Sat 9 Sept 2017, Blackpool
Stanley Park in Blackpool hosted this year’s relays involving 3 X 5.2k legs for the women’s teams and 4 X 6.6k legs for the men’s. Preston Harriers had an excellent and unprecedented turn out for both races seeing six teams entered into each. Mixed weather conditions ranging from hot and sunny to humid, overcast and blustery added variety to each leg.
In the women’s race the Harriers A team of Katey Foster, Emma Essex-Crosby and Marian Hesketh finished 23rd in the overall race and an impressive 6th in the Lancashire race. The B team of Kelly Grainger, Kate Lakeland and Vicki Sherrington finished 10th in Lancashire. The C team of Sarah Wilson, Jade Bebbington and Susan Ashcroft were 13th after a close battle with Wesham A team, finishing just two seconds behind. There were also runs in the D team for Julie Tyrer, Sinead Sweeney and Linda Roberts, the E team from Heidi Kirkby, Helen Boyer and Sue Wickham and the F team from Maureen Kirkby, Nita Naik and Tracy Young. Some problems on the day led to a number of runners not completing the correct course, so the women’s results remain unverified.
The senior men ran next with Preston Harriers determined not only to defend their Lancashire title but to win the North West Counties race outright. Andy Benson ran the first leg and, seeing other teams reluctant to take on the race in the early stages, took it upon himself to stretch the front pack out and in doing so handed over in first place. Chris Durney was next before handing over to Dan Bebbington in 5th. Bebbington put in a huge performance to claw back all five places and hand over in the lead to Paddy Dever, who confidently brought the Harriers home to achieve their goal of an outright race win.
The B team of Kevin Hunt, Jason Parker, Matt Lloyd and Richard Smith finished 9th in the Lancashire championship. The C team of Lee Foley, Ben Read, Billy Johnstone and Alan Durney were 19th. Preston’s E team of Dougie Potter, Kevin Hesketh, Alex Waddelove and Mariusz Kovacs finished 22nd and in doing so pipped the D team of Darren Kinder, Mark Billington, Neil McDonald and Jack Keighley who were 24th. Finally, F team of Steve Needham, Stephen Bonsu, Alan Appleby and Dale Wallis took 29th.