The Harriers men turned out in numbers for the third of the Chorley 4.4 mile trail series. Debutants Chris Smullen and Barry Abram were joined by another six Harriers to boost the field to 82 runners.
The usual pre-race warm up was disrupted as the black clouds delivered what they had promised for most of the afternoon, and the gang of eight spent a good ten minutes sheltering under a tree in the car park. Eccy eventually decided that real men get wet and a reccie of the course began. Chris Smullen had already expressed his dislike of cross-country and so was less than impressed as he was led through several muddy wood sections, claiming to have been got there under false pretences!
The start of the race very soon hits a hill which is visited three times during the course, and 4.4 miles begins to feel a lot longer than it did on the jog round. The course itself is a cracker, with varied terrain and testing inclines. Several runners who had chosen lightweight racers nearly came croppers in the slippy mudded section which leads out of the park.
Chris Smullen converted his strong showing in training to race form as he passed Dave Collins on the first lap, and held the position throughout to finish first Harrier and 14th overall in 28.27; a fantastic debut run. Just behind Dave (16th in 28.40), Darren Middleton, Andy Eccles and Kev Edwards were having there own battle. Darren finished strongly, but couldn’t quite catch Dave and finished 17th in 28.51. Andy was just behind (19th in 28.58), with Kev running a solid 29.42 for 25th place. Next home was recent recruit Barry Abram (35th in 31.08); great to see him racing again.
Special mentions to Ray Smith (56th in 34.40) who won the Vet 65 prize; and should win the Vet 65 series, and Phil Derbyshire (59th in 35.04) who gave his all to bring the team home.