Inverclyde Athletics Club’s Meredith Reid stood atop the podium at the picturesque Balloch Castle Country Park, giving the under-20 athlete her first victory in club colours at the West District Cross Country Championships.
Racing in the women’s race, Meredith was 30 seconds clear of Kilbarchan’s Louise Hastie for the win over 6.5 kilometres, finishing in 27:30.
This made her the first female champion at under-20 or senior level for Inverclyde at the West Districts, with the only other individual medal going to Emma Rice who won silver back in 2011 in the same age group.
Another gold looked on the cards in the senior men’s race with both contenders individually and as a team. Although the medals were not gold, two more podiums went to Inverclyde first thanks to Jonny Glen.
After going with the leading charge, it was Shettleston’s Lachlan Oates who pulled away, leaving Jonny in a great battle with Cambuslang’s Fraser Stewart. Jonny emerged with the silver medal after a strong final section. He claimed a team bronze medal too with a team of six who ran winners Cambuslang and silver medallists Shettleston close.
With some notable names missing due to illness, it was time for others to step up. In fifth was John Bell who ran a mature race to come through the field, not far in front of third counter Ross Gray in eighth who was among the leading pack for the first half. Michael Houston returned to cross country for the first time this season to finish solidly in 19th at the back of a tight pack of runners. All of the top three teams were tied on points after four counters. Stepping up into the counting team were David Tamburini in 47th and Graeme Hyett in 58th who importantly were high enough up the field to get the team medal.
Other athletes in the race included Jon Hammerman in 69th, Sean Gaffney in 91st and Dylan Crawford in 129th.
There were two more medal chances just missed in the senior ranks – the first coming in the senior women’s race where Nynke Mulholland finished fourth. Nynke was among the front runners, but was 14 seconds away from the bronze medal in the end in another great performance.
Similarly, Josh Law was fourth in the under-20 men’s race, continuing his fantastic form so far over the winter.
Those in the top 12 guaranteed a spot from themselves at the Inter District Cross Country Championships, and another of those to qualify was Ava Beaton in the girls’ under-15 by finishing ninth. Iris Paterson, who has moved up to this age group was a promising 26th while Liam Kane raced over this distance for the first time in the boys’ race, finishing 34th.
Finally, Grace Barry and Pearl Paterson made their debuts at the Championships in the under-13 girls’ race, gaining confidence to come through in 30th and 33rd respectively.