A packed out evening at the Mill Hill Working men’s Club saw Blackburn Harriers celebrate the success of all our athletes over the previous year across all disciplines – Track & Field; Cross Country, Road, Fell and Sportshall.
Club Chairman Tony Wood started the evening with a special mention of the first of our two Guest Presenters – Samantha Murray. Samantha who joined the Club as a 15yr old went on to achieve magnificent success in the Modern Pentathlon winning the Silver Medal in the 2012 Olympics and became World Individual Champion in 2014 – outstanding achievements along side so many others over the years including winning the British Championships in 2013, 2014 and 2017.
First Award of the evening – The Junior Squad Trophy – goes traditionally to the Sportshall Group which sees the Coaches nominate three Boys and three Girls. The Boys Nominations were Harrison Allcock, Thomas Flynn, Matthew Smith and the Girls Niamh Gate, Kady Thompson, Molly Grimshaw with Harrison and Niamh taking the Award.
The U11 Endurance Award is given to recognise the efforts of the junior endurance athletes particularly during the 2016-17 cross country season. For the Boys the winner was Oliver Gill and for the Girls Isabelle Hartley.
Junior Team Contribution to Track and Field Award goes to the junior athlete that has competed in most Club fixtures through the 2016 Track and Field season in the UKYDL, Mid Lancs and Lancashire County Championships. Kyle Taylor-Pomfret took the U13/U15 Boys Award followed by three winners of the U13/U15 Girls – Amy Davies, Eleesha Charnley and Leah Hoole. In the U17/U20 Male age category there were also three winners with Ben Whittaker, Jacob Roberts and Nicholas Smith and in the Female category Emily Warren and Chloe Bleeks were the winners.
Junior Merit Award is presented to athletes new to the UKYDL who have impressed their respective team managers and coaches throughout the season with the winners in the U13’s being Kate Cookson, Nicky Saunders, Kyle Taylor-Pomfret and Rory Teare with Queen Tanimowo, Millie Coy, Sam Hodkinson and Jonathan Gough taking the Award in the U15’s.
This award – Senior Team Contribution to Track and Field – goes to the athlete that has competed in most Club fixtures through the 2017 Track and Field season with a combination of Northern Senior League, Mid Lancs and Lancs Champs used to decide the winners. For the Men the winners were Chris Davies and Tim Raynes and for the Women Anna Peers.
Junior Team Contribution to Cross Country Award goes to the Junior athlete that has competed in most club XC fixtures through the season. Red Rose and Mid Lancs Leagues, Lancs, Northern and National Champs. Boys Winners Ethan Barbarewicz (Total of 10 MLL XC and Red Rose XC as well as County and Northern) Girls Winner Amy Davies (4 out of 5 MLL XC and all 4 Red Rose XC plus the Lancs XC, Northern and National). For the Seniors the Award went to Chris Davies (4 out of 5 MLL XC and all 4 Red Rose XC plus the Lancs XC, Northern and National and for the Women, Lindsay Davies took the Award (4 out of 5 MLL XC and 3 Red Rose XC plus the Lancs XC, Northern and National).
The next two Awards presented on the night covered the U13/U15 and U17/U20 Age Groups, the first of which was for the – Most Promising Young Athlete – an Award that highlights athletes that are usually new to the Harriers or just starting with the juniors and have started to make good progress through training and competing regularly and particularly look to have great prospects ahead for them. For the U13/U15 Age Category the Boys Winner was Dexta Thompson and for the Girls Hollie Cubbon. In the U17/U20’s the Winners were Bradley Meikleham and Emily Taberner. The second of these Awards – the Most Improved Young Athlete – went to Matt Ramsden for the U13/U15 Boys, to Myah Booth for the U13/U15 Girls, Ben Whittaker and Chloe Bleeks for the for the U17/U20’s.
The next Award presented on the night – Outstanding Junior Commitment – went to athletes that have shown commitment and application beyond what would normally be expected in order to improve themselves or support their team mates. Cameron Harris won the Award for the U13/U15 Boys for achieving a National Standard 45.54m in the Javelin at English Schools and ending the season on top of the North West Rankings and 19th Nationally. Eleesha Charnley took the U13/U15 Girls Award for her contribution in T&F, XC and Fell as well as being a key member of the road relay squad. Anthony Kent won the U17/U20 category after finishing the season ranked number one in the North West, 12th in the country and reaching the English Schools Final – Coach Jim Kerrigan receiving his Award. Maddie Elliott took the Female U17/U20 Award for competing more XC than any other in this age group, at T&F, and a key member of the relay squad.
