Lancaster Mid Lancs XC finale

The final stop for the Mid Lancs Cross Country season was Lancaster. With a lengthy drive an effort was made to car share which contributed to a great race atmosphere. Everyone collected we set off from a very sunny and mild Wigan and after crawling through traffic in Lancaster arrived at a chilly and wind swept Ryelands Park.

We parked up and were greeted with a friendly phone call, “Where’s the tent we’re bloomin’ freezing here!” or words to that affect. Never one to upset Mr Collins we raced over and battled the gusty winds to erect our rather tired looking tent.

Pedestrian Route & Courses (1)

Three juniors braved the lengthy journey to represent their club, well done on this and your performance.

Under 11 Girls

18th Maisie Burns 7.58

21st Emily Edwards 8.08

Maisie also completed the required four races to qualify for the end of season standings, finishing in 14th place – a great effort!

Under 13 Girls

18th Lara Wilson 9.46

Lara together with Sarah Elsden also did four races, coming 23rd and 21st respectively, brilliant!

Under 15 Girls

Not there on the day but Sophie Elsden came 11th in the U15 Girls category, tremendous effort to complete four races.

Great stuff and we hope to see you competing again next season too.

Seniors – Ladies

2pm saw the start of the Ladies race. The men managing to sort themselves out for a change so they could watch and encourage on the opening lap. Five  ladies donned their vests for the final time this Cross Country season all sporting varying colours of hi vis gloves, that will be on the cat walk next winter, our girls are fashion setters!

The course was similar in some respects to Blackpool, being open, grassy and a little wind swept! Ryelands Park also had a little climb which broke up the monotony of doing multiple laps together with a steep descent.

All five ladies had excellent races which was crucial as they needed to stave off relegation from Division One.

7th Jayne Taylor 22.10

17th Julie Platt 23.02

42nd Sarah Morton 25.23

59th Shona Taylor 26.56

102nd Mel Wane 33.35

I can’t single anyone out as they all had a good race. Well done for offering smiles to the Men as you past us watching on and more importantly for turning out for the club in a busy weekend of races.

Would it be enough to keep the Ladies in Division One, only time would tell whether they had done enough!

Three ladies qualified for the overall standings. With a very healthy five performances was Mel Wane, well done on 86th and making such a great effort this season. Only missing this weekend to squeeze in a 10K as part of Marathon training otherwise Nina Fisher would have hit the magic six! Nina finished the season in a brilliant 17th place. The real star of the ladies team this year was Jacqui Jones who despite an impending knee operation still managed to turn out four times, managing 24th place. For Jacqui there was more, I don’t usually like drawing attention to a Ladies age! Jacqui was 9th in V35 and 5th in V45, just wait until the bionic knee has been fitted!

Men’s Race

After warm ups and a quick watch of the Ladies race it was time for the Men to take centre stage for the final time this season. Overall it’s been a fairly mild and dry (ish) season and today was no different. There was a brief delay whilst we waited for the super Competition Secretary Dawn Lock to clear the starting straight. The men had a Baker’s dozen competing – lucky 13.

Abraham immediately shot off slipping comfortably into Andy Kaufman’s team leader shoes. Hopefully they will have some great battles next year. Andy Ratcliffe in the past has been a stalwart of the XC team however some severe injuries have restricted Andy’s recent racing to the road so it was fantastic to welcome him back into the fold. Gary Fitzpatrick has experienced a few injury problems this season but has still managed to fit in four races and become a cornerstone of the team. Our first debutant of the afternoon was Howard Avery, managing to get some spikes and take the opportunity to test his fine recent speed over the grass and mud.

Gary Fitzpatrick, Andy Ratcliffe and Howard Avery were soon hot footing it after Awesome Afeworki!

At the start our two other debutants made an excellent start to their first race, Paul Platt and Stephen Shelden. With the fairly firm conditions they probably wondered what the fuss was all about, easy stuff eh? Making a strong start was the legendary Andy Eccles, coming from another injury. Andy prefers the courses to be as horrible as possible so Lancaster was not likely to fit this bill.

Next at the first turn in the course was Mike Harris with Dave Collins in close attendance. It’s a rare sight to see these two parted by more than a few feet when racing. A few injuries and a Marathon have prevented Dave from accompanying Mike around every race this season but he was back to ensure there was no slacking off in the final race.

The rest of the team was made up of a returning Kevin Edwards, Dave Waddington and Gary Wane all coming back from being crocked. Our final star of the show was young Mike Dutton ably supported by Tracey.

There were battles a plenty throughout the race, Harriers desperately trying to pick off other competitors especially those from rival clubs. Mike and Dave picked their way through the field managing to squeeze past first Andy then Paul and finally Stephen. Dave wasn’t prepared to let Mike ease off imploring him to press on to put distance between them and Preston and Southport vests.

The Men’s race was four large laps so plenty of opportunity to gain familarity with the course, tacke the climb and descent and enjoy the supporter’s cheers!

Finishing in a fabulous fifth position was Abraham Afeworki, congratulations!

5th Abraham Afeworki 30.59

15th Gary Fitzpatrick 32.16

20th Andy Ratcliffe 32.29

26th Howard Avery 33.05

53rd Dave Collins 34.44

54th Mike Harris 34.45

62nd Stephen Shelden 35.09

80th Paul Platt 36.15

100th Kevin Edwards 37.29

104th Andy Eccles 37.37

109th Dave Waddington 37.56

123rd Gary Wane 38.42

175th Michael Dutton 50.23

Dave and Mike battled all the way to the line and there was an impressive stream of black and red vests crossing the line in quick succession.

Overall there were four men who qualified in the Individual standings. Everyone’s favourite Kaveman, Andy Kaufman with a great 11th place with four finishes. Closely followed by Gary Fitzpatrick, also four races in 18th place. We had one runner who did all six races ending up in 38th place, I won’t praise that runner too much as it was me! Finally Gary Wane managing to squeeze in four races around injury for 75th place.

In the Vets class, your scribe Mike Harris ended up in 17th place

In total we had 11 runners completing at least four races but countless other club members completed at least one race, which was absolutely fantastic and something we can hopefully develop next year.

Overall Team positions

The Ladies survived in Division One just! Well done and I’m sure they will improve on their 5th place next season. In the V35 league they narrowly missed out on a silver medal. Overall this season we have seen plenty of new faces in the ladies team which bodes well for the future.

The men were not quite so lucky, narrowly missing out on staying in Division One but on the bright side they managed to collect a silver medal in the V40 league so the season was not completely without success.

The Final Team positions are in this PDF. mldivisions146

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Well done to all runners both Juniors and Seniors who have represented the club in both of the Cross Country leagues. Don’t worry only six month break and we start all over again!

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