Young runners brave bitter winter weather in record turn-out for schools cross-country championships

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There was mud, wind, rain and even sleet at this year’s schools cross country championships, but there was also a record turnout of runners.

More than 600 children from 38 local primary schools and nine secondary schools made the trip to the sports pitches at Netherdale in Galashiels last Friday for what was the third annual Borders Primary and Secondary Schools Cross Country Championships.

Netherdale, Galashiels, UK. 31 Jan 2014.''Schools Cross Country Event'''''Photo: Rob Gray

Netherdale, Galashiels, UK. 31 Jan 2014.''Schools Cross Country Event'''''Photo: Rob Gray

Organised by Borders Sport and Leisure Trust and the Scottish Borders Athletics Development Group, the event provided youngsters with the opportunity to gain experience through a regional competition prior to potentially participating in a national schools championship,

The pupils’ participated in a variety of races based on their age to accumulate points for their schools.

The overall winning primary was Priorsford, in Peebles, with Kingsland Primary – also Peebles – in second place and Melrose Primary in third.

In the secondary schools competition, Peebles was placed overall first with Selkirk High in second and Hawick School taking third spot.

Netherdale, Galashiels, UK. 31 Jan 2014.''Schools Cross Country Event'''''Photo: Rob Gray

Netherdale, Galashiels, UK. 31 Jan 2014.''Schools Cross Country Event'''''Photo: Rob Gray

See page 81 for full individual results.

S2 girls champion Zaynah Aziz was pleased with her performance: “It was quite tough for the first two laps, but I just tried to kick on in the third,” she told us.

A keen runner who trains five times a week and competes at weekends, Zaynah’s race plan was to go out quickly.

“But I think I went out a bit too fast and slowed down towards the end – although I’m still pleased with my time.”

Netherdale, Galashiels, UK. 31 Jan 2014.''Schools Cross Country Event'''''Photo: Rob Gray

Netherdale, Galashiels, UK. 31 Jan 2014.''Schools Cross Country Event'''''Photo: Rob Gray

The trust’s Neil Renton was race co-ordinator, and was delighted with the turnout of young competitors.

“I’m really pleased with the numbers of youngsters taking part – they’re considerably up on last year by something like 30 per cent.

“The enthusiasm from youngsters is wonderful. We’ve got huge numbers and it’s a great sport for kids to get involved with; it’s fantastic for their aerobic development.”

Graeme Murdoch, the trust’s active school manager, added: “The pupils showed a great deal of enthusiasm and competitive spirit which was great to see.

Netherdale, Galashiels, UK. 31 Jan 2014.''Schools Cross Country Event'''''Photo: Rob Gray

Netherdale, Galashiels, UK. 31 Jan 2014.''Schools Cross Country Event'''''Photo: Rob Gray

“We’d like to thank all those who helped, the schools and the pupils for taking part and for making this our best championship yet.”

Netherdale, Galashiels, UK. 31 Jan 2014.''Schools Cross Country Event'''''Photo: Rob Gray

Netherdale, Galashiels, UK. 31 Jan 2014.''Schools Cross Country Event'''''Photo: Rob Gray