Law and District Amateur Athletics Club teenager James Gillon has delivered a terrific performance on a national cross country stage.
The 16-year-old Carluke High School pupil defied treacherous muddy underfoot conditions to land a marvellous fourth place finish in the 6km under-17 men’s race at the Lindsays National Cross Country Championships in Falkirk’s Callander Park.
“James did exceptionally well on Saturday,” said Law and District AAC secretary Lesley McNicol.
“Running conditions were very difficult.
“It was really difficult for the runners to try and move their feet out of the mud.
“People’s legs were getting bogged down as it was like quicksand. And as the day went on the mud just got worse.
“There was no grass left in the end and some people were so muddy that they were having to wash in puddles.”
James’s fine result at Callander Park came after he had finished fifth in the under-17s race at the Inter District Championships in Edinburgh in January.
Lesley said: “He would be racing against the same guys again in Falkirk, so to finish fourth this time represents an improvement.
“The nationals is the biggest event on the calendar and the one he works towards.
“And James was the best performing Law and District AAC member out of the large squad we had in Falkirk.
“He was second most of the way round until he was caught and overtaken late on by Ryan Gray and Cameron Watson of Inverclyde.”
Lesley said that Saturday’s cold and damp conditions may have contributed to James being off school ill on Monday with a virus.
She added: “The running conditions in Falkirk weren’t good.
“He could easily have picked the virus up on Saturday.
“When he finished running he was hanging about in the cold and rain waiting on his dad Jim who was running in a later race.”
Jim ended up finishing fifth in the senior men’s race in Falkirk, while James’s younger brother Matthew competed in the under-15 boys race.
A busy day for the family was also attended by James’s mum Karen, a former MSP for Clydesdale.
Provided James recovers from his health setback in time, Lesley is confident that he can follow his terrific showing at national level with another fine display at this weekend’s Scottish Schools Cross Country Championships in Livingston.
And Lesley is also delighted that, on the back of his fine run in Falkirk, James has been selected for the West of Scotland squad scheduled to compete at the UK Inter Counties Championships in Loughborough on March 11.