Aberdeen AAC’s Anisha Badial won the under-20 women’s title at the Scottish trail running championships despite almost missing the beginning of the race at Falkland in Fife.
A misunderstanding over the location of the starting line almost proved disastrous, but the Robert Gordon’s College pupil kept her composure and went on to produce a gold medal winning performance.
Badial said: “It was worrying. The start was 500 metres further away than I thought, but the organisers hadn’t made it clear. It was my fault, though, for not checking before.”
The Scotland junior hill running international was competing among senior athletes in the 10km competition and did well to finish 11th overall and first in her age group.
It’s her second Scottish trail running title, having won the U17s award two years ago.
She said: “I had no real expectations going into the race as it was a much longer distance than I’m used to racing.
“As well as this, I wasn’t sure how I’d fare among the seniors as I was the youngest one there.
“The start was incredibly quick, so much so I was nearly trampled on several times.
“It was difficult to know how far back I was, but I quickly started picking people off and working my way through the mass of runners.
“There was a fast large downhill section at the beginning followed by the tedious climb back up, but I was very happy to have finished in the top 15 women, narrowly missing out on top 10.
“I didn’t expect it at all and it’s reassuring to know I still have a while left in the U20 category before I move on.”
Badial is used to running over shorter distances but did well in her only other longer race at the Aboyne Highland Games last month.
She competed in the seven-mile hill race, finishing third in the women’s section of the run behind Scotland international Steph Provan and her Deeside clubmate Sally Wallis.
Badial recently clinched the Scottish junior hill running league title and is looking forward to representing her country in the U20 international match against England, Wales and Ireland at Cademuir, near Peebles, this weekend.
She said: “I must admit, I am incredibly nervous about it.
“The course is like a rollercoaster with a tough ascent and a rolling descent. I’m in a strong team with the other Scottish girls, so I just hope we all perform to the best of our ability on the day.”
Deeside’s Donald Kerridge won a close-fought battle for the over-50s men’s gold in the national trail running championships by finishing three secs ahead of Jim Buchanan.
Donald’s wife, Jane, also featured on the podium, picking up bronze in the Over-60 women’s category.
Grace Whelan produced an excellent performance to win the U17 girls’ 5km title while Sam Griffin (Aberdeen AAC) was third in the U15 boys’ 5km.