ATHLETICS: KARRIE Hawitt let the party begin - 24 hours late - after leading Britain's junior women's team home at the World Cross-Country Championships.
The event took place a day after her 18th birthday, but Runcorn's Karrie had to put the celebrations on hold as she contemplated her big Belgian challenge.
The Helsby High School sixth-former made a magnificent GB debut in the discipline just a fortnight after landing the Under-20s women's title at the Reebok UK Inter-Counties
Country Championships. The Warrington AC athlete, who is a world mountain-running champion, again showed herself to be adept on the flatter terrain.
She was the first Great Britain and Ireland finisher in her event in Brussels.
She took 26th spot over 6k in 22:00 - the race was dominated by who claimed the first four places with Meselech Melkamu (20:48) taking the title.
It was very much mission accomplished for Karrie, who had been struggling with illness in the buildup.
She only shrugged off the effects of a cold on the eve of the race but could feel she came of age at the weekend in more ways than one.
'I think I'll have a party tonight,' she said after crossing the finishing line.
'It was not as hard as I thought it would be. The team leaders kept telling us how fierce the pace would be, so I went out there ready for the worst.
'I was wanting a place in the top 50 so I'm well pleased.'
Karrie helped the junior women finish 11th.