Four Mid Lancs fixtures complete, two to go, so where have been so far on the tour and how is the club getting on?
First up was Chorley, Astley Park. This venue was familiar ground for many Harriers. The course is devised to use as much of the natural terrain as possible. It features a stream crossing, muddy ditch, woodland, steep slopes and grassy parkland. Plenty of climbs to test early season form and much easier to smile before the first race! It was fantastic to see Tony Boyle, Kev Edwards and Barry Abram all back and doing great.
After enjoying the slopes of Chorley, the next stop off was equally close to home and equally challenging (or maybe more?) Cuerden Valley Park. It was the first time any of us had Cross Country raced at that venue. An interesting mix of hills, firm paths, muddy fields and stream crossings meant it was another tough day out. Debutantes for the men were Kevin Rex and Simon Baines, both turned in brilliant performances. Different personnel for the ladies but equally impressive results to Chorley, establishing a presence near the top of all the league tables.
Next up was the Daddy of the Mid Lancs fixtures – Sefton Park. A combination of multiple leagues plus the Euro champs qualifier makes it a big affair with plenty of elite runners. It’s a much flatter course than the previous two and often produces some lightening times. A muddier course than normal made it hard work but we were blessed with a decent turn out. This meant for the first time this season we got two men’s teams over the line. The ladies had another great showing taking another fantastic haul of league points. Tracey Dutton looking very sharp and carrying her 2016 form right through to the end of the year. We finally organised a ladies photo!
Fixture four continued the theme of flatter courses with a trip to Towneley Park Burnley. It also chipped in with mud, lots of it! It was the hardest the conditions have been at Burnley and made the course far removed from it’s usual benign self. This made it the perfect place for a Harriers XC debut, step forward David Barton, who turned in a great performance. It was also another opportunity for Darren Jackson to continue his love affair with Cross Country. Darren’s preferred footing is on the track or road so thick heavy mud was not an ideal setting. Fair play to Darren, apart from a brief stand off when he and the course exchanged a few choice words, he stuck it out to help the team to another solid performance. The ladies turned out another strong team and with it a good points haul.
We now have the pleasure of two fixtures to go, both on fairly tame courses. First up is at Hogwarts aka Cleveleys School, Rossall followed by a March date in Leigh.
Here’s a picture of the excellent men’s turnout at Rossall last year, a flat course by the seaside.
This is the men going off to conquer Rossall 2016.
League positions so far
Ladies: Division One: 2nd place, V35: 1st place, V45: 1st place,
Men: Division One: 5th place, “B” team Division Three: 7th place, V40: 4th place
Well done to everyone who has represented the club so far this season in particular the 100% attenders, great commitment. Everybody is welcome, just ask if you want anyone more information. There are no fees to pay!
Good luck everyone!