It was a completely new venue for this years Northern Cross Country Championships run at Bedale in North Yorkshire in weather conditions that suited, but with more than enough mud on the course to remind the athletes that this is what cross country running is all about.
Once again, many thanks to Northern Athletics and all the Officials who made the Championships possible and very well organised.
On the first lap — Joe Steward (159) – Cameron Bell (223) – Andrew Heyes (227) – Rob Warner (64) – Tim Raynes (63)
Turned out to be a great day for Jess Judd who took the Northern title confortably in the end, clocking 28.48 with Georgia Taylor-Brown in 2nd (29.13) and Mhairi Maclennan in 3rd (29.21). Jess got away to a strong start, with eventually a pack of five breaking away including Jess, Taylor-Brown, Maclennan, Jennifer Walsh and Lauren Heyes. Over the second lap, Jess pushed on to finish really strongly and was pleased with her race as she commented to the Club after being presented with her Gold Medal “I’m really happy to win Northerns, i feel very lucky to run for a club like Blackburn and to win and be able to represent them on that stage is just amazing! Really happy to just get out there and run free and really enjoyed racing on the mud!“. With 300 runners in the field Lindsay Davies ran a solid race to come home in a time of 40.28 (185th) told us that she “Really enjoyed the course yesterday, the mud was very tough and lots of it, but it made for a good cross country and was happy with my run against some fantastic runners”.
On the first Lap — L-R Jess Judd (35) – Georgia Taylor-Brown (29.13) – Mhairi Maclennan (289)
L-R Front Row Callum Holmes – Jonny Murphy – Josh Holgate – Ben Costello
The Senior Men had an excellent day, with their best Team result in the Northern Championships ever, posting three athletes in the top 20 – the only Club in the race to do that – and getting their six counters home in the first 77 places to just miss out on the podium for the Team medals, placing 4th overall, 17 points behind 3rd placed Leeds and the Bronze Medal. Tim Raynes had a tremendous run to lead the team home in 14th place telling the Harriers afterwards that it was a “Fantastic team performance, great to see everyone getting stronger and running well. I was pleased to improve on my performance from last year, felt pretty strong although had to dig in on the last lap to hold my position. Enjoyed the course – despite some really tough, muddy sections!“. Rob Warner was next home, just four seconds and two places behind in 16th clocking 43.59 telling us that it was a “Great effort by the team to get 4th place, and be right in the mix with some top teams. Disappointed from my race, before the race thought I could have got top 10 and pushed towards top 5 but found it tough in the mud and struggled on that second lap. Was a great battle with Tim and Ben on the last lap which really helped to keep me going!“. Then came Ben Fish in 19th in a time of 44.10 making it our first three counters home inside the first twenty places who said after the race that it was “probably our best senior result at a Northern XC. Fantastic effort by the guys, certainly the toughest flat course I’ve ever run on!!!“
Ben Costello had a storming finish as he picked up places in the run in to place 55th in a time of 46.25 followed in by Karl Billington also gaining places in the home straight clcoking 46.50 in 65th and Josh Holgate in 77th with a time of 47.23 as he too, passed athletes in the down hill finish, and just what you want after a gruelling 12.6k race with lods of mud to plough through.
Chris Davies was the next home crossing the finish line in 91st spot running a time of 47.46 followed in by Tom Marchant in 110th place clocking 48.34, V50 Mark Chippendale – 180th in a time of 51.34, Calum Holmes with his time of 52.24 in 202nd, Team Captain – Paul Guinan (V50) in 206th place in a time of 52.30, Jonny Murphy in only his second ever Championship cross country race, clocking a time of 53.31 in 231st, Mat Nuttall in 243rd (53.56), Joe Howe in 281st place running 55.28, Chris Balderson (356th) – our fourth V50 runner on the day in a time of 58.01 and Allan Hartley in 567th (76.04).
The U17 Men’s Race turned into a classic with just one second between the winner – Archie Lowe (19.50) and 2nd placed Matt Knowles (19.51). Behind them, just five seconds separated the next five places with the Harriers Matt Ramsden having a great run to place 5th in 20.08, four seconds only outside the medals. Sam Hodkinson had a great run too and his best at a major championships as he came home in 9th place, holding off challenges from two Vale Royal athletes by one and two seconds respectively – Vale Royal going on to win the Team race with the Harriers in 6th. Jamie Teare had another very solid run in 76th place clocking 22.07 with Harry Wood in 125th in a time of 25.02 and Harry Wilkin, running 26.00 in 131st. Just one athlete in the U17 Women’s Race – Amy Davies – who had a good run to place 48th in the 116 strong field with her time of 20.12.
Sam Hodkinson (8)
2 boys and 2 girls running in the U13 age group categories which saw Daniel Smith and Oliver Gill represent the Club in their race featuring 186 runners. Daniel finished in 53rd position with his time of 10.24, whilst Oliver clocked 11.08 in 114th. New member Freya Neild was running just her second race for the Club as she and Hannah Davies lined up with 200 other U13 girls. Freya came back in 88th spot with a time of 11.37 with Hannah clocking 12.32 in 169th place.
L-R – Keira Haxton – Kiera Booth – Leah Hoole
One hundred and eighty two athletes lined up in this race and among them, three Blackburn Harriers – Keira Haxton, Leah Hoole and Kiera Booth – unfortunately just one short of a team being able to count. Keira Haxton was first home with her time of 17.47 (117th) with Leah Hoole in 127th spot running 18.04 and Kiera Booth coming home in 144th clocking 18.50.