National Cross Country Relays – Saturday 4th November

The Mansfield National Cross Country Relays is just one of those key dates in the Cross Country Racing calendar when the best of the country’s athletes get an opportunity to go head to head on a great Course with tremendous viewing for spectators.

The U13 Boys Team for the Harriers saw Isaac Butler, Zach Walmsley and Dexta Thompson featuring in their first ever National Cross Country Championship event and they did themselves proud, coming home in 28th place out of ninety seven teams taking part. The lads were just nineteen seconds off making a top 20 place with Isaac on Leg (1) running a time of 7.21, Zach on Leg (2) in 7.58 and Dexta on Leg (3) clocking 7.36.

U13 Boys Results


Team Manager Chris Thompson was happy with the way the lads performed at their first outing together in an National Championships, telling the Club “We took a team of under 13’ boys down to the nationals, a team that had not competed together before so I didn’t know how they would do together. All three ran their own race and ran really well on what is a fantastic cross country course against the best runners in the country. Having placed 28th out of 97 teams is a good starting place for when two of the boys also have a chance of returning again next year in the same race with them being the older ones in the category. Overall it was a good trip out and the boys enjoyed themselves which is the important bit.   

I would also like to thank all those who have competed in the relays over the past few months at Blackpool,Manchester, Birmingham and Mansfield. It’s been a pleasure doing the team manager although it has been stressful at times doing team selection with the club having such a great bunch of athletes to choose from and all the athletes wanting to be in certain teams, tough decisions were made and I thank the coaches for their help and support on these on these choices but that’s what happens with so many good athletes so once again I thank you all for your support and hopefully we can do then all again next year”.

After the Championships Isaac Butler reflected on the day telling the Club “I was really nervous on the line but as the gun went off, I dug deep and ended up finishing strong. I really enjoyed my first National Cross Country Race” with Zach Walmsley commenting “the course was nice, not too muddy a bit like a trail run and we did really well as a team”.


The men’s Senior Race saw two Blackburn Teams out among the one hundred and seventy eight teams contesting the Race with the ‘A’ Team consisting of Rob Warner, Jack Hindle, Chris Davies and Ben Fish and the ‘B’ Team with Paul Guinan, John Chaplin, Danny Maynard and Karl Billington.

Senior Men’s Results

Men’s Team Manager Paul Guinan spoke to the Club commenting “another good day for the Senior Men, 2 teams running and one finishing in 30 place, all runners gave it everything, two stand out performances had to be Rob running 16:11 and Karl running inside 20 minutes great to see him making progress, well done once again everyone”.


Rob Warner was off on the first Leg clocking an excellent 16.11 to set the Harriers up in 23rd spot before handing over to Jack Hindle – making his senior debut in a cross country championships – with a 17.10 clocking who in turn, handed over to V40 Chris Davies on Leg (3) running a time of 18.20. Ben Fish took the final Leg picking up eight places with a time of 16.43 which saw the team finish in 30th position overall and afterwards Ben reflected on the day saying it was a “Great result by the team, Rob ran a blinder to get us off to a flying start, then top runs from Jack and Chris. I was happy with my run and thrilled we made top 30. Well done to our B team Danny, Guiny, Chappers & Karl! some great team spirit in the club. Looking forward to more relays in the future!”


The ‘B’ Team saw V45 Paul Guinan on Leg (1) posting a time of 19.09 before handing over to V60 John Chaplin who clocked 21.43. Danny Maynard took on Leg (3) running 21.03 with Karl Billington running just inside 20 minutes (19.58) on Leg (4) which meant the Team finished in 118th spot. Karl  is getting fitter by the week and told the Club that it was a “great day out with the senior guys, enjoyed the race for once and well done to the other chaps that ran”. Danny also enjoyed the day telling us that it was “A relentless course which is a classic for every cross country season. It was fantastic for the club to get two strong teams out along with some excellent individual performances”.


After running at the Manchester University Cross Country Relays the week before where she clocked a time of 11.45 for the 3k course, Blackburn Harrier Katie Buckingham was also running at Mansfield as part of the University of Nottingham’s Senior Women’s Team who placed 33rd overall out of one hundred and twenty eight teams which saw Katie clock a time of 11.47 on Leg  (3).


(Katie Buckingham at Mansfield)


(Katie Buckingham at Manchester University XC Relays)


Leeds Abbey Dash – Sunday 5th November 2017

This Race is one of those in the Race year where everyone is looking to run a personal best time and with that in mind – Tim Raynes, Joe Monk and Ben Costello all entered – optimistic that they could all revise their PB’s over the 10k distance. And they did just that.

Abbey Dash Results

With the first fourteen athletes all in under 30 minutes, the pace at the front was pretty tasty. Tim Raynes set a new PB by five seconds in 39th place overall with a time of 31.13 and there is little doubt that he is knocking on the door of a sub 31 minutes soon. Tim spoke to the Club later in the day telling us that “Training has been going well over the last few weeks, and I knew I was in good shape coming into the race. Ran fairly evenly but wasn’t able to kick on as much as I had hoped in the second part of the race. Can’t complain with a PB though, just leaves me with that bit more motivation to break it again at Ribble Valley. Well done to Joe and Ben too for great runs!”

Joe Monk was the next one to improve his personal best as he came home in 66th place overall cutting fourteen seconds off his previous best to set a new PB of 31.57. Afterwards Joe reflected on his Race telling the Club that it was a “Tale of two halves. didn’t feel brilliant for the first half of the race, legs just wouldn’t go with it. Went through 5k in around 16:10, some 25-30 seconds off what I wanted. Managed to find my rhythm in the last 2.5 miles and came through strongly. Definitely had too much left, so it gives me the motivation to strive for 31:30 at Telford. Well done to the lads on their runs, great to see Ben making massive improvements, gone from looking at sub 34 to knocking on a sub 33 clocking”.

