LAST weekend was the culmination of the cross country relay season with the National Championships attracting teams from across Scotland.

Irvine sent a strong squad to the race, which consists of teams of four, with each running a four-kilometre loop round the park at Cumbernauld House.

The course, which had been affected by the recent rain, was heavy going in places and had a tough uphill opening section before a flatter middle section with the last part mainly downhill. A strong wind also made it a challenge for the runners.

Irvine got off to a good start with Ryan Evans on the first leg having a strong run with his time of 14 minutes 51 seconds placing in 62nd position, in a field of approximately 180 teams who took to the starting line.

Alan Douglas - on the second leg - was hampered at the start at the congested changeover but recovered well, recording a time of 15 minutes 44 seconds.

Next up was Paul Lafferty who had a fine run overtaking more than 10 other teams in recording a time of 14: 57 to leave the Irvine club in 60th place. On the final leg was Mark Livingstone, who also ran well with his time of 15:07 second good enough to put the Irvine club in 56th position overall.

The race was won by Inverclyde AC in a time of 50:50, with Aberdeen AC 22 seconds behind in second place and defending champions Central AC having to settle for a bronze medal on this occasion - a further 11 seconds back.

Meanwhile, the 3k on the Green, held on the last Friday of every month at Glasgow Green, proved to be a successful return to racing for Irvine Colin Whitby with his time of nine minutes and 56 seconds, taking ninth place at the popular event.

Whitby, who had been training for the Great Langdale Marathon in the Lake District at the end of October, had the disappointment of seeing his hard training go unrewarded as the event was cancelled the day before the event due to high winds.

However, the evidence from Friday’s run show that his efforts have not gone to waste.