We start off this week with an international round up of results featuring Blackburn Harriers athletes on the road, and indoors. Jess Warner-Judd was one of 14000 runners involved in the Valenica 10k held this weekend – a race which produced an hardly believeable new world record of 28.46 by the winner of the Women’s race, Kenya’s Agnes Jebet Ngetich. (AW Race Report). Going into the race, Jess had a road personal best time of 31.06 and smashed that time as she clocked a new PB time of 30.38 to take a huge 25 seconds off that time and in the process moving to 4th in the all time list of British women 10k athletes as well as going to the top of the British rankings at the beginning of 2024. She also broke her own Club Record. Delighted with her performance, Jess spoke to the Harriers afterwards saying “I’m so happy with it, have worked really hard this winter and this was a big part of our plan so it’s awesome for it to come together!” In the same race, Rob Warner-Judd is clearly getting back from injuries as he ran 31.41 which was great to see.
While Jess was setting a new personal best time in Spain Charlotte Williams was doing the same in America at the KU-KSU-WSU Triangular in Kansas. Making all six throws count in the weight, Charlotte opened up with a distance of 17.49m and ended up on her last throw with a new PB distance of 18.05m – an improvement by a metre in the 9.08kg Weight competition – placing 3rd overall. (RESULTS) — (VIDEO).
Also setting a new personal best was Abigail Stratton who was competing in her first race of the year at the Jimmy Carnes Invitational in Florida on Saturday January 12th. (RESULTS). Ranked 4th in the British Rankings (4.20.32) for U20 1500m athletes last year, Abigail doesn’t often run the distance, her last one being in 2022, however, she still managed to set herself a new PB of 10.15.25 which heralds a good start to the year for her.
The weekend of January 13th and 14th 2024 saw the Northern Indoor T & F Championships for U17, U20 and Senior athletes take place at the EIS Stadium in Sheffield. Blackburn Harriers had quite a number of athletes competing throughout the weekend and were hopeful of good results including new personal bests and potentially medals. The athletes did not disappoint as they won 10 Medals – three Gold, three Silver and four Bronze plus thirteen new PB’s and three new Club Records over the full weekend. Day 1 featured our athletes in the 1500m 60m, 400m, Hurdles, Pole Vault and Triple Jump. One of the highlights of the day was the Gold Medal and Northern title won by Dexta Thompson in the U20 Men’s 1500m with a time of 4.03.48 from Vale Royal’s Isaac Leydon in 2nd (4.03.76) and Robert price in 3rd (4.03.79). Oliver Gill made it two medals in the event as he took third place in the U17 Men’s 1500m with a time of 4.15.43 whilst Ben Makin clocked 4.09.53 in 7th position in the Senior Men’s 1500m Final.
The Clubs sprinters were out in numbers and what a day they had. Charlie Unsworth had already broken the Club Record held by Luke Evans set in 2008 of 7.20 when he clocked 7.01 at Sportcity in December 2023. In Heat 1 of the qualifying rounds, Charlie broke that again with a new PB time of 6.97 in 2nd spot with team mates Harrison Allcock clocking 7.53 (5th) in Heat 2 and Samual Mutombo running a new PB of 7.40 (6th) in Heat 3. Charlie wasn’t finished there and went on to post another new PB, breaking again his own Club Record in clocking 6.89 in 2nd place behind Wirral’s Samuel Lunt (6.83) to take the Silver Medal. The U17 Men’s 60m had three athletes from Blackburn Harriers competing – Daniel Nuttall winning Heat 5 in the fastest of all heat times (7.13) with team mates William Tmomson 3rd in Heat 4 in a time of 7.44 and Charlie Palich equaling his personal best in clocking 7.47 in Heat 3 (3rd). All three qualifield for the semi-final which saw Daniel win the first of three semi-finals in 7.13 for his second new PB of the day, Charlie post a time of 7.45 which was also a new PB in 5th place in the 2nd of the three semi’s and William run 7.44 again for 4th spot in the last of the semi-finals. Daniel qualified for the Final which meant like the other finalists, three races in the day. Having clocked 7.13, then 7.14, Daniel ran 7.14 again to take the Silver Medal behind Liverpool’s Kelly Aru (7.11) which made it four medals for the Harriers on the opening day of the Championships. In the Women’s Sprints Millee Schofield and Alisha Lehner lined up in the U17 60m which featured six Heats – Millee placing 3rd in Heat 3 with a time of 8.22 with Alisha running 8.84 in Heat 5 in 6th place.
