No-one is more pleasantly surprised about the un-seasonally mild and dry conditions in Scotland this month than the cross-country running fraternity. And as the action turns to the inaugural running of the Simply Health Great Stirling X Country tomorrow, that particularly applies to Jamie Williamson, who is determined there shall be no slip-ups this time around.

This promising 21-year-old athlete was brought up in Germany and has a direct bloodline to Scottish middle distance royalty. And when he ran in a Great Britain vest for the first time at the European Cross Country championships in Tilburg, the Netherlands, last month, it was the kind of sodden, grassless course where just staying on your feet was a challenge.

Williamson, competing for GB in the same mixed relay event in which he will run tomorrow in the company of Laura Muir, was finishing his first leg strongly when he lost his footing on a downhill section. He fell flat on to the muddy surface, before having to desperately claw back as much time as possible on the leaders in the little distance that remained. By the time all four athletes had done their bit, just six seconds separated GB from a medal.

It was the Spanish quartet who took gold that day. But with their entire Tilburg team in Stirling tomorrow to compete under the flag of Europe, Williamson – who will be joined by Phil Sesemann and Alex Bell in the GB squad – is fired up for a re-match under less soggy underfoot conditions.

Also in the race is a Scotland team for whom Williamson himself competed last year, finishing fifth. They will be represented by Adam Craig, Michael Ferguson, Mhairi Hendry and Steph Pennycook in an event that has moved from its usual venue in the shadow of Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh.

“In the end, it was close out in Tilburg, but I fell over in the first leg which was quite annoying as we lost a bit of time,” Williamson said. “It was really near the end, and I was pretty much on the shoulder of the leader but I completely fell over. It is such a quick race, there was no time to catch up again.

“The first couple of hundred metres out there was wet sand, not just mud, but it was really bad the rest of the way round.

“So if it wasn’t too muddy at Stirling that would be good. I’d like that. It is a new course so it will be the same for everyone. I’m hopeful we will get a look around beforehand.”

Having won this event three times prev-iously, albeit in the different surroundings of the capital, Muir brings an X factor to this event. While the final running order for these relays has yet to be finalised, it seems a fair bet she will be tasked with bringing the British team home. Deliver the baton to her in first, and it is hard to envisage anyone getting past her.

“It is a very strong team we have this year, especially as we have Laura there who is so dominant in that event, anchoring Britain to the win every year,” said Williamson, whose dad, Graham, used to mix it with the likes of Seb Coe, Steve Cram and Steve Ovett, racking up a Scottish mile record that has lasted 37 years. His mum Carole was no mean runner either, representing England at cross country.

“They haven’t confirmed the order yet but whether it is first or third I will be happy with either.

“I have never met Laura but, just watching her from afar, she is a really impressive athlete and a really gutsy runner. She will go out by herself and do it the hard way if required. But if I and the rest of the team can stay up with the leading pack and hand it over, I think we have a good chance of winning it, especially if Laura is on the final leg.”

Up until that Tilburg appearance, Williamson could have competed for Germany – where he was brought up from the age of three near the headquarters of Adidas, where his dad now works. He may have been there at Christmas for the festive season, but he always knew where his allegiance lay.

“I always wanted to compete for Scotland and for Britain. I am glad that it happened in 2018,” said Williamson. “It was probably the best year I have ever had as an athlete. It started off with the relay this time last year for Scotland, then I won the Scottish indoors at 1500m. Summer went really well. I PB’d over pretty much every single distance I ran then I got my first GB vest so I can’t really complain.”

In addition to completing his degree in sports management at Loughborough, Williamson’s main goal this summer is the European Under-23 Championships in Sweden. His dad, back home in Germany, is monitoring his progress.

“We talk a few times a week, text every day,” said Jamie. “He has been happy with it so far. He knows that what he did when he was so young was not normal, so he is more patient with me to do things grad-ually, rather than all in the space of a year.”