HELENSBURGH Amateur Athletics Club’s athletes shone in a high-class field at the National Cross Country Championships in Falkirk at the weekend.

With the popularity of endurance running in Scotland at an all-time high, a record number of entrants descended on Callendar Park to compete in what is the blue riband boned event in the Scottish cross-country calendar.

Amongst the near 2,300 entrants was a small team of 12 Helensburgh junior athletes to take on the best endurance athletes competing in Scotland. The group ran in perfect conditions and on a firm but hilly track.

With Christopher Wilson having to withdraw late due to injury, the first race of the day saw Joshua Bain and Finn Burden compete for Helensburgh in the Under-13 boys’ event.

After a steady start, Joshua made progress through the field, finishing the 3.2km circuit in 14:52, with Finn coming in a minute behind.

In the Under-13 girls’ race, Helensburgh fielded a full team of Sinead Owen, Katie Flett, Jenny Scott and Jenny Hyde. All four girls were very close throughout the race, but Jenny Scott emerged as the quickest on the day, finishing the 3.2k in 17:43, closely followed in by Sinead, Katie and Jenny. This gave the girls a team position of 15th overall.

In the 13-15 age group races, both the boys and girls competed over the longer 4km circuit.

In the girls’ event, Helensburgh’s only competitor was Jessica Noble, who ran strongly and finished the course in a very respectable 19:51.

In the boys’ race, Finlay Gray was the first of the Helensburgh athletes to finish in a time of 17:11, with William Wright following him in in 19:35.

In the junior men’s and women’s events, Joe Barton and Melissa Robinson represented the club.

Melissa was first to compete in the 4.8k women’s race, where she ran a strong race to finish in 22:30, giving her an excellent finishing position of 38th.

Joe took on the longer 6.4k junior men’s event and was well positioned throughout, finishing the event in 26:11 for 46th place.