The wind really did blow and it was cold. The weather forecasters were correct. But none of it, the wind or the cold could detract from a great day of cross country racing which saw everyone from U11’s through to Seniors battling for places at the European Cross Country Championships in Dublin giving it their all. The going was exceptionaly good underfoot and had it not been for the biting wind and the strength of it, the day would have been perfect.
One of the highlights of the day was the victory for Jess Judd in the Senior Women’s Race as she booked her place at the European Cross Country Championships being held on December 12th in Dublin – (All details) – after a very impressive run winning the race by some 17 seconds (26.29) from Cardiff’s Jenny Nesbitt in 2nd (26.46) and Lincoln Wellington’s Abbie Donnelly in 3rd (26.51). Speaking to Athletics Weekly after the Race, Jess commented that “It was really windy and really cold, so I thought I’d just sit in and see what goes on, and everyone in front of me was smaller so I wasn’t getting any shelter from the wind, so I thought just go on and I went and won! I felt really strong, it’s probably the strongest I’ve felt on the cross all year. I felt really strong halfway through the second lap and at the end, I thought ‘hold it together the best you can’.”
Following the days races, Blackburn Harriers were proud to present Jess with the Award of Life Membership, the presentation taking place at the Club tent.
George Woodburn presenting the Award to Jess
The day started off in a great way for the Harriers and U11 Jack Baranowski. With a lot of confidence being placed in him, Jack lived up to that as he had a run away win in the U11 Boys race which had one hundred and twenty five runners. Jack covered the 2k course in a rapid 6.40 – 26 seconds ahead of 2nd placed Charlie Whitehead from Liverpool (7.06) and Warrington’s Euan Lawton in 3rd (7.12). Hats off also to U11 Charlotte Smith who once again carried the flag for the Harriers in the U11 Girls race. Unusually the Club hasn’t had a lot of U11 runners out this year, but that hasn’t deterred Charlotte from commiting as she did again on the day- joining one hundred and five other youngsters in a race won impressively by Blackpool’s Polly Kershaw in 7.26 followed by Rossendale’s Alice carr (7.57) and Liverpool’s Beau Rawcliffe (7.58). Charlotte crossed the finishing line in 44th place with a time of 9.02.
The U13 Races proved to have the smallest fields of the day with 81 in the Boys and 80 in the Girls, reflecting in part, the situation that has existed in the Leagues so far this year. Our U13 Boys didn’t disappoint as they produced one top ten finisher and three in the first 20. The race – over 3km – was won by Giffnock’s Calum Dick in 10.12 with Salford’s Evan Grime in 2nd (10.19) and East Kilbride’s Angus Wilkinson in 3rd (10.27). Sam Aspey was the first counter for the Harriers in 8th spot clocking 11.00 with team mates Oliver Brown in 15th running 11.11 and Theo Robinson in 20th place in a time of 11.18. Alex Rothwell who has recently joined the Club ran 12.30 in 43rd with Liam Benninson just 2 places further back in 45th (12.35), George Holman in 53rd (13.11) and Loucas Lancashire in 62nd spot (13.47). In the Mid Lancs Race, the lads won the Team with finishing positions of 3rd, 4th and 7th for our three counters in front of 2nd placed Liverpool Harriers.
Liverpool Harriers had a special day in the U13 Girls race as they took all three first places with just three seconds separating them. Our U13 Girls Team finished in 3rd place behind Clayton and Liverpool Harriers in the Mid Lancs race with Mid Lancs finishing positions of 4th, 9th and 22nd. In the overall race Hannah Davies was the first home in 22nd spot running 14.46 for the 3k with Emma Robertshaw in 35th position runningh 15.26, Tamzin Osborne in 58th spot (17.11) and Lulu Sharp in 70th (18.00) and great to see Lulu back running in the cross country. Big shout out to Tamzin as well as during the race, team mate Agatha Taylor had to stop and Tamzin stopped to make sure she was ok. Great team spirit.
Ninety six runners in the U15 Boys Race and a hundred and nine in the Girls Race. Vale Royal’s Robert price was the overall winner of the U15 Boys Race, run over the same distance as the U13’s – 3k – in a time of 9.20 with Giffnock’s Craig Shennan in 2nd (9.23) and Sale Harrier’s Oscar Schofield in 3rd (9.27). Daniel Smith had a very good run to lead the team home in 16th spot overall running 10.21 with team mates Oliver Gill in 36th place (10.42), Ben Stratton in 49th (11.10), new member Joel Duncan in 53rd in a time of 11.16, Matthew Smith with a time of 11.36 in 62nd spot, George Ramsden in 83rd position (12.37) and Callum Osborne who although having been ill, still turned out for the team, running 13.23 in 93rd. In the Mid Lancs Race, Daniel Smith won as did the team from Liverpool Harriers in 2nd and Southport in 3rd.
