MEMBERS of Irvine’s jogging and running club Ron Runners had a much quieter week with few events available for dedicated road runners as the winter cross country season gets into full swing.

Despite only three members entering the Ayrshire Cross Country Championship the club was nevertheless heavily involved throughout the day.

Four members reported to Rozelle Park in Ayr, at 8.30am in freezing temperatures, to help flag and tape the 3000-meter route which the adult runners would have to negotiate 3 times as they cover 9000 meters distance from gun to finish line, even at that early time the route was riddled with ice crusted puddles and in places where there was no standing water the common underfoot running conditions was very soft swamp like ground with very few areas offering any firm ground.

Even the start and finish area near the changing rooms and rugby pitches where the best of footing was encountered, mud and puddles were the order of the day. For Registration duties saw a further four members volunteer and all except one would remain to assist in assuring races went ahead smoothly.

The adult events were the last to start after all the younger ages had run, so conditions underfoot area had become almost as churned up and boggy as the worst, meaning strength and stamina became paramount in having a successful run. Sylvia Mulholland has both in abundance and covered the 9000 metres with a time of 46:35 - claiming fifth position - an excellent effort.

John Elliot and Andy Stewart also toed the start line (John was one of the four starting early marking out the course, which give him a rather advantageous knowledge of the best route through the clinging mud but the exertions of laying and flagging the event perhaps took a toll, John performed well and should be content with his finishing time while Andy, though finishing ahead, reported a day in which he never felt he achieved his best. With the event coming to a conclusion John rejoined the morning group to assist in making sure the park was left in good order with all discarded rubbish cleared away.

With last week’s cancellation of the Eglinton Park 5k, Sylvia Mulholland warmed up for the cross country Championship by entering the 5k at Rozelle at simply jogged round the twisting course recording 28:58 Perhaps being sheltered by trees helped to keep the paths and tracks relatively free of icy conditions.

The trail-loving members who often meet on random Friday mornings, work and family commitments allowing, have recently visited the Smugglers Trail from Dundonald to Barassie with Sorn and part of the River Ayr Way also receiving regular visits but venues now have to be chosen more with conditions in mind, keeping safe becoming priority.

With the Troon Parkrun having a first trial run the club had a choice of nearby events with more opting to take a turn round Troon simply to say they had ran the first ever Troon Park 5k, but Eglinton still attracted a few.

At Eglinton, James Chalmers led the club home recording 19:56 with Andy Stewart 20:34 close behind. Andy was followed by James McGill 21:39 Rachel Wood claimed the honour of first lady back with 27:51. She finished ahead of her aunt Audrey Green 28:36 while Ann Hay 35:10 got the better of sister Mary Huggan 35:30.

Troon attracted 13 members including Cameron Miller specially down from Glasgow for the occasion and was rewarded by eighth position timing 19:48 over a very flat route utilising the promenade while first for the ladies Fiona Wyper posted 23:25 just after Neil Kyle 21:32. Hugh Hood just failed to beat Fiona to the line when recording 23:28, Ian Short did well with his 26:43 while Eric Pearson's 28:37 is his best for some months, Margaret Craig 28:38, Lynn Shearer 28:39 and Elizabeth Fairbairn also had fast times, not recorded. Joyce White in her first race for some 10 years was surprised but delighted with her 29:10 ahead of training pal Dayle Burnside 33:19, Allison Elliot 34:37 and Gaynor Elliot 33:38 to bring the club home. Ron Cheyne aka The Boss also completed the Troon Parkrun but did not register so well done to Ron – you were spotted and a big cheer saw him home.

Rons Runners welcome runners of all abilities and beginners especially so. Running with company is not only far more enjoyable but adds greatly to individuals’ safety. Run in well-lit areas wearing reflective or white clothing. Normal training is on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 6pm at the Asda end of the Mall.