Another good day for the Harriers in this years Northern Road Relays staged at Sportscity. Eight days ago at the North West Road Relays the Harriers won 8 Team Medals and added to that a Northern Gold Medal for the U15 Boys and a Silver Medal for the U13 Boys.
Paul Guinan who has taken over as Team Manager along with Ben Fish spoke to the Club after the days events had finished and told us “Taking over the position of Senior Mens Relays Team Manager didn’t really need that much thinking about, l have been at the Club for many many years !! I don’t really think l can fail, taking over at a great time with plenty of senior athletes available for selection and great foundations in place, a testament to all the hard work that has been done by my predecessors, so onwards and upwards we go together. I have really enjoyed the last two weekends, the first being the North West Relays followed by the Northerns, my first as Team Manager. l could not ask for any more from the athletes that took part, some great runs in both relays showing what we are about and thats performing the best you possibly can. That was evident throughout all teams, so a big thank you. The A team has qualified for the Nationals in early October after a fantastic performance in taking 8th place at the Northerns, which included a “stunning” run by Ben Fish, running the third fastest leg of the day in 19:36, some 14 years since the “great” Mike Green ran the third fastest leg at Birchwood, a team in which l was apart of ! Thanks Richard T. Just to confirm to you all that Ben is my assistant in this venture, he will be involved in team selection and any other business that needs addressing. An area that is really important to myself and Ben is that all Senior runners are valued and important to us, each athlete will play an important part in the direction we want to go as a team”.
The Senior Men’s Race was contested by one hundred and eleven Teams which saw the Harriers come in 11th and 77th and also running an incomplete third team with five runners. The ‘A’ Team secured automatic qualification for the National Road Relays on October 7th and are looking forward to that. Some great running by the lads with Joe Monk going off on 1st leg running a cracking time (20.01) to hand over to Chris Davies (21.52) in 13th. Chris Arthur took over on Leg 3 in 27th and pulled that back to 21st with another cracking time of 20.05. Tim Raynes then took back eight places, running a time of 20.19 to hand over to Shaun Livesey in 13th spot. As Shaun came in lying in 15th position in a time of 22.16 he handed over to Ben Fish on the final leg – and what a leg he ran, clocking 19.26, the third fastest leg of the day. Ben actually ran a faster time then every other athlete in the first five teams and only one athlete ran faster in the first ten teams!
Ben who told told the Club that he was very “happy with his form” also made the point that it was “Top running guys, Lincoln won by a long way, but looking at Joe, Chris and Tim’s times we’re not that far behind. I think we’re close to nailing top 5 next year and beyond”.
After the Race Tim told the Club “Great runs from all the lads, from Joe starting us off so well up to Ben’s phenomenal final leg. On a personally note, reasonably happy with my leg. Having faded last week, I set off a bit more conservatively and was able to finish strongly (although perhaps just left a little too much in the tank in the early part of the leg)”.
Joe Monk also commented “Great result for the team, came through very strongly. Over the moon with the run, but an unbelievable run by Ben on the last leg to pull us back to 11th”.
Chris Davies was happy about the day when speaking to the Club saying “I had a good start, middle two laps were steady and my last mile was the quickest, so happy with that”
The Harriers ‘B’ Team came home in 77th spot being led off by Ben Costello on Leg (1) in the fastest of the six legs clocking 22.04 with Danny Maynard 24.40 on Leg (2). John Cookson took on Leg (3) running 26.29 before Matt Nuttall on Leg (4) ran 22.44 followed by Karl Billington on Leg (5) with a time of 25.23 – a big improvement from the the North West Relays and John Chaplin on Leg (6) running 24.54.
The Men’s C Team was unfortunately just one runner short which had Danny Teare (29.00) on Leg (1), Marco Maggio (26.27) on Leg (2), Andrew Knowles (27.37) on Leg (3), Mark Lord (29.22) on Leg (40) and Mark Bleasdale (24.01) on leg (5).
Just one team in the Senior Women as a number of our athletes were unfortunately not available. Carmen Byrne led off on Leg (1) alongside eighty two other athletes coming home in 22nd spot with a time of 22.42 commenting “I knew it’d be a quick start so wanted to set off at a decent pace without getting too carried away. I started picking people off after the first 1.5k ish and finished strongly. Some tight turns on the course made me realise I have the turning circle of a van, so that’s something to work on”. Catherine Guinan who hasn’t run much lately took on Leg (2) coming home in 55th spot (29.40) before handing over to Lindsay Davies on Leg (3) coming in 54th in 28.01 – the final leg was run in 28.14 leaving the team in 56th position.
