Another weekend and another round of competitive athletics. Another weekend when athletes, individually as well as being part of a team, go out to give their best for themselves and for their Clubs. They are accompanied by their Coaches, by family members, by Club supporters who are all part of the day and the athletic journey. Then there are all those volunteers, officials, race and competition organisers – all of whom give their time freely and without question to try and make this sport we love, as attractive, as welcoming for all abilities and as meaningful as possible. This weekend we cover three disciplines, Road, Track & Field, Fell. We go from world class performances in winning top races, setting new personal bests on the track, to finishing in the hundred’s in a Fell race. That’s the beauty of our sport. It is all encompasing, all embracing and can be enjoyed by everyone. Not everyone gets to the top and wins the race, the event, the medal, but everyone gets to have a go, gets a chance to improve and better themselves. This is another weekend for Blackburn Harriers – a weekend of celebration of all of our athletes who go out to give of their best whatever level they may be at. Without the Clubs and their unpaid volunteers who selflessly give up their time and energy, who turn up week in week out, year after year, none of this would be possible. Lots of discussion in the media, on social media particularly about where our sport is going. Is it viable, is it sustainable? Do we have to change? Do we have to do things in a different way to be more relevant to young people in particular? Maybe. Lots of people have views and opinions, some you can agree with and some not. But one thing is for sure. The absolute bedrock of our sport lays in our ability to attract and involve volunteers into becomong the next generation of Coaches, officials, race and competition organisers. This is the route to sustainability, in making sure that world class athletes can appear on the same page as as someone who is running their first race, taking on their first throws, hurdles, jump events, their first cross country race or their first fell race. The Clubs are the foundation of our sport. Their survival is fundamental. If you are an athlete don’t be without a Club – join. If you are a parent, or a retired athlete for example, jump in and join the fun. It’s a great way to spend a weekend.
The sun certainly shone on the athletes on Sunday. After running a debut half-marathon time of 67.52 In Houston in January – which has her in 3rd place in the National Rankings – and no races since, Jess Judd lined up with close to a thousand runners at this years Trafford 10k which always attracts a quality field. The race was won by Birchfield’s Kadar Omar in 28 27 with the winner of the Ribble Valley 10k in December – Jonny Mellor in 2nd place in 28.32 and Derby’s Ben Connnor in 3rd in a time of 28.37.
Jess had a fabulous race, running a lifetime best by half a minute to clock a new PB of 31.06 in winning the Women’s Race from Samantha Harrison in 2nd (31.11) and Charlotte Arter in 3rd (31.26). Her time of 31.06 wasn’t just a lifetime best but also placed her at the top of the British rankings. Speaking to the Harriers after the race Jess commented “I’m really happy with that, I was pretty scared to race as my last race was Houston and I’ve had a big training block since then! I knew I wouldn’t be fresh for today so was really worried I would run poorly, so to get a PB was just so unexpected and I’m so happy! It was nice to see Rob further on up the road running well and that made me just dig in and tough it out!“
Rob Warner who has been through some tough times with injuries and illness showed that he was back in good form as he claimed a top 20 finish, crossing the line in 19th place with a time of 29.56 and telling the Club that he was “really happy with the race today! Felt its’ probably my best run for about 2 years now so really happy to get under 30 again and my 2nd fastest 10k time! Felt like it was hard going from about 4-6km but dug in and felt like I finished quite well! Really happy for Jess with an amazing run… means I have to run well or I’ll be the slowest in the house soon! “
Next home for the Harriers was Stephen Walter who had raced at the Lancashire Cross Country Championships and was part of the team that won the title there. He followed that up by racing at the Northern Championships in Pontefract with the Trafford 10k being his third race of the year. Stephen had a fine run in 134th spot clocking a time of 33.34 and he was followed home by V55 David Almond with a time of 37.46 in 262nd spot. The Club spoke to Stephen after the race and he told us that “Leading up to the race training was going well and I was expecting a PB but maybe not by one minute! The start was chaotic and I realized I went though the first mile a lot faster than I had wanted to (which is unusual for me!). From there I knew it was going to take significant suffering to get the job done. Now that I know where my fitness is I’m looking forward to putting that fitness to use in the upcoming road relays. Big shoutout to coach Nick and the top group of lads in the training group for all the support!“
Manchester Indoor Open Meeting – Saturday March 5th
Ten Blackburn Harriers competed at the latest of the Indoor Series at Sportcity including Daniel Nuttall; Stuart Yates; Poppy Preece; Thomas Monks; Sam Mutombo; Harrison Allcock; Jacob Fisher; Ben Boocock; Codie Dewhurst; Matthew Smith. The day proved a good one, producing fourteen new personal bests, four Heat wins, five 2nd and eight 3rd places.
Seven of the ten Harriers at the meeting all ran in the 60m with U15 Daniel Nuttall taking it on twice running 7.31 in his first Heat in 2nd place and then clocking a new PB as he won his second in Heat in 7.26 which puts him at No. 3 in the National Rankings. U20 Stuart Yates was having just his fourth race of the year so far and really made it count as he clocked a new PB time of 7.64 in winning his Heat.
