Inverness teenager puts in Stirling effort to claim gold
Megan Keith was crowned under-20s champion at the Home Countries Cross Country International in Stirling.
The 17-year-old led the race from start to finish and also headed a Scotland 1-2-3 completed by team-mates Cera Gemmell and Eloise Walker, which secured both team titles for Scotland as well.
The Millburn Academy pupil added the title to her Scottish age group short course title and European junior team gold in Portugal.
Relishing Saturday’s muddy conditions in Stirling, Keith crossed the line in 26 minutes and 14 seconds. She was 11 seconds ahead of Gemmell who finished in second place.
Speaking about how tough the race was, she said: “It was horrible conditions on Saturday It was very windy and rainy and it was also muddy underfoot which I tend to handle quite well.
“We spoke about hopefully I could sit behind some of the other girls from the start and they would take a bit of the wind hopefully.
“But I realised early on that that wasn’t going to happen so I just thought I would go for it and see what I could do. It’s a really good one to win and I’m really delighted. I think the conditions definitely played to my strengths.
“I’m really happy. I think it was a strong run.”
Keith is now aiming for further success in 2020.
“Now my focus is on the Scottish National cross country championships in Falkirk in February and then the UK Inter Counties at Loughborough. That’s the British Cross final as well so that’s a big one.”
After success in Stirling, she moved on to Linlithgow on Sunday for a training camp in orienteering where she has twice won the European short course title.
She will be bidding for more European glory this summer.
There was a solid return to racing for Mhairi Maclennan who took fourth place in the senior women’s race in 29:27, 27 seconds behind winner Kate Avery of England.
Due to health problems, this was just Maclennan’s second race since July and she led home the Scottish team.
“I’m happy enough with that but I’m now hungry for more,” she said.
“I’m actually moving up in distance to do a half marathon in Barcelona and before that I’ll do the North of England cross country championships.”