Edinburgh Braids is everything that cross country hinges on – hundreds of runners, thin paths, hills, rocks and mud.
This year’s annual even took place on November 18th and saw 24 runners from Newcastle University Athletics and X Country take part. The day’s two events, a five kilometre and a ten kilometre race, took place on a course surrounding Braids Hill Gold Course. A steep two kilometre incline is followed by plummeting downhills and uneven terrain which, for many, proves more of a test of balance than speed.
Nonetheless, Newcastle posted impressive times on the day. Notable performances came from the likes of Vice-President Will Stockwell, placing 14th out of 127 men in the five kilometre, with a time of 16:58. X Country captain, Shona Haston, continued to put recent injury problems aside to conquer Braids in 19:32 and finish in the top 10 women. She reflected on her pride of the team on the whole: “The day went really well with everyone putting in great performances over a tough course. We’re looking forward to the rest of the season with strong teams already lined up for Decembers Leeds XC relays.”
Those brave enough to take on an extra lap and enter the ten kilometre format included Alex Stokes whose time of 35:48 saw him pip a local rival from Durham University on the line. Meanwhile, Sean Haycock emerged triumphant in what looks to be a fast forming rivalry between himself and fellow club member Jack Holmes after a neck-and-neck first lap.
Special mentions must also go to first year runners, Sam Hansen, Alex Peck and Rebecca Charlton who used their first race to set up what looks a very promising season.
After the race runners enjoyed haggis and ceilidh dancing at the social with the other clubs. Social Secretary, Jack Holmes reflects: “As well as racing, it’s important to meet other runners from around the UK. Edinburgh were amazing hosts and made for a memorable night.”