What a great weekend for Blackburn Harriers. Athletes from the Club travelled far and wide to compete over this Bank Holiday period – at Doncaster in the Northern T&F Premiership Final, at Bedford in the U15 and U17 National T&F Championships, in Cheshire for the 5k Road Race which included the English Championships, at Blackpool in the Mid Lancs League Medal Meeting and Loughborough for the final fixture in this years BMC Series. The Club, like many others are stretched when it comes to weekends like this and perhaps those involved in the Competition Working Group might start to look at fixture congestion, think about the athletes and Officials and the burnout implications for many. League’s management committees may also consider whether they themselves put on too many fixtures and whether the total number of fixtures could be reduced, helping mitigate fixture congestion, give officials some downtime and take the heat off athletes giving them opportunities to train and prepare rather than be in a constant state of competition. This is not in any way a criticism of all those unpaid volunteers who actually do the work in running Leagues in track and field, cross country, open meetings etc. it is an observation made not just by Blackburn Harriers, but something actively discussed by many Clubs, team managers, coaches, officials and athletes themselves and has been for some time now. It might be not too radical to think that a reduced number of fixtures throughout the year may have an impact on raising the standards again at County and Regional Championship level, often bemoaned as ‘not what they once were‘. Once again a huge thankyou to our Officials at Blackburn Harriers who provided teams for the Northern League Premiership FInal and the Mid Lancs Medal Meeting on the same day including Alison Heywood, Alison Hulme, John Chaplin, Christine Smith, Claudine Smith, Sabrina Dewhurst, Jean Hoyle, Helen Dawson-Smith, Kate Taylor, Steve Brindle, Linzi Lancashire and Krista Camara.
Six teams lined up in the Northern League Premiership Final at Doncaster: Blackburn Harriers & AC, West Cheshire AC, City of York AC, New Marske Harriers Club, Gateshead Harriers, City of Sheffield & Dearne AC – all impacted at one level or another by other events, injuries, holidays etc. In the end it was another close finish for first and second places – Blackburn Harriers just edging out West Cheshire by 26 points to take the title with City of York in 3rd, New Marske 4th, Gateshead 5th and Sheffield 6th.
Three athletes in the 100/200m for the men with Lewis Slack clocking 11.6 in the A 100 (3rd) after his blocks slipped from under him and then taking 2nd in the A 200 (23.2). Sam Mutombo stepped up for the B 100 running 12.3 in 3rd whilst Ben Boocock did the same for the B 200 clocking 24.5 in 2nd. Abbey Riley and Amy Wiggans doubled up in the 100 and 200m for the Women – Abbey running 13.3 (2nd) in the A 100 with Amy winning the B in 13.2 – Amy then just a tenth outside her best as she clocked 27.4 in 2nd in the A 200 with Abbey placing 4th in the B (28.7). The 4 x 100m Relays resulted in a victory for the Men – Sam Mutombo / Ben Boocock / Thomas Monks / Lewis Slack in 45.9 from City of York in 2nd (46.9). The team – Joe Gebbie / Codie Dewhurst / Daniel Smith / David Holman also took the 4 x 400 Relay win in 3.34.1 from Gateshead (3.39.5). The Women’s Relay teams – Abbey Riley / Amy Wiggans / Lucy Rishton / Millie Coy produced a 2nd spot in the 4 x 100 (52.3) behind City of York (52.1) with our 4 x 400m team finishing 3rd Beatrice Toman / Abigail Stratton / Eleesha Charnley / Ellen Sagar-Hesketh in 4.07.0, West Cheshire taking the win in 4.00.3. Ben Boocock is in his first year transitioning from Sprint to Long Hurdles and won the A 400m Hurdles in a comfortable time of 62.5 with John iLunga coming in to help the team running and who has had little opportunity to train for Hurdles whilst at University clocking, 70.3 in the B in 2nd spot after which he ran 21.9 in 2nd place in the 110m Hurdles. Only one non-scoring athlete in the 100m on the day which was the Harriers Lucy Rishton who ran 13.9.
