Mid Lancs Cross Country League – Saturday October 9th at Towneley Park, Burnley
Blackburn Harriers teams were depleted today as the first fixture of the season for the Mid Lancs League clashed with the National 6 & 4 Stage plus Young Athletes Road Relay Championships being held at Sutton Park, in Sutton Coldfield on the same day.
Some new names appeared among the U11’s that turned out for the Harriers. Charlotte Smith who is 11yrs old in December this year, is always up for the challenge and came home in 31st spot with a time of 8.36 alongside 10yr old team-mate Charlotte Wood who was really looking forward to running, placing 37th in 8.56. Another youngster having a go for the first time was Henry Johnson who doesn’t become 10 until the end of October and did really well in running 10.07 and completing the race in the U11 Boys.
Our U13 Girls had a cracking day winning the team with Agatha Taylor having a storming run in leading the team in as she crossed the finishing line in 2nd place (9.34) just three seconds behind the winner from Southport Waterloo – Layla Graham (9.31). Hannah Davies also ran well in 8th spot with a time of 9.54 and those two athletes were backed up with good runs by Emma Robertshaw in 13th (10.15) and Tamzin Osborne in 25th place running 11.02.
With some of our U13 Boys down at the National Road Relays the lads did really well to finish 4th team on the day out of the nine clubs contesting the race. Liam Bennison led the team home in 14th position with a time of 11.01, backed up by team-mates Callum Singleton in 17th spot (11.24), George Holman in 23rd (11.49) and Loucas Lancashire (30th) running a time of 12.24.
Just two girls out for the Club in the U15’s which saw Charlotte Robertshaw have a great run as she battled with the top four, finishing in 4th place with a time of 10.58 with Isabelle Hartley coming home in 38th position in a time of 15.58.
With athletes missing again in the U15’s due to the National Road Relays it was Matthew Smith who led the team home to a 6th place finish in the race involving ten clubs in total. Matthew clocked 14.01 in 15th place followed by Ben Livesey in 22nd with a time of 14.25, George Ramsden in 45th (16.55) and just three seconds further back, Callum Osborne in 46th with a time of 16.58.
David Holman, Hayden Mercer, Jack Paget-Fowler, Codie Dewhurst, Dexta Thompson and Umair Rafiq represented the Harriers in the U17 Men’s race. Chorley’s Jacob Deacon was a runaway winner of the race by 54 seconds, with David running a really good race to place 3rd in a time of 17.58. Hayden was next across the finishing line in 13th position running 19.14 followed by Jack in 18th (19.40), Codie in 20th (19.56), Dexta in 22nd (20.06) and Umair 30th with a time of 21.56.
Hayden Mercer (309)
Jack Paget -Fowler
The U17 Women were another team impacted by the National Road Relays which saw Molly Nicholls and Kiera Booth flying the flag for the Club, placing 13th (16.02) and 17th (16.45) respectively. U20 Amy Davies took 10th spot in the U20 Women’s race with a time of 22.17.
The Senior Women had a good day as they took 2nd place in the team standings out of the thirty Clubs competing, accumulating 37 points behind the winners – Lancaster University with 27 – this result following on from the 2nd place in the team race at the first Red rose Legaue fixture the week previous at Leigh Sports Village.
Team Captain Joanne Nelson led from the front again, crossing the finishing line in 5th spot overall and 1st V45 out of the 146 strong field in a time of 20.38. Katie Buckingham followed up her good run at the Red Rose fixture at Leigh with another good placing here – 14th in a time of 21.57 and backed up by Amy Davies in 18th place (22.17). Good to see Carly Edwards back racing for the team with her 32nd place in a time of 23.43, followed, just one place further back by Rachael Ashcroft in 33rd (23.48) and making an impact on her first competitive season for the Harriers. Another welcome return for Rebecca Shorrock too as she ran solidly in 52nd place with a time of 24.45, followed home by V45 Lindsay Davies in 71st (25.41), V45 Michelle Teare (90th) with a time of 27.12, V55 Jan Buckingham in 94th (27.36) and V50 Helen Dawson-Smith in 103rd (28.21).
Unusually for the Harriers Senior Men, they finished down the table in team standings – 12th out of the 23 Clubs competing – due mainly to the fact that many of them were at the National Road Relays. It was Marc Hartley who led the team home as he placed 11th overall with a time of 33.06 followed in hot pursuit by Joe Gebbie – one place further back in 12th with his time of 33.13. Sam Hodkinson was next home in 44th place clocking 36.13 – worth noting that Sam went to work in the morning, came and raced for the Club and went straight back to work which shows real determination and support for the team. V45 John Cookson was next home for the Harriers in 124th place (41.44) followed by V45 Allan Hartley in (152nd) running 43.58 and V50 Paul Smith in 167th place with a time of 45.45.
