OCTOBER marks the start of the cross-country running season, with opportunities for ordinary club runners to compete in national events featuring genuine international class athletes.

For the two Harriers teams competing at the national cross-country relays at Cumbernauld, they got to compete with Scottish Olympians Andy Butchart and Callum Hawkins, and Scottish international Jo Moultrie, all competing for their clubs with considerable success.

The Harriers women's team ran well, with solid efforts from all four runners.

Maddy Watson (16.50), Ruth Clark (17.59), Kerry Sweeney (18.14) and Emily Greaves (17.11) had a good tussle with Dundee Hawkhill Harriers and Calderglen Harriers, with a fine 27th position finish and an overall time of 1.10.14.

The women's race was won by Edinburgh University Hare and Hounds in a time of 56.28.

The men's team was in among some very severe competition, and saw solid runs from Wattie Mackay (14.48), Charlie Grimson (15.17), Andy Greaves (15.20) and Roger Goddard (14.14), finishing in 60th position with an overall time of 59.39.

The men's race was won by Central AC, for the fifth year running, in a time of 47.19. Andrew Butchart, running for Central, ran an impressive 11.22, but fastest time of the day was Callum Hawkins in a fantastic time of 11.01, making up 13 places in the race.

Also running at the weekend was Iain Thomson, getting in some serious training effort in preparation for the Glen Ogle 33 ultra marathon at the start of November. Iain was running the Run of the Mill race on the Ochil hills.

This is a hard nine-mile race with 850m of ascent, starting in Alva, with an initial climb out of Alva Glen, followed by fast runnable trail through Woodland Park to reach Tillicoultry.

From Tillicoultry there's a steep climb up to Andrew Gannel Hill, with a decent run along the fenceline to the high point of Ben Cleuch.

After Ben Cleuch there is a small rise over Ben Ever before a fast and furious descent back to Alva. The race was won by Robert Simpson of Westerlands in a time of 1.11.06, with Iain finishing in 51st position (5th MV60) in his best time for this race of 1.51.18.

Of course, not all Harriers runners go in for racing, and the club is open to all interested in running, with a range of social runs and training sessions for all abilities.

Anyone interested in finding out more, can visit the club website at strathearnharriers.org.uk