Ayr Seaforth athletes had a testing time over the new course being used for the West District Cross Country Championships at Inverkip.
Despite being relatively flat, the varied underfoot conditions made the going tough for many as the Championships progressed through the various age groups.
With record numbers competing, the under 13 girls’ team found the course and level of competition much tougher than previously experienced.
All performed well above expectations with India Birrell and Emily Cleer having a close battle to see who would be first Seaforth finisher.
Although the battle was won by India, both Emily and the remaining Seaforth girls including Caitlin Chilton, Mia Cullis and Beth Littlejohn all finished strongly and will benefit from the experience.
The under 13 boys’ age group is particularly competitive this year and Seaforth’s strong team of Lewis Ross, Ewan McLevy, Daniel Martin and Steven Martin were expected to finish high up the team places.
They finished sixth with Lewis Ross in 12th, closely followed by Ewan McLevy in 13th and twins Daniel and Steve Martin in 21st and 50th respectively.
Conditions did not suit Kirstin Oakley who had a slightly below par performance in the under 15 girls’ race.
Despite this, she battled bravely to take fourth place and secure her place in the west district team for the inter districts competition in Edinburgh.
Teammate Lisa Rennie showed her recent hard work is paying dividends and is beginning to return to something like full fitness with an excellent 16th place.
Perhaps the performance of the day was from Fraser Stirling in the under 15 boys age group. Despite competing against athletes much older than him, Fraser showed great strength and endurance in working his way gradually through the field to finish tenth and to also secure his place in the district squad.
Given that Fraser has another year to go in this age group, this was a truly remarkable performance from the Girvan schoolboy.
The large field of senior men ran in the last race of the day over a gruelling churned up course.
Kenny Neil, who has only recently returned to running after almost a decade, produced a fantastic performance to finish 33rd.
This was the best performance in the West District Championship from a Seaforth senior athlete for many a year. Veteran Laurence Baker finished 107th with Barry Duddy in 122nd, Kevin Bloy in 133rd and Tom McCulloch in 152nd.
The next race will be the Turkey Trot in Ayr on Boxing Day.
Results: U13 girls: India Birrell 33rd 13:54, Emily Cleer 36th 14:05, Caitlin Chilton 48th
14:36, Mia Cullis 59th 15:24, Beth Littlejohn 71st 16:40. U13 boys: Lewis Ross 12th 11:26, Ewan McLevy 13th 11:33, Daniel Martin 21st 12:02, Steven Martin 50th 13:11. U15 Girls: Kirstin Oakley 4th 17:04, Lisa Rennie 16th 18:31; U15 Boys: Fraser Stirling 19th 15:51.
Senior men: Kenny Neil 33rd 40:27, Laurence Baker 107th 45:06, Barry Duddy 122nd 46:09, Kevin Bloy 133rd 47:10, Tom McCulloch 152nd 49:13.