YOUTH came to the fore at the third leg of this winter’s Borders Cross Country Series on Sunday 29th November 2015.

Teenager Thomas Otton stormed round the four-miles course in Peebles to win his first senior race on the circuit. The head boy of Galashiels Academy, who runs for Gala Harriers, crossed the finishing line in 27.01 minutes. Just seven seconds further back was Lauder teenager Mark Sutherland.

And making up the podium places was student Gavin Bryson from Lauder, who now runs for Edinburgh AC. Former series winner Michael Reid of Carnethy had to settle for fourth place – just ahead of 17-year-old Peebles runner Kobe Stevens, who represents the host Moorfoot club.

Despite the dreadful conditions of freezing winds and occasional showers a total of 172 senior athletes braved the muddy course from Haylodge Park, around Neipath, and down through South Park woods. A spokesman for the host Moorfoot club said: “It had been a bright enough morning but by the time the junior race went off the conditions had become very tricky.

“It was almost gale-force winds and it was really cold. We were keeping an eye on the Tweed as it was close to coming over its banks in places.”

“Despite the weather there was still really good numbers in both the senior and junior races.

“And the feedback we’ve had from runners has been excellent.”

Rachel Haines from the Hunter Bog Trotters club was first lady home in a time of 30.03 minutes.

Fiona Dalgeish from Gala Harriers finished strongly to claim second place with Sara O’Neil, also from the Hunter Bog Trotters, a further 100 metres back in third.

The shorter Junior race, which is held within the confides of Haylodge Park, attracted almost 100 runners. Due to the muddy conditions organisers reduced the length of the course to miss out a steep climb. Jamie Logan from the Gala Harriers club was first home with Mhari Wallace from the Moorfoot club finishing first girl. The fourth leg of the series takes place at Chirnside on Sunday December 13.

The penultimate leg is staged at Paxton House on Sunday, January 10 before the final races over Gala Policies in Galashiels on St Valentine’s Day.