The Club’s next award – Club Road Running Award – is made to an athlete who has represented the club with great credit on the roads and conducts themselves in a manner that is a great example to the other members around them. The Women’s Winner was Rachel Wood who won the San-Francisco Marathon and South Cheshire 20 and for the Men the Award went to Joe Monk for a season which saw him set new personal bests at 10k, 10mile and Half-Marathon.
At this point in the evening it was time for the introduction of our next Guest Presenter – George Woodburn. The Club Chairman introduced George as a long standing member of the Harriers, joining way back in 1964. After a successful career as an endurance runner which saw him run 30mins for 10k, 67 mins for the half-marathon and 2.26 for the marathon and after 53 years membership George has continued to be extremely active in the Club as a Coach and Committee member.
The Club Fell Running Award – is made to an athlete who has represented the club with great credit on the fells. The deserved winner was Dexta Thompson who had a great season placing 3rd in the U13 FRA Champs – the English Junior Fell Champs 6 race series. He backed that up with 2nd in the BOFRA U12s, taking the Lancashire U13 Fell title and also winning his age category in the Junior Burnley and Pendle Grand Prix Series.
Going from juniors to veterans, the winners of the Best Veteran Athletes Award went to Ben Fish who during the course of the season competed on the Track at 800m, 1500m, 3000m, 5000m, 10000m and Steeplechase as well winning eight road 10k and half-marathon races. For the women, this Award went to Victoria Mousley after winning the 5k Veteran title at Horwich and recording six other wins at 10k and half-marathon. There was a second Veteran’s Award which was a Merit Award for Road Running and this was won by Carmen Byrne who recorded four wins at 10k and 10 mile.
Normally there is just one Award for the Triathlete of the year but this year there were two. Our first Winner was Brian Fogarty after a tremendous performance in the British Ironman Championships where he placed 11th overall and first amateur. Our second Winner was Jack Hindle after a a stunning win at the Helvellyn Triathlon where he won the event by a full twelve minutes in front of the previously undefeated professional.
Many of our junior athletes participate in a variety of events, even if not true multi-eventers, This award – Best Junior All Round Track and Field Performance – reflects their versatility and the overall contribution they make to the Track and Field squad. Our Boys Winner was George Whittaker who competed in ten different events during the season for the Club whilst the Girls Award went to Liberty Thompson who competed in nine events overall throughout the year.
The Best Senior All Round Track and Field Performance went to John iLunga who competed in eleven events for the Club during the season as well as taking on a Decathlon at the Lancashire County Multi-Events Championships. The Women’s Winner was Anna Peers who competed in all the Throws events for the Club in the Northern league amassing a massive one hundred and four points.
Our next two Awards cover firstly – Best Junior & Senior Field Performance and and secondly – Best Junior & Senior Track Performance. Starting with the Juniors for the Field Award, U15 Jonathan Gough won for his 11.70m Triple Jump at Blackpool whilst for the Girls Emma Love won the U13/U15 Award for her 1.40m High Jump at Bury in the UKYDL. Jacob Roberts threw 65.64m at the Blackburn Open which won him the U17/U20 Award whilst Charlotte Williams won the U17/U20 Girls Award for her throw of 60.53m at Loughborough (Ann-Marie receiving on behalf of Charlotte). For the Senior Awards, these went to Joe Pearse for his High Jump of 2.00m at the Bucs Championships in Bedford (Esme Pearse receiving on behalf of Joe) whilst the Women’s Award went to Olympian Holly Bradshaw who broke her own National Record with a jump of 4.81m (Bob Groves receiving on behalf of Holly)
The Junior Awards for Best Performance (U13/U15) were won by Matt Ramsden for his 3000m time of 9.24.4 at Blackpool in August and Myah Booth for her 11.6 70m Hurdles time at the Blackburn Open. For the U17/U20’s age group Ross Liddle was the male Winner for his time of 50.6 in the 400m at a Northern League fixture in Liverpool and Emily Warren took the female Award for her 12.6 sec in the 80m Hurdles at the Blackburn Open. Rob Warner was the Winner of the Senior Award for his 3.49.1 1500m run at Trafford whilst Alison Leonard took the Women’s Award for 1500m run in Germany clocking a time of 4.24.4. Rob’s Trafford time also saw him win the prestigeous Arthur Almond Trophy which is presented to the athlete with the best Track performance throughout the season.
