Northern Athletics Road Relays – Sunday September 15 at Sportcity

At last weeks North West Road Relays Blackburn Harriers fielded 25 Teams – 9 Senior Men and Women and 16 Juniors from U11’s through to U17’s. This week at the Northerns, the U11’s are removed leaving the Club with 17 Teams – 4 Senior Men, 2 Senior Women and 11 Junior teams from U13’s through to U17’s.

The Officials, without whom we wouldn’t be able to compete. A big thankyou to each and every

one of them for the time, effort and commitment they show to our Sport of T & F Athletics


The Senior Men’s Race had the highest number of teams on the day, featuring 106 in total. The Harriers teams finished in 15th, 44th and 75th and with a last minute withdrawal had to run a part number fourth team of five runners. The A Team – Tim Raynes fastest on Leg 1 (20.28) – Ben Costello (21.19) – Chris Davies (22.26) – Marc Hartley (22.21) – Karl Billington (21.41) – Ben Fish (20.37) finished in 15th which meant that the Harriers secured an automatic place in the National Road Relays being held on October 6th at Sutton Coldfield.

Tim Raynes (A6)Ben Costello (B6)Chris Davies (C6) Marc Hartley (D6)Karl Billington (E6)Ben Fish (G6)

Our B Team  came in 44th which saw Tom Marchant rocket off on Leg 1 finishing with a time of 23.42, followed by Paul Bradshaw with the fastest Leg (22.40) – Joe Gebbie (24.03) – Dominic Walton (23.11) – Calum Holmes (23.29) and Tom Blaney (22.55).

Tom Marchant (A7)Paul Bradshaw (B7)Joe Gebbie (C7)Dominic Walton (D7)Calum Holmes (E7)Tom Blaney (G7)

The Harriers C Team with just over 30 seconds covering the six Legs, came home in 75th position with Nick Smith on Leg 1 (24.34) – Dan Balshaw (25.03) – Joe Howe on Leg 3 with the fastest time of 24.25 – brother Zac Howe on Leg 4 with 24.53 – Ben Makin (24.54) and Matthew Poole on the final Leg clocking 24.41.

Nick Smith (A8)Dan Balshaw (B8)Joe Howe (C8)Zac Howe (D8)Ben Makin (E8)Matthew Poole (G8)

Our last Harriers D Team competed as a Part Team of five due to a last minute withdrawal which had Danny Maynard on Leg 1 (25.10) – Paul Guinan on Leg 2 with the fastest time of 24.41 – John Cookson (27.38) on Leg 3 – John Chaplin (V60) on Leg 4 (26.31) and Evan Cook (V65) on Leg 5 running 30.14.

Danny Maynard (A9)Paul Guinan (B9)John Cookson (C9)John Chaplin (D9)Evan Cook (E9)

Sixty teams contested the race in the Senior Women’s 4 Stage – the Harriers fielding an A and B Team. The front end of this race was so competitive with just 13 seconds separating the first three Clubs, Rotherham, Leeds and Lincoln.

L-R Ellen Sagar-Hesketh – Lindsay Davies – Joanne Nelson – Charlotte Atkinson – Rachael Gavin

Great to See Alison Lundy on Leg 1 for the team, clocking the fastest Leg of 21.57 bringing the team back in 9th spot. Rachael Gavin (25.20) took over on Leg 2 to come back in 16th before passing on to Maddie Elliott on Leg 3 who ran 24.20, picking up one place to hand over to Team captain Joanne Nelson on Leg 4 who ran a very even paced Leg of 22.59 to gain five places and bring the women home in 10th spot.

Alison Lundy (A204)Rachael Gavin (B204)Maddie Elliott (C204)

Hannah Cookson ran the fastest time for the B team on Leg 1 (26.39) followed by Lindsay Davies on Leg 2 (28.05), Charlotte Atkinson on Leg 3 (27.29) and Ellen Sagar-Hesketh on the final leg clocking 26.49.

Hannah Cookson (A205)Lindsay Davies (B205)Charlotte Atkinson (C205)Ellen Sagar-Hesketh (D205)

Run of the day came from Matt Ramsden in the U17 Men’s Race as he and Henry Johnson from Houghton Harriers stuck to one another like glue round the course until the final 200 metres finish on the track when Matt put in a winning burst to bring the team home in 1st place with the 2nd fastest Leg time of the day (11.35). Jamie Teare took up the baton on Leg 2 running a very solid time of 12.38 to hand over to Sam Hodkinson on Leg 3 who then held the teams position with his time of 12.43 to ensure a 7th place in the 33 team strong field.

