A rain free, but windy day, greeted this years contestants in the 2024 Lancashire Schools Cross Country Championships held at its usual – venue of Witton Park. (RESULTS). Photos from the day can be found on (BLACKBURN HARRIERS FACEBOOK PAGE). Somehwere in the region of 14 athletes from Blackburn Harriers look like they will be selected for Lancashire at the English Schools this year. Starting off with the Senior Boys & Senior Girls race, Blackburn Harriers athletes, competing for their Town Team had a good day with four of them qualifying for English Schools. Dexta Thompson (Burnley) won the Boys race (22.14) with Daniel Smith (Preston) in 3rd (22.50) as Isabel Holt (Burnley) won the Girls race (17.57) with Poppi Watson (Preston) in 3rd spot (21.27).

Dexta Thompson (17) – Daniel Smith (57)

Isabel Holt

Poppi Watson (155)

In the Year 7 races, 63 runners in the Girls and 70 in the Boys races took part — Max Unthank (Pendle) placed 5th in the Boys race (8.36) and Oliver North (Blackburn) in 9th (8.48). Another fine run from Millie Jordan (Chorley) in the Junior Girls race as she continues her impressive first cross country season with the Club, placing 2nd out of a field of 64 in 14.24 along with Lottie Hesketh (Pendle) having a good run too in 4th place (14.42),  Lyra Krige (Chorley) who is also having a fine cross country season in 5th (14.50), Charlotte Smith (Hyndburn) in 12th (15.11), Bella McCredie (Pendle) in 39th spot (17.15), Alexa Hunt (Blackburn) 45th (17.50), Hetty Green ( Blackburn) 17.52 in 47th place, Isabelle Pawson (Blackburn) 51st (17.56) and Eleanor Woodford (Blackburn) with a time of 18.05 in 55th position.

Max Unthank

Oliver North

Millee Jordan

Lottie Hesketh

Lyra Krige (223)

Charlotte Smith (228)

Bella McCredie (241)

Alexa Hunt (199) – Hetty Green (196)

Isabelle Pawson (198)

Eleanor Woodford (195)

Millie Jordan with Individual Silver

Seven athletes from Blackburn Harriers took part in the Junior Boys races in a field of 61 runners. Leading the way was Jack Baranowski (Blackburn) in 2nd place (12.54) from Tom Falencki (Hyndburn) having another excellent run in his first cross country season finishing 6th in 13.51, Theo Robinson (Hyndburn) in 10th place (14.08), George Holman (Hyndburn) 17th (14.33), Elliot Unsworth (Blackburn) 25th (14.45), Liam Bennison (Blackburn) running 15.16 in 35th and  Zac Tobin-Bennett (Blackburn) in 39th (15.33).

Jack Baranowski (289)

Elliot Unsworth (293) – Tom Falencki (321)

Theo Robinson (322)

George Holman

Liam Bennison (292)

Charlotte Robertshaw (Hyndburn) achieved her goal of qualifying for English Schools placing 2nd in the Inter-Girls race with a time of 16.16 alongside Isabella Pacelli (Blackburn) who also qualified in 3rd place (16.25). Isabelle Perry (Pendle) had a fine run too in 7th spot (17.33) with Hannah Davies (Blackburn) in 18th place (19.05) and Tamzin Osborne (Hyndburn) in 19th place (19.35).

Charlotte Robertshaw

Isabelle Pacelli

Isabelle Perry

Hannah Davies

Tamzin Osborne (418)

Eight Blackburn Harriers lined up in the Inter-Boys race with Oliver Gill (Hyndburn) leading the way in 2nd place out of a field of 50 (17.30), with Sam Aspey (South Ribble) in 4th (17.55), Henry Ward (Chorley) in 6th (18.19), Ethan Cutler (South Ribble) and Jack Wood (Hyndburn) in a sprint finish between the two of them posting time of 19.19 (15th) and 19.21 (16th) respectively, Matthew Smith (Hyndburn) in 21st (19.59), Max Belshaw (Pendle) in 29th ( 20.34) and George Ramsden (Blackburn) 34th (21.05).

