A sunny and almost windless day set the scene at Witton Park last weekend – Saturday January 18th – for this years Lancashire Schools Cross Country Championships whcih serve as a qualifying race for the English Schools National Cross Country Championships being held at Sefton Park, Liverpool on March 14th. The first five places secure qualification places for English Schools with three more discretionary places added. Athletes now await notification as to whether they have been selected.
Thanks also once again to all the Officials who turn out to give their time for free.
Just over 400 runners for the Championships with the first race of the day featuring some fine young athletes in the Senior Boys race which finished up with just two seconds between the first three places. The race over 7.1km of mostly flat terrain saw Lancaster’s Matt Knowles, Rossendale’s Matt McKay and Blackburn’s Matt Ramsden break away on the final lap from a group of seven which included Matt Fazackerley, Ben Preddy, Max Cunningham and Sam Hodkinson. With around 600m to go, Knowles and McKay made a break and opened up a gap on Ramsden which looked to be decisive. But Matt Ramsden (24.44) rallied in the closing stages to eat up the gap and lose out on 2nd place by just one second (Matt McKay 24.43) and the winners spot (Matt Knowles 24.42) by two seconds. Sam Hodkinson held his 7th place clocking 25.35. Both Matt Ramsden and Sam Hodkinson were included in the winning South Ribble Team. The Senior Girls Race, run at the same time over a distance 3.9k unfortunately had only nine runners contesting it with Blackburn Harriers Bethany Spence, who is new to the sport and representing Blackburn Schools, placing 6th in a time of 18.36.
L-R Matt McKay (2nd) – Matt Knowles (1st) – Matt Ramsden (3rd)
L-R Matt Knowles (41) – Ben Preddy (57) – Matt Ramsden (73) – Max Cunningham (67) – Sam Hodkinson (76)
Bethany Spence (97)
The Year 7 Races were run over distances of 2k for both boys and girls, with both races providing the biggest fields of the day, seventy in the girls race and 72 in the boys. Imogen Robinson was the highest counter from Blackburn Harriers in the girls race, placing 5th overall in a time of 9.42 after a battle with Charlotte Robertshaw who finished just in front of her by one second (9.41). Isabella Pacelli had a solid run in 15th place running a time of 10.12 with Isabella Thompson next in with a time of 10.37 in 32nd spot. Imogen who ran for Hyndburn counted for them as they won the Team race and both Isabella’s counted for Blackburn who placed 3rd in the Team race.
Imogen Robinson (610)
Isabella Pacelli (580)
Isabella Thompson (583)
Oliver Gill was the first Blackburn Harrier across the finish line in the boys race – representing Hyndburn – in 11th spot in a time of 8.47 followed home by George Ramsden for Blackburn Schools in 23rd spot clocking 9.04 and Matthew Smith running for Hyndburn, in 32nd place (9.18). Ben Ham running in some discomfort after a foot injury, battled bravely to come home for Blackburn Schools in 42nd spot in a time of 9.29.
Oliver Gill (707)
Matthew Smith (706)
Ben Ham (673)
Sixty four runners took part in the Junior Girls Race which had just nine seconds separating the first three Blackburn Harriers in the race. Keira Haxton running for Hyndburn placing 17th with her time of 15.35 with Eva Knowles (Blackburn Schools) in 18th clocking 15.39 and Kate Cookson (Fylde) with a time of 15.44, coming home in 20th position. Caroline Woodworth (Hyndburn) ran in with a time of 16.36 in 36th followed by Amelia Burton also representing Hydnburn Schools in 39th (16.53), Faith Gillibrand (Hyndburn Schools) in 49th with a time of 17.28 and Lucy Rishton who is a sprinter in 59th (19.18) representing Blackburn Schools.
Keira Haxton (228)
Eva Knowles (195)
Kate Cookson (787)
Caroline Woodworth (230)
Amelia Burton (232)
Faith Gillibrand (231)
Lucy Rishton (198)
Fifty one boys took part in the Inter-Boys Race which saw Harvey Ashworth as the highest finisher from the Harriers in 9th spot (20.43) and running for Blackburn Schools. David Holman (Hyndburn Schools) was next home in 18th place clocking 21.33 with Kyle Taylor-Pomfret in 22nd (South Ribble Schools) running a time of 22.10 with Ethan Barbarewicz (South Ribble Schools) just one place behind in 23rd with a time of 22.27. Hayden Mercer (Blackburn Schools) was next across the line with his 29th placed run of 22.46 followed by Sebastian Burton (Hyndburn Schools) in 33rd (23.22), Connor McAuley (Blackburn Schools) in 39th with a time of 24.18 and Jake O’Toole – also running for Blackburn Schools – in 41st spot (24.35).
