SHETLAND’S young cross country runners returned with two golds and a bronze medal from the North District championships at Forres at the weekend.
Conditions were dry, bright but bitterly cold and frosty underfoot and the team of four faced an unfamiliar course with the majority accustomed to forest trails, but they nevertheless had high hopes of success.
Shetland had two athletes in the under 15 girls’ race, Katie Bristow and Lauren Odie, and both started very well.
Katie immediately went to the front with Lauren well placed in sixth position. Unfortunately, Lauren’s race was cut short when she twisted her ankle on the uneven ground and was forced to retire.
Katie maintained her lead for most of the race but when two opponents went past towards the end of the forest stage she was unable to react and had to settle for the bronze medal. Her time for the 2.5 mile course was 18 minutes 21 seconds.
In the under-17 men’s race Bobby Bristow led straight from the off to secure gold. Only one other athlete showed any ability to stay with him but Bobby’s dominance on the hills was the decisive factor in his victory, covering just under four miles in an excellent 24 minutes 10 seconds.
The final race of the day saw Joshua Morrison compete in the under-20 category which was part of the senior men’s event. Joshua’s blistering pace took some of the seniors by surprise as he stormed into an early lead, opening up a comfortable gap over the other under-20s.
The gold medal was never in any doubt but now his aim was to compete well against the seniors. Joshua more than held his own, finishing a very impressive 13th out of 52, completing the near six-mile course in 37 minutes 13 seconds.
The performances were respectable as this was the first race of the season but now the challenge is to be competitive against the rest of Scotland in the national events.
The Shetland cross country team would like to record their gratitude for the considerable help from their sponsors: Net Services (Shetland) Ltd, Bolts Car Hire and NorthLink Ferries.