A first time venue for this years Northern Cross Country Championships saw the Clubs and their athletes visit Harewood House in Leeds and a great venue it turned out to be. A tough cross country course with panoramic views and adequate parking, make this a venue worth going back too. The only ‘spoiler’ on the day was the wind, which along with the hills, meant strength endurance was most definitely needed. It is being rumoured that this would be the venue for the 2019 National Cross Country Championships and there is no doubt that has gone down well with athletes.
The Harriers had Teams out in U13 Girls, U13 Boys, U15 Boys and Senior Men with athletes running in the U17 Junior Men and Senior Women’s categories.
Highlight of the day for the Club was the performance of the U15 Boys squad who took Bronze finishing just eleven points off the winning team – Hallamshire. First home in the field of one hundred and ninety seven athletes was Matt Ramsden in 19th place, running a time of 14.48 for the 4000m race. Next in came Sam Hodkinson in 28th in a time of 14.56 with Leon Thomas in 69th clocking 15.37, Jamie Teare in 81st place with a time of 15.44 and Harry Wilkin (149th) in 17.12. Afterwards Matt was asked for his thoughts on the Championships to which he replied “It was a good day out in Leeds but I would have liked to have ran better. It was nice to win a medal but disappointing to have been so close to gold”. Jamie also commented positively saying “i enjoyed the Race and, although I had a poor start, i was pleased i pulled it back for a strong finish even when it was so windy. Good to know we can get a Gold Medal in the future”.
Two hundred and thirty two athletes contested the U13 Boys Race won by Joshua Blevins in a time of 10.44. The Harriers finished 10th team out of the twenty seven teams in the Race, the highlight being the outstanding run of Isaac Butler who finished in 6th spot with a time of 11.05 – just six seconds off the Bronze Medal position. Next across the finish line for the Club came Dexta Thompson (76th) posting a time of 12.16 with David Holman just six seconds further back in 86th place (12.21). Codie Dewhust and Sebastian Burton battled one another around the 3000m course with Codie just taking the honours by one second in 172nd place (13.20) and Sebastian in 173rd (13.21).
Our U13 Girls came home 17th team in the race contested by twenty nine Clubs and two hundred and thirty five athletes competing on the day. In all championship races like the Northerns, just a few seconds can make huge differences in the number of places gained. Kate Cookson was our first athlete home in 90th spot with a time of 13.10, a time which was just eleven seconds short of the 75th runner – fifteen places higher. Hollie Cubbon was just eight seconds behind Kate in 99th spot in a time of 13.18 with Caroline Woodworth clocking 13.27 in 107th position and Keira Haxton in 150th place in a time of 13.55.
Losing a number of U17 athletes to injuries meant that Thomas Betty ran solo finishing 109th in a time of 26.50, similarly in the Junior Men’s Race which saw Nicholas Smith place 68th in 36.15. Lindsay Davies was our only runner in the Senior Women’s race, running well to finish 214th in the four hundred and thirty five strong field in a time of 41.59.
Fifty seven teams featuring seven hundred and sixty one athletes contested the Senior Men’s Race which saw the Harriers make the top ten in 9th place with a points total of 474. Unfortunately for the team they lost a number of athletes due to injury and illness on the eve of the Championships which meant a top five placing was a stretch too far. Team Manager Paul Guinan was happy with the teams performance and told the Club “A great good day out, solid running from the team with 11 Senior runners competing, things are looking great and to put the icing on the cake getting a top 10 team finish. A big thank you to all the runners for making the journey and competing for the Harriers, hopefully next year we can get even more athletes to run, which l believe will be the National Cross Country Championships. I personally just wanted to get round injury free which l did although l could have probably picked an easier race to test an injury, no reaction so all is good”.
