SISTERS struck gold and silver as they competed against each other for rival clubs in the Cheshire Cross Country Championships.

Warrington Athletics Club 19-year-old Katie Lowery crossed the line first in the under 20s women’s race at Birchwood Forest Park in Warrington on Saturday.

And her 17-year-old sibling Emily, who competes for Vale Royal Athletics Club, came home 10 seconds behind and a minute ahead of their nearest rival.

> VIDEO: How the men’s race was won

> WATCH: Youngsters tackle the Cheshire Cross Country Championships

> VIEW: 180 pictures in our gallery of Saturday’s event

> INTERVIEW: Wilson’s pride in under 15s team success

> FOOTAGE: See the women’s race unfold

> VIDEO: Vale Royal pair share in under 20s success

> WATCH: Interview with under 15s girls' winner Holly Weedall

While there is much mutual respect and sisterly bonding between the pair from Holmes Chapel, their competitive edge shines through too.

“I knew it was going to be tough because I’ve been quite injured over the past few years,” said Katie, a student at the University of Edinburgh.

“So I just wanted to get round in one piece and try and beat this one (gives her sister a gentle pat on the back).

“I thought the last lap was pretty tough. I tried to save enough in the bag but I think I got a bit excited.”

Northwich Guardian:

Katie Lowery just ahead of her sister Emily in the Cheshire Cross Country Championships women's under 20s race. Picture Mike Boden

Both enjoyed a laugh about the support they had in Birchwood

Katie said: “I noticed when we were going round people were just like ‘Who do I cheer for?’”

And Emily, a student at Sir John Deane’s College in Northwich, said: “There was one point when our mum said ‘Go on Katie’ and I was like ‘Cheers, thanks Mum’.

Katie could not resist chiming in with: “We know the favourite is!”

Despite the medal success in what was their first cross country runs of the season, both insist they are more suited to the track.

Emily said about her sister: “She can be injured for ages and then still come and beat me. It’s nice to be able to look up to her.”

And Katie responded: “Emily is definitely more of a track runner. She’s very quick when she wants to be, more power based than endurance.”

Emily added: “Over 400m, I’d have her.”

Katie said: “This is more like training but we’re very happy with how it went.”

They do have history in the Cheshire Cross Country Championships though.

Emily said: “We’ve done this event for a few years. I’ve always got through to the inter-counties, usually finishing fourth or third.

Katie chipped in: “I did this race quite a lot when I was younger.

“I got a few medals but with being injured over the past four years I’ve not been able to run it for quite a while so it is quite nice to come back and do a race that I did when I was younger.”

Both are dedicated to the sport.

Emily said: “It’s six days a week, plus gym sessions, so it takes quite a lot. It’s quite hard.”

And Katie added: “It’s a lot of hours, especially with college or university work.

“It’s quite difficult moving away as well, it’s a challenge to keep up your training when you’re by yourself and you’ve got to look after yourself and do stuff like cooking.

“And then when you’re injured I find that’s the hardest bit because then you are by yourself, such as getting on a bike for hours and hours, or in a pool, so that’s awful but worth it definitely.”

Each have their own focus in the coming weeks.

“There’s inter-counties to come from this, and then there’s the northerns in a couple of weeks, Cheshire Schools and English Schools if I get through,” she said.

Katie revealed: “I’m focusing on the BUCS indoors, so not so much the cross country.

“That’s in the middle of February in Sheffield, doing the 1,500m. So hopefully things will come together pretty nicely for that.”

They are both clear on where they want to go in the sport.

Katie said: “As far as we can.

“For me at the minute it’s a case of trying not to get injured, get myself a bit of consistency and hopefully I can push on and get some good times.”