L-R Matt Ramsden – Jamie Teare – Sam Hodkinson

Matt Ramsden (A154)Jamie Teare (B154)Sam Hodkinson (C154)

Our U17 Women’s team came home in 14th place out of 24 full teams racing and led off by Amy Davies coming home in 22nd (15.41) followed by Eleesha Charnley who clocked the fastest time of 14.34 as she won back 11 places before handing over to Rebecca Ramsden on Leg 3 who ran 16.47.

Amy Davies (A261)Eleesha Charnley (B261)Rebecca Ramsden (C261)

Thirty teams in the U15 Boys race which included two teams from the Harriers. Just 33 seconds separated the lads on the A team as they finished in 16th spot with Hayden Mercer clocking 12.22 and the fastest time on Leg 1 followed by David Holman on Leg 2 (12.39) and Dexta Thompson on Leg 3 with the a time of 12.55.

Hayden Mercer (A51)David Holman (B51)Dexta Thompson (C51)

The B Team placed 21st was anchored by Jack Paget-Fowler on the final Leg running the fastest time of 12.59, preceded by Kyle Taylor-Pomfret on the first Leg (13.01) and Codie Dewhurst on Leg 2 clocking 13.46.

Jack Paget-Fowler (C52)Kyle Taylor-Pomfret (A52)Codie Dewhurst (B52)

Theo Watson ran Leg 1 for the B team in a time of 14.25 followed by the fastest Leg run by Saul Sharp with a time of 13.37 and Umair Rafiq clocking 13.41 on Leg 3 and picking up a further two places to help the team to 28th overall.

Theo Watson (A53)Saul Sharp (B53)Umair Rafiq (C53)

The U15 Girls also field two teams among the 46 teams in the event placing 25 and 25th overall. Kate Cookson led off for the A team and ran the fastest U15 girls time of the day with her 14.12 with Leah Hoole clocking 14.42 on Leg 2 and Keira Haxton 14.35 on Leg 3. The B team saw Hollie Cubbon run the teams fastest time on Leg 1 with 14.53, followed by Molly Nicholls on Leg 2 with 15.21 and Eleanor Allsopp on the last Leg running 15.29 as they picked up eight places from first Leg to last.

Kate Cookson (A203)Lah Hoole (B203)Keira Haxton (C203)Hollie Cubbon (A204)Molly Nicholls (B204)Eleanor Allsopp (C204)

Forty one teams contested the U13 Girls Race which had Blackburn Harriers coming home in 22nd and 40th positions. Stand out performance came from Imogen Robinson on Leg 1 for the A team as she ran the fastest time of all the girls with her 14.39 handing over to Eve Coulson on Leg 2 in 21st spot. Eve clocked 15.25 on Leg 2 as Faith Gillibrand ran Leg 3 in a time of 15.08, pulling back 5 places to see the team place 22nd. Isabelle Hartley ran Leg 1 for the B team in 17.17 followed by Kady Thompson on Leg 2 (19.50) and Tippi Francis on Leg 3 (17.58) as they finished in 40th place.

Imogen Robinson (A104)Eve Coulson (B104)Faith Gilibrand (C104)Isabelle Hartley (A105)Kady Thompson (B105)Tippi Francis (C105)

Two teams also for the Club in the U13 Boys which saw the A team place 16th overall out of 34 teams. Ben Ham on the A teams first Leg had the fastest run of the day as he clocked 13.07 with Ben Livesey running 13.46 on Leg 2 and Oliver Gill 13.56 on the last Leg to place 16th. Daniel Smith ran the fast time for the B team on Leg 1 with his 13.23 supported on Leg 2 by George Ramsden (15.17) and Daniel Nuttall on Leg 3 with 15.51 as they came home in 30th place.

L-R Ben Livesey – George Ramsden – Daniel Smith – Ben Ham – Oliver Gill – Daniel Nuttall

Ben Ham (A1) Ben Livesey (B1)Oliver Gill (C1)Daniel Smith (A2)George Ramsden (B2)Daniel Nuttall (C2)

European Masters Championships – Jesolo, Italy

Tony Balko had been targeting these Championships this year and delivered on all his training by setting a Points total of 3246 to finish in the top ten for the V55 category. In placing 6th in the Hammer (6kg) he set a new PB of 40.25m, followed by an 8th place in the Shot Putt with a distance of 11.17m and 11th in the Discus (1.5kg) with a throw of 31.91m. He then threw 13.13m in the 11.34kg Weight in 8th spot and 32.29m in the Javelin in 10th position.