U20 multi-eventer Poppy Preece took on two events – firstly in the 60m where she ran 8.66 in 4th place and then cleared 1.42m in the High Jump (=10th). U17 Thomas Monks made it three wins for the Harriers at that stage as he also set a new PB time of 7.48 in winning his 60m Heat – an improvement of nearly two tenths and in the same Heat, team-mate Samuel Mutombo (U20) also ran a new PB time of 7.77 in 5th. U17 Harrison Allcock was running only his second ever 60m race indoors and set the fifth new PB of the day in placing 2nd with a time of 7.91 – three tenths faster than his first race in January. U15 Jacob Fisher has posted times of 7.80, 7.77 twice, 7.76 and 7.75 coming in his latest outing. His consistency was rewarded again with the sixth new PB of the day as he came home in 3rd place in 7.64 which was a tenth improvement on his best to-date.
U20 Ben Boocock doubled up on the day over 200m and 60m Hurdles. His 200m race provided the seventh new PB of the day for the Club as he knocked just over half a second off his previous best with his run of 24.58 (4th). On to the 60m Hurdles in which he finished 3rd in a time of 9.19. Also contesting the 200m were U20 Stuart Yates clocking 25.35 in 5th position and U20 Samuel Mutombo who ran 25.85 in 3rd which was a seasons best. Providing new PB number 8 was Thomas Monks – also his second new PB of the day – in the 200m in clocking 24.48 in 2nd. U17 Codie Dewhurst made it 9 new PB’s on the day with his 26.67 in 3rd place, some three tenths faster than his previous best – followed by U17 Harrison Allock who made it 10 new PB’s finishing 2nd in his 200m Heat with a time of 25.80 which represented a two tenths improvement.
New PB number 11 came from Jacob Fisher – and his second of the day – in his 200m Heat with a time of 24.89 in 2nd place. In the longest race of the day, U17 Codie Dewhurst made it a double new PB for himself and number 12 overall as he ran 1.32.04 in 3rd, bettering his previous best by just short of a second. Making it a baker’s dozen of new PB’s was multi-eventer U15 Matthew Smith who improved his 600m time by over a second and a half with 1.38.27 in 5th place. Matthew then went and set new PB number 14 for the Harriers as he clocked 10.12 in the 60m Hurdles (3rd) after which he went on to win the Shot Putt with a distance of 7.99m. U20 Rory Teare finished the day on a high with a season best clearance of 1.75m in the High Jump in 3rd place in Pool A featuring ten athletes.
Stan Bradshaw Pendle Round – Saturday March 5th
Run over 10 miles (10.4) and with 1950ft of ascent, two hundred and forty five runners lined up for this one in pretty good conditions given what many races have had to endure of late. Five Blackburn Harriers were among those on the start line – John Horrocks, Helen Leigh, Victoria Mousley, Gary Pearse and Danny Teare.
Salford’s Micahel Cayton took the honours as he won the race in a time of 64.52 from Rob Hope in 2nd (65.40) and Barlick’s Tom Corrigan in 3rd (66.03). First Blackburn Harrier home was John Horrocks in 21st position running 74.50 describing the day to the Club after as “Another good race around Pendle. Third time doing the Stan Bradshaw race and third different route (mainly the finish) due to various reasons. The race always seems to be around 9 miles with 2000ft of climbing. Couldn’t have asked for better conditions weather wise. Came in 21st and had a solid run with not have done many races recently. Good to see a few more harriers out and we’ll done to all who ran.“
Helen Leigh who has been running well and consistently was the next Harrier across the finishing line in 46th place with a time of 79.37 which gave her the 2nd prize in the Women’s Race won by Wharfedale’s Emma Hopkinson (75.50). Helen told us that she “Was feeling pretty flat going into the race and wasn’t firing on all cylinders heading to the trig, but once the first big climb was out of the way I started to feel pretty strong and had a solid run from there.”
Next home and taking 3rd prize in the Women’s Race was Victoria Mousley in 71st place overall (83.45) – just two seconds in front of Wharfedale’s Annabel Mason who she had a real good battle with. Victoria spoke to the Club about her race saying that she “Absolutely loved today – it was so nice to see everyone again and the weather was absolutely stunning. Pendle is beautiful . Set off very easy and felt horrific – actually thought i was going to faint on that tarmac road – forgotten how the lactic acid feels. Anyway once at the trig it’s a gorgeous run with a couple of bumps. Settled in behind Annabel Mason and followed her around with a plan to try and get past and catch her up before the end. We had a great battle in the last 1.5km and on the road descent it was a case of who would be sick or fall over first. I managed to sneak past just and was happy and with 3rd place behind Hels. I’d have been happy with top 10 when we set off. Nice to be back on the fells and I’ll get some more fell races booked in.“
V50 Gary Pearse who was celebrating his birthday telling us “All I could have added was legs battered, great day out, good company, what more would you want to do on your birthday, loved it” finished in 110th place running 89.06 and was amazingly the 33rd V50 out of sixty in total who took part in the race. V50 Danny Teare was our final runner on the day in 179th spot with a time of 1hr 45.19 and told us afterwards that “I last ran this race in 2020, a few days before lockdown 1. It felt quite significant to be back. Amazing conditions and a sellout event so the atmosphere was great. I was a tad slower than 2020, thinking I can blame that on Parliament Hill last week and NOT the 2 years of garden lockdown beers inbetween. A good turnout for BBH today, some strong performances and a good showing in the category prizes for Helen and Vicky. Well done to all who ran.”
Helen Leigh and Victoira Mousley receiving their Prizes from the Grand-daughter of Stan Bradshaw
Photos below courtesey of http://www.woodentops.org.uk/