A CHALLENGING day lay in store for Team Borders in Race 2 of the East District Cross-Country League on Saturday, shorn as they were of no less than five of their top finishers from Race 1.

Across the Clackmananshire Bridge and on the approach to Alloa, those who had made the journey north of the Forth were taken by surprise by the covering of snow.

But that old cross-country adage of “whatever the weather” meant the races going ahead as planned, as the hundreds of hardy runners from as far afield as Aberdeen and Hawick mulled over their choice of footwear for the varied and now tricky underfoot conditions.

Despite missing their top-placed runner from Race 1 in October, Team Borders Under-11 Boys team rallied to secure second place on the day and retain their place at the top of league.

Fionn Hollingsbee (Moorfoot) had a fantastic and much-improved run to take 3rd place over the 1.7km hilly course, finishing in 6.39 minutes. Chirnside’s Zico Field was another improver taking 9th in 6.55 and Ross Christie (Gala) completed the team score with his 15th place in 7.02.

He was closely followed by Danny Lancaster (Moorfoot) who provided good back-up in 16th just two seconds behind. That gave the boys a total of 27 team points, ten behind Aberdeen who took an individual one-two on the day.

Overall, going into the third and final League race in January, Team Borders hold a narrow reduced lead of five points over Aberdeen with Perth further back in third.

The Under-11 girls had kicked things off over the same course with the inexperienced trio of Sophie Logan (Moorfoot), Jessica Hendry (Gala) and Lola Lockyer (Moorfoot) providing the team points for 8th place on the day.

The U13 girls raced over 3km and the Moorfoot trio of Christina McGorum (20th in 13.14), Esme Minto (26th in 13.36) and Holly Hobbs (27th in 13.41) secured 6th place for Team Borders on the day and 5th overall.

Over the same course, which was now starting to churn into ankle deep mud in places, there was another individual podium place in the U13 Boys’ race courtesy of Euan Christie (Gala) who was home in 11.16 for an excellent 3rd place.

Patrick Cannon (Moorfoot) in 28th and Cameron Rankine (Gala) in 31st completed the team points for 7th on the day and 4th overall.

The girls’ combined U17/U15 race had seen a team win in Race 1 but with another top scorer absent, along with several others, the Team Borders girls did well to finish 4th on the day over their 3.8km course through the Moorfoot trio of Beth Hobbs (12th in 16.50), Mairi Wallace (19th in 17.34) and Charlotte Morrison (39th in 19.17).

Hats off to the mud-strewn and bloodied Charlotte who took a sore looking fall but battled bravely to the finish. The girls drop to 2nd overall behind the clear league leaders Edinburgh.

Also 2nd overall but with a good bit of ground to catch up on leaders Fife, are the U17 Men’s team.

This time it was a Gala trio scoring the team points, Yousuf Khursheed securing the top individual place of the day with his second place in 22.38 for the tough 6.2km course. Lewis Tharme was 16th in 24.19 and James Logan 26th in 25.43.

A tough day at the office for Team Borders but hopes are still alive of a possible league title and several team podium finishes, come January’s third and final race.