ATHLETES from Central AC were very much at the heart of events at King’s Park, when Stirling hosted a series of Home Countries internationals, mixed with the annual Scottish Inter-District Championship.

As host club, Central set and laid out the course and marshalled the event.

Unfortunately, it did not organise the weather with large amounts of standing water and mud on the sports pitch section providing very heavy going.

The golf course section had fast but treacherous downhill sections with runners at any point in danger of a mudslide.

Central athletes featured strongly at the front of the Senior Mens and Under 20 Mens 8 kilometres race, with this the last race of the day the underfoot conditions were challenging in the extreme.

Andrew Butchart and Jamie Crowe were both representing Scotland as was Hamish Hickey in the Under-23 category.

There was further representation in the Scotland East team through Alastair Hay and Matthew Sutherland and a number of local runners wearing the yellow and blue Central vests willing to face up to this tough challenge.

This race provided a great spectacle for the spectators who braved the incessant rain with Butchart and Crowe at the front running in a four-man group with Welsh runners Kristian Jones and James Hunt.

The underfoot mud and the tight turns on the course saw Jones and Butchart taking tumbles with both recovering to race to the finish.

The race unfolded on the final 2 kilometres lap with Jones establishing a lead to take him to victory in 25minutes 33seconds while a determined run from Crowe (25.43) was rewarded with second place and Butchart (25.50) finishing fourth.

There was further reward for Jamie and Andrew as they led Scotland to overall victory from Wales and England for the first set of gold medals for Scotland in this race for some years.

Hamish Hickey was representing the Scottish Under 23 team moving up from his normal Under 20 level.

Here Hamish’s talent shone through with fourth place in the Under 23 race and 19th overall to record an excellent 27minutes exactly helping Scotland lift further team gold in the Celtic Cross Country International.

East of Scotland representatives Alastair Hay (40th; 27.45) and Matthew Sutherland (49th; 28.05) also tamed the conditions with the East well ahead of their rival teams.

Central were also represented by Carys and Leah Gibb in the girl’s Under 13 East of Scotland team, and they ran strongly thoughout with fine results of 14:17, 27th and 14.37, 31st respectively.