MORE than 20 Helensburgh AAC athletes took to a hilly and muddy course at Balloch Park to compete in the Dunbartonshire AAA’s annual cross-country championships.

All age categories were eligible to compete in the event, but for many at HAAC one of the most encouraging features was to see many of the under-11 runners competing in their very first race in the yellow and red Helensburgh vests – as well as some good success for Team HAAC when the dust, and mud, settled at the end of the event.

The under-11 runners competing in the event for Helensburgh were Catriona McAllister, Emily Ferguson, Rachel Moulding, Holly Kenhard, Rupert Keating, Lewis Cameron, Harris MacLean and Fraser Algar.

And despite their tender years and lack of championship race experience, the girls’ and boys’ teams both returned home with silver medals, thanks to the top three runners across the line in each team counting towards the overall team awards.

Rupert, in particular, had a great race, finishing in a fantastic sixth place in the overall individual standings against some stiff, and more experienced, competition.

Not to be outdone, however, the Helensburgh under-13 teams in the event also raced their way to silver medals, with Maddie Rooney, Rowan Mair and Molly Ferguson counting for the girls’ team and Ewan McCartney, William Scott and Matthew Gall counting for the boys as both secured a place on the podium.

Cameron Williams, Theo Field and Daniel Logan competed as individuals in the tough event over a two-mile distance.

The day’s under-15 and under-17 races were both run over an even more taxing three-mile course, and again the Helensburgh contingent put in strong performances.

In the boys’ under-15 race, Dillon Gray and Alistair McCartney finished in a highly creditable sixth and seventh respectively, but there was even better news for Helensburgh in the girls’ race, in which Iona Wilson and Jenny Scott continued their fine cross-country form by setting a blistering pace from gun to tape, finishing some two minutes ahead of the field – with Iona winning gold and Jenny silver.

Under-17 runner Bryn Davis picked up an excellent bronze medal in a very competitive race, with William Wright in fifth.