⇒It wasn’t the best of days for racing with a fierce headwind, cold and damp but what a brilliant day for Blackburn Harriers at the Northern Road Relay Championships held at Redcar. The Senior Women’s team comprising Eleesha Charnley, Katie Buckingham, Amy Davies, Jess Warner-Judd, Abigail Stratton and Ellen Sagar-Hesketh took the title and the Gold Medal as Northern 6-Stage Champions with a total time of 2hr 20.52 – just 15 seconds in front of Salford in 2nd (2hr 21.07) and Leeds in 3rd (2hr 21.15). A big shout out to for all of the Officials who were there all day making sure that the event was well organised and overseen.
A big thanks to Karen Harland photography for the photos
As Eleesha Charnley set out on the first leg – one of two long legs in the six stages – she may not have been thinking that this could end up as an historic day for the Harriers Senior Women’s team. Coming home after a very good run in 6th place in a time of 34.27 and the 10th fastest long leg of the day, Eleesha passed over to Katie Buckingham who ran 20.16 handing on to Amy Davies on leg 3 in 10th spot. Amy picked up 3 places with her time of 18.13 which was the 5th fastest time of the leg followed by Jess Warner-Judd on the second of two long legs. Jess battered the long leg gaining 5 places as she clocked the fastest long leg of the day by a minute with 30.51. On leg 5 Abigail Stratton ran the 10th fastest short leg of the day and the 2nd fastest of the leg with a 17.42 clocking handing over to Ellen Sagar-Hesketh in 1st place on the final leg. Was this going to be an historic day? Yes it was as Ellen being chased down by Salford and Leeds, held the lead with her 19.23 to secure the Harriers first ever Northern Women’s Road Relay Championship win. Following the presentation Lindsay Davies told the Harriers “I took on the role of team managing the senior women today and I am so proud of them all, outstanding runs from each and every one of them, Eleesha out first on the long leg followed by Katie then Amy pulled a few places back, Jess was next chasing down the front runners and brought us back in 2nd then a great run from Abby to bring the team back in 1st and a fantastic glory leg from Ellen who ran through the tape for the team.”
Our U15 Boys team – Oliver Gill, Sam Aspey and Logan McCredie – took our second medal of the day coming away with a Silver, amassing 29 points behind Salford who took the title with 16 and North Shields placing 3rd (67). Oliver led the team home in 4th place running 16.26 with team mates Sam in 9th spot in a time of 17.00 and Logan (16th) with a time of 17.32. Codie Dewhurst was the Club’s sole runner in the U17 men’s race in which he clocked 19.46. Good reward for the lads as they give everything when they are out representing the Club.
Continuing a very good day for the Club, our Senior men’s team took a top five finish with a combined time of 4hr 07.01 – Morpeth winning the title in 4hr 00.48, Hallamshire (2nd) 4hr 02.11 and Leeds in 3rd place (4hr 02.32). Matt Ramsden got the A team off to a great start by winning the first leg in the 3rd fastest long leg time of the day (28.43) and the fastest for the team. David Holman was next on the first short leg running a fine time of 15.34 – the fastest short leg for the team – as he handed over to Rob Warner-Judd on the 2nd of the 4 long legs in 2nd place. Rob (29.31) held that place being followed on leg 4 by Chris Davies who ran 16.58 to pass over on leg 5 to Ben Fish in 6th – the 3rd of the long legs in which he clocked 30.02. Luke Betts ran 16.01 to maintain 6th spot before the final long leg of the day run by Callum Davidson who pulled a place back with his 29.10 – the 7th fastest long leg of the day overall. Next up came Ben Walmsley on Leg 8 running a solid 16.48 retaining 5th place which Ben Makin on leg 9 consolidated with a fine run of 15.45. Nick Gaskell ran 16.52 on leg 10 followed by good runs of 15.55 by Josh Birmingham and 15.42 by Tim Raynes both of whom had been out for some time with injuries. Another top 5 place for the second year on a run was a very good performance by the lads.
Unfortunately our B team had to run short on the day – just 8 runners in total which saw Sam Hodkinson run the fastest time of the four long legs in 33.09 followed by Stephen Walter (33.53), Jonny Murphy (34.16) and David Almond (35.51). Dominic Walton – another athlete who has been out for quite a time with injury – ran the fastest short leg (16.46) with team mates Matt Nuttall running 18.36, Danny Maynard (19.17) and Paul Guinan (19.42).
Men’s Team Manager Karl Billington commented “Good day at the relays for the club. No silverware for the men this time but an excellent gold from the women!” Ben Fish commented on the whole day “Fabulous result by the womens team and congrats to them on winning for the first time in the club’s history. Another top result by the lads, another top 5 finish, we were up against some very strong teams today.” Later in the day Callum Davidson told us “5th place was all myself and Blackburn Harriers could manage at the North of England 12 stage road relays today. It shows how far the club has come in a few years that we’re disappointed with that. Pretty pleased to put a shift in on leg 7 and run the second quickest leg in 29:10“.
Twenty for hours later and Ben Fish was back out racing, this time at the Darwen Heritage Half-Marathon held in his home town and one that he has won on a number of previous occassions – holding the Race Record of 69.17 set in winning the 2017 Race. The race is not easy and contains a lot of hills, with a total climb 1500ft (RESULTS). Ben took a very comfortable win by close to six minutes as he ran 73.16 from Harrogate’s John Young in 2nd place (78.49) and Blackburn Road Runners in 3rd (78.58).
From outdoors to Indoors and it is congratulations to Lancashire Sportshall U15 Boys who became National Sportshall Champions at the weekend in Stoke. Two of the team were Blackburn Harriers athletes Jacob Fisher and Henry Harwood.
One hundred and seventy six runners in the Senior Race which was won by Rossendale’s Grant Cunliffe in 31.28 with Rose Mather (York Knaveshire Harriers) winning the Women’s race in 37.02. Five Blackburn Harriers competed on the day Josh Holgate, Joe Bridge, Stephen Hall, Paul Bradshaw and Marc Hartley. Josh led the lads home in 5th spot overall (33.46) which also won him the Lancashire Championships Bronze Medal. Joe was next in – 13th overall (35.01) and 9th place in Lancashire, followed by Stephen in 18th (36.46) crossing the line as 1st V40 and Lancashire V40 Champion. Paul in 24th overall (37.57) came next and Marc in 25th (37.58) the two of them placing 16th & 17th in the Lancashire Championships.
Photos courtesy of David Belshaw
In the junior races Theo Robinson and Lottie Hesketh competed in theU15 Race which saw Lottie having a very good run in 2nd place in the Girls race (22.28) which was won by Keighley’s Izzy Wiright (21.51). Also having a good run was Theo who came home in 10th position with a time of 21.34 . In the U17 Race Jack Lamb and Freya Neild ran for the Harriers – Jack taking 8th place in a time of 24.15 and Freya finishing 12th in the Girls race in 35.25.