Butchart targets Great Britain cross country European place

Central AC's Cameron Milne, Andrew Butchart, Alex Hendry and Scott McDonald
Central AC's winning relay quartet Cameron Milne, Andrew Butchart, Alex Hendry and Scott McDonald

Andrew Butchart is targeting competing in Europe for Great Britain after anchoring Central Athletic Club to victory in the Scottish National Cross Country Relays at Cumbernauld.

He wore the GB vest at the Edinburgh Cross Country race in January and hopes to do so again at the European Cross Country event in Bulgaria in December.

"I'm with the seniors for the Liverpool trial in November, just missing the under-23 age group," said Butchart.

"I almost wish the Euro trial was now."

Butchart went into the race high on confidence after recently running the fastest leg in the English 6-Stage Road Relays where Central AC finished fourth.

Earlier in the year he was the fastest in the 12-stage English Road Relays.

At the Scottish Championships in Cumbernauld, triathlete Cameron Milne, Scottish Inter-District champion Alex Hendry and GB international Scott McDonald ran the first three legs before Butchart's anchor leg helped overhaul Inverclyde AC to make it three titles in as many years for his club.

Inverclyde had to settle for second, with Hawkins taking a bronze with Kilbarchan.

Butchart's fastest lap of 12 minutes 20 seconds over 4,000m in wet and windy conditions edged out Scotland Commonwealth Games 10,000m athlete Callum Hawkins.

The Kilbarchan AAC runner was three seconds slower in his fastest lap as around 1,300 athletes in all age groups battled against mud, rain, wind and hills.

"I have to give it a bash to try to get in the senior team," said Butchart of the Liverpool trials for Europe.

Rhona Auckland raced well for Edinburgh University's Hares and Hounds
Rhona Auckland raced well for Edinburgh University's Hares and Hounds Running Club

"I was close to selection last year and everything is going well right now.

"I will represent Scotland at the Leeds 10K a fortnight before Liverpool and Callum Hawkins is a team-mate for that. I will try to hang onto Callum and get a fast time."

Central AC also won the women's race for the third consecutive year, despite GB international Rhona Auckland giving Edinburgh University a healthy first-leg lead against under-20 runner Kathryn Gillespie.

Jennifer Emsley reduced the deficit for Central and anchor woman Morag MacLarty finished the race to retain the title. Edinburgh AC took second with Edinburgh University third.

"I think Jenny was the one who closed the gap the most," said MacLarty, second fastest behind Auckland on the lap times.

"I believe when she took it on we were maybe more than 60 seconds behind but it was only 20 when she handed to me.

"Kathryn has stepped up in her first race as an under-20 and I know she took her 1500m track time down significantly at the end of the season to 4 mins 19 secs.

"So that's another really good athlete with us."

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