Starting off with an international theme to our latest report with Olympians Holly Bradshaw and Jess Warner-Judd. Holly was competing at the Diamond League in Lausanne, Switzerland on Friday June 30th – her first competition since she won the British Championships in Manchester June 2022. Holly has had some injuries to deal with and her latest outing resulting in a 5th place clearance of 4.51m – going off 10 strides – was an important first competition in a year which features the World Championships. After winning the British 10000m Championships in May, the next race for Jess was the Bislett Games 3000m which didn’t go as well as she wanted, however, she made up for that in her next outing over 5000m clocking a seasons best time of 15.06.59 and puts her in great shape for the forthcoming British Championshiops.
This years English Schools T & F Championships took place at The Alexandra Stadium in Birmingham at which a number of Blackburn Harriers had been selected to compete.Unfortunately one of the Clubs best sprinters in the Inter-Girls wasn’t selected even though she had achieved the qualifying time for both 100m and 200m and won the Lancashire Schools Championships over 200m.
Congratulations to Blackburn Harriers Kara Dacosta who won her Heat of the 300m qualifying for the Final when she clocked a time of 39.46 in winning the Silver Medal in dramatic fashion (RACE VIDEO). As a result of the Championships, Kara has been selected to run for England at the SIAB (Schools International) at Grangemouth Stadium in Scotland on July 15th.
Daniel Smith ran a big new PB of 4.03.72 to just miss out on qualifying for the Final by less than two tenths.Charlie Unsworth was in Heat 3 of 4 in the Inter-Boys 200m clocking 22.51 in 3rd spot and a tenth outside of the qualifying places. Dexta Thompson and David Holman and both been selected for the Senior Boys 1500m – Dexta running a time of 4.00.35 in 8th place in Heat 2 whilst David hampered by an injury in his foot ran 4.10.19 in his Heat 1. Charlie Clanford is in his first year with the Harriers and competing in the Junior Boys 300m had a great run as he clocked a new PB by some eight tenths with a time of 37.57. It was a top six finish in the In the Senior Girls Hammer for Emma Harrison finishing 6th with a throw of 43.31m. Agatha Taylor had set herself a target of qualifying for English Schools in the Junior Girls 800m which she achieved, finishing in 5th place in her Heat with a time of 2.17.44.
Saturday evening was BMC Grand prix time at Watford in which a couple of Blackburn Harriers athletes competed – Abigail Stratton in the 1500m and Daniel Bebbington, also in the 1500m. Seventeen athletes in Abigail’s B race won by Brightons’s Beth Kidger in 4.19.60 as Abigail finished strongly to take 6th place in 4.23.58. Sixteen athletes in Daniel’s A 1500m race which was won by Ireland’s Nick Griggs in a very good time of 3.40.63 with Daniel clocking 3.53.51.
The wind blew and blew hard at Witton Park Arena at the weekend as Blackburn Harriers hosted the third Match in this years Northern League West Premier Division knowing, that after a couple of 4th placed finishes in the first two Matches, a good result was needed in this one – and a good result it was. The Harriers won the Match with 398 points, Trafford placed 2nd (365.5), Wirral 3rd (343), West Cheshire in 4th (341.5), Sale 5th (326) and Team I.O.M 6th (251). Trafford on Saturday August 19th is the final Match and will decide which two teams go to the Grand Final which Blackburn Harriers won last year.
The Club got off to a great start in the middle distance events as Ben Makin ran a controlled race to accelerate in the home straight to take the win in the A with 1.58.7 as team mate Ben Stratton came 2nd in the B race with 2.01.8. Tim Raynes ran an equally smart race in the 1500m A race hitting the front with 300m to go and powering away to take the win in 4.09.9 with Codie Dewhurst placing 2nd in the B race (4.23.2). On to the 3000m steeplechase which resulted in a win for Ben Fish in the A tracking Wirral’s Daniel Hayes before moving on to take the win over the last lap in 10.24.2. Matt Ramsden and Josh Birmingham teamed up in the 5000m resulting in a double win for the team – Matt sitting in with Sale’s Philip Robertson and West Cheshire’s Jamie Richardson and kicking from 150m out to take the win (15.26.9) with team mate Josh clocking 15.44.5 to win the B race.
