British & Irish Masters Cross Country International

Crispin Walsh and Colin Thomas were on international duty as they ran for Scotland, each for the second time, at the British and Irish Masters Cross Country International. It was Scotland's turn to host the event and runners from England, Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland and Wales were welcomed to a hilly Tollcross Park.

After finishing second in the V40 age group at the trial race in September, Crispin was automatically picked for the six strong squad. His recent form was good with a V40 silver medal at the Scottish National Short Course Cross Country Championships last Saturday and a win at The Southside Six on the Sunday showing both the speed and endurance were there.

Colin was one of three discretionary picks for the V35 squad having helped the team win bronze by finishing second Scottish V35 at the 2015 event in Dublin. Four weeks removed from the Amsterdam Marathon where Colin ran 2:35:01, this was his first race back in action.

After the women's / men's 65+ and the men's 50-64 races, Crispin and Colin were ready to take in four 2km loops in the men's 35-49 race.

The race started at its usual frenetic pace with a strong Irish contingent to the fore. Both Colin and Crispin were well placed coming to the end of the first lap alongside a large pack of runners. The fast start proved difficult to maintain for all the runners as the pace eased back to a more sustainable manner with several runners sliding off the back of the pack as they paid for their overexuberance.

The race thinned out over the next couple of laps and with one lap to go the fight for position and the potential for team medals reached a climax with every place gained or lost having an impact on the team scores.

Finishing in a time of 25:48, Colin finished fourth counter for the Scotland team and in seventeenth place in the 35-39 category - enough to win a second successive team bronze. Twenty-one seconds further back, Crispin was thirteenth in the 40-44 age group. As third placed Scot in the age category, he counted to the team score of forty points - a tally equalled by the Irish side. The men in green beat the men in blue on countback in Glasgow's east end by virtue of their fourth counter finishing ahead so Crispin and his teammates were left to settle with bronze.

Colin and Crispin represented club and country with distinction and their medals are testament to the work they've put in.

Full results can be found here. Photos by Dave Mitchell and Bobby Gavin can be found here and here, respectively. Video below by Gordon Curran.

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