Following the Diamond League, Podium 5k, Fell and Road racing which had Blackburn Harriers competing, the weekend continued with the Lancashire T&F Championships finally taking place on – August 21/22nd – at Blackpool, which unlike normal years, was being run at the end of the season rather than in its traditional place in the Calendar in May. The Championships started off in the rain with dark, foreboding skies and finished on Day 2 in glorious sunshine. Entries to the Championships were down, due possibly to the fact that they were being held at the end of the season rather than near the beginning, possibly due to holidays and also because of the still remaining issues with Covid infection and isolation. As one leading Lancashire Official mentioned, “it will be next year before we know whether the lower number of entries is a blip due to the circumstances or not”. Worth noting that entries into other area Championships were also down.
A big thankyou to all those Lancashire Association Officers and Officials who worked so hard to put the Championhips on, all of them unpaid and volunteers, giving up their time for the love of the sport and to provide an opportunity for athletes, particularly young athletes, to be able to compete against one another and enabling them to gain more experience as they navigate the athletic pathway and their own athletic careers. It has to be said that if these volunteers didn’t give up their time, selflessly, there wouldn’t be any athletic competition, let alone championships. A thought to ponder!
Blackburn Harriers had some fifty athletes entered in the Championships, resulting in some pretty good perforances and in terms of Medals, securing 20 Gold Medals, 24 Silver and 12 Bronze Medals alongside 23 new PB’s.
George Camara is in his first year with the Harriers which is also his first year in T&F. In the U13 100m he came 2nd in his Heat (13.9) qualifying for the Final where he ran 13.8 in the Silver Medal position. U13 Leila Pilkington also in her first year, clocked 14.5 in her 100m Heat to qualify for the Final, placing 4th in 14.8. U15 Daniel Nuttall was in a straight Final for the 100m and had a real battle, holding on to win Gold in 12.1 with Chorley’s Charles Unsworth given the same time in 2nd and Blackpool’s Oliver Nunn 12.2 in 3rd. Millee Schofield is another young athlete who is in her first year as a Blackburn Harrier and what a year she is having setting new personal bests at 100m, 200m, 300m and Long Jump. Qualifying from Heat 1 for the Final in 2nd place (13.6) Millee improved by two tenths to take Silver in a time of 13.4. Alisha Lehner ran Heat 1 and clocked 14.7 with Niamh Gater running 14.2 in Heat 2 which qualified her for the Final where she came 8th in 14.0.
The Junior Men had just seven 100m entries so this was run as a straight Final resulting in the Harriers taking 1st, 2nd and 3rd as well as 4th and fifth – Fawwaz Mustapha winning with 11.4, Kyle Mashiter in 2nd (11.6), Claudio Enofomi in 3rd (11.7), George Whittaker 4th (11.9) and Ben Whittaker 5th (12.1).
The U13 Boys 200m was also run as a straight Final resulting in Matt Haxton winning the Silver Medal in a time of 28.6 and Loucas Lancashire placing 5th in 33.5, neither of the lads having ever run 200m previously. Hannah Davies was another U13 who hadn’t run 200m previously and qualified from her Heat in 30.3 before going on to win Bronze in the Final with a time of 30.2. Mille Schofield had a cracking 200m starting off with a best of 27.7, she qualified from her heat in a new PB of 27.1 (2nd) and then ran another new PB in the Final to win Bronze in a time of 26.9.
The Junior Men’s 200m saw George Whittaker run a new PB (23.8), Kyle Mashiter (24.0) and Fawwaz Mustapha (24.0) qualify for the Final from Heat 1 followed by Ben Whittaker also with a new PB (23.8) qualifying from Heat 2. The Final produced a tremendous race – Fawwaz Mustapha taking Gold in a new PB of 22.7, Kyle Mashiter taking Silver in a new PB of 22.8 and Preston’s Harvey Noble in 3rd place also 22.8. George Whittaker clocked another new PB of 23.2 in 4th with brother Ben Whittaker also posting successive new PB’s in 5th (23.5). A real Championship Final and great to watch with team mates and spectators screaming and shouting support. This is what Championship athletics is all about.
