The final fixture of this years Red Rose Cross Country League took place at the usual venue – Marl Pits – unusually firm in places around the course with weather conditions almost perfect; And, there was a lot at stake as the Men’s Senior Team looked to win the League going into the fixture with a points lead and knowing that Todmorden and Rossendale on their home patch would be looking to overturn that outcome. A good performance was needed if the wins at Leigh and Blackburn weren’t going to suffer. In the end, Bolton came with a very strong team and won the Team on the day with the Harriers in 3rd spot and good enough to win the Title.
Red Rose Series RESULTS
Great to see Chris Mattthews back on cross country (8th) with a time of 30.15 in his first race in four years on that terrain and he performed brilliantly to lead the Team home in 3rd place on the day behind Rossendale and the winners Bolton. It was enough to win the League for the Club. Tom Blaney had a great run backing up Chris when he finished just one place behind in 9th (30.36) with Chris Davies 14th in 31.10 and commented after the Race “Marl Pitts isn’t my favourite XC and with running the Guys 10 on the Sunday I wasn’t going to run this one. I decided to do it in the end though and run one for the team. The Senior team were on the verge of winning the Senior team prize and just needed one more strong team out to do it. We managed to do it and I was glad to have a small hand in that. It was also good to finish the series off properly as well and to be fair it’s probably the best condition I have seen Marl Pitts in. The running was tough in certain areas especially at the top of the hill which is always notoriously boggy but all in all it wasn’t to bad and I had a decent run. It was great to finish of the series as 1st Vet 40 overall but most importantly well done to the Senior guys throughout the series and achieving 1st place in the Senior team. Well done to Tim Raynes for finishing 3rd overall in the series and Andy Buttery in the V45 category as well also finishing 3rd. Also a great effort from all the other athletes in the club for their participation throughout the series as well. Everyone should be proud. Well done”.
Richard Stones in only his third cross country race in five years came home in 22nd (32.18) and followed by Shaun Livesey (24th) in 32.25) and Mat Nuttall (44th) in a time of 34.33 being the six counters on the day. It was a really good team effort with Chris Balderson taking 48th place (34.52), Aqua Damour in his first competitive season (68th) in 36.28, Mark Almond 80th (37.08), Craig Greenough 105th (38.52), Warren Smith 117th (39.32), Allan Hartley 160th (44.20) and Richard Taylor 172nd (46.27). The Senior Men were also among the Medals in the Vets taking 2nd place in the Team, with Chris Davies winning the V40’s and Andy Buttery 3rd in the V45’s.
Just short of a hundred runners in the Senior Women’s Race won by Leigh Harrier’s Laura Riches with three Senior Women contesting for the Club – which saw Grace Handley getting stronger by the week after such a long time out and having raced only four times since January, finishing 5th in a time of 21.18. Becky Taylor was next home in13th place (22.28) and she is also getting fitter after having only raced seven times in the whole of 2016. V50 Jackie Taylor with only four races in 2014, two in 2015 and three in 2016 had a solid run to take her highest position in the Series in 53rd (26.50).
The U11 Boys Race saw Saul Sharp again come home as first Harrier in 20th (7.19) and 25th out of sixty nine in the whole Series with Oliver Gill in 31st (7.37).
The U11 Girls Team finished in 5th place on the day and 2nd for the Series which was great result for them. This is the first season of competition for these young girls and they have run very well. On the day Caroline Woodworth placed (6th) in a time of 7.29, Keira Haxton (20th) in a time of 7.59, Isabelle Hartley (36th) in 8.24 and Hannah Davies 38th in 8.25.
Ethan Barbarewicz was first home for the Club in the U13 Boys (14th) in 9.55, backed up by George Whittaker in 16th (9.58), Kyle Taylor-Pomfret (20th) in 10.01 and Jasper Smith (25th) in a time of 10.10, all of which gave them the 3rd Team position on the day and 3rd in the Series overall, so well done to the lads. Eleesha Charnley had another good run in the U13 Girls to take 5th spot in 10.04 and just missed out on the Medals for the Series finishing the League final standings in 4th place. Lucy Brady finished 43rd on the day and came 39th overall in the Series in her first year with the Club.
With some of the Blackburn Harriers competing in Town Schools cross country Championships in the morning, the numbers were down a bit at Marl Pits. In the U15 Boys, Sam Hodkinson, another young athlete in his first season ran really well for 9th place (15.20) a result that gave him 12th place overall in the Series. Matt Ramsden who didn’t run because of the Schools Race finished in 2nd place in the Series, a great result as he is bottom of age. Amy Davies ran a very astute Race – Keely Hodgkinson had the race won early on so Amy tucked in with Briony Holt and Charlotte Edwards – in the U15 Girls to finish 3rd on the day (16.13) the same time as given to the second placed runner and 3rd for the Series overall.
The Stockport 10 with nine hundred and fifty eight finishers, hosted this years Northern 10 Mile Road Championships won by Patrick Martin (50.04) and for the Women Sophie Cowper (60.14). Chris Arthur, making his debut on the Road for the Harriers after winning the Red Rose Cross Country at Witton Park, did really well to post a time of 52.58 and win the Bronze Medal and told the Club “It came as a very pleasant surprise to finish 3rd as I thought there were more people ahead. I wanted to run Stockport as it normally attracts a strong field so from the off I ran at my own pace and didn’t get drawn into overcooking the start, although the first 10k was only 20 sec off my PB which was a bit worrying. It seemed to work anyway as I steadily picked up places, mostly on the hills unsurprisingly”.
