Blackburn Harriers & AC

Monthly Archives: November 2013

Comments Off on Liverpool Cross Challenge…Tour of Pendle…..David Staff Race…..The Best 5k in Preston… and Wales!

Liverpool Cross Challenge…Tour of Pendle…..David Staff Race…..The Best 5k in Preston… and Wales!

Liverpool Cross Challenge (incorporating the Mid Lancs League)

On what many people described as perfect cross country conditions, hundreds of athletes made their way to Sefton Park to compete in the latest fixture in the Cross Challenge headed by the Senior Men with 515 runners and the Senior Women with 212 competitors. Those who were there, saw a cracking run by Andy Vernon who runs for Aldershot Farnham & Disrict won by 17 seconds from Johnny Hay who pipped Keith Gerrard virtually on the line for second place. Gemma Steele from Charnwood AC won the Senior Women’s Race from Charlotte Purdue by 12 seconds with Steph Twell and Lily Partridge just in behind for 3rd and 4th spots.

Andy Vernon winning the Cross Challenge at Liverpool Saturday 22nd Nov. 2013

Andy Vernon winning the Cross Challenge 

Full Cross Challenge Results HERE

Alison Leonard (SW), Elizabeth Greenwood & Grace Handley (U15G), Eleesha Charnley & Amy Davies (U11G), Rhys Charnley (U15B), ), Robert Warner (U20) all pre-entered and competed in the Cross Challenge and so did not count Mid Lancs.

Alison finished a solid 43rd (29.47) in the 212 strong field whilst in the U15 Girls Race Elizabeth finished 10th (11.02) in the field of 87 athletes with just 28 seconds seperating the first ten girls and commented “It was a great race everyone set off quickly and the whole race was really fast as the ground was hard and not too muddy which was good. I really enjoyed it and was a great experience running against all the top athletes“. Grace finished in 22nd place (11.24) and remarked that It was a hard, fast race as the ground was hard with perfect conditions. Unlucky for me however, as I wanted strong wind and mud, but all in all a good experience”. 


Rob ran in a tough Junior Men’s Race won by the Reading AC athlete Jonathan Davies in 20.12 and finished 52nd (22.03). In the U15 Boys Rhys finished 123rd (12.49).


In the U11 Girls Race, Amy took an excellent 3rd place, just 2 seconds behind second placed Kirsty Hamilton from Lancaster. Eleesha finished in 42nd position.


These athletes all competed in the Mid Lancs League – (U11 Boys)  Edward Lee, Jamie Teare and Rory Teare. (U11 Girls) Amy Dowsing, Eleanor Allsop, Kate Cookson and Alayna Irvine. (U13 Girls) Natalya Irvine, and Hannah Cookson. (U15 Boys) Jack Wilkinson. (U15 Girls) Megan Clarkson and Mollie Morton. (U17 Men) Robert Buckley, Jack Hindle, Joseph Howe, Joe Monk, Joe Campbell and Morgan Philips. 

Competing in the (U17) Women’s age group were Phoebe Howe, Rhiannon Wickham and Katie Buckingham who said afterwards that It was a good course with the gradual down hill start section which also broke up the race at the start of the 2nd lap. I felt like I raced well with the cross challenge athletes adding to the competition. The team ran well so bring on the next mid lancs!”




In the (Senior Category), we had Allan Hartley, Paul Wilkinson, Shaun Livesey, Tom Blaney, Andy Heyes, John Cookson, Andrew Heys, John Chaplin, Ian Clarkson and Chris Davies;  and in the Women’s Race  – Carol Cookson, and Jan Buckingham.


As of this morning the Results were still not available but will be here as soon as we get them.

Full Mid Lancs Results HERE


Tour of Pendle – Saturday November 23rd 2013

Saturday, 23rd November saw 6 intrepid Harriers tackle what was the 30th running of the Full Tour of Pendle. Now this is no ordinary tour. There are no open top buses or tour guides waving umbrellas and giving out facts at strategic points; this is a fell race of epic proportions. Tickets did sell fast though, (quicker than a ‘Barry Barlow’ concert), in fact all 500 places had been snapped up before race day.

(Thanks to John Orrell for this report on the day)

Full Results HERE

The race can be described as many things, brutal comes to mind for most. The official race map describes it as ‘The most contrived race in the FRA Handbook or an inspired and testing route over Clayton’s favourite hill’ It has a descent called Geronimo. (That’s what you shout when you fling
yourself off the top!!) It even has a big dipper! Up, down and back up again; but with 6 climbs, 4830ft of ascent covering 16.8 miles it is truly epic!

Many of our hearty Harriers were fresh from the presentation do the night before, and had reached the start line in Barley fueled up on hotpot and cheese and onion pie, others fortified with vitamins and iron from their breakfast cereal. So how did our athletes get on?