As on all occasions with the Harriers, the team spirit was really good and the support for one another is evident. There were some cracking runs by the athletes. Tim Raynes had a great run to be the first Harrier home in a time of 42.31 (33rd) and spoke to the Club afterwards commenting “I really enjoyed it yesterday……..it was really well organised and I think it would be a great venue for the National. Felt really good during the first lap and found myself just outside the top 30. Hoped to be able push on the second lap, but didn’t quite have enough there. Pretty pleased with my run though, and well done to everyone who ran. Great to see us packing so well as a team. Looking good for the nationals!”. Rob Warner was just six places further back in 39th (42.45) and he also commented on the day saying that he “Thought the event yesterday was great, really well organised and hopefully will see the nationals there next year! Was a great performance from the team, thought everyone ran really well, and especially well done to Tim on a great run! Wasn’t pleased with my run personally, never really got going but always good to race at the Northerns”.
Also having a great run on the day was Jack Hindle who took 52nd place and third counter for the Team, clocking a time of 43.23 and commenting after the race “Well done to all the lads. It was a tough course with climbs and muddy sections. From my perspective it went really well, I felt strong the whole way around and come through well at the end. Looking forward to racing the nationals now”. After running a 75.32 Half-Marathon the week before in pretty appalling conditions, Chris Davies was out again for the Club and the next Harrier across the line in 97th position in a time of 45.13 and said “First of all well done to the team. A great effort finishing 9th overall especially when some of the guys were coming back from injuries and niggles. Well done guys. On a personal level, really pleased to finish in the top 100, it’s hard to do with so many good endurance runners on show. Really pleased with my run, was feeling good from the start, paced it well at the beginning and never looked back from their. The course seemed to suit me on the day. That’s the beauty of XC racing. Every course is different along with weather conditions and you just never know what’s going to happen. Just a pity it’s took me till now to get going in this year’s XC Season. Better late than never though. Well done to the U15 Boys as well. Great result”.
Just behind Chris came Ben Costello who has been one of those suffering with injuries and has managed to shake them off coming home in a time of 45.40 in 107th spot and was delighted with his run telling the Club “Coming back from injury I knew the Northerns would be a good fitness boost and it was. Very happy to get through the race without any recurrence of that injury….a massive well done to everyone who ran some good positions in field full of class athletes. I am sure the team will put in another class performance at the nationals”. Ben was followed in by Mat Nuttall in 147th spot in 47.00, Joseph Howe in 194th (48.21) and brother Zac Howe (49.47) and Paul Guinan (49.48) in 246th and 247th places respectively. Afterwards Zac told us it “Was a bit of a frustrating run for me with the Achilles niggle resurfacing after the first lap, meaning I had to stop and stretch for a few minutes. I was able to finish so hopefully nothing too serious, but disappointed I couldn’t help out the team more. Well done to everyone, great team spirit on the day!”
Great to see Gary Pearse competing at the Northerns after overcoming some very serious back issues in recent times – Gary crossed the line in a time of 54.44 for 437th place and said that it was a “Great event really pleased to be out there racing with you guys, your support much appreciated. A cross country with proper descents and excellent overall course/venue. Tough race,well done to all completing along with appreciation of some superb individual performances”. John Chaplin was our final athlete through the finish – 542nd clocking 57.57 – which was an impressive performance form another athlete who has had more than his fair share of injuries explaining that “Lack of training through injury resulted in a really poor run for me even though I thought it was a great course and one well suited to potentially host the Nationals next year. Outstanding run by Tim and great back up by the other guys. The team have had a great x-c season and Saturday’s result underlined the quality and spirit with the 9th place finish. It’s great to be a small part of it. Looking forward to Parliament Hill now”.
St Annes 10 Mile – Sunday January 28th
Three hundred and sixty four finishers in this local and popular seaside 10 mile road race won by Rob Danson in a time of 52.59, some six minutes in front of the second placed athlete. A really tough wind on the second half of the Race affected the times as runners battled in against it.
(Thanks to David Wood for the Race Photos from Lytham)
Four Blackburn Harriers took part with V50 Jonathan Bridge the first through the line for the Club in a time of 64.30 and 3rd V50 in his Age Category. Next home in yet another V40 Category win was Joanne Nelson in 34th spot overall and 3rd Woman in a time of 66.26 – Joanne has run four races in 2018 and has been 1st V40 in all of them. Janine Fallon – also a V40 – came home in 95th place clocking a time of 76.27 along with Paul Wilkinson (V40) who finished in 155th with a time of 84.54.