Sat 12 Jan 2019, Towneley Park, Burnley

A week after the Lancashire cross country championships, there was another trip further into East Lancashire for the fourth Mid Lancs race of the season at Towneley Park, Burnley. It was a windy day, with rain later for the senior race. Once again, the ground was surprisingly dry with little in the way of mud.

The first races were the u11s, and a large number of 95 ran the u11 girls’ race and then 113 took part in the u13 boys’ race over 2k. Ethan Chadwick finished 12th in 7.04, Hayden Ridgley in 7.24 and Eddie Chandler in 7.30. There were twelve Harriers youngsters taking part. Grace Rayner had a good run for 7th in the u13 girls’ race and she was backed up by Poppi Watson (25th), Martha Rayner (28th), Megan Reynolds (30th) & Abigail McKenna (49th).

The u13 boys and u15 girls all run in the same race and over 3.2k, Libby Huxley ran 11.04 for a good 6th in U15 girls’ race. The team had a placing of 3rd, with contributions from Abigail Earnshaw and Emily Knell, but Grace Kelly, Faye Fishwick, and Jessica Lane also ran. In the u13 boys’ race, George Denye, Jenson Warren and Ben Dilworth all finished in successive places, from 6th to 8th. Sam Smalley was 21st, Isaac Earnshaw 22nd, William Moorhouse 27th & Jack Winstanley 44th.

The senior ladies race had a field of almost 200, and Jessica Judd of Blackburn and GB ran to an easy victory in 18.14 over 5.8k. For Harriers, it was all about finishing as high as the team`s runners could on the day, with the ladies going into this fixture with a six-point lead on Blackpool at the top of Division 1. Jenny Wren was first counter, for a very good 16th in 22.17. With Katey Foster 31st and Emma Essex-Crosby 34th, a good placing was recorded; ahead of Blackpool but behind Clayton-le-Moors who were 3rd in the table.

The rain swept across the fields for the last race, which was the senior men over 9.8k. James Douglas of Border Harriers won in 30.08, with a group of three having pulled clear on the second lap. Wesley Wilkinson and Richard Smith were together for almost the whole of the race, with Wilkinson just having a sprint finish for 34.22 and 34th, and Smith finishing 36th in 34.31. Next home for Harriers, and making his cross country debut, was Niall Malone in 46th. Simon Collins finished in 35.40 and Andy Whaley recorded 36.05. Simon Robinson was just behind in 36.12. There was good support from the rest of the runners and counters for the vets’ team were Andy Whaley, Chris Wales, Colin Shuttleworth, and William Johnstone.