The day promised rain and mud – and it delivered – none of which deterred thousands of runners taking part in the National Cross Country Relays at Berry Hill Park in Mansfield. Overall there were well over two and half thousand runners out on the course during the day, battling to make sure that their team, their Club came as high up the finishing list as possible.
The Harriers Junior Womens team of Isabel Holt, Evie Taylor and Eleesha Charnley got the Club off to a great start with a top ten finish and the first Northern Club home in the race. Isabel had a flyer on the first leg running 8.26.50 in 5th place handing over to Evie on leg 2 who ran 9.31.50 to come back in 9th spot, passing on to Eleesha on the final leg who held on to the 10th spot with her run of 9.52.75. Our Junior Men’s team of Dexta Thompson, Tom Monks and Umair Rafiq were up against 61 full teams with another 20 Clubs fielding part teams over legs of 3k as opposed to the 2.5k for the Junior Women. Dexta ran 9.32.00 on the first leg in 43rd spot before handing on to Thomas who ran 10.34.45 in 49th and Umair on the final leg with his time of 11.05.50 – the team finishing in 52nd spot.
The U17 Men’s race featured 78 full and 10 part teams which saw Blackburn Harriers taken 24th spot with a combined time of 29.55.40. Daniel Smith set the team off on the first leg with a time of 9.53.10 handing over to Oliver Gill in 30th position. Oliver had a cracking run (9.36.05) which meant he had pulled back 16 places as he passed over on the final leg to Logan McCredie running a time of 10.26.25. The second team was just a part team due to injuries which with Ethan Cutler on the first leg. At the moment of going to press, his result had been missed off. Only one athlete in the U17 Women’s race – Charlotte Robertshaw who had a very good run finishing in 21st spot on the first leg with a time of 9.39.50.
Two teams for the Harriersin the U15 Girls race which featured 82 full and 11 part teams – the Harriers placing 34th and 63rd. The first team of Lottie Hesketh, Emma Robertshaw and Agatha Taylor – placing 34th – saw just six tenths split the times for the first two legs – Lottie running 8.40.90 in 50th spot with Emma on leg 2 posting a time of 8.40.25 as she handed over to Agatha on the final leg in 38th. Agatha then clawed back six places with her time of 8.22.50. Our second team in the race comprising Isabelle Perry, Bella McCredie and Evie Fort had just seventeen seconds seperating the three runs as Isabelle ran 9.22.50 (72nd) on the first leg, Bella running the fastest Leg next up with 9.13.50 in 63rd and Evie holding that position on the final leg with her time of 9.30.30. The U15 Boys race had 77 full and 15 part teams in which the Harriers had one team and led off by Sam Aspey running 7.16.65 in 26th spot on the first leg. Jack Wood on leg 2 ran 7.28.25 before handing last leg duities to Alex Rothwell who ran 7.58.50 resulting in the team placing 32nd overall with both Jack and Alex at their first ever national chanmpionships.
Due to illness and injuries the Senior Men fielded two teams instead of three as one hundred and sixty nine full and 8 part teams contested the event on the day. Our first team of Matt Ramsden, Daniel Bebbington, Ben Fish and Luke Betts came within 8 seconds of the top ten as they clocked a combined time of 1hr 04.56 for the 4 x 5k relay race finishing in 12th position. Matt got the team off to a great start coming home in 13th spot with the fastest time of the day (15.35.05) handing over to Daniel who added to the run with a fine run of his own clocking 15.39.10 to claw back five places. Ben took over on the third leg running 17.05.60 in 12th place, a position that Luke held on to on the final leg with his time of 16.36.80. Our second team of Ben Makin, Chris Davies, Danny Maynard and John Chaplin came home with a combined time of 1hr 20.54 in 104th spot. Ben ran the fastest time on the first leg of 17.27.10 followed by Chris on leg 2 with 18.34.05, Danny running the third leg in 19.53 and John 25.00.50 on the final leg. Just one runner in the Senior Women’s race which was Lindsay Davies who ran 16.37.35 in 118th place on the first leg.
Still on cross country and this time in Scotland with Helen Leigh in the Northern League where she competes for Highland Hill Runners with Helen describing it as “Back to the bog in Fort William” which was the first round on the League this year. Helen had another fine run, taking 2nd overall (38.33) behind the winner Katie Anderson (37.31)and leading her team to the win.