What a great venue for this years Northern 12 & 6 Stage Road Relays, also including the U15 and U17 5k Road Championships – Birkenhead Park. Wide roads which allowed for good separation between athletes and those who would normally use the park, made it feel much safer than has been the case sometimes in the past. Great weather also added to the atmosphere as Clubs shouted encouragement to their athletes all throughout the day.
The Harriers had two senior Men’s Teams, one Senior Women’s Team and a number of U15 and U17 athletes running in the 5k Championship Race.
Tim Raynes led the Harriers ‘A’ Team off on Leg (1) bringing us home in 7th place at the end of the first of the four Long Legs clocking 23.35 – a great performance which put him 10th in the fastest of the Long Legs on the day. Ben Costello took Leg (2) the first of the eight Short Legs in a time of 12.30 which was the second quickest Short Leg for the Team. Rob Warner took over on Leg (3) after running the Home International 24 hours earlier and finishing in the top ten, he still turned out for the Team running 24.31 as he handed over to Paul Bradshaw (13.36) on Leg (4) who came home with the Club in 15th place. Ben Fish who had been ill for a couple of weeks took on the next Long Leg (5) and pulled back five places with a time of 23.37 followed by Karl Billington on Leg (6) in a time of 13.03. Chris Arthur ran Leg (7) in a time of 24.07 to keep the Club in 11th position overall. With all Legs remaining being short ones, Mat Nuttall again kept the team in 11th on Leg (8) with a time of 12.56 followed by Joe Howe who pulled a place back to put us in the top ten, running a time of 12.42. Debutant Josh Holgate ran really well on Leg (10) in a time of 12.36 keeping us in 10th as Chris Davies on Leg (11) with 12.38 and Jack Hindle on Leg 12 with the fastest Short Leg of the day for the Club (11.58), both pulled back a place each to leave the team in 8th overall and an automatic qualification for the Nationals.
It was, we believe, a first ever for the Harriers, as the Men’s ‘B’ team got underway with Team Manager Paul Guinan running Leg (1) in 28.46 to be followed by his son Elliott – making his debut for the Club – running the second Leg in a time of 14.50. Great to see John Horrocks back running regularly now after a long period of injury as he took Leg (3) with a time of 28.21 to leave the Club in 53rd place. John Cookson maintained that on Leg (4) with 15.17 followed by Tom Blaney, another athlete who has been out for a long while after an accident, who posted the fastest Long Leg of the day for the ‘B’ Team (27.09), pulling back four places. Danny Maynard pulled another place back on Leg (6) with a time of 14.07 as Paulo Sousa ran the last Long Leg of the day in 29.53 to see the team in 50th place on Leg (7). Paul Brindle ensured we didn’t lose any places as he ran 13.54 on Leg (8). That position was improved on Leg (9)) as Tom Anderson who ran 13.53, pulled back another three places. Sean Procter clocked 15.03 on Leg (10) and he was followed in by Mark Almond (14.45), taking another place and Derek Reilly on the last leg with the fastest Short Leg in the ‘B’ Team of 13.25 pulling another three places back to leave the team in 44th overall.
Two Long Legs and four Short Legs in the Women’s forty seven strong Club 6-Stage which saw Katie Buckingham lead the team off on Leg (1) with a solid time of 31.05 to put the team in 25th position as she handed over to Carmen Byrne on Leg (2) who ran ran the fastest short Leg of the day in 14.45 bringing the team home four places better off in 21st spot. Carly Edwards then ran 15.16 on Leg (3) to claw another three places back as she handed over to Joanne Nelson on Leg (4) in 18th position. Joanne’s time of 30.44 helped pull back another four places to leave the team in 14th spot overall. Lindsay Davies maintained that on Leg (5) clocking 17.15 whilst Carol Reilly on Leg (6) running a time of 16.45 saw the Club finish in 16th place overall.
(L-R Lindsay Davies – Joanne Nelson – Carol Reilly – Carly Edwards – Katie Buckingham)
The 5k Championships kicked off with the U17 men first up followed by the U17 Women, the latter race being very disappointing in that there was only ten runners in it. Bradley Meikleham and Joe Gebbie ran in the U17 Men’;s Race with Bradley finishing 16th out of the twenty seven athletes competing in a time of 17.51 and Joe just one place further back in 17th (17.57). These times represented new PB’s for both athletes with Bradley cutting nineteen seconds off his previous best and Joe even more has he chopped thirty three seconds off his previous best.
In the U15 age group the Harriers had two in the top ten with Matt Ramsden having a great battle with the winner, taking the Silver Medal after just failing to catch him in the closing stages as he ran 16.12 to the winners time of 16.10. Sam Hodkinson placed 7th in thirty seven strong field clocking a time of 16.50, the same time as that given to the 8th placed athlete. Amy Davies had a good run too in the U15 Girls race to finish 6th in a time of 19.53 out of the twenty seven athletes racing.
Garstang Gallop 10k – Sunday March 25th
One hundred and forty seven runners completed this Race in ideal weather conditions. Pauline Powell recorded yet another win as she finished 7th overall, 1st Woman and 1st Woman Vet clocking a time of 43.07.
Darwen Half-Marathon – Sunday March 25th
Another sell out for this very popular local race, won this year by Adam Stokes in a time of 75.13. Four hundred and forty one finished the Race which saw three Blackburn Harriers taking part.
First in for the Harriers was Jacob Watson in 3rd place overall clocking a time of 80.22, just 20 seconds off setting a new Course personal best for himself. He was followed home by V50 Ian Clarkson (124th) in a time of 1hr 46.15 which was a new PB by over a minute and previously set on the same course. Paul Wilkinson (V45) was next home in 228th with a time of 1hr 57.33.