Sat 8 Dec 2018, Hyndburn
Conditions were very testing at the last Mid Lancs cross country event at the Wilson Playing Fields in Hyndburn. It is a venue that has been used by the Mid Lancs League for over 20 years. It rained for most of the day, with some spells of prolonged and heavy rain. The courses soon churned up, with many runners taking a tumble in the wooded areas because of the slippery surface. Runners finished mud splattered, which was in sharp contrast to the last event at Liverpool, where it was exceptionally dry. It was obviously very soggy and saturated, as the Accrington v Sunderland football match, just up the road, was abandoned in the second half. Some of the races went astray because of some marshals not being in key locations, although the courses, as they always have been, are full of twists and turns.

In the last race of the day, the senior men`s, which started in heavy and driving rain right into the faces of the runners, Daniel Bebbington and Nathan Dunn were soon in the mix at the front of the race. Although billed as 10k, it wasn`t as far as that, yet it was still a good race in deteriorating conditions. Bebbington eventually wore down James Douglas, of Border Harriers, to win in 33.29, by 15 seconds. Dunn was 3rd in 34.01. There was strong team competition on the day from Blackburn and Lancaster, but the Harriers men packed in well across the field. Byron Sowerby, completely mud covered after a fall, was 24th, and Simon Collins skipped his way round to finish 33rd. Wesley Wilkinson and Lee Foley were 43rd and 44th respectively and those two made up the final counters of the six needed in the A team. Alex Venables was 52nd and Andy Whaley 56th and Colin Shuttleworth, after a tremendous run was first vet 60 and 66th overall. Simon Robinson, Joe Sharples and John Rainford were then the final three counters for the B team placing. 242 finished, some in the gloom as the rain continued to fall and the light failed rapidly.

The senior women`s race leaders, with the U17 men running in the same race, did go astray on the first loop. Jackie Fairchild battled back strongly, after losing a lot of places because of the confusion, to finish 3rd. With Jenny Wren 22nd and Emma Essex-Crosby 26th, the ladies recorded another Division One win, and sit well clear at the top, by six points. They were well supported too by all those who ran.

In the under 15 girls’ race, Libby Huxley was a very good 5th, Emily Knell 20th with Jessica Lane and Grace Kelly 23rd & 24th. Tom Durney led the Harriers boys in the u15 boys’ race, finishing a strong 6th, which should have been over 4k, but wasn`t. Billy Reid was 27th, Vladimir Wiggins 33rd and William Kay 34th.

The first races of the event were the under 11s and there were no mishaps in the girls and boys race over one small loop of what was recorded as 2k. Anna Vavoso, Rachel Thompson, and Sarah Winstanley all splashed their way round for the girls. Ethan Chadwick was 11th, Eddie Chadwick 13th and Hayden Ridgley was 18th in the under 11 boys. Oliver Adewale, Declan Abbot, Russell Hall, David Hall and Lucas Cooke ran too, and all were rather muddy at the end!