Photo by Caer Butler
Moving up to the 400m U17 Jacob Fisher placed 6th in Heat 3 with a time of 55.57 as Oliver Palk clocked an Indoor new PB of 52.96 in 3rd spot (Heat 1). In the Senior Men’s 400m Dominic Walton ran 50.85 (2nd) in Heat 5 to qualify for the semi-finals as did Oliver and Jacob. In the semi-finals of the U17’s Jacob ran 58. 20 and Oliver 53.74 in the first of two U20 semi-finals whilst Dominic clocked 50.14 in 3rd place of the first of his Senior Men’s 400m semi-finals. Three Heats of the U17 Women’s 60m Hurdles where Alisha Lehner ran 9.99 in 7th place (Heat 2). Millee then ran the same time in the third of three semi-finals of 8.22 in 6th spot. In the Field events George Whittaker was competing in the Pole Vault a week after having competed in the England U20/Senior Combined Events Championships at the same stadium – his first ever Indoors posting a total of 3816 points. Going into this Pole Vault competition George had a personal best of 3.80m outdoors and 3.30m Indoors which he promptly broke with a new Indoor PB clearance of 3.70m in 4th place in the straight Final. The U20 men’s Triple Jump event was a straight Final in which Harrison Allcock made it five medals on the day taking Silver with a leap of 12.50m and a new PB by over half a metre.
Day 2 of the Championships started off in positive style as Millee Schofield qualified for the 200m U17 Womens semi-final with a clocking of 26.61 in 2nd place (Heat 4) following which she ran faster to win the first of three semi-finals with a new Indoor PB time of 26.04. This was followed in the U17 Men’s 200m with Jacob Fisher qualifying in 3rd place (23.89) in his Heat and going on to place 5th in Heat 1 of the semi-finals with a time of 24.18. Daniel Nuttall also qualifed from Heat 3 in 2nd place with a time of 23.36 proceeding to winning the second oif three semi-finals in a time of 23.24 & qualifying for the Final. Charlie Unsworth won Heat 1 of the U20 Men’s 200m in 22.97 to qualify after which he clocked 22.01 in winning the the second of three semi-finals. Oliver Palk clocked 24.17 in 3rd spot (Heat 4).
Stepping up to the 800m and Dexta Thompson doubling up in the 1500 and 800m over the two days, won Heat 2 of the U20 men’s 800m in a time of 1.57.55 to qualify for the Final alogside team mate Codie Dewhurst who ran 2.02.68 in 5th spot for a new Indoor PB. Hayden Mercer went in the Senior Men’s 800m clocking 2.03.05 in 5th spot (Heat 2). Isabel Holt was tackling Indoor competition for the first time and started off in fine style with a new PB of 9.59.49 in the the U20 Women’s 3000m Final taking 5th spot and afterwards Isabel told the Club “I actually really enjoyed the experience and I am definitely going to do another one. Super happy with the time. Obviously a medal would have been nice but for my first one I can’t complain! Upwards from here!“
A very good weekend for U17 Pole Vaulter Tamzin Osborne as she improved her best height to a new PB of 2.80m and took the Bronze Medal – Tamzin already held the U15 Girls Pole Vault Club Record at 2.60m and her 2.80m clearance equaled the U17 Women’s Club Record set by Holly Bradshaw set in 2008. U17 Harvey Holden equaled his personal best height in the High Jump, clearing 1.70m in 5th position. Coming towards the end of Day 2 it was Finals all the way, the first of which was the U20 Men’s 800m which saw Dexta Thompson add a Bronze medal to his 1500m Gold with a time of 1.56.93. Millee Schofield then added another medal to the Harriers haul over the weekend as she took Bronze in the U17 Women’s 200m Final clocking 26.23. Daniel Nuttall finished off his weekend in style as he took the Northern title and Gold Medal in winning the U17 Men’s 200m with a time of 23.08 and in addition, having clocked 7.13 in his semi-final, Daniel broke the Club Record for U17’s held by rteam mate Charlie Unsworth set in January 2023. That Gold Medal was followed by another in the U20 men’s 200m as Charlie Unsworth won in a time of 22.10, adding the Northern Title to his Silver Medal won in the 60m and in the process, breaking yet another Indoor Club Record which was set by Luke Evans in 2009.