Our next Award of the evening – Best Schools Championship Performance of the Year – was presented to the athlete that has produced the best performance in a Schools Track and Field event during the season. Winner of the Girls Award for her Silver Medal throw of 59.41m in the English School Hammer Final was Charlotte Williams (Brother George receiving her Award) whilst the Boys Award was won by Ross Liddle for his time of 54.3 in the 400m Hurdles Final.
Four Awards for the Club Championship which is conducted throughout the year over varying types of Races on Road, Cross Country, Trail and Fell. Fifteen Races in total with the best eight performances counting towards the eventual winners. This year saw Lindsay Davies win both the Women’s Club Championship and Club Handicap whilst Chris Davies won the Men’s Club Championship and Ian Clarkson won the Club Handicap.
A very special Award made by the Harriers Club Committee was made to Joe Fleming, the Club’s High Jump Coach. This Award is made in recognition of a contribution made by a member of the Club who has shown commitment and dedication in working for the betterment and improvement of the Clubs athletes and the Club itself. Over many years Joe has displayed all of these characteristics and was a very deserving winner.
At the Club’s Annual General Meeting held recently it was announced that Richard Taylor was standing down as a Committee Member after a number of years in that role, as was the Club Secretary George Davies. George continues on the Committee and was elected Vice-Chairman with Wendy Hitchon being elected the new Club Secretary. In recognition of the work they had done, the Club made awards to both Richard and George which were presented by Wendy.
One of the highlights of the evening was the awarding of Life Memberships to Olympians Sophie Hitchon, Holly Bradshaw and Samantha Murray. In introducing the Awards, Club Chairman Tony Wood told the assembled Harriers that granting Life membership was a an indication of the contribution that these three athletes had made not only in their own specific events but to the support and development of the Club as a whole and that it was fitting to mark those achievements and contributions in this way. George Davies presented the Award to Samantha whilst Bob Groves received the Award for Holly Bradshaw as she was unfortunately unable to be there and Wendy Hitchon was presented with Sophie’s Award as she was in the US at a training camp.
The Bob Groves Trophy which is presented by the Club’s Hurdles Squad was won by Solomon Brown recognising his step up to 400m Hurdles and his improvement throughout the season. Bob took the opportunity to highlight the progress that Solomon had made throughout the year alongside Club record holder for 400m Hurdles – Ross Liddle.
Charlotte Williams and Jacob Roberts, two of the Clubs very successful Hammer Throwers were presented with International Awards, an Award which recognises the increasing number of athletes that have represented the Club at International level during the year and in 2017 both athletes were selected to compete for England.
On to the Athlete of the Year for Juniors and Seniors which highlighted some great performances. Junior Male Winner was U15 Matt Ramsden for his 3000m time of 9.24.4 which puts him at the top of the North West Rankings by over half a minute and in the top twenty in the Nationally. The Female Junior Winner was Charlotte Williams for her throw of 60.53m in the Hammer, finishing the season 2nd in the North West rankings and 2nd Nationally.
Senior Male Winner was Rob Warner for his personal best time of 3.49.12 whilst the Female Winner Holly Bradshaw won after breaking her own British Outdoor Pole Vault Record with a clearance of 4.81m.
The Final Award of the evening is the Round Chase Trophy, a trophy that has been in the Club for well over eighty years. And it was fitting that George Woodburn who has contributed so much to Endurance running in the Club was able to present the Cup and the individual medals to the U15 Boys Endurance Squad who have had a fantastic year. They came 2nd in the Red Rose Cross Country League – 1st in the Mid Lancs Cross Country League – won the U15 Lancashire Road Relays and North West Road Relays in Blackpool – followed that up by winning the Northern Road Relays at Sportscity and capped it off with a Silver Medal in the National Road Relays at Sutton Park.
(L-R Back Row: George Woodburn presenting the Award – Luke Ingleson, Jamie Teare, Matt Ramsden, Leon Thomas & Sam Hodkinson – L-R Front Row: Harry Wilkin, George Whittaker & Ethan Barabarewicz)