The 2021 North West Road Relays only took place because of a last minute call for volunteers to help out with setting up the course and marshaling. Many thanks to those Blackburn Harriers and those from other Clubs, who rowed in at the last minute to ensure that the event took place. On a warm and calm day, the Harriers did really well, picking up a host of Medals.
One of the highlights of the day was the performance of the U13 Boys who won the race overall, taking the Lancashire and North West Titles. Sam Aspey on Leg 1, ran the second fastest Leg of the day in 10.06 behind Salford’s first Leg runner who clocked 9.56. Oliver Brown on Leg 2 ran 10.30 to move to first place and with Theo Robinson, clocking the same time of 10.30 on the final leg, ensured that he brought the Team home to a win by seven seconds from Wirral in 2nd and Liverpool Harriers in 3rd. The Harriers Team 2 came in 10th overall out of the 22 teams competing, taking the Lancashire Silver Medal with Liam Benninson on Leg 1 running 11.53, George Holman clocking 12.29 on the 2nd Leg and Callum Singleton on Leg 3 with a time of 11.35.
The U13 Girls kept the Medals flowing as they won the Lancashire title, 7th team overall out of 30 teams in total, with a combined time of 35.39. Hannah Davies (11.44) led off on the first leg coming home in 10th spot, handing over to Agatha Taylor on Leg 2 who ran a time of 11.52 which moved the team up to 7th and that was maintained by Emma Robertshaw on the final Leg as she came in with a time of 12.03 and cementing the Lancashire Gold Medal for the three of them.
Thirty one teams in the U15 Girls race with one team from the Harriers consisting of Charlotte Robertshaw, Faith Gillibrand and Imogen Robinson. The girls placed 18th overall and were first Lancashire team in front of Wigan. Charlotte ran the fastest time of Leg 1 with 11.52, followed by Faith on leg 2 clocking 12.45 and Imogen running 12.53 to earn them the Lancashire title.
24 teams lined up in the U15 Boys Relay, including two teams from the Harriers – Team 1 featuring Oliver Gill, Ben Livesey and Ben Stratton and Team 2 Matthew Smith, George Ramsden and Callum Osborne. Team 1 placed 4th over all and Team 2 18th. Oliver Gill ran the first leg for Team 1, in 9.57 for the fastest Leg of all the Harriers. He handed over to Ben Livesey who clocked 10.54 on Leg 2 followed by Ben Stratton on Leg 3 running the second fastest time of 10.10. Matthew Smith led off the second Team on Leg 1 with the third fastest time of the two teams (10.16) with George Ramsden on Leg 2 clocking 13.00 and Callum Osborne running 13.24 in his first race for nearly 18 months a time of 13.24. It was medals for both teams as they finished 1st and 2nd Lancashire teams.
Oliver Gill – Ben Livesey
Ben Stratton – Matthew Smith
George Ramsden – Callum Osborne
It was a Gold and Silver for the U17 Women’s teams as they came in first and second Lancashire teams in 12th and 15th places overall out of 28 teams competing. Aibigail Stratton led Team one off finishing the Leg in 5th position with a time of 10.35, handing over to Leah Hoole on Leg 2 (13.13) with Keira Haxton on the final Leg clocking 11.39 to win the Lancashire title. The Harriers next team ran really consistent times in securing the Silver Medal – Kate Cookson running 12.39 on Leg 1, Kiera Booth 12.35 on Leg 2 and Molly Nicholls clocking 12.40 on the final Leg – just five seconds separating the three girls.
Abigail Stratton – Leah Hoole
Keira Haxton – Kate Cookson
Kiera Booth – Molly Nicholls
The U17 Men’s Race had 19 teams racing with one from the Harriers who came home in 11th place overall as Wirral took an emphatic victory by three minutes. The Harriers team consisted of Hayden Mercer on Leg 1, Codie Dewhurst Leg 2 and David Holman on Leg 3. Hayden ran 20.31, handing over to Codie (23.47) with David on the last leg clocking 20.16 to earn the team a Lancashire Silver Medal.
Forty two teams in the Senior Women’s Relays won by Cheshire Dragons. The Harriers came in 17th and 32nd overall and in 4th and 5th Lancashire places. Ellen Sagar-Hesketh led off on Leg 1 running 23.50 before handing over to Carmen Byrne who is making a welcome return to racing on Leg 2 clocking 24.39 with Amy Davies taking Leg 3 and running 26.37, her first race over this distance for over 18 months. Team 2 consisted of Eleesha Charnley, Nikki Hartley and Lindsay Davies – both Nikki & Lindsay last running this distance and last racing in January 2020. Eleesha ran 24.21 on Leg with Nikki clocking 32.19 on Leg 2 and Lindsay 30.40 on the last Leg.
