The first fixture in this years Mid Lancs Cross Country League took place at the Westmoreland County Showground in Kendal on Saturday October 14th. The morning had blue skies, cool temperatures and lots of enthusiasm as the first race started at mid-day. Dark, nasty clouds came over and the rain came, but thankfiully didn’t last that long – the day returning to better conditions for the later races. Blackburn Harriers had a good day Winning the Senior Men’s Individual and Team races, 2nd in the Senior Women’s team race, 2nd in the U11Boys race, 6th in the U13 Girls race, 2nd in the U15 Girls race, first in the U15 Boys race and 2nd in the U17 Men’s race.
Matt Ramsden took the win in the Senior Men’s Race – featuring over 250 runners – in a time of 34.59 after leading a pack of four in the first part of the race which included Blackbpool’s Luke Minns, Blackburn Harrier’s Luke Betts and Liverpool’s Liam McKay. Half way through the race, Matt had opened up a gap between himself and 2nd place and pushed on to take the win from Liam McKay in 2nd and Luke Minns in 3rd. Matt in taking the win, led the Harriers home to the team win as well with team mates Luke Betts (4th) in a time of 36.31; Sam Hodkinson (7th) running 37.05; Dexta Thompson (37.41) in 12th spot and 3rd U20; Ben Makin in 19th place (38.51); Hayden Mercer (58th) in 42.26 – these six athletes being the scoring counters. Next came Danny Maynard in 62nd spot (42.41); Mark Chippenndale in 70th position winning the V55 age category in 43.16 and Chris Balderson (V55) in 165th place running 49.03.
Sam Hodkinson & Dexta Thompson
Ben Makin & Hayden Mercer
Danny Maynard & Mark Chippendale
The Senior Women’s team had three athletes in the first 21 places featuring close to 150 runners. Isabel Holt had a really good run as she finished 2nd overall in a time of 23.48 behind Preston’s Libby Huxley who won the race in 23.24. Ellen Sagar-Hesketh had a fine run in placing 12th (27.22) along with Rebecca Ward in her first cross country race for the Club, making up the three scoring counters in 21st spot (28.42) and Lindsay Davies (V50) in 86th spot running 34.54. Preston took the team win with 21 points to Blackburn Harriers 35 in 2nd and Kendal in 3rd with 56.
Isabel Holt & Ellen Sagar-Hesketh
Rebecca Ward & Lindsay Davies
Well done to U11 Sophie Douglas who made her debut in cross country in the first race of the day – finishing 14th out of 32 with a time of 8.42. The U11 Boys just missed out on the team win as they finished 2nd with 15 points behind winners Kendal with 11 points. Finn Morrison had a great run coming home in 4th position out of a 52 strong field in 7.04 with his team mates Theo Addy in 6th spot (7.11), Morgan Watson (7.15) placing 8th and Mohammed Azam, running his first race for the Club, placing 37th in a time of 8.33. Our U13 Girls finished in 6th place in the team race out of the ten teams competing won by Liverpool with 10 points – Blackburn Harriers totaling 65 points. Millie Jordan was another athlete making her debut in cross country for the Club and had another fine race as she placed 4th overall out of 46 runners with a time of 8.29. Charlotte Smith was next home in 24th position running 9.32 along with their team mates Emily Wood running 10.12 in 37th and Charlotte Rothwell in 40th place in a time of 10.31.
Millie Jordan & Charlotte Smith
Emily Wood & Charlotte Rothwell
Another 2nd place in the team competition for the U15 Girls posting a combined total of 28 points behind winners Blackpool with 13. Emma Robertshaw ran really well to be first home for the Club in 7th place in a time of 11.51 backed up by Lyra Krige in 9th spot (12.04), Agatha Taylor in 12th place in a time of 12.23, Isabelle Perry (19th) running 13.08, Evie Fort in a time of 13.19 placing 21st, Bella McCredie with a time of 13.28 in 24th spot and Tamzin Osborne in 31st (14.05). After a couple of 2nd places in the team competitions our U15 Boys took the win with 12 points from Kendal in 2nd (38) and Rossendale in 3rd (65). Southport’s William Delamere led from the front to take the win with Blackburn Harriers Henry Ward and Sam Aspey together in 2nd and 3rd place – Henry taking 2nd in 13.08 with Sam in 3rd running 13.15. Jack Wood was the teams third scoring counter in 7th place (13.38) with Alex Rothwell making it five Harriers in the first ten positions as he ran 14.08 in 10th spot. Five more U15’s from the Harriers ran in this race meaning that the Club had ten athletes out of the 36 strong field. Max Belshaw came home in 14th spot – his first cross country race for the Club – running 14.21 with team mates Theo Robinson next in 15th (14.24), Callum Singleton 16th running 14.53, Liam Bennison in 21st (15.26) and George Holman in 23rd spot with a time of 15.27.
Charlotte Robertshaw had another good run in the U17 Women’s race placing 5th overall out of a field of 15 running a time of 15.40 along with team mate Freya Neild who ran 17.57 in 13th place. Our U17 Men made it the third 2nd place of the day in a team competition totalling 32 points behind winners Leven Valley with 12. Ben Stratton led the Harriers home even though he had been badly spiked on the starting line, placing 3rd in 22.31 after leading in the first half of the race. Team mates Matthew Smith backed Ben up with a 12th place in 24.47, Logan McCredie finsihing in 17th place (25.41) and George Ramsden in 22nd spot (28.31).
Charlotte Robertshaw & Freya Neild
Matthew Smith & Logan McCredie
Sunday October 15th was the date of the Manchester Half-Marathon won by Aldershot’s Jack Rowe in 62.40 with Hallamshire’s Andy Heyes in 2nd (64.40) and Hallamshire’s Tommy Power in 3rd (66.08). Blackburn Harriers Josh Birmingham and Mike Blacklidge went in tis race – Josh started the race with a personal best of 69.10 run in 2021 at the Great North Run. At Manchester, Josh knocked 37 seconds off that time to set himself a new PB time of 68.33 as he crossed the line in 14th place and delightedly told us afterwards that he was “buzzing to get a PB not thinking I was in this shape, looking forward to the rest of the Road season now“. Mike who is a V65 had a really good run coming home in a time of 1hr 43.00 having been “pursuaded by his son-in-law to have a go at the Half, 24 years after chasing fellow Harriers around the suburbs of Brugge” in the European vets Half-Marathon Championships.
On the same day, it was the Bath Half-Marathon – Sunday October 15th – won by Cambridge & Coleridge athlete Jonathan Escalante-Phillips in a time of 64.25 with Ryde Harriers Matt Sharp in 2nd (64.28) and Hercules Wimbledon’s Jonathan Cornish in 3rd (65.05). (RESULTS)
Blackburn harriers Callum Davidson has set a then new personal best of 67.28 two weeks ago at the Cardiff Half-Marathon and was looking to improve on that time at Bath. Taking a top 10 finish and clocking a new PB of 66.18 did just that, which was an improvement of minute and 10 seconds which followed his 67.28 clocking at the Cardiff Half-Marathon two weeks ago. Speaking to the Club after his race Callum told us “Stacked field today at Bath half but I knew a fast time was on the cards as I’ve felt good all week. Settled into a group quite nicely and ran a big negative split passing people all the way.“