Our Throws Squad always produce good performances and a huge number of points for the team and the Final was no exception. Matt Heywood came 2nd in the A Hammer with 47.38m along with team mate Anthony Kent winning the B with a distance of 44.63m. In the Shot Putt Anthony placed 2nd with 11.55m whilst Matt placed 4th in the B (8.26m), Anthony then placing 3rd in the A discus with 35.78m and John iLunga stepping up for the team, throwing 20.41m in the B for 4th spot. Both Anthony and Matt stepped up for the team in the Javelin Anthony throwing 31.25m (4th) in the A and Matt 24.48m also 4th in the B. Similar story with the Women’s Throwers today and throughout the season – Emma Harrison and Grace Bontoft have done really well in the Hammer and there was another win for Emma in the A Hammer on the day with 42.15m – Grace placing 2nd in the B (31.39m). Sarah Henton took the win in the Discus with 37.48m alongside Emma Harrison taking 2nd spot in the B with 20.28m which was a new PB for her. Sarah and Grace teamed up for the Shot – Sarah in 5th in the A (8.41m) and Grace 5th in the B (7.15m). Millie Coy who had a great day for the team took the win in the A Javelin throwing 32.95m with middle distance athlete Ellen Sagar-Hesketh typifying the spirit of the squad by volunteering to throw in the B and coming 3rd with 20.71m.
Hayden Mercer had booked for the Leeds Festival but decided to come to Doncaster and help the team in the Final – going to the Festival afterwards and it paid off as he took the win and maximum points with a height of 3.25 – a new PB by 5cms. Kail Sturgess and Sam Mutombo were our pairing in the Men’s Long and Triple Jump events and helped build the teams points totals with good performances – Kail coming 2nd in the A Long Jump (5.89m) and winning the B Triple Jump with 11.94m whilst Sam set himself a new PB in winning the B Long Jump leaping out to 5.71m placing 3rd in the A triple Jump, just outside his personal best with a leap of 12.33m. Codie Dewhurst cleared 1.55m in the A High Jump (5th). Millie Coy and Lucy Rishton teamed up for the Long Jump and then volunteered to take on the High Jump to fill empty spots, again amplfying the spirit of the team. Millie took 2nd in the A long Jump with 5.05m and then, having never done High Jump, cleared 1.50m in 4th spot – Lucy jumping 4.08m in 4th in the B Long Jump and coming = 3rd in the High Jump with 1.15m never having been near a high jump bed. Millie was out again in the Triple Jump, setting herself a new PB of 10.07m in the A (2nd) with Beatrice Toman coming 3rd in the B (8.63m) in only her second ever attempt at the event which was also a new PB.
Back on the Track Thomas Monks – just back from holiday and Hayden Mercer – took on the 400m, Thomas clocking 56.7 (4th) in the A and Hayden 56.1 also 4th in the B. Joe Gebbie (1.58.0) and Matt Ramsden (2.02.5) won the A & B 800m respectively, replicated in the 1500m by David Holman winning the A (4.18.9) and Codie Dewhurst winning the B (4.26.6). Ben Makin and Tom Blaney won the A and B Steeplechase in which there were disappointingly only four athletes – Ben running 10.31.1 and Tom 10.50.6. Another disappointment in the 5000m which had just four athletes in it resulting in a double win for the Club – Matt Ramsden taking the A comfortably in 15.38.9 and Ben Makin who had volunteered to take the B race on after having run the steeplechase, winning the B (16.48.3) as the only athlete.
Abigail Stratton and Beatrice Toman took on the Women’s 400m – Abigail running 58.8 in 3rd spot in the A alongside Beatrice who clocked 62.9 in 2nd in the B. Abigail backed that up with a win in the A 800m running 2.16.8 with team mate Keira Haxton clocking 2.32.5 in 2nd in the B. On to the 1500m where Ellen Sagar-Hesketh came 3rd in the A (5.00.6) which was a new PB by 2 seconds with Eleesha Charnley winning the B in 5.11.5. Eleesha had volunteered to run the vacant B 3000m spot after running the 1500m with team mate Joanne Nelson running a seasons best time of 10.55.7 in the A race (2nd) which sees her cement her 3rd place in the Women’s V50 National Rankings and Eleesha winning the B in 10.56.1 for a new PB by over 25 seconds.
