Cuerden Valley Cross Country

This Saturday sees the 2nd fixture of the Mid Lancs Cross Country League take place at Cuerden Valley Park in nearby Bamber Bridge.


Although the area for club tents is sloping (lol!) we aim to take the tent and flag to claim a small portion of Lancashire for the day.

Cuerden Valley course description

You will notice there is a choice of car parks, all around the perimeter of the park.  The nearest is the one off Berkeley Drive (this is the main car park for the park). If this is full you will be directed to one of the others.  If you are arriving late it may be better for them to head for one of the other car parks.  Clayton Green Asda on the east has a large car park and it’s now possible to use the car park of a closed down hotel; Pines Hotel 570 Preston Road PR6 7EB.

Not sure whether you are ready for this then take a look at this article for some encouragement.

What’s it all about?

We need at least 12 men and 6 ladies so everyone registered with the club is welcome to join us. Coffee and cake to follow!

If you want any further advice then ask the coaches at training.

Cross Country….what’s it all about?

It’s a question I’m sure you all ponder at every opportunity!

I looked up the definition of Cross Country running and courtesy of Wikipedia I got the rather interesting statement below.

“Cross country running is a sport in which teams and individuals run a race on open-air courses over natural terrain such as dirt or grass. Sometimes the runners are referred to as harriers (dogs).

It appears Wigan Harriers were born to be Cross Country runners!


Don’t be surprised to be stalked by a team mate…


In recent years World Cross Country Championships have been dominated by the East African countries but you only have to look back a generation and see the results dominated by well known British names such as Ovett, Coe, McLeod, Foster, Radcliffe to name just a few.

Sefton Park 2015 aka European qualifying event, a tad muddier than normal.


Cross Country was always seen as a fantastic opportunity to build strength and fitness prior to the track and road season. Indeed there has been recent clamour to include it in the Winter Olympics. The lower leg is worked hard coping with the varying surface. The undulations and changes in pace give a fantastic cardio boost to training. Finally coping with the slippy slopes and muddy patches really work the core and boost strength. To summarise it gives you a total body workout!

One of our finest in action on a favourite course of many, Hyndburn.


To cope with this terrain it’s to best to wear Cross Country shoes. These are usually inexpensive compared to road or trail shoes, time it right and buy last year’s colour for greater cost saving.


The shoes normally have four or five spikes that can vary in length from a few mm up to 15mm. Long spikes look savage but do a fantastic job of keeping you upright on a steep muddy bank. Just don’t forget to change to shorter ones on occasion so you don’t do this to them!

Cross Country combines elements of team and individual performance. Clubs are arranged in leagues and each runner clocks up points. 1st place is 1, 100th is 100 points. For the men it’s 6 runners per team so first 6 count as ‘A’ team next 6 as ‘B’ etc. Usually for the age classes it’s 4 counters. For the ladies it’s three per team in all classes. This gives the opportunty for all runners to make a contribution. In a normal race your time is important but in XC it’s all about your position. Many Harriers have been seen to throw themsleves over the finish line to gain a place and it’s not unusual to see teams split by a single point. It’s often a buzz when the results come out to see how it’s all panned out. If that’s not enough the team position counts in the league. Grouped typically in a league of 7 you want your team to finsh ahead of the other 6. Just to confuse things the scoring is now the other way round 7 points for 1st place. (Points make prizes!)

Look at that smile from a XC first timer! Can’t guarantee snow for every race.


A medal earnt from a XC season is a highly prized reward for a whole season’s efforts, small bling they might be but richly deserved.

Wigan Harriers compete in two leagues.

Mid Lancs – 6 fixtures, 3 before and 3 after Christmas.

2016 at Towneley Park


2016 at Rossall School.


Red Rose – 4 fixtures, all before Christmas.

Not enough for you? Don’t worry we also usually tackle the Northern Championships and the National Championships.

2016 Northern Championships Witton Park…it was hell on earth! We were not smiling afterwards!


2016 National Championships at Donnington Park


2016/17 Season opener on an excellent Chorley course. Stream crossing, muddy ditch, woodland, steep climbs, it had them all…


Sunny Leigh…no mud!


What’s to come?

Mid Lancs
29th October 2016 Cuerden Valley Park
26th November 2016 Sefton Park,
14th January 2017 Towneley Park
11th February 2017 Rossall School
4th March 2017 Leigh

Red Rose
29th October Witton Park (Seniors should do Mid Lancs please).
12th November Leverhulme Park
3rd December Rossendale

To run for the club you just need to be a member and have a vest, nothing more, no selection criteria. Just turn up and run your heart out. You’ll love it, I promise you or your money back!


Manchester Half Marathon

A fantastic race report from one of our newer but very active members Caroline Brown.

My Manchester half experience nearly didn’t start at all… as despite thinking we had left in plenty of time (we clearly hadn’t) and having bought our car park ticket in advance, only useful if you are actually there in time… we decided after getting changed’ Houdini style’ in the car, that the only thing for it was to dump the car and run – all 2 miles to the start (a good warm up I admit) with my poorly friend Sandra in tow who was clearly suffering with a bad bout of flu. Arriving just as the gun was sounding and still needing to find a bush for the customary pre run wee, we decided to just join the back of the pack and set off in the lovely northern rain, after all the name of the game for me was to complete challenge 15 after the hectic week I had had, anything else would be a bonus.

