Athletics: Edinburgh cross-country star ensures early Christmas present

Freya Murray finished 12th in Slovenia
Freya Murray finished 12th in Slovenia
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Capital star Freya Murray (Edinburgh AC) just failed to match her target and best-ever performance when she finished 12th in the European Cross Country Championships in Velenje, Slovenia yesterday.

The 28-year-old Scottish champion had wanted to finish in the top ten but as second GB counter behind English rival Gemma Steel, who had a tremendous run to claim the individual bronze medal behind Irish winner Fionnuala Britton, Murray was delighted to share in the British team gold medal, one of six overall on a triumphant day for the UK. “I was looking for a better run but it was okay and it was great to be back competing at this level again,” said Murray.

“Now I know where I’m at and what I’ve got to do, but I’m so happy with team gold and to be part of that.”

Fellow Scots Steph Twell (Aldershot), just pipped for the under-23 individual bronze on the run-in, and Laura Muir (Dundee), 31st in the junior women’s race, also shared in team golds.

In all Team GB had four team golds, the other coming in the junior men’s race, and two individual golds, Emma Pallant winning the under-23 title and Emelia Gorecka, the (junior) under-20 title.

For a time Twell, who was coming back from a horrific accident when she broke her ankle in three places early last year, looked as if she might even win the under-23 race as she duelled with clubmate Pallant and another Brit Naomi Taschimowitz, who eventually finished second.

“I really gave it a go and I finished off 2011 in a GB vest so I’m happy considering where I was at the beginning of the year,” she said.

Jennifer MacLean (EAC), meanwhile, won the East District title at Aberdeen on Saturday, beating Keira Murray (Lasswade) by ten seconds in 24 minutes 06 seconds with Sarah McCormack (Moorfoot) third in 24:24.

Louisa Stewart (EAC), in sixth place in 24:32, won the under-20 title and helped EAC take the team race with 39 points from Fife (49) and Hunter’s Bog Trotters (72).

HBT took the men’s individual title through Murray Strain, who covered the 10k course in 31:21 from Alex Hendry (Central), 31:31 and Ben Hukins (Aberdeen) 32:01.

Central (65) won the team race from battling Corstorphine (89) and Aberdeen (140).