Inter-Counties Cross Country Championships – Saturday March 7th
Prestwold Hall at Loughborough was the scene for this years Inter-Counties Cross Country Championships which featured races for U13’s through to Seniors. The Counties select their teams based on the finishing positions of the athletes in the County Championships along with a number of reserves. Blackburn Harriers had twelve athletes selected including Ben Fish, Tim Raynes, Ben Costello, Karl Billington, Chris Davies, Annabel Ralph, Victoria Mousley (Seniors), Joe Gebbie (Jnr Men), Matt Ramsden, Sam Hodkinson, Amy Davies (U17’s) and David Holman (U15’s).
Highlight of the day for the Lancashire Squad came from the U17 Men who took Team Bronze and were just five points shy of the Silver Medal – the race featuring 265 athletes. Matt Knowles led the Lancashire team home in 6th place clocking 21.11 supported by Rhys Ashton (13th) in 21.48, Matt Ramsden (14th) with a time of 21.51, Max Cunningham in 36th spot (22.22), Sam Hodkinson (59th) clocking 22.52, Joel Taylor in 75th (23.09), Oliver Sutcliffe in 171st (24.41) and Thomas Durney in 195th with a time of 25.05.
Mahamed Mahamed (37.21) won the Senior Men’s Individual Title after a battle with Adam Hickey (37.36) for a big chunk of the race. The North East took the Team Title with 203 points from Yorkshire in 2nd (221) and Sussex in 3rd (256). Lancashire finished in 9th spot. Ben Fish led the Lancashire Team home in 29th place (40.31) and backed up by Tim Raynes in 37th spot (40.53), David Mullarkey in 65th (41.56), Rob Danson (42.13) in 79th place, Ben Costello (129th) clocking 43.34, Chris Davies with a time of 43.55 in 145th and Rob Webb 150th out of the nearly 300 strong field (44.01).
Adam Hickey (4162) – Mahamed Mahamed (4207)
Two hundred and fifty seven athletes in the Senior Women’s Race won by Surrey’s Charlotte Dannatt in 43.01 with Jessica Gibson (Oxfordshire) in 2nd (43.07 and Phillipa Williams (North East) in 3rd (43.13). Yorkshire took the Team Title from Surrey in 2nd and the North East in 3rd – Lancashire placing 12th out of the 27 teams competing. Emily Japp is running really well and led the Lancashire team home in 12th place overall clocking 45.30 with Nichola Jackson in 47th (48.13), Blackburn Harrier Annabel Ralph in 76th (49.53), Ruth Jones (50.27) in 92nd spot, Joanne Goorney (55.25) in 193rd, Sarah Ridehalgh (209th) with a time of 57.04.
First Race of the day was the Junior Men which had a sizeable field of 179 athletes, the race being won by Kent’s Matthew Stonier in 31.37, Cambridgeshire winning the team competiton with Lancashire in 6th position out of the 15 counties competing. Blackburn Harrier – Joe Gebbie – cam home as 4th counter for Lancashire in 66th spot with a time of 35.08, as Kian Davis had a very good run to place 4th overall (31.58) and supported by Matt McKay in 11th place (32.30), Ben Preddy (50th) in a time of 34.29, Adam Jones in 100th spot (36.39), Tom Dickinson (109th) in a time of 36.53 Charlie Parkinson (42.37) in 166th place.
It was a big field with close to 300 athletes in the U15 Boys which saw Lewis Sullivan from Suffolk take the Individual Title, leading Suffolk to the team title was well – Lancashire placing 12th overall. Josh Geary was the first one across the finishing line for Lancashire in a time of 15.28 (30th) with team members Daniel Valentine running 15.34 (36th), Luke Rawcliffe clocking 16.19 in 111th place, Blackburn Harrier David Holman in 148th spot with a time of 16.37, Charlie Haigh (167th) in 16.47, Louie Clark 181st in 16.58) and William Walker 201st in a time of 17.13.
British Masters Championships – March 7th & 8th
“You perform not by chance, but by preparation”
It was a hell of a good weekend for V55 Tony Balko at the weekend as he competed in the British Masters Championships at Lee Valley over two days. His reward – Gold (Discus with 37.62m), Silver (Shot Putt with 11.79m) & Bronze Medals (Hammer with 37.78m) – plus a Blackburn Harriers Club Record in the Veteran category (V55) for Shot Putt.