Ben Costello ran a massive new personal best by one minute and fourteen seconds to set a new PB of 33.14 as he came home in 150th place. Ben joined the Harriers in August 2016 and has made massive progress and there is no doubt that there is much more to come. After the Race Ben spoke to the Club saying “Going into the race after a few good weeks of hard training i knew i was in shape for a PB. Before the race i had a target of 33.40 in mind to beat that just shows that hard work does pay off. Over the moon to be honest. Didn’t think i was in shape for a low 33 but the weather and the race was prefect. Well done to Tim and Joe on 2 quality times”.


More Club News

Congratulations to Blackburn Harrier Chris Wood who has been reappointed to the IMO list for 2018 (International Meet Officials). This is the Pool from which selections are made for the big televised athletic events. In this Pool Chris is a Starter’s Assistant, one of just 9 in the UK.


Through The Villages – Sunday November 5th

Through The Villages Results

Two hundred and eighty two finishers in this Race won by Nick Barry in a good time of 46.06. New member Gary Vose (V45) had a great debut for the Harriers clocking a time of 50.55 to place 5th overall and 1st V45 and just two places further back came Paul Brindle in 51.24 to take the 2nd V45 place. U17 Joe Gebbie also had a very good run in 25th position overall and 2nd Junior male in a time of 55.09. Joanne Nelson, looking stronger by the week won the Race as she finished 1st Woman and 1st V45 Woman in 56.04 and 39th overall. Janine Fallon (V40) also won the Vets 1st Prize as she came home in a time of 63.30 in 84th followed in by V55 David Morris in 271st place (92.37).

Lancaster Half-Marathon – Sunday November 5th

Four hundred and sixty two runners took part in this local Half-Marathon won by Simon Croft in a time of 74.11. Among the runners were three Blackburn Harriers – Nick Smith, Sean Procter and Carol Reilly.

Lancaster Half-Marathon Results

Nick Smith…..was running his first ever Half-Marathon and even though he hadn’t got the kind of mileage in that he would have wanted, he nevertheless ran well to finish 16th overall in a time of 86.18. Thinking about his Race and how he ran it, Nick told the Club that he was a “Bit disappointed with that, not what I wanted and I know it’s because I raced it wrong. Went in hoping to stay steady until about 10k, pick it up there and again at 10miles like we’d discussed, but got carried away at the start and ended up with a stitch at around 3 miles which I didn’t manage to shake off until between 9 and 10 Miles. Happy with my last 5k though, and considering my lack of long runs and the bad strategy I produced, I’m fairly happy with the time, just felt I could’ve had it faster”.


Sean Procter came home in 23rd spot and 4th V45 in a time of 87.12 which was a new PB by nearly a minute and a happy Sean commented that “I set out today with nothing more than just seeing how it would pan out not knowing anything about the route other than it finished up a steep hill to the castle, and just under the 13 mile point it’s steep and it hurts. As the race turned out I still felt good at the turnaround point and kept pushing trying to make up 1 or two places before the hill, managing 1 more place on the hill to finish with a new 1/2 PB of 1:27:12”.

Carol Reilly….ran a couple of minutes outsider her personal best as he finished in 119th spot in a time of 1hr 42.23. However she won the V45 Women’s first prize which was a good end to the Race as she told us “today for me was to go out and just run. Ive lost my mojo a bit lately, I think it’s due to a year and half of injuries and other things. Anyway the first 4 miles are always tough for me, it takes me that long to get into a race, that’s why I hate 10k’s!!!!!! I felt better in the 2nd half but there’s a really brutal hill at the finish so I’m quite chuffed with 1.42.23 and 1st in cat. It gives me something to build on”.



A Double Header Weekend on the Fells with John Orrell

John Orrell is racking up the Fell Races with two more in the bag over the last couple of weeks. Firstly at the Really Wild Boar placing 79th in a time of 65.55 after which, he described the Race saying “Fell races 23 and 24 of 2017, a doubleheader weekend. Saturday was the Really Wild Boar. Living up to its name it was really wild. 5 miles, 1401 ft of ascent. Strong headwinds up to CP2, and buffeting making for arduous running across the summit plateau to CP3. The clag was well and truly down by now as CP4 was passed before I launched myself off the top. Compass needed to find CP5. Delighted to come out of the fog straight on it. Even more pleased to pass some of the fast guys going in the opposite direction still looking for CP5. I was away to the finish and claimed some scalps. 1.05.55 or thereabouts and 79th”.

Day two saw John tackle the Bronte Way Fell Race featuring two hundred and seventy three finishers which saw Joe Dale run out the eventual winner in 54.20, just one second in front of second placed Ian Holmes. John finished in 179th place clocking a finishing time of 85.46 and commented “Better conditions on Sunday for The Bronte Way, a point to point from Wycollar to The Fleece Inn, Haworth and a free pint. 7.5 miles across the moors and 1152ft of ascent. Entries on the day swelled race numbers to around 280. The organisers ran out of numbers and the start was delayed around 40 mins to accommodate everyone. Once underway and off the track it’s a steady slog across those moors with some tricky single track thrown in for good measure. Up and down dale, across Bronte Bridge and I was beginning to run out of steam. After a full frontal (not Monty!) face plant in the mud I just held on to finish only a couple of minutes outside my best time. 179th in 1.25.46. And that pint? Timothy Taylor’s Poulter’s Porter. Well earned!”

Bronte Way Results