HAMMER new PB Video

After the Championships had ended, Tony reflected on his perforamnce telling the Harriers
“I went into the Euro Champs ranked 13th out of 27 athletes and so finishing 10th in Europe is a pretty good result. Pleased with the Hammer PB though. Some days it’s just not going to be your day, but that’s when you have to really dig in and try and grind out a decent result, and that’s what I did. So I’m reasonably content. However training starts again this Saturday to come out in 2020 fitter, stronger and faster and set some new PB’s “.

Now time for a cold Prosecco 😋

Liverpool Jumps & Throws – Saturday September 14th

A very good finish to the season for some of the Harriers Throws Squad at Liverpool at the annual Throws and Jumps fixture which saw Anna Peers, Anthony Kent, Matthew Heywood and Nicky Saunders all competing.


Anna Peers had a very good day with two wins and a 2nd in her events, the highlight being the Javelin (600g) where she added over over two metres to her previous best to set a new PB of 42.17m and take the win. On to the Discus (1kg) where her personal best stood at 40.33m and she wasn’t far off that either as she threw 39.50m to win that event as well. Her third event of the day saw her place 2nd in the Shot Putt (4kg) with a throw of 11.21m and again very close to her best of 11.38m.

U20 Anthony Kent finished up with a win and two seconds in his events – winning the Discus (1.75kg) with a throw of 41.31m, came 2nd in the Shot Putt (6kg) with 12.27m and came 2nd again in the Hammer (6kg) with a distance of 50.55m.

U17 Matt Heywood took on the same events placing 3rd in the Shot Putt (5kg) with 8.08m, 3rd again in the Discus (1.5kg) with 27.43m and then came 2nd in the 5kg Hammer with a throw of 48.52m.

Nicky Saunders set herself a new PB in the Javelin (500g) as she added well over half a metre to her previous best, throwing 27.46m for 2nd spot. She placed 3rd U15 in the Hammer with a throw of 31.41m – an event that featured mixed age groups and then won the Discus (1kg) with 32.04m, and again, an event featuring mixed age groups.

Blackpool Open T & F Meeting – Saturday September 14th

A chance in September for some of the Harriers youngsters to have a final fling in their track or field event and for some new members, a chance to compete for the first time for the Club.


All photos courtesey of David Wood.

Four U9’s from the Club entered on the day with Charlotte Smith finishing 3rd in Heat 1 of the 80m in 13.8 and Isabelle Pawson clocking 14.2 in Heat 2 with Erin Fletcher in the same Heat running a time of 16.3. Alex McKinlay ran 13.5 in his Heat of the 80m for 3rd spot.

In the U11 events – Theo Robinson ran 12.6 in the 80m (4th) and 5th in the 600m (1.58.5) which was a tenth below his best for the distance, before going onto attempt the Long Jump for the first time placing 4th with a leap of 3.17m. Lily Croasdale was competing for the first time and took on three events clocking 14.8 in the 80m (6th), 2.46.1 in the 600m (15th) and then jumped 2.17m in the Long Jump in 13th place. Dana Juma ran 15.0 in the 80m (6th), 2.38.3 in the 600m (14th) and jumped out to 1.89m in the Long Jump. Omar Juma ran a time of 16.8 in the 100m (7th) followed by 2nd place in the Shot Putt (3kg) with a distance of 7.82m.

Lucy Rishton (U13) set a new PB in the 100m by two tenths, clocking 15.0 in 4th spot and just missed a second new personal best in the Long Jump by 3cms, with a distance of 4.06m in 2nd out of a 16 strong competition. Imogen Robinson ran 2.51.0 in 6th place in the 800m and leapt out to 3.36m in the Long Jump. Niamh Gater carried on in the U13 events with a 5th placed 13.5 in the 70m Hurdles and a Long Jump of 3.76m in 7th.

Alisha Lehner set a new PB of 3.05m in the Long Jump (15th) ran 16.1 in the 100m (4th) and 14.9 in the 70m Hurdles in 4th place. Matthew Smith came 2nd in the U13 Boys 800m clocking 2.35.6 and followed that up in the Field events with a 3rd place in the Long Jump (4.08m) and 7th in the Shot Putt with a distance of 5.86m. Ben and Abigail Stratton who run for the Harriers on the Track in the UKYDL saw Ben come 1st U13 in the 1500m with a time of 4.50.1 (2nd overall with the race being won by an U15 Boy) and Abi won the U15 Girls 1500m running a time of 5.09.1.

