Shetland athlete and Anderson High School pupil Bobby Bristow helped the Scottish team take silver position in the weekend’s schools cross country international.
He had achieved a personal ambition when selected to represent his country in the annual event against England, Ireland and Wales.
The rotational system for hosting the match meant this was Wales’ turn and they chose the iconic setting of Bangor on the banks of the Menai Straights with Mount Snowdon in the background on this occasion.
The undulating course over farmland was, as expected, tough, varying from soft to firm underfoot while a strong wind blowing in from Caernarfon Bay added to the runners’ challenge.
Bobby’s race, the intermediate age group, started without anyone taking the early initiative. Most of the 32 runners, including Bobby, remained in the tightly grouped pack.
Inevitably the pace quickened after about two miles of the 3.75 mile course and the field began to thin out. Bobby found himself in his own private battle with two Irish competitors and paced himself perfectly to finish strongly ahead of them in 23rd place, therefore denying Ireland much needed points in the final team positions. His time for the course was 22 minutes 49 seconds. England won the team gold but Scotland held off the Irish challenge to secure silver.
All in all it was a successful day for the young Scots, with two individual gold medals, two individual bronze medals and every team winning at least a bronze.
After the dust had settled Bobby was able to reflect on his international debut. “To run against the best in Britain was a great experience,” he said. “It was just amazing to be here.”
He said he would like to thank the sponsors“ Net Services (Shetland) Ltd, Bolts Car Hire and NorthLink Ferries“ for the generous help throughout the season.