Literally hundreds of young runners pulled on their trainers and braved the muddy trails of the Lews Castle Grounds this weekend as the Alex Murray Construction (AMC) Lewis and Harris Cross Country Series returned to the sporting calendar.
The huge wave of smiling youngsters which descended on the Castle Green brought with them a noticable buzz of excitement and energy ahead of the first of three scheduled cross country events.
On the sidelines a huge number of parents and pals lined up to watch as the fearless, the hardy and the quick all dashed around the two marked our courses around the castle and along the trails.
The distances being run, varied according to the various age groups competing.
Over 200 runners turned up at Lews Castle Green for the series opener which was run on a course which held up surprisingly well despite soft ground underfoot and rain in the days leading up to the event. Each lap included a few tough climbs and some downhill stretches in the mud so it was a suitably challenging course.
First up were the senior races and the ladies from West Side Runners took the top spots in the women’s race: Caroline Macdonald was first, followed by Jayne Millar in second place. This was Caroline’s first go at cross country so it was an especially impressive win.
The men’s race was won by SRAC runner, Florent Schall, who completed the course in an outstanding 26.03. Murdo Alex Mackenzie took second place and Norman Ferguson came in just behind in third place.
Winners of the U17 races were Finlay Emmott and Joanna Gillies, with David Morrison and Isla Budge taking the top U15 places.
The U13 races were dominated by up-and-coming Ness stars, Gemma Macritchie and Colin Macleod, who both ran fantastic final laps of the course. Emily Murray from Lionel also won the U9 race to add to the Ness success.
Tolsta school were victorious in both the U9 and U11 races with Sarah Maciver winning the U11 for the girls and Jordan Nicolson taking the U9 first place for the boys.
Keith Bray from Tong School charged to victory in the boys’ race with Charlie Morrison of West Side School just three seconds behind.
There was a great turn-out from all the primary schools thanks to the efforts of parents and teachers. Schools competing but not mentioned above were: Back, Laxdale, Stornoway, Point, Lochs, Shawbost, Pairc and Breasclete.
Overall, there were many impressive performances across the junior races and it was fantastic to see such a large crowd of runners out enjoying the mud on Saturday. Cross country running is tough and it’s always encouraging to see so many turn up to these events and give it a go.
Race 2 of the series will be held on Saturday 14th January.