The going was decidedly heavy at Hyndburn last week for round 3 of the Red Rose Cross Country League. Heavy rainfall over recent weeks meant there was no shortage of mud underfoot for those representing Wigan Harriers. It didn’t seem to slow Nathan Dunn on his way to another 2nd place, as he finished an agonizing 2 seconds behind closest rival Josh Boyle. With 3 races gone Nathan is riding high in second place in the table overall with just 1 point between him and the Hyndburn runner.
Charlotte Newsham did herself no harm in the league standings with a fine run for second place. Her second run of the campaign so far puts her comfortably in 3rd place. Our only remaining ever present for the U13 girls is Alice Rowe who recorded her best finish yet in 11th place. This puts her in 13th place in the league. Henry Lucas also notched his best placing so far in 23rd place in the Boys U15 race. That result puts him in 22nd overall.
Emma Wheatley and Rachel Sidebottom ran in the red and black vests in the U15 girls category. Emma was first across the line for Harriers in 18:47 and 13th place, with Rachel placing 19th in 19:17.
Whilst we rightly celebrate the individual achievements of our runners, cross country is perhaps the closest running gets to being a team sport outside of relay events. This it makes it doubly satisfying to see the Senior runners manage to put out full strength teams for the third Red Rose event in succession keeping both our point scoring and 100% attendance intact.
The ladies were lead home by Jayne Taylor in 12th place who had a fabulous run to also bag 1st L50. This was Jaynes’ best placing in the series so far and puts her in joint 14th place in the individual standings, and still with everything to run for as joint 4th in the Vets League. Marking her steady return to form with a strong run to 22nd place was our second lady home Tracey Dutton. Tracey sits in joint 27th in the individual ranking after 2 races, and joint 10th in the vets league.
Jaqui Jones completed the scoring for Harriers in 33rd place as 5th L45. Jaqui is currently 37th overall and 19th Vet. Rebecca Maoin from our Endurance Training group ran to an impressive 55th place, marginally ahead of Shona Taylor in 62nd place. Shona has run in all 33 Red Rose events so far earning herself 69th overall land joint 39th Vet.
Their combined efforts gave the Ladies Team 5th from 14, which converts to a fabulous 2nd place in the Vets competition.
The attractions of Wigan Athletic V West Brom, race commitments further afield and late injuries reduced the numbers available for the senior men. After rallying the troops to ensure a full turn out Chris Burgess was himself forced to miss out due to a foot injury. With the greater strength in depth the club now has, we were still able to put 7 men over the line to keep Wigan on the scoreboard.
First home was Andy Ratcliffe in 38th place who ploughed through the mud in a pacey 40:28. Making a welcome return to cross country action was Tim Pilkington in 41:38 and 53rd place. Cross country stalwart Darren Middleton maintained his 100% record in 92nd place and 19th V40. This places him 77th in the league and 39th Vet so far. Super Stuart Holding kept his footing to come home as 4th Wigan Harrier in 127th overall, closely followed by Barry Abram in 133rd, (13th V50). Stuart is now 121st with Barry 91st and 47th Vet.Ensuring the points as 6th man was Richie Noone who had a close up view of the mud and turf when he chose to plant his face in it on lap 1. Richie was 30th V40 on the day, coming home in 138th place. As far as league standings are concerned, Richie is 118th after 2 races completed and 61st Vet. The 14th Vet 55 over the line was Michael Dutton who now places 161st and 101st Vet.
The Senior Mens Team placed 11th from 13 on the day which was a good 7th from 14 in the Vets Teams. This now places Harriers men 10th from 13 overall in the league competition, and 6thVets Team from 11.
We are expecting a good turnout for the last Red Rose fixture in Bolton on December 15th. With a few places still to be decided amongst us in the individual standings there will be plenty to race for ahead of our club Christmas Meal later than night!