Over to the Fells and what better way to start than on the 67th Annual Three Peaks Race on Saturday October 9th with Blackburn Harriers Helen Leigh and John Horrocks who joined well over four hundred and fifty other runners in this iconic race described thus on the race website as “The Three Peaks Race traverses the famous Yorkshire Dales mountains of Pen-y-ghent, Whernside and Ingleborough and is one of the oldest, most famous and best organised fell races in Britain. First run in 1954, the Race covers 37.4 kilometres with 1608 metres of ascent and descent over the most rugged and spectacular countryside in the Yorkshire Dales National Park, taking competitors to a height of 723 metres above sea level. The men’s course record is held by English international Andy Peace of Bingley Harriers, who completed this gruelling challenge in 2 hours 46 min. 03 sec in the 1996 race. The women’s record of 3 hours 9 min 19 sec is held by English international Victoria Wilkinson in the 2017 race.”
The race was won by Ambelside’s Garry Greenhow who clocked 3hr 05.22 with Eden Runners Jonathan Cox in 2nd (3hr 06.22) and Ricky Lightfoot (Ellenborough) in 3rd with 3hr 07.34. Rose Mather, an unattached runner, took the Women’s Race in a time of 3hr 47.38 and 51st place overall. John Horrocks finished inside the top 40 places as he ran 3hr 42.15 in 39th place. Pleased with his run as it was a new personal best, John spoke to the Harriers saying that he “Enjoyed the race on Saturday. Almost perfect conditions apart from the low cloud on the tops. Happy with how my race went up to ingleborough when the lack of longer runs in training started to show but PB on the course by 13 minutes so really pleased. Looking forward to doing it again in April.”
Helen Leigh came home in 100th place overall and 7th woman with a time of 4hr.09.50 in a run which wasn’t at all ‘plain sailing’ for her as she told the Harriers after the race .“Tough day out at the office, had a cold all week and still feeling rough the morning of the race. I decided to just to go and have a run out anyway. I felt fairly strong until Hill Inn where lack of training and fast racing caught up with me topped off by feeling under the weather. I was deep in the pain cave crawling up Ingleborough but once on the top I had a gravity assisted decent descent and was happy with my run despite feeling rubbish. Roll on April..“
Still on the Fells and this time it was Calvin Ferguson and John Orrell out at the BOFRA race at the Wasdale Show – 9th October – which was won by Buxton AC athlete – Finlay Grant in 39.41. John came home in 38th place with a time of 65.16 whilst team-mate Calvin finished in 51st (79.27).
Once the race ended Calvin gave us a flavour of the day when he talked to the Club commenting “After a frustrating 12+ months with a hip injury, I’ve finally got rid of that and managed my first “proper” race since February 2020…Saturday presented the choices of Langdale, the Three Peaks or Wasdale Show, all tough fell races in their own way but Wasdale Show was the only realistic choice for me at the moment due to it’s short distance of 2.4 miles. I’ve managed 3 runs a week for the past month so my fitness is still a million miles away from where I want it to be but my aim for the day was to have a pain free race. Wasdale Show is a classic fell race incorporated in to a traditional, Lakeland Shepherd’s meet – it’s straight up and down the nose of Kirk Fell, incorporating 2,350 feet of ascent in the first 1.2 miles to the summit, then straight back down the same way – throw in gradients of over 49% in places and it will likely be the toughest 2 miles you’d ever encounter – I climbed okay for a short while but knew I would fade and did so relatively quickly, but, kept plugging away and managed to descend with a lot more confidence than I expected…I finished near the back in 1:19 – a slow time but as mentioned, pain free! Excited to keep on training again now and push on from here, Saturday made me realise how much I have truly missed racing and competing“
Manchester Marathon – Sunday October 10th
Four Blackburn Harriers took to the streets of Manchester with two of them taking on the marathon for the first time – and they did themselves proud. Making his Marathon debut, Blackburn Harriers Chris Walton was happy with his time as he clocked 3hr 01.54 in 642nd place overall. Matthew Poole was also making his marathon debut and made a solid start with finishing time of 3hr 46.31. Charlotte Atkinson had a great run too as she chopped a huge 8 minutes off her previous best to come home in a new PB time of 3hr 39.18. Paul Whittaker was running only his second ever race over the distance and posted a time iof 4hr 34.54.
And finally, Track & Field isn’t quite over for 2021. U20 Matthew Heywood was competing at the Hammer Circle Reunion event in Hull at the weekend; And what a good weekend it turned out to be for him as he added close to a metre on his Hammer (6kg) to set a new personal best of 53.44m. In addition, throwing the Weight (11.34) for the first time he went out to 18.11m