Megan Keith made the 700-mile round trip from her home in Inverness to Lancashire worthwhile at the weekend by producing a fine performance in an elite-only women’s cross-country match held on a mudbath of a course.
The Scottish junior champion was the first under-20 age group finisher when taking fifth overall in a top-class field which featured many GB senior internationals.
Amelia Quirk of Birmingham University recorded 26min 16sec to win the 6K race over the challenging course near Clitheroe.
She was followed by Eleanor Bolton, (Ribble Valley, 26:42), Bronwen Owen, (Leeds, 26:50), Kate Avery (Shildon, 26:53) and Keith 27:13.
The Inverness Harriers club member had travelled down on Friday with her dad, Alec, in the family campervan, returning north immediately after the race on Saturday.
Keith said: “It was a six-and-a-half hour drive each way, but it was definitely worthwhile as it was another great learning experience for me.
“I was originally going to be in a separate junior race but the organisers decided to combine it with the seniors, which made it a much higher calibre competition.
“It was an epic course, six and a half laps of twists, turns, hills and so much mud.
“The organisers sent out a colour coded map of the course beforehand showing the firm and soft sections, but I don’t think the firm parts existed.
“I like running in mud but I don’t think I’ve experienced anything like it.
“It was very tough and every lap got harder because we churned it up more every time we went round.
“I was with the girls who finished second and fourth for the first half but then I began to lose focus as I got more and more tired so I just concentrated on keeping my position.
“It was hard but I’m glad I went.”