Oliver Gill (513)

Sam Aspey

Henry Ward (507)

Ethan Cutler (556)

Jack Wood

Matthew Smith (517)

Max Belshaw (530)

George Ramsden (485)

Moving to the Indoor season and what a good weekend for U15 middle distance athlete Agatha Taylor. Competing at the Northern U13/U15 Indoor Track & Filed Championships, Agatha was entred in the 800m where she clocked the second fastest qualifying time of 2.16.72 in 2nd place of Heat 1 before going on to place 3rd in the Final (2.17.91) and take the Bronze medal. (ALL RESULTS)

L-R Kitty Harrison-Sargent (Silver) – Maya Schofield (Gold) – Agatha Taylor (Bronze) (Phot courtesy of Northern Athletics)

Back outside and this time at the Winter Warmer 10k starting and finishing on the Track at Witton Park and featuring over 500 finishers, ten of whom were Blackburn Harriers. The day was a windy one and testing given the amount of climbing in the first part of the race, however, that didn’t stop the race winner – Blackburn Harriers Matt Ramsden who made light work of it, winning the race in a new race record of 31.16 nearly three minutes in front of 2nd place athlete Sam Atkinson (Bowland) in 34.09 and Mike Fryer (Helsby) in 3rd place (35.03). Badr Alainzay in his first season with the Club set himself a huge new PB, chopping over three minutes off his previous best to place 6th in 36.06 with Paul Bradshaw just one place behind in 7th running 36.39 and Nick Gaskell in 11th in a time of 37.13 and 1st V50 in the race. V45 Marco Pacelli running just his second race for the Club and one of the Harriers Junior Endurance Coaches came next in 30th place overall running 39.49, followed by Danny Maynard in 43rd running 41.13. Rebecca Ward had a good run in 58th place with a time of 43.14 which wasn’t far off her personal best for 10k and given the conditions and the course, she will undoubtedly break that soon – her run also gave her 3rd place overall in the Women’s race. V55’s Mark Almond and Ian Clarkson were next in with times of 46.12 (106th) and 48.34 (138th) along with V50 Lindsay Davies in 238th position in a time of 53.48.

Matt Ramsden

Badr Alainzay (6)

Paul Bradshaw (60)

Nick Gaskell (171)

Marco Pacelli

Danny Maynard (313)

Rebecca Ward (3)

Mark Almond (8)

Ian Clarkson (95)

Lindsay Davies (122)

One hundred and thirty youngsters took part in the 2k Fun Run before the main race. (RESULTS) with seven from Blackburn Harriers all running – one boy and six girls – running in age categories 5, 8, 11, 14 yrs. Liam Bennison was the first home in 3rd place running 8.11 (2/8); Hannah Davies was first F14 (1/3) in 8.23; Amelia Pacelli came first in the F11 (1/11) with a time of 8.30; Scarlet Cothliff ran 11.13 in the F8 (11/27); Scarlett Hamill placed 12/27 in the F8; Pippa Blackburn was just one place behind and 13/27 running 11.40 and Ava Shannon who ran in the F11 category placed 10/12 in a time of 12.17.

Amelia Pacelli

Spotted in the race doing some secret training were Sabrina Dewhurst and Christine Smith – Sabrina running 51.47 (6th in the U35 Age Category) whilst Christine ran 60.05 and 13th in the V50 age category. Both Sabrina and Christine are regular volunteers at Blackburn Harriers.

Sabrina Dewhurst (128)

Returning to the cross country at the BUCS Cross Country Championships on Saturday February 3rd at Temple Newsam Park in Leeds. Taking part in the Men’sLong Race, it was great to see Joe Gebbie back racing after such a torrid time with injuries. Running for Leeds, Joe ran a time of 38.58 in 129th place overall and was delighted to be back, telling the Club that he  “Was just chuffed to be back racing and to toe the line for the A race after not having raced properly since inter-counties with injury. It was great to bring BUCS to Leeds and deliver a brutal course to the masses. It’s always my favourite race in the calendar, and it lived up to expectation. Went out pretty hard on the first lap and paid for it, dropping back through the field, but I was buoyed on by ridiculous support right across the course. A great event, and now keen to kick on for the roads and track.”

Joe Gebbie (904)


Last cross country race of the season for Helen Leigh in the North League run at Nairn in Scotland last weekend – Saturday February 3rd. Adversity doesn’t seem to be a problem for Helen as on the morning of the race she was finishing a night shift and was confronted by a flat tyre. The old saying of ‘when the going gets tough, the tough get going’ couldn’t apply more than to Helen who duly dealt with all of that and went and won her race run over 7.5k. The course is pretty unique in that it goes around a grassy park and then along the beach, although on the day as Helen told us “it was blowing an absolute hoolie right in your face which made the sand running ever more tough“.

Helen Leigh