The 2023 England Athletics Indoor Track & Field Championships for U20/U17/U15 age group athletes was hosted at the EIS Sheffield over the weekend February 11th and 12th.

U20 Abigail Stratton was looking to make it a regional and national double after winning the Northern 1500m championships in January at the same venue. In a straight Final Abigail ran the first part of the race comfortably in 3rd place and made her move to go to the front to take a commanding lead, going on to win the Gold Medal and National Title in a time of 4.31.28. After her race Abigail told the Club that she was so happy to have won my first national gold, felt strong throughout but had the confusion of them ringing the bell a lap early, I just continued running”. Abigail is undfeated in her four Indoor races this year over 800m twice and 1500m twice as she goes into the British Championships on the weekend of February 18/19th.

Abigail Stratton (607)

L-R Evie BrooksAbigail StrattonKeira Brady-Jones

Kara Dacosta won her U17 300m Heat in a new PB time of 39.79 to go through to the semi-final later on the first day. Having set the standard for herself in the Heat she went one better in the semi-final taking another win and setting another new PB of 39.39 in qualifying for the Final the following day. The Final saw Kara cap a brilliant weekend with her third win, her third consecutive new PB of 39.35 to take the Gold Medal, National Title and keep her place at the top of the National Rankings. In 2023 so far, Kara has raced 300m six times and won them all. She is currently 4th overall in all age groups National Rankings with two seniors and an U20 in front of her.

(Kara’s Race Video)

Dexta Thompson like Abigail had won won the Northern 1500m championships in January with an indoor personal best time of 3.59.36 amd missed out on a national title here by four tenths, winning a Silver Medal – the third Medal of the weekend for Blackburn Harriers athletes – in 2nd place clocking 4.02.75 behind Wirral’s Ethan Brady Jones (4.02.37).

Sam Aspey had gone in at the deep end in the U15 Boys 800m with a number of the athletes having posted faster times, but that didn’t deter him as he lined up for Heat 2 finishing in 3rd spot in 2.16.04 in his first ever outing Indoors.

In the U17 Men’s 60m Sprints four Blackburn Harriers had qualified for the Championships — Charlie Unsworth went through to the next round taking 2nd place in his Heat 3 – one of 10 Heats – in a time of 7.17 – just one hundreth outside his personal best. Heat 4 saw  Jacob Fisher clock 7.54 in 8th spot whilst in Heat 7 Daniel Nuttall went through clocking 7.24 in 3rd place. Henry Harwood ran himself a new PB of 7.61 in 8th position in Heat number 8. On to the semi-finals and in the first one of three, Daniel Nuttall came home in 8th place with 7.34 and team mate Charles Unsworth clocked 7.22 in semi-final number 3 (8th) – the first four in this Heat all clocking sub 7 seconds. Moving to the 200m on Sunday Charlie Unsworth ran 22.92 in 3rd followed by a 22.94 clocking in the semi-final in 4th place. Heat 4 saw Daniel Nuttall run a seasons best 23.43 in 4th. First year U17 Millee Schofield line dup in Heat 4 of the 200m placing 3rd in a time of 26.62.

Charlie Unsworth (14)

Daniel Nuttall (98)

Still on Indoor athletics at Sportcity —  (RESULTS)  — for the most recent fixture in the Sale Winter Indoor Series which featured three Blackburn Harriers athletes – Samuel Mutombo, Lucas Woodhouse and Codie Dewhurst. U20 Samuel started off his day in fine form reducing his 60m time from 7.65 down to to a new PB of 7.51 – 2nd  in his Heat after which he set a seasons best indoors, this time over 200m as he won his Heat in 24.86. In the same Heat there was a new PB for U20 Lucas who clocked 25.85 in 4th representing a two tenths improvement since January. Codie took on the 600m running 1.30.72 in 3rd place.

The Sheffield Steel City Cup was another event hosted at the EIS Sheffield on February 8th. Blackburn Harrier John iLinga was one of the athletes competing along with team mate and fellow Blackburn Harrier Ben Whittaker and was also the coordinator as he told the Club that “the Sheffield Steel Cup is an inter-universities meeting organised by Sheffield Hallam University and The University of Sheffield Athletics Club. This is because we were celebrating the 16th anniversary of the Steel Cup and I was the event coordinator and organiser alongside my colleagues from the University of Sheffield and our both head coaches Martin Cook and Joanne Rowland. We had 17 Universities for Women’s teams and 16th universities Men teams, University of Birmingham was the overall winner with my university (Sheffield Hallam University) taking second place. Other Blackburn Harriers ~ Poppy Preece, Charlie Coy and George Whittaker were all on hand with a kindly offer to help us on the day too.”

John featured in the Shot Putt and 400m being just outside his presonal best with 8.83m in the Shot and clocking 58,97 in his 400m race which was an indoor new PB. Ben clocked a seasons best time of 24.86, placing 2nd in his 200m Heat.

L-R Blackburn Harriers George WhittakerPoppy PreeceBen WhittakerJohn iLunga Charlie Coy

John iLunga (250)

Nick Beer 10k

Starting on the iconic Victorian Promenade in Llandudno the route takes runners around the awe-inspiring Great Orme with its stunning views of Snowdonia, Anglesey and beyond. With hundreds of runners taking part year after year, it is a fabulous start to the running season. Once you know the race is going anywhere near the Great Orme you know you aren’t in for a flat course, which definitely proved to be the case — (RESULTS).

The hilly race didn’t deter the two Blackburn Harriers who lined up at the start among over 550 other runners – Ben Makin and Eleesha Charnley, both of them having really good runs. Ben finished 2nd overall in the race with a time of 33.59 being engaged in a battle with Abergeli Harriers athlete James Yarwood – Yarwood winning in 33.52. Eleesha went one better winning the Women’s race – 7th overall, 1st Woman and in a new PB time of 36.32 knocking over half a minute off her previous best. Speaking to the Harriers afterwards Eleesha told us that “The race was a really good atmosphere with amazing views throughout. The course way really tough with the first 3 miles just climbing steep hills, was very shocked that I came away with a pb and can’t wait to see what I can get on a faster course”.

Ben Makin and Eleesha Charnley

What more can you say about Helen Leigh who has been competing in the Scottish North District Cross Country League this winter. Picking up the Bronze Medal for taking 3rd place overall in the Senior Women’s category for the season and being part of the team that won the League overall, Helen, who had just finished a night shift as a firefighter and had gone to the race afterwards told us that she “had a rubbish run post night shift for the last North League XC at Forres, but managed to take 3rd woman in the League for this season and we won the women’s team so pretty chuffed with that. Onwards and upwards! ” This tops a very good first season for Helen over cross country after moving to Scotland, still a 2nd claim member of Blackburn Harriers and great to see her doing so well.

Helen Leigh 2nd from the right