The stand-out performance for Preston Harriers came from Patrick Dever in the senior men’s race at the Liverpool XC. The race included the second counter in the British Athletics Cross Challenge series, as well as the Mid Lancs League and it was also the trial race for the GB team at the European Cross Country Championships.
Dever is the reigning Northern Athletics under 20 cross country champion and in the previews of the races, he wasn`t named, which was a surprise. He finished a wonderful 14th overall and 2nd under 23 over the 9.8k course at Sefton Park, in what was a quality field. Dever gained automatic selection for GB under 23s for the Europeans at Chia in Italy on the 11th December. The senior men’s race was won in fine style by Andy Butchart, who was 6th in the 10,000m at the Rio Olympics in the summer.
Dever inevitably led home the Mid Lancs runners, and by almost a minute and the team counters for 5th overall included Daniel Bebington, Richard Smith, Gethin Butler, Andy Grimshaw and Alan Durney.
The senior women’s race, over 8.1k saw Helen Clitheroe finish 2nd at Mid Lancs but she admitted afterwards she wasn`t at her best on the day. Emma Essex-Crosby who enjoys cross country races immensely, was 25th and Lindsey Berends had a strong run for 27th with the first team finishing a good 4th
There were some excellent junior performances too; in the first race of the day, the under11, James Ince was 2nd in the boys race. Scarlett Sutton led the under 13 girls home to first place with a time of 11.48 and 5th over the 3k distance. The other team counters were Imogen Blackwell and Faye Houghton
In the under 13 boys, a trio of Harriers finished 2nd, 3rd & 4th! Tom Durney was 2nd (12thin the overall Challenge race) with Thom Barnes and Ethan Warren right behind! It was more than enough to ensure a first team finish, and this was the same outcome for the under 13 girls, with Lucy Treaddell 4th, Emma Fulton 6th & Kate Danby 11th.
Benjamin Preddy finished 1st in the under 15 boys race (12th overall, including the Cross Challenge race). Nathan Dunn also recorded a win, in the under 17s mens race with Wiliam Howard 10th & Niall Higham 12th