Friendly rivalry on cross country circuit

Cross country runners Katie Bristow (left) and Michelle Sandison.

Cross country runners Katie Bristow (left) and Michelle Sandison.

Athletes Michelle Sandsion and Katie Bristow did themselves, their teams and Shetland proud when they raced in the Bupa Inter-Districts Cross Country Championships in Edinburgh on Saturday.

The senior women’s race was one of several as the capital hosted a day of national and international competition in Holyrood Park.

Whalsay born and bred, Sandison has lived and worked in Glasgow for several years. Based on her excellent form she was selected to run for the Scotland West team in the event.

Glasgow Caledonian University student Bristow was also selected due to her recent placings at the sharp end of races and on this occasion she represented the Scottish Universities team.

Michelle Sandison surges ahead of Katie Bristow as the finish line approaches. Photo: Alan Ramage

Michelle Sandison surges ahead of Katie Bristow as the finish line approaches. Photo: Alan Ramage

The tough 3x2km lap course had some challenging hills including the infamous Haggis Knowe and some tricky mud and water sections.

Bristow’s first two laps saw her ahead of Sandison. However, the 2005 NatWest Island Games 10,000 metres gold medalist moved into a strong position, gaining a few metres on Bristow on the third lap.

As the Shetland pair entered the home straight together, Bristow attacked and regained some ground but Sandison found the strength to hold off the youngster in a sprint to the line, finishing ahead of her by a two second margin.

Sandison’s time of 23:16 secured her an excellent 10th place overall in the quality field and she was delighted with this result with Scotland West winning silver in the team competition.

Bristow was more than happy with her race, as fastest junior and the first Scottish Universities athlete to cross the line, leading her team to bronze.

The two runners are firm friends and train together when they can, Bristow gaining much from the knowledge and experience of Sandison, who runs for Glasgow’s Springburn Harriers.

Both continue to train hard and are in excellent shape to challenge again in the Scottish National Cross Country Championships in Falkirk on 22nd February.

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