A breezy, cool evening greeted athletes at the BMC Grand Prix meeting held at Sportcity on Saturday evening May 28th. Blackburn Harriers had eight athletes entered on the night and were hopeful of the performances to come — (RESULTS) — and we weren’t disappointed.
First up for our athletes was the Men’s B 5000m featuring four Blackburn Harriers on the start line of fourteen athletes – Matthew Ramsden, Rob Warner, Tim Raynes and Luke Betts. Fastest athlete on paper in the race was Rob Warner (14.08.54)with the race featuring two U20 men – Lewis Hannigan from Kilbarchan and Matt Ramsden from Blackburn Harriers. Hannigan had come into the race with a best of 14.29.55 whilst Ramsden was on his second ever 5000m race, his first producing a time of 14.36.60. Hannigan established quite a substantial lead midway during the race by some 50/60 metres and looked to be going strong but with Matt Ramsden and Jordan Skelly both working together and joined by Rob Warner, the threee of them managed to close the gap and establish a lead of their own. With just over a lap to go, Rob Warner made a bid to which Matt Ramsden responded and the two of them opened a gap some 300m from the finish. As they came round from 150m to go, Matt made his move which prove to be decisive as he sprinted down the home straight to take the win in a new PB time of 14.18.97 – an improvement of nearly 18 seconds, moving him to 5th in the National Rankings – followed by Rob in 2nd place running a seasons best time of 14.20.79 with a fast finishing Tim Raynes coming through to clock 14.30.09 and Luke Betts running 14.37.90 in 10th spot, his first 5000m race since 2019.
Next up for the Club was the Women’s 1500m D Race featuring bottom of age U20 Abigail Stratton from the Harriers who lined up on the starting line with a personal best of 4.36.64 run at the BMC in May 2021. Abigail was coming into the race after winning the 800 and 1500m double at the Lancashire County Championships and cemented that form here as she stayed near the front of the race and in contention the whole way until the final 150m where she made her bid in a real battle with Gateshead’s Elisha Tait – Abigail taking the win in a new PB by 8 seconds of 4.28.45 with Tait also running a personal best of 4.28.97 and Stockport’s Freya Murdoch making it a hat-trick of personal bests in 3rd (4.32.05).
The evenings 1500m A Race had 16 athletes lined up and among them, Blackburn Harrier’s Daniel Bebbington with the first 11 athletes across the finishing line all running sub 3.44. Daniel had clocked 3.47.83 in winning the BMC Gold Standard race at Trafford on May 17th and was looking forward to this race after such a good run. His personal best was 3.44.89 going in to the race and with conditions pretty good, he was looking to improve on that time, which is exactly what he did with a great last 150m, setting a new PB of 3.42.98 in 8th spot, the winner clocking 3.40.60 (Ben McMillan). The night went even better for Daniel as his time broke the existing Club Record held by Jason Lobo for such a long time so many congratulations to Daniel for the new personal best and Blackburn Harriers Club Record.
The final event of the night for the Harriers was the Men’s A 5000m race which was won by Jacob Cann (13.58.66) from Newham & Essex Beagles, known to many local Mid Lancs Cross Country League athletes, seeing him competing in the mud for Lancaster University. With floodlights on the first three athletes all ducked under 14.00 minutes with Sale’s Nigel Martin clocking 14.00 exactly in 4th. Callum Davidson and Nick McCormick started for the Harriers with Nick not having run on the track since 2014. Callum finished with a time of 14.41.93 in 14th place.