Scotland secured an impressive second place in Sunday's Home Countries International at the first ever Karrimor Great Trail Challenge. The team, which was led by Robbie Simpson and Jo Zakrzewski, finished on 37 points, 9 behind winners England.
The event saw the international stars tackle a challenging 10km course in Keswick in testing conditions, with the torrential rain only easing up minutes before the race. Deeside Runners' Simpson was the highest placed Scot overall, taking fourth position in 32:49, Chris Wilson took sixth (33:06), whilst Lewis Millar managed a top ten position (33:58). The overall winner, England's Steve Vernon, recovered from a tumble in the muddy conditions to finish in 31:57.
In the women's field, Dumfries RC's Jo Zakrzewski managed a highly credible 7th in 38:41, with Kilbrachan's Christina Rankin not far behind (39:00). The race was the first in which Zakrzewski competed in a Scottish vest. Claire Whitehead was the final Scottish runner home in 39:50.
The international contest was part of three other inaugural Great Trail Challenge events on Saturday, with the half marathon, marathon and 10k also taking place. Marcus Scotney was first home in the 13.1 mile race in 1:26:29, Steve Angus took top place in the marathon with 3:21:51, and Ady Whitman first in the 10k with 35:29.
The initial feedback on the events seems to validate the course's description of 'challenging', with many runners commenting on the difficult climbs throughout. One competitor asked if the final hill bore any relation to Mount Everest, while another added: "There was a comedy moment when the hill came into view and, after realising we had to run up it, everybody around me uttered their expletive of choice!"
Full results of the Karrimor Great Trail Challenge are available via northernrunningguide.com