The wind was relentless for middle distance events but that didn’t deter Keira Haxton from taking on the 800m and leading from the front finishing 2nd to a strong finish from West Cheshire’s Imogen Pugh – Keira running 2.25.9 with team mate Leah Hoole taking 2nd spot also in the B race with 2.32.2 in just her third track race of the year and fourth since 2021. Ellen Sagar-Hesketh produced a strong finish off the final bend to win the A 1500m in a time of 5.02.4 alongside Evie Taylor who won the B race in 5.10.9 to add inavaluable points to the teams total. Isabel Holt took 2nd position in the A 3000m in 10.54.9 as Emily Jemutai Cheruyiot ran her first track race for the Harriers – carrying an injury from a recent half-marathon – and won the B race in 11.02.0.
One of the stand out jumps of the day came in the Men’s Pole Vault as George Whittaker cleared 3.80m – a new PB by 10cms and that on a pole which wasn’t the one that was best for him. Another good perforamnce on the day came in the Triple Jump where Samuel Mutombo continued his consistent form with a 2nd placed 12. 07m in the A whilst Harrison Allock added just short of a metre to his previous best in winning the B in a new PB of 11.98m. The same two athletes reversed the placing in the Long Jump as Harrison took 2nd in the A with 5.66m and Samuel 1st in the B with a jump of 5.61m. George Whittaker was back out in the High Jump clearing 1.65m in 4th with team mate Daniel Smith coming back from English Schools helping the team out with a 1.55m clearance for 3rd in the B. Great to see Millie Coy back in action for the team and coming 3rd in the A Long Jump with a leap of 5.01m alongside Eleesha Charnley who placed 2nd in the B (3.89m). Millie and Eleesha aslo paired up for the Triple Jump with jumps of 9.59m (4th) and 7.87m (4th) respectively.
A good Hammer competition resulted in Anthony Kent taking the win in the A with 48.98m – maintaining his consistency around the distance with team mate Matthew Heywood taking 2nd in the B with 45.03m. Anthony went on to win the Discus with 39.11m alongside Tony Balko placing 3rd in the B (29.02m) and affected by a niggling injury. Anthony and Tony teamed up again in the Shot Put – Anthony having to settle for 3rd place (12.35m) in a very good Shot Putt competition – Tony taking 3rd spot in the B with 9.38m. Another outstanding performance came in the Javelin with Oliver Palk adding 9 metres to his previous best to set a new PB of 43.09m in coming 2nd in the A with team mate George Whittaker also 2nd in the B with 39.38m. Emma Harrison and Grace Bontoft took a double win the Hammer with Emma – having been at English Schools the day before – winning with a new PB of 47.49m alongside team mate Grace winning the B with 37.10. Moving on to the Shot Putt and this time it was Grace’s turn for a new PB as she placed 3rd in the A with a distance of 8.97m – half a metre improvement whilst Emma was also 3rd in the B with 7.29m. Sarah Henton was in difficulty in the A Discus with a groin injury but managed to complete the event with a 4th placed throw of 33.15m with Grace Bontoft 3rd in the B (18.89m). Millie Coy took the win in the Javelin A with a distance of 32.29m with Isabelle Hartley placing 3rd in the B (18.38m).