How did we all get on? Leading the Harriers home in 44th place was Michael Toms 2.42.33, followed by Gary Pearse (90th) in 2.52.09, John Sutton (107th) in 2.56.07, Helen Leigh (116th) in 2.57.44 (9th lady), Sarah Toms (202nd) in 3.16.22 (21st lady) and John Orrell (330th) in 3.44.13 (13 mins quicker than last year and a new PB).

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David Staff Memorial Race – Sunday November 24th 2013

This annual race is held in memory of a local young athlete, David Staff. David turned 17 years of age on 5th December 1994 which then allowed him to compete as a senior for the Dashers.

His first race (and last) as a senior was in the Clitheroe 10k on 27th December 1994. David collapsed and died by the road side at 5 miles from a condition called Hyperthropic Obstructive Cardiomyopathy, which in laymans terms is an abnormal thickening of the heart muscles which interrupted the electrical pulses which keeps the heart working.

This condition takes the lives of approximately 8 so-called fit and healthy young people a week, most of them are actively engaged in sport, but it is not the sport that kills; it is the exertion that acts as a trigger.

The race is run in memory of David Staff, who joined the Dashers as a 15 year old and competed in many fun runs as a junior. In September 1994, he completed the Great North Run in 1 hour 49 minutes 02 seconds along-side his dad Granville wearing his Blackburn Rovers home and away kit, needless to say the comments along the route in Newcastle cannot be repeated.

David was a very likeable person who got on with everybody he came into contact with; young and old and had a very bright future ahead of him, not only as a young man preparing to take his A-levels at Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School but also as a member of Darwen Dashers.

Darwen Dashers host this race to raise funds for Cardiac Risk in the Young, the charity that David’s father Granville actively supports. The funds raised are used to provide heart screening in the young; so far over 60 people have had heart defects identified as a result of Granville’s fund raising. Since David’s death, Granville has raised over £100,000 and we are proud to continue to support this cause.

Full Results HERE

Five Harriers entered the Race of 142 competitors won by Chris Farrell from Horwich (32.24).  Four of the five Harriers running had raced at Liverpool the day before. Jack Hindle was first home in 5th place overall winning the first Junior Male prize in a time of 34.55. After the Race, Jack told us that “I found the start extremely fast and was put on the back foot straight away! But I worked my way through the pack and found myself in a good position going into the last half of the race. The course was also very fast and meant there was going to be no let up of pace going into the finish straight. Overall I enjoyed the course and was pleased with my run, beating runners who I haven’t beaten before”.


Next in came Allan Hartley in 46th (42.21) followed by Paul Wilkinson in 81st place (46.36); Ian Clarkson 84th (47.01) and Stuart Furness 90th (47.27) and 5th V60 overall proving that it is not just the young folk who run in this Race!

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(Thanks to Derek Hindle for the Photo’s)


The Best 5k –  Preston Sunday 24th November

201 athletes finished this local 5k and two Blackburn Harriers ran really well in the Race. First home was U17 Joe Monk, who had raced at Liverpool the day before, in 7th place overall and first Junior Male in a rapid time of 17.42 and smashing his previous PB by 18 seconds. Evan Cook finished 24th (19.49) and having a real battle with Richard Oakley(22nd) from Red Rose who just pipped him for the V60 prize by 5 seconds in 19.44.


Full Results HERE


Conwy Half Marathon – Sunday November 23rd 2013

This Race had 1500 finishers and it seems as though are quite a number of these Half-Marathons that are attracting similar sized fields. Beckie Taylor competed for the Harriers in only her third ever race at the distance and posted an official PB of 92.34 which bettered her time of 93.09 in the same race in 2012 by over half a minute. Beckie was pretty pleased with her race telling us it was a really hilly course so i did well and smashed my time from last year”.

Full Results HERE








Comments Off on Introducing some Unsung Heroes……the Officials

Introducing some Unsung Heroes……the Officials

Athletes turn up at meetings, across all the disciplines – Track & Field; Road; Cross Country; Fells – and ‘take it for granted’ that the Officials will be in place to help run the event. That can mean anything from raking a pit in the Long Jump, to be being responsible for a Team of Officials and in some cases, be responsible for the whole event. So who are these people who give so much of their time? In the immortal words of the Beatles…”Let me introduce to you…..” lifelong member and Life Member of Blackburn Harriers.

Chris Wood received notification on November 24th that he had been accredited at Level 3 as a UKA Starter and from January 2014 will become eligible for National and International level meetings. In his own words these were “three hard years” involving “Some 100 meetings with 10 formal assessments, written exam and two years of log books scrutinized by members of the peer group. Then a formal application which is presented to the National Peer Group for review of the evidence and input from group members”.

