Sat 24 Nov 2018, Sefton Park, Liverpool
The Liverpool Cross Challenge last Saturday drew competitors from all over the UK for what was the third event in the British Athletics cross country challenge series, but it also included the Liverpool and District and Mid Lancs Leagues, who then produce a set of results just for their own leagues. The Mid Lancs League event was therefore just the second set of races this season, after the opener at Ulverston on 13th October.

The Liverpool races were also the trial races for the senior and under 23 Great Britain teams for next month`s European Cross Country Championships in Tilburg, in the Netherlands. The running conditions were a complete and welcome change from normal! Liverpool is usually a muddy course, but there was not even a slightly sticky surface which meant that the races overall were largely faster paced as the going was so good.

The senior men were the last race of the day and there was a field of over 600 runners for the 9.8k distance. The pace at the front was almost breath-taking, as some strong runners fought to keep pace and the race broke into a number of chasing groups. Patrick Dever finished an excellent 12th, fourth under 23, in 28.44 whilst Ross Millington of Stockport, who won in 28.00, only triumphed by 4 seconds. Daniel Bebbington was 45th in 29.48 and third counter was Chris Durney in 31.41. The other team counters for Mid Lancs were Richard Smith, Wesley Wilkinson and Andy Whaley. The overall turn out for the men from Harriers was very good.

In the under 20 race covering 6.7k, Nathan Dunn had a fine race to finish 11th, and Kian Davis was 32nd. Jack Dee-Ingham, Byron Sowerby and Niall Higham all featured.

There was another very good run, too, from Eleanor Davis in the women’s race; a strong and well-paced effort in another quality field saw her finish 27th, in 27.45 over 8.1k. Jackie Fairchild was only just behind too, finishing 35th in 28.03. The winner was Charlotte Arter of Cardiff AC. Harriers third team counter was Jenny Wren and it meant that Harriers Mid-Lancs ladies team finished 2nd to a strong Blackburn Harriers.

The first races of the day were the under 11s. Ethan Chadwick finished, at Mid-Lancs placings, 13th, and Connor Rigby was 17th with Hayden Ridgley 28th. There was a total of ten under 11 boys running too, all of whom enjoyed the occasion with some running at Liverpool for the first time.

Anna Thompson led the team in over 3k for the under 13 girls’ race (19th) and team placings also went to Megan Reynolds and Poppi Watson. The under 13 boys, also over 3k, saw Jensen Warren finish in 11.19 for 4th Mid-Lancs place, whilst Ben Dilworth was 6th & Sam Smalley 29th. The under 15 girls’ race, again over 3k, saw a good turnout with Grace Brown 7th, Jessica Watson 10th and Olivia Miller 11th.

The top team performance of the day in the Mid Lancs resulted in Harriers` under 15 boys being first team, with Thomas Durney, Alex Kerfoot and Thom Barnes counting. Matthew Fazakerley finished 5th in the under 17 men’s race and he was joined by Harry Everett and Arran Baldwin.