Tony spoke to the Club at the end of the Championships about his achievements over the weekend, telling us “Gold, Silver & Bronze at the British Masters Winter Throws Championships. Whilst still in the heavy weights and lifting phase of my winter training programme, it was a last minute decision to enter the British Masters Indoor Track & Field and Winter Throws Championships held at the Lee Valley Athletics Stadium, London held on the 07/08 March 2020. Ordinarily these Championships are far too early in the season for me. Having not really entered the full throwing and speed phase of my training programme as yet and with performance expectations set at moderate, I was actually quite pleased with the performances. In the M55 Discus throw and difficult weather conditions, Gold medal was secured with 37.62m. This was followed with an unexpected Silver medal in the M55 Shot Put with 11.79m (a new personal best and a new Blackburn Harriers M55 category club record). Finally Bronze medal was secured with 37.78m in the M55 Hammer throw. The main focus this year is to complete training preparations be ready to compete for medals the British Masters Outdoor Track and Field Championships in August, and then my main focus of 2020, the British Masters Combined Event Championships in September”.
Hot Toddy 10k – Sunday March 8th
Two hundxred and seventy finishers in this race run on International Women’s Day and won comfortably by Blackburn Harriers – Callum Davidson – in a time of 35.40 with Skipton pair Chris Ovenden (36.23) and Julian Hood (36.36) in 2nd and 3rd places respectively.
L- R Chris Ovenden – Callum Davidson – Julian Hood – Alex Whittern
Stan Bradshaw Pendle Round – Saturday March 7th
Two hundred and thirty two finishers in the race run in pretty decent conditions considering the weather of late. Wharfedale Harriers athlete – Robin Howe – won the race in a time of 65.48 wiuth Bingley’s Victoria Wilkinson adding to her string of victories on the Fells winning the Women’s Race in 71.09.
Three Blackburn Harriers ran on the day with V50 John Orrell taking bragging rights in 165th spot clocking 1hr 41.05, followed by V40 Danny Teare in 191st (1hr 45.44) and V50 Richard Taylor running 1 hr 56.14 in 218th place.
Firefighters Duathlon – Sunday March 8th
V50’s Andrew Knowles and Craig Greenough were out contesting this Race comprising Run, Bike, Run featuring 212 pairs of athletes. Craig and his partner came home in 40th place overall with a combined time of 2hr 24. 57 with Andrew and his partner taking 43rd spot, just 24 seconds further back in 2hr 25.21. Craig’s team won the V50 age group category whilst Andrew’s team came 2nd. The Race was won by Tony Cullen & Brian Fogarty (1hr 50.21).
Afterwards Andrew summed up the day saying “Firefighters 2 up Duathlon, held at Rivington is an early season opener for the triathlon season. Consisting of a 4 mile hilly trail run 25 mile hilly bike and the same 4 mile run to finish. What makes it unique, you compete with a partner so Ideally you need to be well matched. After a steady first run we really pushed the bike section closing a 4 minute gap and overtaking Craig Greenough and his partner who were leading our age category (V50). We thought we had enough in hand for the final run and gave it everything only to be run down in the last mile, well done Craig. Probably most pleasing, we were 43 overall, from 212 teams and to highlight the quality of the field Brian Fogarty and partner won with Beau Smith and Partner second, so some highly motivated athletes, on show”.
Roddlesworth Roller – Sunday March 8th
Every year, this local very popular race attracts good numbers at Abbey Village and this year was no exception with 324 runners finishing the race won by Salford’s Gary Priestley in a time of 31.42 from Nick Leigh in 2nd (32.32) and Declan Toomey in 3rd (33.15).
Blackburn Harriers Jonny Murphy just missed a top ten finish as he came home in11th spot clocking 35.49. John Cookson was the next home, finishing with a time of 41.51 in 53rd place and he was followed in Michelle Teare in 157th spot running a time of 50.14 to take the bragging rights from husband Danny Teare in 158th place clocking one second more (50.15).
On the same day Calum Holmes decided to make his debut over the 20 mile distance at the Freedom 20 Mile Race in Wrexham. Sale Harriers Gavin Hill was the winner in a time of 1hr 46.13 with Wrexham’s Ryan Davis in 2nd (1hr 53.11) and North Wales athlete – Martin Green in 3rd (1hr 53.16) making it a very competitive race at the end for 2nd and 3rd places.
Calum clocked a pretty solid 2hr 08.20 in 17th position out of the field of 296 finishers and told the Harriers after the race “I thought I would have a go at a local 20 mile making it my debut in distance for once the conditions were great but my training hasn’t been soo great because of other commitments it’s been a hard few weeks running wise but I’m aiming to be back in full fitness so I knew I wasn’t going to be on top form so I just did what I could do and aim to finish it which was difficult. I found the course was boring because it was two ten mile laps which was again mentally tough and easy to pull out halfway. I made the good decision not too and just aim for each mile without stopping as I haven’t run a long distance since October. I’m happy to know I’m back somewhere again and I’m looking forward to be back home training regularly with the Harriers when I finish my first year of Uni at the end of April I’ve really missed it and everybody’s running so well so I know I’ll have to work extremely hard when I’m back ”.