Twelve-year-old Shetland runner Layla Todd finished fourth in the Scottish National Cross Country Championships in Falkirk at the weekend.
Todd braved cancelled boat journeys, an extended stay on the mainland and really challenging weather conditions to take part in the Lindsays-sponsored event.
It was the third cross country championship meeting she had been to on the mainland over the winter. After a third-place finish in the North District event in December and a fifth place finish in the Inter Districts event in January, expectations were high for another strong performance in what is the flagship age grade cross country championship of the season.
A field of 142 athletes took to the start line at Callendar Park in conditions which saw everything from sunshine, wind, hail and snow. The route had been changed because of severe weather over the previous week, making for a course that was very heavy underfoot and flooded in several places.
Todd managed to get to the front of the queue at the line and set off at a steady pace, settling in to a position within the top 20 or so runners after the initial surge.
Over the next 12 minutes she maintained her form and starting easing her way up through the field to settle in sixth place as the runner approached the final quarter of the race.
As the finish was coming into sight, Todd started to kick for home and her efforts were rewarded as she moved up to fourth and battled all the way to the finish line to maintain that position, getting it on the line with no more than a foot’s length from the athlete in fifth place.
Coach David Wagstaff said it was a fantastic achievement for the youngster, who was not only a great prospect for the future in athletics but also an aspiring triathlete who was doing well on the junior circuit.
Todd and her parents thanked NorthLink Ferries, without whose generous sponsorship participation in the cross country championships would not have been possible.