Sisters Grace and Madison Bontoft took on the throws with Grace coming 2nd in the U15 Girls Hammer (30.79m) and 6th in the Shot Putt with a throw of 7.22m. Madison came 4th in the U13 Girls Shot Putt with a distance of 6.44m then threw 21.92m in the Hammer (6th) and finished off with a Javelin throw of 9.52m.

Lucy Rishton Lucy Rishton Imogen Robinson Charlotte Smith Charlotte Smith Theo Robinson Niam Gater

Lancaster Castle 10k – Sunday September 15th

Annabel Ralph lined up among one hundred and twenty seven other runners coming home as first Woman in a time of 40.34 and 6th overall – the race being won by Andrew Dorrian in a time of 35.27.


The Ben Nevis Race

In 1895 when William Swan, a Fort William barber, set off on the first recorded timed ascent and descent of Britain’s tallest mountain he could not have envisaged the modern day Ben Nevis Race which now has a field of 600 runners accepting a challenge which is not for the unfit or faint-hearted.

In the late 19th.  and early 20th.  centuries a number of races were organised on an ad hoc basis.  However it was not until 1951 that the Ben Nevis Race Association was founded with the intention of formalising arrangements for an annual race. Since that first field of 21 runners, the race has grown beyond all recognition and it has been run every year since with the exception of 1980. That year the elements won and, with competitors on the start line, a last minute decision was made to cancel the race for the safety of the runners and officials on the mountain. Safety of all is paramount for the organisers and the Ben Race should not be treated as a ‘fun-run’ and therefore entrants have to be experienced hill runners. The BNRA liaises closely with Lochaber Mountain Rescue Team and we are grateful for their and our own volunteer marshals’ vital assistance on race day.

The record times for both men and women have stood since 1984 when Kenny Stuart and Pauline Stuart (nee Haworth) respectively recorded 1h 25m 34s and 1h 43m 25s. In 1989 Kenny ran the Houston Marathon in a then world class time of 2h 11m 36s thus creating a benchmark by which mountain running times and the Ben Race record, in particular, can be judged. It is fair to say that hill/fell running champions are worthy of the respect afforded to top Olympic athletes. The Ben Race has been variously described with superlatives – oldest race, toughest race, most iconic race, the supreme test of fitness etc. – and whilst these claims are open to challenge, the Ben Nevis Race Association will always defend its status as a very special event. However this is not necessary as runners testify to this on our behalf as evidenced by their remarks on this page.

2019’s Race saw new member for Blackburn Harriers – Calvin Ferguson – ran this race along with four hundred and forty eight other runners and came home in 360th place with a time of 2hr 55.34. The race didn’t go as well as Calving would have liked and told the Club that it was my slowest time out of my 4 attempts”Calvin’s long term aim in this race  is to finish it 21 times so he can get a Connochie plaque  which is only awarded to those who have completed the race 21 times.


Calvin Ferguson (58)

Switchback Valley Trail Race – Wednesday September 10th

One hundred and twenty eight runners lined up for this race won by Gary Priestley in a time of 30.35 – a minute and half in front of second placed Todmoreden Harriers athletes, Andrew Worster (32.10).


Photos courtesey of David Belshaw (David’s Running Photos)

Three Blackburn Harriers ran this race, the fiorst one home and taking a top ten place was Calum Holmes in 9th spot clocking 35.50 followed by V40 Daniel Whittaker in 24th place (40.08) and V50 Mark Wilkin running a time of 43.29 in 39th position.

Calum Holmes Daniel WhittakerMark Wilkin

Great Westmorland Trail Race – Saturday September 14th

V50 John Orrell was celebrating his birthday by taking on this race described by the organisers thus A scenic  marked route over rolling fell land on trails and footpaths with stunning views of both the Eden and Lune Valley, starting and finishing in the sleepy village of Crosby Garrett near Kirkby Stephen.

No Results currently

Great North Run – Sunday September 8th

V45 Paul Wilkinson and V50 Jason Harbour took a trip up to the North East last weekend and ran the Great North Run with Paul running a time of 1hr 54.52 in just his third race of the year whilst Jason clocked 1hr 36.34 running his first race of the year. Paul told the Club that It was my 19th Great North Run and was a great day for it with weather and support. Had good run and enjoyed every minute of it. Roll on to my 20th next year”.

L-R Paul Wilkinson – Jason Harbour