A team of 13 athletes from Ayr Seaforth competed today in the British Athletics UK Cross Challenge which took place at Sefton Park, Liverpool. The athletes and parents travelled down the day before and stayed overnight in nearby Widnes in preparation for the race. After a freezing cold night frosty conditions gave way to a fine day with temperatures rising and the course in turn softening up.
The first race of the day was the u11 race which saw both boys and girls run together. The sole Seaforth competitor in this category was young Lewis Martin who came 52nd out of 72 runners over the 1.9km course in a time of 8:43.
Next up was the u13 girls race which was over a distance of 3km. Seaforth had 3 athletes competing in a starting line up 107 runners. The run of the day saw u13 starlet Emma Frew complete the course in a time of 11:29 coming home in 7th place. Emma was followed by team mates Caitlin Chilton 69th (13:17) and Jena Anderson 84th (13:57).
This was followed by the u13 boys race which had 114 runners over the same distance with 4 athletes competing for Seaforth. First in was Scott Sprang in 20th place in a time of 11:09 followed by Daniel Martin 31st (11:22), Greig Oakley 58th (11:54) and Steven Martin 77th (12:31).
The u15 boys race followed which was also over a distance of 3km. In this race Seaforth had a sole runner in the field of 135 starters. Fraser Stirling completed the course in a time of 10:11 coming home in an excellent 25th place with only 11secs separating him and 14th place.
The u15 girls were next over the distance with 2 Seaforth athletes running in the field of 87 runners. Finishing positions for this race were Mia Cullis 78th (13:50) and Rebecca Martin 83rd (14:30).
The penultimate race of the day with a Seaforth entrant was the u17 womens race which was over a distance of 4.4km and was run alongside the u20 womens race with a total of 85 entrants in the u17 category. The sole Seaforth runner was Kirstin Oakley who completed the course in 21st place in a time of 16:20. This again was a close race with no less than 8secs separating 13th to 21st places.
The last race with a Seaforth athlete was the u17 men which was run over a distance of 5.5km. A total of 110 athletes completed the course with James Pettigrew coming home in 48th place with a time of 19:11.
With the exception of Kirstin and Greig Oakley all other athletes were making their debut on the British stage and will have gained invaluable experience of competing at a higher level than is usually found north of the border. No doubt it will stand them in good stead for future races and many will compete in the British Challenge series next season.