THE inspirational talent of Karrie Hawitt has been hailed by Halton's first citizen.

The 18-year-old, who hit the heights by winning a World Mountain Running Championship title, visited Runcorn Town Hall to meet the borough's mayor, Ron Hignett.

Councillor Hignett said: 'I am pleased to meet such a talented young person and I am sure that her hard work and determination to succeed will be an inspiration to other up-and-coming athletes all over Britain.' Karrie, who combines a tough competition schedule with A-level studies which she hopes will lead to a career in dentistry, was given a tour of the historic civic building, off Heath Road.

A few months ago, the Helsby High School sixth-former received a £400 sports development grant from the council.

Karrie, who won her U20s world championship in September at Mount Alyeska in Girdwood, Alaska, last month added a Reebok UK Inter-Counties Cross-Country title at the same age group to her impressive list of achievements.

She promptly followed up with 26th place at the World Cross-Country Championships in Belgium where she was the first British finisher in the junior women's race.

Cllr Hignett added: 'I wish her every success in the future in both her chosen career and in mountain running.'