Harvey Ashworth (481)
David Holman (514)
Kyle Taylor-Pomfret (555) – Ethan Barbarewicz (557)
Hayden Mercer (482)
Sebastian Burton (520)
Conor McAuley (486)
Jake O’Toole (485)
The Inter-Girls Race featured 53 runners with six Blackburn Harriers having qaulified for the Championships from their individual Town Championships. First of the girls home was Eleesha Charnley (Hydnburn Schools) in 20th running 17.45 followed by Leah Hoole (Blackburn Schools) right behind in 21st spot (17.53). Molly Nicholls (Blackburn Schools) had another solid run in 27th place (18.38) with just one second separating Poppy Preece (Rossendale Schools) in 34th (18.59) and Rebecca Ramsden (Hyndburn Schools) in 35th with her time of 19.00. Then came Lucy Eastwood (Blackburn Schools) in 45th (20.11) and Hollie Cubbon (Blackburn Schools) in 49th position with a time of 20.25.
Eleesha Charnley (418)
Leah Hoole (386)
Molly Nicholls (387)
Poppy Preece (454) – Rebecca Ramsden (422) – Paige Singleton (434)
Hollie Cubbon (390) – Hannah Berry (392) – Alice Fleming (423)
Final race of the day was the Junior Boys which had sixty three entries and saw William Walker make the running from the off which resulted in a win for the young lad in a time of 14.32. Two Blackburn Harriers took 2nd and 3rd place with Isaac Butler (Blackburn Schools) taking the 2nd spot in 14.36 and closing the gap between him and the winner on the last lap with Dexta Thompson (Rossendale Schools) in 3rd clocking 14.40. Jack Paget-Fowler also ran strongly (Blackburn Schools) to come home in 12th position in a time of 15.32 with Daniel Smith (South Ribble Schools) in 20th clocking 15.54. Jonny Brindle (Blackburn Schools) placed 28th in 16.46 followed in by Saul Sharp in 37th running 17.07.
L-R Isaac Butler (2nd) – William Walker (1st) – Dexta Thompson (3rd)
Isaac Butler (289) – William Walker (341)
Dexta Thompson (353)
Jack Paget-Fowler (292)
Daniel Smith (364)
Jonny Brindle (291)
Saul Sharp (325)
Still on cross country – Joe Gebbie – competed in a Varsity fixture between the University of Leeds and Leeds Beckett resulting in a draw in the Men’s Race for the first time in 11 years. Joe place 24th overall in the race and 15th in the Varsity Race and commented to the Harriers afterwards that it was “Probably one of the toughest courses I’ve run on in terms of the the ground conditions. Absolutely relentless mud and bog the whole way round, no respite to recover from it. Not one of my best races – I just struggled to move my legs much quicker through the mud. Great effort from the team to get a draw though, on to BUCS XC in Edinburgh now!”
Inskip Half-Marathon – Sunday January 19th
Matt Nuttall, Joanne Nelson and Janine Fallon were all having a go at this race which had 226 finishers and was won by Gary Briscoe in a time of 70.11. V50 Matt was having just his fourth race since September 2018 and ran pretty well to clock 87.46 in 49th spot. V45 Joanne was next home as she makes her comeback from injury in 59th place with a time of 90.09 and followed home by V40 Janine Fallon in 79th spot in a time of 96.01. Joanne spoke to the Club after the race commenting “Pleased to have completed Inskip half today. It was a chilly morning and a bit slippy underfoot in parts. I came back in 1 hr 30. Definitely not my best time, but glad to have got around with the injury in check. Janine had a great run, coming home in 1 hr 36 mins. The toughest challenge was getting the car off the muddy field”.
Lancaster 5k – January 17th
Rachael Gavin set a new PB of 19.48 in 23rd place after chopping a massive minute and fifteeen seconds off her previous best in this Power of 5k race at Lancaster which featured 35 runners and won by Vale Royal’s Andrew Miles in a rapid time of 15.10.
East Lancashire 10k – Sunday January 19th
Tipton’s Stephen Corbishley won this popular local 10k race in a time of 34.34 at the head of a field, featuring 398 finishers. Callum Holmes ran for the Harriers in this one and got himself a top five finish clocking 36.32 in 5th spot.