Great weather again for cross country running at Leigh in the first Red Rose fixture of the season. With a number of young athletes running in Schools Cross Country races to try and qualify for the Lancashire Schools Championships in the New Year, the turn out of the Harriers younger athletes was down but the Seniors more than made up for it.
Tim Raynes continuing his very good year – one which has seen him set new personal bests on the Track and Road – had the run of the day, winning the Race in a time of 36.34 from Richard Burney (37.05) of Liverpool Harriers in 2nd spot and leading the Harriers home to a Team win on the day.
In 2nd spot for the Harriers came Chris Davies another Harrier in good form, fresh from a new PB in the Great North Run, in 8th overall with a time of 38.50. Chris also placed 3rd V40 on the day and led the Harriers first four counting Vets – (Chris, Mat Nuttall, Andy Buttery, Sean Proctor) – to 1st in the Team competition. In 16th, 17th and 18th place overall came Mat Nuttall – 2nd V45 on the day – (39.29), Tom Blaney (39.36) and Andy Buttery – 3rd V45 – on the day (39.47) which was great packing followed by new member Ben Costello who had a fine race in only his third competitive outing finishing 21st in 39.58 and being 6th counter for the Team.
It was a welcome return to cross country for the Harriers Richard Stones who has been involved in triathlons and has been a few years since his last cross country race. Richard came home in 28th spot (40.36) out of a field totaling 240 runners and he was followed home by Karl Billington in 32nd (41.11), Sean Proctor (60th) in 43.46, Chris Balderson (90th) in 45.41, Craig Greenough (93rd) in 45.52, Mark Almond in 106th place (46.40), John Chaplin 127th in a time of 47.59 and 2nd V60 on the day, Allan Hartley (165th) in 50.48, Andrew Knowles (169th) in 51.10, Danny Teare (181st) in 52.00, Richard Taylor in 204th spot (54.18) and new member Andy Hatton 217th with a time of 56.35.
One hundred and thirty three runners lined up in the Women’s Senior Race which saw the Harriers finish 4th Team on the day out of the 18 competing and equal on points with the 3rd placed Club. Liz Greenwood took 2nd place overall in a time of 21.25 behind Laura Riches and in the process won the U20 Race by over half a minute and is clearly getting back to form after a long lay off with injury. Beckie Taylor was the next Harrier, in a time of 22.45 (14th) and she was backed up by Carly Edwards in 28th place (23.57). Jackie Taylor, in her first outing for quite some time came home in 95th (29.58) with Lindsay Davies in 118th in a time of 32.37.
Hannah Cookson kicked off her Red Rose season with a 5th place in the U17 Women’s Race in a time of 24.25. In the other Girls Races, the Harriers took 3rd Team place in the U11’s with Kate Cookson leading the team home in 8th place (8.44) followed closely in 10th spot by Caroline Woodward (8.45), Keira Haxton in 22nd (9.07), Hannah Davies 32nd in a time of 9.21, Isabelle Hartley in 36th place (9.29) and Eva Knowles (39th) in a time of 9.39).
Saul Sharp was first Blackburn Harrier home in the U11 Boys Race in 27th with a time of 8.28 and he was supported by Oliver Gill in 43rd place (8.56) and George Ramsden in 57th spot (9.18). With the lads being 10yrs, 9yrs and 8yrs old respectively, that’s not a bad performance.
Solid runs for George Whittaker who finished 15th in the U13 Boys with a time of 10.08, whilst Lucy Brady came 39th out of seventy eight in the U13 Girls in 11.29.
Just two boys competed in the U15 Race with Matt Ramsden having a really good run in 3rd place with a time of 13.11 in a very keenly contested race throughout. Sam Hodkinson, a new member who has just started to compete continues to show promise placing 15th in 14.51. Over in the U15 Girls Race Amy Davies finished 17th in a time of 16.54.