Olympic swim hopeful Ross is splash hit as he inspires Balfron 10k field

Swimming star Ross Murdoch starts the Mulberry Bush Montessori Balfron 10k
Swimming star Ross Murdoch starts the Mulberry Bush Montessori Balfron 10k

Scottish swimming champion Ross Murdoch was the star attraction when he did the honours to get this year’s Mulberry Bush Montessori Balfron 10K under way.

The 2014 Commonwealth Games champion - and 2016 Olympic hopeful - went to great lengths to inspire those taking part.

It was literally a case of back to school for the University of Stirling student as the race started outside his old school Balfron High.

And he was delighted to offer up some words of wisdom to the 600 runners before firing the starting gun at the 10th anniversary event on Sunday.

The 22-year-old, who will be part of the GB Olympic swim team in Rio this summer, wished all the competitors good luck and urged them to dig deep as they crossed the start line cheered on by spectators.

Ross will compete in the 100 metres breaststroke in Rio and said he was very happy to get the news last Thursday that he had made the GB swim team after months of tough training.

He will head out to Brazil in July for a month and could find himself swimming on the very first day of the Games.

However he’s confident of performing well, declaring he was “in the best shape of his life” right now.

To mark the 10th anniversary of the running of the MBM Balfron 10k competitors were presented with commemorative porcelain medals at the finish made by Buchlyvie potter Alison Borthwick.

Funds raised by the 10k will be split between the village schools and Stirlingshire mental health charity Action in Mind.

Main prize winners were -

Female - 1st, Edel Mooney, 37 minutes 39 seconds; 2nd, Michelle Sandison, 37.58; 3rd, Rosina Graham, 39.25.

Male - 1st, Peter Avent, 33.10; 2nd, Iain Davies, 34.16; 3rd, Craig Harvey, 34.47s.

Juniors - 1st female, Rosina Graham 39.25; 1st male, Iain Davies, 34.16.

VV35 - 1st female, Edel Mooney, 37.39; 1st male, Craig Harvey, 34.47.

V50 - 1st female, Aileen Ross 48.15; 1st male, David Eckersley, 37.37.

V65 - 1st female, Patricia Hampton, 55.01; 1st male, Norman Bailie, 43.41.

Local - 1st female, Edel Mooney, 37.39; 1st male, Peter Avent, 33.10.

Pics by Jane Robertson and Eleanor Ross.