Another cracking day of cross country racing yesterday – November 26th 2022 – at Sefton Park – involving this years Cross Country Challenge Series, selection Trials for the European cross country championships being held in Turin on December 11th and all of the local Leagues – Mid Lancs, Red Rose and Merseyside. The expected rain deluge held off but the going underfoot was heavy in parts and the wind added to the diffciutlies. 13 races in total from U11’s through to the Senior Men and Women.
First race of the day was the European Men’s Short Course Relay Trial — (RESULTS) — which produced a pretty stacked field including Blackburn Harriers Daniel Bebbington who went into the race in a positive frame of mind. He had a fine start and in the lead pack and was in 3rd place as he approached the bend on the final run in behind Charlie Grice and James Heneghan. Unfortunately for him, his legs went from under him and he hit the deck, just at the point when he was going to make his bid for home and the first two places. But in a race so short – 1500m – and with just 250m to go, even though he was up quickly, the damage had been done as he finished in 12th spot (4.43) – James Heneghan (4.31) and Callum Elson (4.32) took the first two places and won selection. Revee Walcott-Nolan (5.12) and Khahisa Mglanga (5.12) won selection in the Women’s race with Hannah Nuttall just behind in 3rd place (5.16).
The U11 Boys race — (RESULTS) — had 169 runners in with Blackburn Harriers Finn Morrison, having recently joined the Club, part of the very large field and what a race he had coming home in 23rd place overall with a time of 7.37. Three Harriers went in the U13 Boys race in a field of 92. First home for the Club was Theo Robinson in 19th spot running 11.43 supported by team mates Liam Bennison in 36th spot (12.13) and George Holman in 37th running 12.20. Five girls took part in the U13 Girls 118 strong race — (RESULTS) — and led home by Agatha Taylor with a very good performance in such a quality field as she took a top ten finish (10th) in a time 11.41. Good runs too came from team mates Emma Robertshaw who took 29th place in 12.41 along with Evie Fort in 55th position in a time of 13.35, Charlotte Lily Smith in 69th (14.06) and Lyra Krige in 85th (14.48) only having started running in the last couple of months
The U15 Boys race had 121 runners – (RESULTS) – Blackburn Harriers having six athletes taking part — Oliver Gill; Sam Aspey; Jack Wood; George Ramsden; Alex Rothwell; Matthew Smith – Oliver, Sam and Mathew having recently won the Silver Medal at the Northern cross country relays. It was Oliver who crossed the line first for the Club in 15th position in his time of 10.14 with Sam not far behind in 21st spot in a time 10.21. Then came Jack in only his third race for the Club coming home in 65th spot (11.26) followed by George in 88th (11.57), Alex (89th) running 11.59 and Matthew in 93rd place (12.03).
Imogen Robinson, Tamzin Osborne, Charlotte Robertshaw were representing the Harriers in the U15 Girls race – (RESULTS) – among the one hundred and thirty three runners. Charlotte finished in 65th place as the first counter for the Club with a time of 12.37 followed by team mates Tamzin (119th) running 14.28 and Imogen 120th in a time of 14.29. Race 9 featured both U17 Women (79 athletes) and the IAAF Junior Women European Trial (82 athletes). Abigail Stratton came home in 36th place in the U20 Women’s race with a time of 16.40 – (RESULTS) – with Evie Taylor running 18.21 to place 45th in the U17 Race and Keira Haxton 51st running 18.41 – (RESULTS).
118 athletes lined up for the U17 Men’s Race – (RESULTS) – which saw Daniel Smith lead the lads home in a fine 21st place finish running 18.29. Next across the finish line for the Harriers was Dexta Thompson in 35th place with his time of 18.44 followed by Jack Lamb in 72nd position with a time of 20.09 and Codie Dewhurst in 85th spot (21.15).
Race 11 was the U20 men’s Race incorporating the IAAF Junior Men’s European cross country championships Trial – (RESULTS) featuring 149 athletes. Matt Ramsden and David Holman featured in this with Matt targeting a top six place to oput himself in contention for a place in the team for the European Championships. The race went out a furious pace – Aldershot’s Will Barnicoat making the running from the start and eventuall becoming the winner by some 21 seconds (20.17) in front of Exeter’s Sam Mills in 2nd (20.38). Matt was in the front of the chasing pack going on the second of the 2 long laps but lost a few places before battling back to come within 2 seconds of being in the top six – finishing in 7th spot in a time of 21.05. David ran a time of 23.13 in 100th place.
Jess Warner-Judd has had a momentous last 18 months competing in the Olympics, World Championships, Commonwelath Games, European Championships and Diamond Leagues, set new personal bests for 5000m (14.57.19), 10000m (30.35. 93) – 3rd all time British fastest time, and 10k (31.06) and on top of all that, recently got married to another Blackburn Harrier Rob Warner. In her first cross country of the year – (RESULTS) – Jess ran a fine race, staying in the front pack the whole way until about 1000m from home when she put in her bid which proved to be decisive as she took the win and selection for the European Championships in a time of 27.17 for the 8.1k course with Megan Keith in 2nd (27.22) and Abbie Donnelly in 3rd (27.24). Three hundred and fifty eight athletes contested the race overall which evidenced the continuing improvement of U20 Amy Davies seeing her finish in 97th spot, 1st U20 in a time of 32.17 as she gets stronger with each race. Ellen Sagar-Hesketh was next home in a time of 34.37 (119th), followed by V50 Lindsay Davies (181st) in a time of 39.27.
Six hundred and forty six athletes finished the Senior Men’s race run over a 9.8k course which was, like the Women’s Race, incoporating the European Championships Trial and as such the race featured a real quality line up, the outocme of which was a fine win by Leeds AC athlete – Emile Cairess – who took the win, comfortably in the end by 11 seocnds as he finished in 29.19 followed by Hugo Milner in 2nd (29.30) and Marc Scott in 3rd (29.33). Callum Davidson led the Harriers home in 49th place running 31.29 with Josh Birmngham in 77th with a time of 32.30. Rob Warner-Judd is working his way back in training and ran 33.08 to finish in 97th place followed home by V45 Chris Davies (36.12) in 181st position, U20 Sam Hodkinson (37.23) in 217th place, V50 Matt Nuttall in 240th spot running 38.04, V55 David Almond (324th) in a time of 40.33, V50 Anton Krige (43.08) in 419th and V45 Allan Hartley running 50.34 in 576th position.
Also out racing on the day was V45 Dan Grundy who ius having a pretty good year having run 2hr 48.15 at the Manchester Marathon, set new PB’s for 20 miles, the half-marathon, 10 miles, and 10k. On Saturday he was at the Wesham 10k which had over 300 finishers with Dan bagging himslef another new PB as he ran 36.13 in 6th placed and first male V45. Wesham 10k RESULTS