On to the Road for the ever popular East Lancashire Hospice 10k featuring close to 400 runners on Sunday January 14th which raises much needed finance for the East Lancashire Hospice. (RESULTS). Five Blackburn Harriers ran in this one producing four first place category wins. Badr Alainzy had a fine run, producing a massive new PB by four minutes running 35.12 in 2nd place overall. With three finishers in the top 7 and four in the first 16, Blackburn Harriers won the team race as Chris Davies came home 5th in 36.25 and 1st V45, Nick Gaskell placed 7th in 36.33 and 1st V50 and Mat Nuttall came 16th (40.09) and 1st V55. Eleesha Charnley won the Women’s race in a time of 39.26 which completed a very good day for the Harriers.
Race Photos Courtesy of David Belshaw
Still on the road and four Blackburn Harriers went up to Lancaster on Friday evening – January 12th – to run the Power of 5k and all came away with good runs. Won by Beau Smith with a time of 15.46, Paul Bradshaw led the Harriers quartet home in 7th spot overall with a time of 16.24 and followed across the finishing line by Stephen Hall in 12th place running 17.36 which also gave him the first V45 prize. Next home was Dominic Bretherton in a new PB time of 18.56 (27th) the time a minute faster than his previous best with Leah Hoole – 6th in the Women’s race – with a time of 20.16 and a new PB by well over half a minute.
Lawson Fields was the venue for the latest cross country fixture in the Mid Lancs League at Blackpool and held on Saturday January 13th 2024. (RESULTS). With everything going on at the weekend in various events, there wasn’t a big turnout of Harriers at this one but still managed to get a couple of team wins on the day. Hats off to the three U11 Girls as they came 7th in the team race which saw Sophie Douglas come home in 14th spot (9.46) alongside her team mates Pippa Blackburn in 28th (11.21) and Mia Logan in a time of 14.48 (30th). Just two boys in the their U11 Race – Theo Addy placing 8th in a time of 8.24 as Mohammed Azam came 34th running 10.18.
Only two athletes out in the U13 Races which saw another very fine run by Millie Jordan in the U13 Girls race as she placed 2nd in a time of 8.49 behind the winner from Liverpool Harriers – Evie Worrall (8.43). Max Unthank also had a good run in the Boys race placing 9th in a time of 12.25. The first team win of the day came in the U15 Girls race where Lyra Krige continued her good form in taking 2nd place in 12.08 supported by team mates Lottie Hesketh in 8th spot (12.43), Agatha Taylor in 10th running 12.57 and Isabelle Perry in 14th position with a time of 13.25. Our U15 Boys took 2nd place with a total of 34 points behind the team winners Sedbergh School who had 28.
Theo Robinson led the lads home in 9th spot running 15.41 with team mates Max Belshaw in 12th (16.00), Callum Singleton 13th running 16.15, George Holman in 16th place with a time of 16.34, Loucas Lancashire (19th) running 17.00 and Liam Bennison in 20th spot (17.10). Just one U17 athlete took part in the Women’s race which saw Freya Neild place 9th overall in a time of 19.06.
The second team win of the day came in the Senior Women’s race with a total off 33 points just enough to be in front of Wigan with 38 and Skelmersdale with 41. Ellen Sagar-Hesketh came home in 6th place running 25.21 alongside Rebecca Ward in 11th place running 27.30 and 2nd V40, Hollie Cubbon – 2nd U20 Woman and 19th overall with a time of 28.40 and Sarah Krige in 32nd position running 29.27. Twenty teams in the Senior Men’s race, however the Harriers couldn’t count as they were a couple of athletes short. Richard Addy was first home for the Club in 29th place out of a field just short of 200 with a time of 34.37 alongside team mates Mark Chippendale in 41st place (35.32) and 3rd V55, Danny Maynard in 53rd place running a time of 36.11 and V55 Chris Balderson placing 123rd in a time of 41.00.