Not everyone who helps the Club with Officials at some point in the year wants to go as far as Chris has done, but his is an example of how far an Official can progress with time, effort and commitment. Typically, Chris who was delighted to achieve this standard, turned his thoughts to the question of recruiting and developing Officials and commented “I would encourage anyone to try their hand as an athletics official, especially as a marksman or starter. There is a great deal of enjoyment, fun and satisfaction from working effectively as a team. From the early days of Level 1 officiating there is clear path to more responsibility and higher level meetings.  At each stage there will be experienced colleagues only too happy to offer support, guidance and friendly words of advice, as well as playful banter.  There is a real need for  officials to work at Club level supporting the various regional and national leagues. No aspiring official who is prepared to listen, work hard and apply what they learn should have any qualms about working at any of these competitions under the watchful eye of an experienced chief”.


If you are keen to get on the path of being an Official, from just helping out or advancing to higher levels, just contact the Club at and we will help you all we can.


Comments Off on Blackburn Harriers 2013 Presentation Evening

Blackburn Harriers 2013 Presentation Evening

A packed Room with young Sportshall athletes from 8yrs of age through all the age groups, up to and including Seniors and Veterans all made for a brilliant Annual Awards Presentation night. Special guest, Damian Talbot, Executive Board Member for Culture, Leisure & Sport at Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council, came along to present the Awards. Tony Wood, Chairman of Blackburn Harriers, praised the role of the Local Authority, and those like Damian who had worked hard to get the new Training Facility off the ground at Witton Park and now well under way in it’s construction.


There were some great moments during the evening, not least of which was the inauguration of the Arthur Almond Memorial Trophy for the best Track Performance of the year by any Blackburn Harrier. This Trophy was donated by Sylvia Almond, Arthur’s wife and it was fitting that Alison Leonard won it with her 800m time of 2.02.96 in Belgium in July.


Another new Award, and presented for the first time, was the Members Award, made by the Club Committee which recognises the contribution of members of the Club over many years. Sylvia Almond and Jean Leigh were very popular and worthy winners of this Award which recognised the work that Sylvia had done in Track Judging and Track Refereeing for the Club and similarly Jean who has been an ever present Field Official during the T & F season and then moved onto the Cross Country during the winter.

Sylvia Alond, Club President George Kirby and Helen Leigh, Jean's daughter, accepting the Award on her behalf.

Sylvia Almond, President George Kirby and Helen Leigh, Jean’s daughter, accepting the Award on her behalf.

There were a few surprises on the night as well and none more so for the recipient than a special award to our Club secretary George Davies. It has to be the Chairman’s prerogative to alter this article put together by George so as to report accurately the events of the night. Modesty would have prevented George from including himself. This fantastic website of ours sees George brilliantly updating it daily if necessary. He has played a major part over the last 15 years in the improvement of the Club and in turn the Club wanted to reflect its admiration for all his hard work and dedication by presenting him and Anne with a gift. Katie Buckingham and Elizabeth Greenwood expressed with kind words our thanks and there followed a well deserved standing ovation. We all wish him well over the coming months.

gerogeThere were many well deserved awards for athletes who had performed fantastically well in their own particular event/s displaying great Team effort, commitment and performances were recognised by Club Chairman and MC for the night, Tony Wood.

Tony Wood with Damian Talbot

Tony Wood with Damian Talbot

The Round Chase Team Trophy was won by the Clubs U17/U20 YDL Team who, with three wins and a second place in a fabulous squad performance, secured promotion to the First Division in the inagural season of the new League.

Some of the members of the U17/U20 Squad accepting the Round Chase Trophy

Some of the members of the U17/U20 Squad accepting the Round Chase Trophy

And then there was the performance of the Northern Senior T & F Team which was exceptional in winning every League fixture and then the promotion Match in front of Derby and Gateshead which will see them competing in Division One in 2014.


One of the great attributes of the Club, is the way that every member of it supports one another and rejoices in the success of others. There is a smashing environment and comraderie. So many fine performances and all deserving of recognition….a here are just a few of the photos of Award winners on the Night.



Comments Off on Good weekend with PB’s at Leeds – Preston – Gosport for the Harriers

Good weekend with PB’s at Leeds – Preston – Gosport for the Harriers

Gosport Half Marathon – 17th November 2013

1500 runners lined up for the Gosport Half-Marathon on Sunday and Rachel Wood from the Harriers was amongst them. Three weeks after running a half-marathon PB at Luton, she ran another PB at Gosport, knocking three minutes off her best so far and finished in 126th place (84.33). Rachel’s dad Tony told us that “A really touching insight to this race for her is the fact that the airfield mentioned and the Gosport barracks where the race was run was the training area for the Fleet Air Arm during the Second World War and Rachel’s granddad Albert Wood was there as part of his pilot training in 1943”.