Matthew Smith had a very good weekend picking up a load of Medals of all colours. Running the 300m for the first time, he clocked 43.8 to win the Bronze Medal in the U15 Boys race. and he was followed by Millee Schofield chopping seven tenths off her previous best to set a new PB time of 44.2 in winning the Silver Medal in the U15 Girls 300m Final. Kate Cookson ran a time of 46.5 for 5th spot in the U17 Women’s 300m Final. Moving onto the 400m – Thomas Monks won the Silver as he ran 54.0 in the U17 Men’s 400m Final and he was followed by John iLunga running 62.7 in the Senior Men’s 400m Final (5th). Beatrice Toman went into the Senior Women’s 400m Final never having broken 60 seconds and with a current best time of 61.4. In taking the Gold, Beatrice chopped a full two seconds off that to set a new PB of 59.5.
Some of the U13 Boys at the Harriers are coming together in a competive squad under the direction of their Coach Sarah Henton and include Harry Pilkington, Robert Bargh and Loucas Lancashire.The U13’s Discus Final saw Harry take Gold with a distance of 19.37m and Robert taking the Bronze with 15.47m and a new PB by over a metre. Into the Javelin Final and it was 2nd, 3rd and 4th for the lads – Loucas setting a massive new PB by over three metres as he won the Silver Medal with a throw of 25.67m. Robert added over half a metre to his previous best is setting a new PB of 24.55m to take the Bronze Medal with Harry throwing 18.72m in 4th.
Hannah Davies added to the U13’s Throws Medals winning the Bronze in the Javelin with 17.64m. George Whittaker won the Junior Men’s Discus with 34.98m and just two athletes in this one, as was the case with the Junior Women’s Javelin where Millie Coy won Gold throwing 32.27m. In the Senior Women’s Discus Final it was a 1/2 for the Harriers – Sarah Henton taking the win narrowly with a distance of 37.71m from Anna Peers in 2nd with 37.58m, just 13 cms separating the two athletes, Anna going on to win the Senior Women’s Javelin Gold.
U13 Harry Pilkington won more Medals as he took Gold in the Shot Putt on Day 2 with a throw of 7.82m followed in the U15 Boys Shot Putt by Matthew Smith placing 3rd for the Bronze Medal with 7.39m – a new PB by 37cms. Grace Bontoft had a very good Northern Championships last week at Hull and followed that up with a Silver Medal in the U17 Women’s Hammer – on what was commonly said to be not a very good throwing circle – with a distance of 38.82m. She was followed by Matthew Heywood also taking a Hammer Silver Medal in the Junior Mens Final with a distance of 41.15m.
Straight Final for the U13 Boys 1500m which had Callum Singleton coming home 2nd for the Silver Medal in a time of 5.35.7 with U13 Emma Roberthshaw setting a new PB in her 1500m race with a time of 5.47.3, some four seconds better than her previous best. Another new PB for U15 Daniel Smith in his 1500m Final as he clocked 4.44.8 to win Bronze. David Holman had a battle with Manx Harriers Ryan Corrin with the race not being decided until the last 30 metres which saw David take the Gold in 4.10.7 from Corrin in 2nd (4.11.4) – another cracking middle distance race. In the U17 Women’s 1500m Final it was another Gold Medal for the Club as Abigail Stratton took the lead in the home straight to cross the line in 4.50.8 with Lancaster’s Elizabeth Wareing in 2nd (4.51.3).
The Junior Men’s 1500m Final had just three athletes in it which was combined with the Senior Men featuring three athletes also. Matt Ramsden won the Gold in a time of 4.02.3 with Ben Makin taking the Bronze in 4.02.9 the same time as 2nd placed Rhys Ashton. In the Senior race Joe Gebbie clocked 4.05.0 to take the Silver behind Blackpool’s Luke Minns. Two Blackburn Harriers in the U13 Boys 800m Final, with both setting new personal best – Matthew Haxton winning Silver with his new PB of 2.26.2, down from 2.28 and Loucas Lancashire placing 7th with a new PB by 3 seconds of 2.55.8. U15 Matthew Smith just missed out on the Medals in the U15 Boys 800m finishing 4th in 2.18.1 with Charlotte Robertshaw coming home in 4th spot in the U15 Girls 800m Final (2.44.2). U15 Oliver Gill won Silver in the U15 Boys 3000m posting a time of 10.13.1 which was a good performance in his first ever attempt at the distance. Isabel Holt chopped a a whopping 18 seconds off her previous best in the U17 Women’s 3000m to take the Gold in a new PB time of 10.24.6, whilst Matt Ramsden again sadly the only Junior man in the 3000m taking a Gold Medal in 8.54.8.
