The Romans built a wall in Callendar Park around 142AD, with three legions apparently numbering 7000 men wrestling with the Scottish weather and underfoot conditions.
Such was the challenge faced, it is believed the Antonine Wall took a number of years to complete.
A well-worn sign on a rock at Callendar Park commemorates the presence of the Romans and describes the Antonine Wall as the ‘Frontier of their Empire’.
But who will win more modern battles of Falkirk when 2000 or so athletic ‘legions’ seek to conquer the courses at the Lindsays National XC on Saturday?
The event always captures the imagination of our community and it is brilliant to have now fewer than 101 Scottish clubs represented on the entry lists.
Podium places are coveted by teams as well as individuals and for many endurance athletes – of all ages and stages – this is THE event to peak for of the winter.
We’ve mentioned already the 2236 names on start-lists and our Cross Country GB element with £4000 of prize-money to be shared out among Seniors.
Thanks are offered in advance to Lindsays, Falkirk Council, Falkirk Victoria Harriers, the Road Running and Cross Country Commission and a team of volunteers from 21 clubs led by Alex Jackson.
So let’s take a brief look at the two Senior races – with 405 names on the Women’s start list and 898 on the Men’s.
The Women’s race begins at 12.55pm and, without dwelling too much on ‘absent friends’, it looks a safe bet to suggest the podium places here could be more open than for some years (with recent medal winners not in attendance and GB international Megan Keith in New Zealand).
Who will walk through this open door at Falkirk? Will hill running GB internationals take advantage? Could that lead Carnethy HRC to the podium or even the title?
It’s over 10k and with six to count, of course, as all our Female and Male distances are equalised.
Here are some names we think might be prominent: Scout Adkin, Alice Goodall, Steph Pennycook, Holly Page, Naomi Lang, Catriona MacDonald (West champion), Catriona Graves (North champion).
Edinburgh Uni Hare and Hounds will start as favourites for the team title; they often do. Seeking to challenge the students and the hill runners will be Shettleston, Edinburgh, Fife and perhaps Glasgow Uni.
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