What a brilliant eight days for the Harriers U15 and U13 Boys squads. At Blackpool the U15 Boys Team won the North West and Lancashire Gold Medal whilst the U13 Boys won Silver in the North West and Gold in the Lancashire Championships.
Fast forward eight days to the Northern Road Relay Championships – a much stiffer task – and the squads came up trumps again with some fabulous performances. Leon Thomas led off the U15 Boys in a pretty fast leg coming home in 11th place in a time of 11.25 to set the stage for the team to go on. Leg (2) saw Sam Hodkinson run the third fastest time of the Leg (11.06) to pull back 8 places and leave Matt Ramsden on the final Leg (3) setting off some twenty seconds behind the then leaders – Durham. Matt ran the second fastest time of the Leg and the 5th fastest Leg of the entire day (10.50) to overtake the teams in front and turn a twenty second deficit into a seventeen second victory to secure Gold. Our ‘B’ Team came home in 29th place which saw Harry Wilkin on Leg (1) running 12.12, Ethan Barbarewicz on Leg (2) clocking 12.41 and Jamie Teare running a great Leg (3) picking up seven places and posting a very good time of 11.48. After the Race Sam summed up everyone’s feelings telling us that he was “very pleased with our performance and hopefully we can do Blackburn Harriers proud in the Nationals……and I’m buzzin”.
The U13 Boys squad also go from strength to strength. Like the U15 Boys, they are a squad of young athletes all pushing for a place in the ‘A’ Team which is great to see. Leg (1) saw Hayden Mercer – “I’m so proud of how the team ran and I love wearing my Blackburn Harriers vest” – finish in 21st place (12.24) handing over to Kyle Taylor-Pomfret on Leg (2) who had another amazing run following his exploits at the North West Road Relays the week before. Kyle took back nine places in running the 6th fastest time of the Leg (12.18) to hand over to Dexta Thompson on the final Leg (3) in 12th place. Another great run by Dexta saw him clock 11.40 – the third fastest time of the Leg and the third fastest of the entire day – and overtake ten of the eleven athletes in front of him to bring home the Silver Medal for the Team. The Club’s ‘B’ Team was led off by David Holman who ran a great first Leg to clock 12.19 in 15th place. Rory Teare took over on Leg (2) running 13.29 and handing over to Isaac Butler in 24th spot who ran 16.13. Our ‘C’ Team had Saul Sharp on Leg (1) running a time of 14.06 handing over in 51st place to Sebastian Burton (15.09) who pulled back four places and Codie Dewhurst taking three more places which meant the team finished 43rd, Codie clocking a time of 14.21.
Forty seven teams lined up in the U13 Girls Race with the Harriers coming home in 13th which was a pretty solid performance and just 23 seconds away from a top ten position. Leah Hoole ran the fastest time on Leg (1) in 13.17 to hand over to Kate Cookson on Leg (2) in 14th place. Kate clocked 13.58 passing on to Hollie Cubbon on Leg (3) who pulled back two places with a time of 13.30. Caroline Woodworth ran leg (1) in a time of 14.17 in an incomplete team.
Two teams out in the U15 Girls featuring forty one teams overall. Amy Davies, Hollie Oldham and Eleesha Charnley ran for the ‘A’ Team with Charlotte Collin, Alex Taylor and Rebecca Ramsden competing for the ‘B’ Team. Amy placed 23rd on Leg (1) with a time of 13.24 before handing over to Hollie on the second Leg who ran 15.03 (29th) before Eleesha (13.14) pulled back nine places on Leg (3) to bring the team home in 20th position. The ‘B’ Team saw Charlotte run 15.23 (39th) on Leg (1), Alex clocking 15.31 in 35th on the second Leg and Kirsten (15.20) pulling back one place on Leg (3) to finish 34th.
Harvey Griffin ran Leg (1) for the U17 men coming in 16th with a time of 11.56 out of the forty strong field. Leg (2) saw Bradley Meikleham pull back another two places to move the team up to 14th with a time of 12.14 who in turn, handed over to Joe Gebbie (12.35) on the final leg to keep the team in 14th place overall. The U17 Women’s team just missed out on a top ten place finishing 11th. Maddie Elliott ran 13.37 on the first Leg to hand over to Hannah Cookson in 10th place (14.20) who pulled back a place to come home 9th setting Freya Black off on the final leg. Freya ran 15.50 which meant the team finished 11th just one second in front of Preston to be first Lancashire Team home.