Eleesha Charnley (11) – Joanne Nelson (1)
On to the road and the Mid Cheshire 5k incorporating the English 5k National Championships – (RESULTS). The race was won by Adam Craig in 14.09 followed in 2nd by Kurt Taylor (14.15) and Ben Brown in 3rd (14.18). Blackburn Harriers Josh Birmingham finished in a top 20 position coming home in 16th over all with a seasons best time of 14.47. V50 Matt Nuttall was aslo running in this race – only his 3rd road race of the year – and after posting a 17.47 at the Sale Sizzler on August 11th – (RESULTS) – he clocked 17.27 (244th) with Lee Casson just behind clocking 17.33 (254th) in his first road race of the year.
Down at the Indternational Stadium at Bedford it was the scene for the 2022 U15 and U17 National Track and Field Championships at which a number of athletes were participating having achieved the required standards – U15 Daniel Nuttall in 100 and 200m, U15 Millee Schofield in 100 and 200m, U17 Charlie Unsworth (100m), U17 Kara Dacosta in 300m and High Jump, U15 Oliver Gill (1500m), U17 Isabel Holt (3000m) and U17 Dexta Thompson (1500m).
Daniel Nuttall capped off a great season having already medaled at National Championships in the 60m and 100m he added a Silver Medal in the 200m with a new PB time of 22.99 which was run into a minus 1.4 headwind. Prior to the 200m Daniel had run 11.50 in 4th place in his 100m Heat which meant that he missed out on qualifying for the next round. Millee Schofield has had a really great final season as an U15 and qualified from her Heat (12.68) to progress to the Semi-Final where she ran 12.71 (6th) missing out on going through to the Final. On to the 200m where Millee was drawn in Heat 1 and clocked 26.23 into a – 1.9 headwind in 4th place which meant she didn’t get through and by the smallest of margins just 0.03. Millee Schofield Video. Charlie Unsworth is in his first track season with the Harriers and was drawn in Heat 3 for the U17 100m where he ran a time of 11.76 into a – 1.3 headwind coming in 7th and didn’t qualify to go through.
Kara Dacosta clocked 40.89 to go through from Heat to the Final where she clocked 40.84 in 6th position.
Dexta Thompson is another athlete who has had a great season in 2022, setting new personal bests of 1.55.19 (800m), 3.59.40 (1500m) and 9.08.34 (3000m) and topped that off with a Bronze Medal in the 1500m Final running 4.06.79. U15 Oliver Gill has gone from strength to strength this year setting personal bests of 2.04.94 (800m) and 4.17.67 (1500m) and came home in 5th spot in the straight 1500m Final with a time of 4.22.38 and afterwards, spoke to the Harriers about his Championships saying ” I have really enjoyed my track season and Nationals was a great way to end. Went into the race 5th fastest on PB and came out with 5th place. Really happy with everything achieved this year”. Isabel Holt is another athlete enjoying an excellent season setting new personal bests at 1500m and 3000m, winning the County 3000m Championships, Silver Medal at the Northern 3000m Championships and placing 5th at the English Schools T&F Championships for 3000m. After the National Finals in which she ran 10.12.73, Isabel told us “I placed 6th in my race which I am happy with! It wasn’t a PB but I don’t think it was a PB day as everyone who ran I believe was outside there PB! It was a really good experience!”
Still on Track & Field and this time at the Mid Lancs Track & Field Medal Meeting which is the final fixture of the season for the League and was held at Stanley Park, Blackpool which will be followed by a full refurbishment of the Track. (PROVISIONAL RESULTS). The day continued to be a very good one for the Harriers as they won the Men’s Divsion 1 Title – the Trophy Winners being decided over the full six fixtures and presented on Saturday at the Medal Meeting and picked up by three of the Clubs junior athletes. Thanks to Mark Lancashire for some of these photos.
