Scottish National XC winner Maddie Murray will make her first Scotland appearance in the Home Countries International in Antrim on Saturday.
The Australian-born Edinburgh AC athlete has been living here for the past seven years and the 21-year-old has now had her status cleared by scottishathletics under the residency rules (three years for a Scotland vest in athletics).
Commonwealth Games athlete, Jake Wightman, joins Murray in the selections for the cross country event while Corstorphine AAC will be delighted to see Michael Crawley and Calum McKenzie rewarded for good form in 2015. GB international Scott McDonald of Central AC is also involved.
And there’s a link with the past in the U20 Men’s selection as Ross Tennant of Ipswich is selected for the first time to run for Scotland.
The 18-year-old’s father and coach, Neil, was a fine performer in his time and won the National XC back in 1988 and picked up silver medals on two other occasions, once finishing behind winner Peter McColgan.
Senior Men: Mike Crawley (Corstorphine AAC); Jake Wightman (Edinburgh AC); Calum McKenzie (Corstorphine AAC); Scott McDonald (Central AC)
Senior Women: Maddie Murray (Edinburgh AC); Charlotte Morgan (Carnethy); Fiona Thompson (Central AC); Katie Bristow (Ronhill Cambuslang Harriers)
U20 Men Euan Gillham (Kilbarchan AAC); Aidan Thompson (Central AC); Ross Tennant (Ipswich); Dale Colley (Central AC)
U20 Women Mhairi Maclennan (Edinburgh Uni Hares and Hounds); Stephanie Pennycook (Edinburgh Uni Hares and Hounds); Rachael Dunn (Edinburgh AC); Eve MacKinnon (Ronhill Cambuslang Harriers)
Murray’s progress with the help of coach John Lees at Edinburgh AC has been marked, particularly over the past 12 months or so.
Maddie won the Scottish 1500m title at Kilmarnock last summer and won a silver in the 4K XC at Bellahouston behind winner Rhona Auckland. She was eighth in the Senior Women’s race at the Inter-Counties in Birmingham – her first appearance in that fixture at the age of 21.
It is all something of an improvement since finishing 29th out of 32 at a School International race in Truro in 2010 which was won by . . . Jessica Judd.
‘I am from Perth in western Australia originally but moved over to Scotland with my family seven years ago in my early-teens,’ explained Maddie, who is studying podiatry in Edinburgh.
‘We lived in Glasgow and I attended Williamwood High School and joined Giffnock North AAC. ‘My parents moved back about three years ago – they now live in Tasmania – but I stayed on for education at Uni in Edinburgh. I’ve not made hard and fast plans for the future as yet but I do think I will be here next year for a Masters degree.
‘I received a letter last week about competing for Scotland and the paperwork has been completed. I’m delighted to be running in Antrim at the Home Countries International and I’ve spoken to people at the club about it.
‘One or two of my training partners, like Fiona Thompson and Mhairi Maclennan, have been picked as well and it will be nice to travel with them.
‘I guess I first ran for Scotland five years ago when I went to the SIAB for Scottish Schools. It was in Truro and I didn’t do too well!
‘John Lees has been coaching me the past two or three years with Edinburgh AC and the improvement has been great. I won a silver at Bellahouston in the 4K Champs this year behind Rhona Auckland but I didn’t run the GB Euro Trial in Liverpool as I’d headed to Australia for holidays.
‘I am now thinking seriously about not going home next Christmas and making sure I am running in Liverpool.’
Winning the National XC at Falkirk was a great day for me, obviously. My dad, Jeff, was a marathon runner in his time and he’s always keen to follow how I am doing. He watched the video footage of the National XC on the scottishathletics YouTube channel back in Tasmania and loved seeing that coverage.
‘My parents also watched me win the 1500m Senior title at Kilmarnock last summer on the web thanks to a live stream – I think it is great you are doing that kind of thing with events.’