Ellen Sagar-Hesketh – Carmen Byrne
Amy Davies – Eleesha Charnley
Nikki Hartley – Lindsay Davies
The biggest race of the day was the Senior Men’s event featuring 59 teams in total and four of them from Blackburn who finished 3rd, 7th, 24th and 45th. Team 1 was led off by Ben Fish who had a great run, the fastest of the day with 17.45 as he brought the Harriers back in 1st place after a fairly tight duel on the first lap, to hand over to Luke Betts on Leg 2 – (his first race since Sept 2020) – running 18.39 – followed by Matt Ramsden on Leg 3 clocking 18.57 and Marc Hartley on Leg 4 (19.53) who made sure that he kept the team in 3rd place for North West and 1st Lancashire Team. Our next team home in 7th spot overall, also took the Lancashire Silver Medal as Ben Makin led them off with the 3rd fastest time of the day for the Harriers (18.53), with Ryan Bradshaw on Leg 2 clocking 19.52, Dominic Walton on Leg 3 with a time of 18.57 and Tom Blaney bringing the baton home with his time of 19.33.
Ben Fish – Luke Betts
Matt Ramsden – Marc Hartley
Ben Makin – Ryan Bradshaw
Dominic Walton – Tom Blaney
Team 3 had Matt Nuttall, Paul Guinan, David Almond and Stephen Walter. Matt led the team off against a background which has seen him run half a dozen 5k races since July this year and came in with a time of 20.25 backed up with solid times from Paul Guinan on leg 2 (21.57), David Almond on leg 3 (21.17) and Stephen Walter – in his second race for the Club – clocking the fastest time with 20.03. John Chaplin, Allan Hartley, Danny Maynard and John Cookson made up the Harriers 4th Team which saw John run the fastest time of Leg 1 with 23.01, Allan on Leg 2 running 25.51, Danny on Leg 3 clocking 23.16 and John Cookson on the final Leg posting a time of 25.03.
Matt Nuttall – Paul Guinan
David Almond – Stephen Walter
John Chaplin – Allan Hartley
Danny Maynard – John Cookson
Wilmslow Half-Marathon – Sunday September 12th
Over a thousand runners took part in this very popular Half-Marathon which attracts sell out fields each time it is held. Blackburn Harriers Ben Fish and Matt Poole line up at the start of the race which was eventually won by Leeds athlete Philip Sesemann in a time of 65.18.
Ben had run for the Harriers at the North West Relays the day and posted the fastest time of the day for the 5.8k Leg (17.45) – and just 24 hours later – he took 3rd place in this race with a time of 66.45 with Spenborough’s Joe Sagar in 2nd spot (66.38). Having run as he did at the Relays, then to back it up with his fastest Half-Marathon since 2017, Ben spoke to the Club telling us that “It’s capped off a good weekend. I felt as thought the training was starting to come together, but wasn’t sure how it translate to racing. Great to help the team to third in the NW relays and back that up with a solid run at Wilmslow.” Matt has run just three races since February 2020 reflecting what many athletes have had to contend with during the Covid crisis. Matt clocked a time of 1hr 31.56 (202nd) and commented after the race that “Having not been able to train for 8 weeks due to injury, it was nice to get out with no pressure. Well done to Ben Fish finishing 3rd and all the lads at the relays.”
Brun Valley 10k – Sunday 12th September
One hundred and thirty two runners in this race won by Richard Wells in 40.34. This was Victoria Mousley’s second only race since February 2020, her first being a 41.04 clocking at the flat Blackpool 10k back in May. Today she came home in 18th spot over all in a time of 44.49 which earned her the 1st V40 Woman and 3rd Woman overall prizes. Speaking to the Harriers after her race Victoria commented “Think i have done 2 in the last 18months. Not gonna lie – hated it – feel so unfit and slow. Was working hard and not really getting anywhere. It’s a starting point to go up or down from! The route was actually pretty good – quite hilly and took in quite a bit of the Lancashireman ultra route. Cheap to enter and managed to bag a prize too. Getting older and slower sucks though!” Danny Teare (V45) also ran the race placing 41st in 53.05, saying afterwards that “1st time pinning a number on the club vest in 18 months. Forgot how hard the last quarter of a race actually was!! Happy enough overall – a good test ahead of XC season.”
V50 Jonathan Bridge is starting to get the miles under his belt as he took on “hills & heat – not a great combination” – at the Garstang Half-Marathon on September 5th – a race won in 74.44 by Keswick’s Tristan Windley. Jonathan finished in 15th spot overall with a time of 94.08, which he described as “showing signs of improvement”. Claire also ran the race for Blackburn Road Runners crossing the line in 46th spot (2hr 00.04).
Also running a Half-Marathon was the Harriers Chris Walton who took on the Cheshire Half at the weekend (RESULTS) – a race won by Kendals’ Alasdair Russell in 68.53. Going into the race Chris had a previous best time of 81.33 for the distance, so he was delighted to knock off over two and half minutes to set a new PB time of 78.55 in 21st spot.
Another Bofra race – this time the Bradley Gala – took place on September 12 featuring just under a 100 runners – the race being won by Wharfedale’s James Hall in 23.38. V50 John Orrell who has been running these throughout the season was out again, finishing in 53rd spot with a time of 34.43. (RESULTS)