THERE were smiles all round on Saturday as international athletics came to the Borders.

Scotland triumphed in two of the home international races but couldn't stop England retaining the overall title.

It finished Scotland two, England two in terms of individual golds at the Home Countries Junior Hill Running International on Cademuir Hill on the south side of Peebles.

But it was England who ran out overall winners to retain the City of Edinburgh trophy.

Lynn McKenna (Giffnock North) got the home nation off to a fantastic start in the U17 Women’s race which was over 3.8km with 187m of ascent.

Second in this race last year, and setting off to the skirl of the pipes on Morning Hill, she made clear her intention to go one better by establishing a good advantage over the chasing pack on the very first climb and led at the turn by 20 seconds from England’s Rosie Woodhams.

At that point twin sister Charlotte was vying for third with Emily Field, also from England.

Back into view down the final descent it was clear that Lynn was not to be caught and she crossed the line in 17.21, 49 seconds quicker than her trial race win on the same course in August and 33 seconds to the good over Woodhams who took the silver. Field finished fast to claim the bronze.

With the third England counter sneaking in for fourth just ahead of Charlotte McKenna it was team gold for England with nine points to Scotland’s thirteen. Cliona McCheyne completed the Scots points in 7th.

Not far behind her and 8th overall as an open championship entrant was Moorfoot Runner Beth Hobbs. She too was over forty seconds quicker than her trial race time, when she just missed out on Scotland selection, an excellent improvement given the rain softened course. She finished ahead of one of the Scotland team and all of the England B, Wales, Ireland and Northern Ireland runners. Beth will still be eligible in the same age-group next year whilst all four of this year’s Scotland team will move up to the U20 age-group.

The U17 Men raced over 5.8km/321m and it was a clean sweep of the individual medals for England courtesy of Matthew Mackay, Joe Hudson and Euan Brennan.

Robert Sparks (Fife) led the Scottish team home with his 5th place finish in a time well over a minute quicker than his trial win. Unfortunately the runner-up in the Scotland trial race Elliot Duff (Garscube) was hit by an asthma related issue and could not complete on this occasion. Ian McWhinnie (Fife) was 8th and Gala Harrier Yousuf Khursheed also improved on his trial time coming home 11th and third Scotland counter.

Wales pipped Scotland to team silver by one point.

In the U20 Women’s race over the same course it was an England, Scotland, Wales 1-2-3 at the summit.

Scarlet Dale, who already this season has been 7th in the World Championships and 6th in the European Championships in the GB vest, extended her lead on the descent to take the gold for England in 29.24. Lasswade’s Lauren Dickson, second at the summit, was pressed hard on the final descent by a flying Fiona Bunn of England who just got ahead over the final stretch for the silver in 29.47 with Lauren home in 29.53, an excellent bronze medal given her inexperience on the hills. It was another team gold for England with eight points to Scotland’s sixteen. Laura Stark (Kilbarchan) was returning from an injury lay-off and ran well for 6th, Anisha Badiel (Aberdeen) was just behind her in 7th and Grace Whelan (Moray) 9th. Moorfoot Runner Mairi Wallace is in her first year of three in the U20 age-group and ran well as an open entrant for 15th overall. She was another who was well over a minute faster than her trial race.

The U20 Men had the pleasure of running the steep climb to the summit of Cademuir from its south side a second time making for a race of 8km/433m. England looked to hold the strongest hand with three of this year’s GB internationalists in their team. Through the high point of the course for the first time, three runners had opened a bit of a gap and were locked together, the England duo of Joe Dugdale and Rory Domville and the Scotland trial runner-up Freddie Carcas (EAC). But after a 2km loop and the second steep climb to the summit Carcas had established a near thirty second advantage which did nothing but grow from there.

He crossed the line in 33.59, a full minute ahead of Dugdale who just held on to silver by two seconds from Domville. Next Scot home in 6th was Gavin Bryson (EAC) in 35.48, a time nineteen seconds quicker than his trial win over Carcas who improved on the day by an amazing margin of over three minutes. Rory Abernethy (Ochil) was 7th and George Rees (Fife) 9th.

England made it a clean sweep of team golds with nine points to Scotland’s fourteen for silver, thus retaining the City of Edinburgh trophy as overall winners (4 points). Scotland finished runners-up (9) ahead of Wales (12), Ireland (16) and Northern Ireland (19).