert Sparks represent Scotland in their respective races.

In the U23 men’s Celtic Nations race, the club’s Logan Rees won a silver medal behind Scottish team-mate Michael Ferguson.

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Together with third placed Connor Maclean, the boys comfortably won team gold medal.

In the U23 women’s Celtic Nations race, Annabel Simpson narrowly missed out on the medals in fourth but won team gold along with team mates Mhairi McLennan and Louise Mercer.

In the U17 men’s Celtic Nations race, Robert Sparks placed 11th and in the U20 men’s race, Tristan Rees placed 15th.

In the U13 girls’ race, which was not part of the Celtic Nations International, Anna Hedley took her fourth British Cross Country Challenge victory out of four races this season.

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Having won all the major races she has entered so far this season, Anna has secured her place as one of the nation’s top junior cross country runners and is surely favourite to win the national title in Falkirk next month.

In the same race, Anna’s younger sister Isla was 23rd place.

Fife AC’s biggest annual event, the popular Devil’s Burden Hill Relay, was another huge success with 147 teams taking part and a number of exceptional individual and team performances.

Shettleston’s A team of Peter Avent, Joe Symonds, Tom Owens, Alasdair Macleod, Robert Simpson and Ross Gollan took the victory.

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They covered the 21 mile long relay race in an impressive 2 hours 32 minutes and 47 seconds.

Just four minutes behind were Hunter’s Bog Trotter’s A team of Pat Gierjatowicz, Murray Strain, Peter Hodkinson, Doug Tullie, Oleg Chepelin and Tom Martyn.

There was a hugely promising performance from first Fife AC’s team home, which was made entirely of the club’s up and coming junior men.

Gavin McWhinnie, George Rees, Sam Fernando, Craig Morris, Gregor Malcolm and Iain McWhinnie finished in 9th place against much older and more experienced opposition.

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Fife AC’s senior women were second female team on the day behind a strong Hunter Bog Trotters team of Claire Ward, Georgia Tindley, Jill Stephen, Sarah O’Neill, Morag McClelland and Megan Mowbray.

Fiona Bracegirdle, Alison McGill, Jen Cruickshanks, Megan Crawford, Jen Spence and Katie Jones ran well to place 39th team overall.