Full Results HERE

Rachel was delighted with her run and after the race she commented “Having won the Luton Half three weeks ago, I thought it would be good training for the London Marathon to race what is known to be one of the fastest half marathons in the country, Gosport Half Marathon. 
After a 5am start and numerous road diversions taking us the opposite direction, we arrived in Gosport with enough time to collect our chips, quick toilet break and a short warm up.
The event had 2,000 runners signed up and it was Gosport Road Runner’s 28th anniversary of the event. The weather conditions were perfect- sunny but cool with a light south west breeze. The course consisted of a mixture of cycle paths, pavements and roads. We ran around Daedalus’s airfield which was flat albeit “twisty and turny”.  The atmosphere was brilliant- the entertainment of drums and dancing was motivating and running below gliders and planes was pretty cool!
The last three miles of the course was along the promenade at Lee on Solent. This was my favourite section of the race- plenty of support, fresh sea breeze air and the finish was insight! I crossed the line in 84.30, a time that I am happy with but I know with more mileage ‘under my belt’  I can run faster!”

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Leeds Abbey Dash 10K – 17th November 2013

Another Race with 1500 runners and a reputation for fast times saw the first 14 athletes dipping under the 30 minute barrier. For the Harriers Stephen Chew, Matt Lalor, Andy Buttery, Becky Shorrock, Shelley Tattersall and Gary Priestley who runs for Blackburn on the Track all competed.

Full Results HERE

Showing that the athletes are in ‘pretty good nick’, the first Harrier in was Stephen in 96th place (32.27) and a new PB by 30 seconds. Matt in 102nd also ran a PB by 37 seconds. Andy took (183rd) ran 33.57. Becky (846th) recorded the third PB of the day for the Harriers with her 40.28 which was a whopping 2 minutes faster than she had ever run before and she told us “sub 40min though in 6 weeks at RV10k”. Shelley had a bit of an off day, which happens to everyone, finishing with 44.01 and 2 minutes from her best time for 10k and we know she will be bouncing back. Gary just missed out by an agonising 4 seconds in an attempt to set a new PB when finishing 55th in 31.20 and commented afterwards “31:20 yesterday at Leeds Abbey Dash, ok result given I had no idea where I was at nor managed to get the volume I wanted lately. Onwards and upwards”

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Preston 10 Mile Road Race – 17th November 2013

This is a very popular local and flat 10 mile Race which has been going now for quite a long time. Four Blackburn athletes competed here. Shaun Livesey, Tom Blaney, Laura Hesketh and Kaylie Panaro, producing another two PB’s and a really good opening time.

Full Results HERE

Shaun was first home in a cracking time of 56.01, knocking well over two minutes off his previous best time set earlier in the year. Tom, who hasn’t raced the distance before, had a great debut with an 8th placed 58.45. Laura came in 8th (67.47), about three quarters of a minute outside her PB. Kaylie, who one of the Coaches at the Club predicted would knock 4 minutes off her best time to date – 84.04 – did exactly that with a new PB of 80.35.



Open Adventure Haglof KMF 10K Trail Race on 16th November 2013

And, after all the other Results come in, there is one for the Harriers Helen Leigh, affectionately dubbed as the ‘beast’ for her sheer refusal to give in and taking on the most difficult of Races.

Women’s Full Results HERE

There were 110 Women and 144 Men finishing the Race, with Helen(46.39) in 2nd place in the Women’s race, just 20 seconds behind the winner Annie Conway (46.19). Speaking to the Club after the Race, Helen told us that “Still not quite 100% after my cold but legs felt strong even with the climb leading straight out of Kendal up on to the hill. Was really pleased to finish second lady in 46.39 which for the gradient and the terrain was pretty speedy”.


Florian Luquet, a French athlete who does some of his training with the Club, finished in a very good 13th position in 42.30 – the winner, Martin Cox from Ambleside taking the honours in 39.37.

Men’s Full Results HERE

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Midland Women’s Cross Country League – Leamington Nov. 9th 2013

Becky Shorrock who is training really well as can be seen by her two minute 10k PB at the Leeds Abbey Dash, warmed up for that race with a run for Loughborough University in the Midland Women’s XC League the week before. The race had 290 finishers and Becky took a very good 47th place (31.30) and just 6 places away from counting for Loughborough overall (three to count 20th – 21st and 40th) and 5th of the 37 teams competing.

Full Results HERE




Comments Off on Getting Closer

Getting Closer

Work on the new Training Facility is now coming on in leaps and bounds. At the moment it just looks like a steel framework, but this is how it will look when it is completed.


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