After the heat of the Lisbon sun two weeks before, the rain was a welcome relief and reminder that autumn had well and truly arrived whilst I have been busy trotting round the globe for work. The support all the way round the ‘out and back’ route (see I am learning the terminology) was amazing and the lovely flat course helped to keep the jet lag at bay. My mind and body felt good and for the first time in ages I didn’t need to have a word with myself to keep my feet moving, I actually started thinking how lucky I was to have had the chance to run around the Formula 1 track in Abu Dhabi earlier that week and the amazing experiences and people I have met along this crazy, charity challenge journey.

At mile 5 I took my gel, swilled my mouth out with water and spat it out – yes me I SPAT!, once I would have thought it gross… well not anymore:) The advice and words of wisdom from my friends Bobby and Darren were ringing in my ears and keen not to repeat my recent mistakes at GNR and Lisbon I carried out their instructions to the letter. Amazing I hear Bobby say – she actually listened! At mile 8 I had a welcome shout out from some work colleagues and at mile 11, our very own Sarah Edwards and Ian Stewart were there having cycled all the way to Manchester to act as the Harriers cheering squad to encourage us all homewards.

Unable to see the watch due to the rain, I guessed I was somewhere under 1.50 having overtaken the pacer on route but pleasantly surprised to finish in 1.46.12, the fastest I have run since April – even if as Rachel Naylor and I saw from the text on my phone from Stuweb, I had according to them just completed the Erewash Triathlon in that time … which would have been an amazing achievement as I swim like Miss Daisy! Having rescued my poorly friend who had heroically managed to get round and seeing some of my fellow harriers after the finish, (having missed them at the start due to my late arrival!), I pondered on my soggy long walk back to the car that I felt so proud to be part of a club that saw so many people run PBS yesterday and that never fails to support each and every one of us all competing at different levels with individual goals.


I felt strangely emotional to be part of the Harriers gang – although I would still never call myself a runner…but I can honestly say that without Harriers help especially Jacqui and Jayne, I would never have completed 11 half’s, a marathon and 6 other races so far this year as part of ensuring I complete my 16 in 16 for ABTA Lifeline. So roll on the last epic challenge 16 in the Benidorm half next month with some of the Harriers gang, work colleagues and friends, I can’t promise to race it (I know a cardinal sin ;( but I am likely to get over excited, emotional and talk a lot! – who me I hear you cry!) But… I can promise to truly enjoy it and who knows if Darren and Julie P have anything to do with it, I might have to keep up this running lark and renew my club membership in 2017 – having previously competed for my country in another sport, I knew I would enjoy the training and racing side but who knew that I actually would learn to love running along the way! So it’s off to Madrid on Thursday and yes I have already checked out whether there is a park run – does that mean I’m hooked? #NOWWERUN

Grab yourself 10 free races!

The website has now been updated and has the fixtures for both the Mid Lancs and Red Rose Cross Country Leagues 2016-17 season.

All registered Wigan Harriers have already been entered into these leagues. Please make sure you keep your Mid Lancs number as this is used at every race apart from Sefton Park.

Six ML and four Red Rose fixtures await you!

Cross Country fixture list link

You might have the company of some these fine people!




Northern Athletics Road Relays Sept ’16

Sport City Manchester was the venue for the Autumn 2016 6 & 4 Stage Road Relays. Fielding a slightly more modest number of runners than usual, we were still able to enter five teams at this autumn showpiece event.


The Mens Relays

These kicked off at 2pm by the men, Harriers represented by two teams.

64 Wigan & District H & AC ‘A’ 2:00:02
1 Bozhidar Kasabov (74) 19:37
2 Chris Smullen (71) 19:52
3 Andrew Kaufman (58) 18:17
4 Stuart Fairclough (60) 20:22
5 Mike Harris (66) 21:08
6 Stephen Nicholls (65) 20:46


Wigan & District H & AC ‘B’ 2:13:53
1 David Barton (98) 21:54
2 Gary Wane (101)22:06
3 Ian Yates (104) 25:39
4 Luke Critchley DQ (82) 12:42
5 Alan Taylor (90) 26:01
6 Tony Foster (94) 25:31



The Ladies Relays

It quickly got busier out on the circuit once the Ladies started at 2.15pm. Again 12 athletes but three teams due to the four leg race format.


39 Wigan & District H & Ac ‘A’ 1:27:36
1 Laura Dootson (36) 19:51
2 Danielle Brearton (40) 21:37
3 Caroline Rasburn (41) 22:37
4 Rachel Sidebotham (43) 23:31


58 Wigan & District H & Ac ‘B’ 1:35:27
1 Rebecca Kaufman (71) 24:45
2 Caroline Brown (70) 23:59
3 Julie Kirk (64) 24:32
4 Jacqueline Jones (62) 22:11


Wigan & District H & Ac ‘C’ 2:00:05
1 Pauline Foster (74) 26:30
2 Pat Cole (73) 36:05
3 Pauline Taylor (70) 29:16
4 Melanie Wane (68) 28:14


Big congratulations to all Harriers who took part, from Relays debutants to seasoned campaigners everyone agreed it was a fantastic event. The next one is in March – the larger format of 12 stage Mens and 6 stage Ladies so even more opportunity for everyone to be involved. Who knows it might even be held in Wigan!

Many thanks to Ian Yates for doing such a fantastic job with event photography.