Seventeen athletes from the Harriers out on the day winning for themselves 8 Gold, 4 Silver, 4 Bronze Medals and setting nine new PB’s. Athletes only qualify for Medals if they have competed in a minimum of two fixtures during the season. It was a pretty good day for U15 Henry Harwood as he smashed his 100m personal best of 12.6 when he clocked a new PB time of 12.2 in the U15 Boys 100m in Bronze Medal place and went on to set a second new PB in 200m clocking 25.4 and again in Bronze Medal spot. U15 Matthew Smith chopped a whopping 3 seconds off his best 800m time as he set a new PB of 2.12..6 in 2nd position with Ethan Cutler running 2.27.7 in the same race (5th). Sam Aspey has had a great first season as an U15 and rounded it off with a Silver Medal run in the 1500m in a time of 4.31.8.
Over the Hurdles and George Camara won himself a Gold Medal with his 14.3 in the U15 Boys 80m Hurdles placing 2nd with Matthew Smith in 3rd clocking 14.8. Matthew then competed in his third event of the day leaping out to 4.89m in 2nd spot (U15 Boys Long Jump) as George went onto clear 1.42m in winning the Gold in the U15 Boys High Jump. U15 Loucas Lancashire won two Gold Medals as he came 2nd in the Javelin with a new PB throw of 26.97m and then set another new PB in the Discus, placing 3rd with 14.85m. Alisha Lehner won a Silver Medal in the U15 Girls 75m Hurdles running 12.7 in 3rd place overall as U13 Ellie Charnock took 2nd place in her 70m Hurdles Heat 1 with 13.2.
George Fenton has had a good first year on the track as an U13 – running 7 races and winning 6 and finishing 2nd on one occassion – and it was another 2nd spot and a new PB of 12.8 in the U13 Boys 100m which earned him the Gold Medal too, Jack Duxbury placing 5th in the same race with 15.0. U17 Isabelle Hartley took on 3 events – coming 5th in the 100m Heat 1 with an equal personal best of 14.5, 7th in the 200m with a time of 30.3 and 3rd in the Shot Putt (7.98m) which won the Bronze Medal. U15 Imogen Crooks is another athlete having a very good first season with the Club and continued her very good form to win the U15 Girls 100m and the Gold Medal in a a new PB time of 13.2 alongside team mate Alisha Lehner who clocked 13.8 in 6th position. Imogen then went on to win her second Gold Medal by winning the U15 Girls 300m, again in a new PB time of 45.4 with Charlotte Robertshaw in 4th place clocking 48.2 – a distance which she hadn’t previously raced. In the U15 Girls 800m Charlotte was just outside her best time in in 2nd place, clocking 2.33.7 – winning the Silver Medal. Imogen Crooks and Tamzin Osborne were among 12 U15 Girls in the Long Jump placing 9th (3.96m) and 12th (3.32m) respectively which meant that Imogen had set three new PB’s during the day. Tamzin went on to win a Silver Medal in the Discus with a throw of 12.10m. Agatha Taylor and Emma Robertshaw raced the U13 Girls 1500m resulting in a win for Agatha and a Gold Medal with her time of 5.05.2 along with her teammate Emma running 5.47.8 in 5th.
Final BMC fixture of the year hosted at Loughborough on Saturday August 27th – (RESULTS). Daniel Bebbington who had set a new personal best in the BMC 800 at Trafford just five days previously took on the A 1500m race won by Ben Pattison (3.39.14) and clocked 3.42.91 in 7th place. In the Men’s 5000m B Race Luke Betts ran a seasons best time of 14.33.61 in 2nd place behind Spenborough’s Joe Sagar (14.32.01). Callum Davidson came home in 6th place clocking 14.47.85.
U15 Matthew Smith was selected to represent the North West in the British Triathlon Inter-Regional Championhsips in the T3 Category last weekend. Placing 6th in his heat in the morning (350m sea swim, 3km bike ride and 1.2 km run) with an overall time of 17.06.19 gained him qualification to the A final in the afternoon, where he finished in 14th position overall out of a total of 48 athletes from all the regions of the England as well as Scotland and Wales, posting a combined time of 16.54.86
Finally finishing off on a different surface and event, this time on the Fells at the Pendleton Fell Race on Saturday August 27th with Danny and Michelle Teare. (RESULTS). Sixty two finishers in this race won by Sale Harriers Chris Donnelly in 41.27. V50 Danny came home in 40th spot running 56.26 alongside V40 Michelle who ran 61.06 and was 2nd female V40 on the day.