Another cracking race in the U17 Men’s 800m Final – Hayden Mercer (1st in 2.06.2) qualified from Heat 2 whilst Codie Dewhurst qualified from Heat 1 in 4th (2.15.2). The Final produced Gold for Hayden as he took the race in 2.02.0 from Wigan’s Connor Fletcher (2.02.5) and Manx athlete Ryan Corrin (2.03.0). Codie came 7th in the Final, improving by three seconds from his Heat with a time of 2.12.3. Five athletes in the U17 Women’s 800m which had two Heats – Abigail Stratton qualifying from Heat 1 with 2.21.3 with Kate Cookson 7th (2.38.3) – and from Heat 2 – Leah Hoole qualified in 3rd spot (2.31.8) with Keira Haxton 4th (2.32.4) and Kiera Booth 6th (2.40.2) and a new PB by a tenth. The Final saw Abigail win Silver in 2.21.9 behind Wigan’s Ava Lloyd who won the Gold in in 2.21.3 – Leah Hoole ran 2.30.1 in 7th position. The Junior Men’s 800m Final had just one athlete which was again combined with the Seniors and resulted in Ben Makin winning the Junior Men’s Gold (2.00.5) as the only athlete with Joe Gebbie took Silver in the Senior Men’s race with 1.59.3.
It was a good second day for Junior Woman Poppy Mae Preece who set personal bests, firstly in the Pole Vault, clearing a new PB height of 2.35m – an improvement of 5cms to win Silver and then in the High Jump doing the same, adding another 5cms to her previous best to win Silver again with a new PB clearance of 1.55m.
U13 Boys George Camara and Callum Singleton featured in the High Jump Final – George winning Silver with a 1.35m jump equaling his personal best and Callum placing 4th with 1.20m, only the second time he has done the event in competition. U13 Girls Leila Pilkington jumped to 3.67m in 8th place in the Long Jump Final alongside Hannah Davies who finished 11th (3.29m). Just two boys in the U15 High Jump – Matthew Smith winning with a clearance of 1.58m, the conditions pretty awful at time for this event with officials having to sweep water away in the run up. Junior Man Fawwaz Mustapha was just 5 cms outside of the medals as he leapt out to 12.91m in the Triple Jump Final but could only finish 4th where the winner jumped 14.55m and 2nd place 13.74m with 3rd spot 12.96m. In the Senior Men’s Triple Jump John iLunga won a Silver Medal with his leap of 9.30m. and added a Bronze Medal in the Long Jump in 3rd spot (4.53m). U13 Matt Haxton was just outside the medals in coming 4th in the U13 Boys Long Jump with 3.95m with U15 Matthew Smith jumping a new PB distance of 4.86m to win the Bronze. Junior Man George Whittaker continued his good weekend with winning Gold in the Pole Vault (2.65m).
It was another win for U13 George Camara in 75m Hurdles posting a comfortable win in a time of 13.2 as Hannah Davies ran 12.9 in the U13 Girls 70m Hurdles Final in 5th place. Matthew Smith, who seemed to have been in every event over the weekend came 2nd to take another Medal in the 80m Boys Hurdles (14.3) with U15 Girls Niamh Gater and Alisha Lehner 4th and 5th respectively in the 75m Hurdles Final (13.7 & 14.1). U17 Ben Boocock won Silver in the 100m Hurdles clocking 15.1 as Junior Woman Aysha Karolia won the 400m Hurdles (72.6) – again only one athlete entered with the race being combined with Senior women.