VALE Royal star runner Rebecca Craigie found the going tough on her England under 20 debut in Spain but has vowed to bounce back and earn more international honours.

The 17-year-old cross country athlete competed against some of the very best young runners in the world at Elgoibar, near Bilbao, on Saturday and finished 13th in a field of more than 30 entrants.

Although Rebecca was disappointed not to claim a higher finishing position in a field containing athletes from the African nations and Europe, proud mum Clare said she was eager to get more experience at the top level.

She said: “She did OK but she was looking to finish a bit higher – but she was the youngest English athlete out there and, to be fair, we didn’t realise just how massive the event was.

“But she was disappointed as age and experience showed but she will come back stronger and is now quite positive.

“The experience will certainly benefit her.

“The challenge for any athlete after a result like that is to come back and learn from it. But like any athlete, like her Vale Royal team-mates that competed in the Cheshires this weekend, when you get on the starting line all you can think about is winning. If you don’t want to win then there is no point being there.”

The Spanish event was Rebecca’s first in an U20 England vest although she has represented England Schools.

Rebecca is next due to be in action for Vale Royal at the Northern Cross Country Championships at St Helens on Saturday, January 24.