Shaikira King (Wreake & Soar Valley AC) won the U15 Girls race in 10.29 with another athlete from the same Club in 2nd Zoe Gilbody (10.35) and Bideford AC athlete Freya Woodhead in 3rd (10.36). First Blackburn Harrier home was Charlotte Robertshaw in 66th place (12.33) followed by Isabela Thompson (13.45) in 94th position, Imogen Robinson running 14.23) in 102nd place and Isabelle Hartley in 109th place (18.09). In the Mid Lancs League, the girls finished in 4th spot.
Isabelle Hartley (1534)
The U17 Men’s race topped a 100 entries – 104 in total – and was won by Poole AC’s Joshua Robson who ran the 5.5k course in a time of 16.58 followed by Southampton’s Ben Brown (17.02) and Chorley’s Jacob Deacon (17.09) in 3rd. First over the line for the Harriers was David Holman in 40th position running a time of 18.38 with team mate Dexta Thompson in 76th (19.50), Jack Paget-Fowler in 84th spot running 20.02 and Umair Rafiq (103rd) with a time of 22.59. Posting 5th, 17th and 22nd Mid Lancs finishes, the lads placed 4th in the team standings.
Our U17W won the Mid Lancs with 19 points from Preston (21) in 2nd place as Abigail Stratton took first place in the Mid Lancs Race, Isabel Holt came 3rd and Keira Haxton was 15th with Preston’s athletes placing 6th, 7th and 8th. In the overall race which was run together with the U20 Women over a 4.4k distance Abigail was the first Harrier home in 14th place with her time of 16.19 with team mates Isabel just six seconds further back in 18th spot running 16.25, Keira in 67th overall (18.37), Evie Taylor in her first couple of months with the Club running 18.43 in 72nd place and Kiera Booth coming home in a time of 20.01 (82nd).
The Senior Women’s Race featured two hundred and sixty nine athletes over a distance of 8.1k. Katie Buckingham was the next Harrier home behind the race winner – Jess Judd – in 121st place running 34.43 alongside Eleesha Charnley in 123rd (35.00) followed by Lindsay Davies in 194th (39.50), Michelle Teare in 205th spot (41.34) and Helen Dawson-Smith (216th) with a time of 43.02.
The Senior Men’s race numbered just over 500 athletes which resulted in an emphatic win for Jack Rowe (AFD) in a time of 28.05 for the 9.8k distance. Central AC athletes took 2nd and 3rd places – Duncan Butchart (28.16) and Jamie Crowe (28.27). Callum Davidson was the first Harrier across the line in 51st spot overall, running 30.09 alongside Philip Crout (Shaftesbury) given the same time and just one second further back, another Central AC athlete – Tom Graham-Marr (30.10). Rob Warner and Tim Raynes had a real battle on the home straight, heads down and battling into the wind resulting in Rob finishing in 30.42 (72nd) and Tim (30.43) in 73rd. Matt Nuttall was next home for the Club in 244th place running 36.40 followed by Allan Hartley in 453rd spot (45.18) and Danny Teare (474th) with a time of 46.35.
Wesham 10k – Saturday November 27th
The wind that blew at Sefton didn’t avoid this race either described “as blowing a bloody gale this morning’ by John Chaplin who had entered this popular road race along with team mate Chris Walton. Clashing with the Sefton Park Cross Challenge, it had an inevitable impact on the numbers.
Salford’s Jospeh Moore won the race in 31.49 from Blackpool’s Luke Minns in 2nd spot 31.52 and Wesham’s own Rob Danson in 3rd (32.42). Given the conditions these were pretty good times. Chris came home in 16th spot clocking 37.14 whilst John placed 40th in 40.07.
For something a little different on cross country – Blackburn Harriers Katie Lawson was competing at the North of England Cyclocross Championships on Saturday – November 27th – and had a cracking day to take the win. Dad Tim commented after her win that he was “Proud of Katie today. Managed a convincing win in the North of England Cyclocross Championships on a technically challenging course in difficult conditions. This after a bad slip on black ice riding to sign on which visibly knocked her confidence. It was good to see her put that behind her and get stuck into the race. Big thanks to the guys at Hope Technology Ltd especially Paul Oldaham, Red Rose Olympic & Dave Haygarth & Rossendale Road Club for the coaching.