Sprints & Hurdles
The only athletes in track events who were happy about the wind were the Sprinters. Brandon Zinyemba clocked 10.9 in the A 100m as Harrison Allcock posted a time of 11.9 in 5th in the B. The 200m saw Brandon team up with George Whittaker – George placing 4th in the A (23.6) and Brandon clocking 23.8 in 3rd in the B. The 400m was an excellent race with three athletes in contention on the home straight finishing with Dominic Walton running 51.2 in 3rd in the A and Thomas Monks 53.4 in 2nd in the B race – undoubtedly would have been a quicker race without the wind down the back straight. The 4 x 400m Relay was equally close as the team of Thomas Monks, Oliver Palk, Ben Makin and Dominic Walton got pipped on the line – the winners Wirral posting 3.30.0 with Blackburn in 2nd 3.30.5. Samuel Mutombo, Harrison Allcock, George Whittaker and Kyle Mashiter clocked 46.4 in the 4 x 100m to place 3rd. Kyle Mashiter and John iLunga both took solid 2nd places in the 400m Hurdles running 68.2 and 68.1 respectively – John going on to the run the 110m Hurdles where he fell badly at the 2nd Hurdle, got up and completed the race to secure the points for the team. Great commitment.
Amy Wiggans and Isabelle Hartley teamed up in the 100m and 200m with Amy placing 4th (13.3) and Isabelle 4th (14.5) in the 100m whilst in the 200m Amy clocked 27.7 (6th) in the A and Isabelle 6th in the B (30.0). Abigail Stratton who had run in the Senior Women’s 1500m at Watford on Saturday night came back to run for the team and won the A 400m in 57.2 which was a new PB by 1.3 seconds with Leah Hoole taking 3rd in the B race (67.8). Unfortunately our 4 x 400m Women’s Relay team got disqualified for taking the baton over the line whilst our 4 x 100m team placed 5th in 57.5.
Dominic Walton ran his first 800m race since contesting the UK Championships in June 2022 at the recent Northern League meeting in Bebington clocking 1.53.2 in winning his race on June 18th. Nine days later he ran much, much quicker, taking another win at the BMC Gold Standard Races held at Trafford on June 27th with a seasons best time of 1.49.55 which was just six tenths outside his personal best. At the same meeting, V55 Tony Balko was in the Hammer and Javelin events throwing a seasons best of 33.26m with the 7.26kg before taking 2nd place in the Javelin with a distance of 27.89m.
A tale of two V60 athletes – members of Blackburn Harriers for nearly half a century
Athletics covers every age group. it isn’t just for young people. We often forget this. Peter Banks and Bob Shorrock have been tremendous endurance athletes for the Club for the best part of half a century and are still going strong which is great testament to their love of the sport and their commitment to keep doing it as long as they can.
Peter Banks joined Blackburn Harriers aged 14 years in 1975 amd has represented the Club for the last 48 years. As a V60 he was out at the Hawkshead Series of 10k races on Wednesday June 14th and came home in 25th place with a time of 40.28 which gave him the first V60 prize too.This was his 3rd 10k race of the year posting times of 40.02 at the Kendal 10k and 39.43 at the Levens 10k – both held in May. In the National Rankings, Peter is in at 71st and incredibly there are close to a 100 V60’s in the country under 40 minutes. In the final race – the Endmoor 10k – run on Wednesday June 28th – (RESULTS) – Peter came home in 10th place overall, 1st V60 again and in a time of 41.18 which gives him the Series win in his age category.
Bob Shorrock first joined the Club close to 50 years ago – also like Peter – as a 14yr old boy. Just 8 years ago Bob finished 54th overall and won the V50 – V60 Age Category 1st Prize in a time of 4hr. 55min.18seconds in the Race which is the full marathon distance – 42K with an elevation gain of 2700m and starting in Chamonix with the finish 1000m above Chamonix. On June 23rd 2023 – back at the scene of his Marathon triumph – and racing in the V60 category – Bob placed 3rd V60 in the Kilometre Vertical up hill race over 3.8k with an increase in height of a 1000m, covering the distance and height in 58.30.
Danny Mayanard took on the Windemere Sprint Duathlon consisting of a 5k Run, 20k Bike Ride and a 2.5k Run on the weekend of July 1st. Danny placed 6th overall and 3rd in his age category posting times of 21.14 for the 5k Run, 41.35 for the 20K Bike Ride and 10.39 for the 2.5k Run.