Rachel Wood who had picked up the Road Running Award for Women from the Club at the Presentation Evening on Friday night also had a very good run to take 44th place overall and 3rd Woman to take the second Bronze Medal of the day for the Harriers. Afterwards Rachel reflected on her Race with the Club saying “It was my third time racing the Stockport 10 event and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Weather conditions were good and I got into a decent rhythm early on. I kept my race position from start to finish and felt comfortable throughout. Training has been going well but I didn’t expect to get a bronze medal on the day so I am really pleased”.
Three hundred and thirty two finishers in this popular local 10 Mile Road Race with five Blackburn Harriers competing.
Joe Monk continued his very good season and form to finish runner up in a time of 54.22, just four seconds off his personal best. Joe told the Club he was “really pleased. Great weekend for the club with excellent results, great race, shared the pace with the mighty Rob Affleck, just missed out on a PB by 4 seconds, but still happy with another strong run”.
Great run from Chris Davies too and what a weekend for him having helped the Senior Men’s Team win the Red Rose League the day before at Rossendale, he turned out at this Race, finishing in 3rd spot with a time of 56.06, a new PB by nearly a minute and half. Chris reflected on his weekend telling us “You never know what to expect when you have raced the day before and you just hope you have enough left in tank for one more race the day after. Today was the Guys 10 and after a good warm up I felt good and up for it. The start was a quick one but I decided to stick to the game plan and start a little bit more conservatively and go for a bigger finish at the end. That said my pace was pretty consistent throughout. My mile pace was always in the 5:30’s mark which was pleasing and I did manage to keep that throughout and managed a good sprint finish at the end to get 3rd place. The most pleasing is the big PB that I gained from today. From 57:30 I managed to get down to 56:06. Really happy with my running in general at the moment and I hope I can get the last PB that I want at the end of the year at the Ribble Valley 10K. Fingers crossed. Well done to Joe Monk who achieved 2nd place today, Neil Tattersall who had a great run to finish in 6th place and Liz Greenwood who achieved 1st female back as well. Well done David Morris as well who always gives it his all in every race he does as well”.
What a fantastic run from U20 Liz Greenwood who is still 17yrs old. Liz finished 25th overall, was 1st Woman in a time of 62.36 and went straight to the top of the National Rankings for 10 miles in her Age Group – and this was also a massive new PB cutting over three minutes off her her previous best and this in only her second attempt at the distance.! What a performance and with her customary modesty, Liz spoke to the Club and said “I really enjoyed my first 10 mile race on a fast flat course. It was tough towards the end but I was really pleased with my time and to come home as First Lady”. Carol Reilly has battled back after a long lay off and finished in 114th position with a time of 75.40 and commented “Did Guys 10. To either kill or cure me!! Thankfully I am pleased to report it may have done the latter. Not an amazing time,. Only managed 1 hour 15 but it’s something to start to build on. Hopefully I’ll be back at the track soon”. V50 David Morris also had a crack at the distance coming home 291st in 1hr 42.27.
There have been some great runs by the Harriers over the weekend and none more so than Tim Raynes run at the Wilmslow 10k where he finished 8th in a new PB of 31.31, three quarters of a minute faster than his previous best. What a great season he is having and when speaking to the Club he said that “Having not run on the road much lately, I wanted to run a 10k as an indicator of form ahead of Ribble Valley. I heard about this new race and thought it would be a good opportunity for a decent run out. As the gun went off, a sizeable leading group formed at a pretty decent pace. Knowing this would probably come back to bite me, I tried to hold off and run my own race. This left me fairly isolated, and I was left to gradually move up the field as people dropped off the early pace. Went through 5k in 15:31 and hoped to maintain a similar kind of pace. The second half of the race, however, proved to be a little tougher. Can’t complain with a big PB though, and will hopefully look to shave off a little more time in a few weeks. Well done to Lindsay and Bryan for new PBs and to Ben for another solid run. Really enjoyed the race, would recommend it for next year.”
(Top 10 in the Wilmslow 10k)
Ben Costello was running his second ever 10k Race and finished 52nd in 36.55 – four seconds faster than his previous outing – and there is no doubt that this young lad is going to go on and knock chunks off this time.
Another great run for Bryan Searby placing 146th in a time of 41.47 well over a minute faster than his previous best and fifteen minutes faster than his first attempt at the distance just two years ago. All that hard work is now paying off for Bryan and he told the Club that it was “A perfect race on a perfect day. Couldn’t have asked for better conditions. A strong field at the front. Not really a flat course a few ups and downs. Mile 5 was a slow drag. Pleased with my time even getting my 5k time under 20mins and final time was 41:47 another PB. Great running from everyone else from the club who each gained new PB’s. A race I would recommend”.
Lindsay Davies made it a hat trick of new PB’s in the Race for the Harriers finishing in 752nd out of a field of 1239 finishers for a new PB and told the Club that she “Very pleased with my 10k at Wilmslow, smashed my PB by 2 minutes 21 seconds from 57.29 to 55.48. The weather was beautiful for running, a bit chilly but the sun came out and it certainly shined on me. I got into a really nice steady rhythm and seemed to keep at the same pace. The course was fantastic fast and flat with a couple of cheeky hills near the end, recommend it to anybody. Very professionally organised with a lovely medal at the end. I am definitely going the right way with my running, I feel a lot stronger, need to up my mileage and probably knock a few more minutes off. Thanks to all the coaches at Harriers”.