Chorley Red Rose XC 19.10.13

The 2nd fixture in the Red Rose League took place in the pleasant surroundings of Astley Park in Chorley.

There was a superb number of athletes representing Wigan Harriers across the whole range of age groups. Heavy overnight rain had muddied the course up but the going was still classed as ‘good’ after a pre-race meeting by the stewards aka Men’s Senior Team. So much so that there was debate initially about whether to wear spikes and then what length. As quick as an F1 team our boys changed down from 15’s and 12’s to whatever they could find lurking in the depths of their sportsbags. Continue reading

Leigh Cross Country 2013

Leigh Sports Village was the venue for the opening cross country fixture of the season this weekend with a fine turn out from Harriers to get the campaign underway. 5 complete Wigan teams crossed the line from both the junior, seniors and veterans as 21 club members competed in the red and black.

Unseasonably glorious sunshine and blue skies greeted runners on the generally flat and fast course. a distinct lack of rain over recent weeks left the going firm throughout with very few competitors opting for a spike. The Under 11 Boys were the first to test their mettle in rising temperature with Mathew Baptista finishing a very creditable 14th from a field of 66 in 8:24. Max Lucas was next out in the U13 Boys category and put in a solid run in 12:36 for a good opening to his season. Continue reading

Beacon Park Cross Country – We are the Champions!

Wigan Harriers made the short trip to Beacon Park on Saturday for the final fixture in a highly successful cross country campaign. With the Senior Mens Teams already assured of promotion as champions, all eyes were focussed on the Juniors and the Senior Ladies. The ladies still had everything to run for in both the Senior and V35 Divisions with the competition so tight this year that the day could have ended as easily in relegation as promotion.

Ideal conditions met the youngsters who were first out in the crisp spring sunshine that gave spectacular views over Wigan and beyond. Rebecca Jones finished in 10:55 for the first Harriers performance of the day in the Under 13 Girls race to bag a creditable 18th place overall.

The Under 13 boys were next with 4 runners representing Wigan. Nathan Dunn led the way as he sat on the shoulder of season long rival Ben Blacburn for the opening stages. The Lancaster runner put a strong surge in towards the end of the race to come second, meaning Nathans valiant 4th place on the day earned him 4th place overall in the Championship overall. The next 2 finishers were also wearing the red and black of Wigan as Tim Hartley and Jack Dee put in fabulous performances for 5th and 6th places respectively. Ben Wilcok came in as 4th Harrier to ensure 4 lads over the line and an first place from 5 for the U13 boys Team.

The Under 15 girls race saw Emma Wheatley put in a fine display for first Harriers and 11th overall. She was followed in by Rachel Sidebotham in 13th place. Daniel and Natalie Thompson put in efforts to be proud of as they finished one behind the other in 4th and 5th place in the Under 17 Girls race.

DSCF5176The going was generally firm under foot at Beacon Park, with very few sections of outright mud compared to other venues this season. Any respite this may have afforded was cancelled out by the tortuously rolling course and the killer hill section before the lap end. The Senior ladies warmed up nervously aware that their entire season depended on their performance in the next race. With Jayne Taylor and Jacqui Jones sidelined through injury it was all hands to the cause for the remaining Harriers ladies. Bravely answering the call were Julie Platt, Tracey Dutton, Nina Fisher, Shona Taylor and Melanie Wane.

Julie and Tracey went out strong from the start and were soon charging up the first lap hill like it wasn’t even there. Julie made up several places on other runners as she stormed the mountain closely followed by Tracey. Nina Fisher was taking part in only her second cross country event, and even with the hill she was finding it a more comfortable outing than her first experience in the ice and slush of Knowsley.

DSCF5167Shona Taylor was undertaking the essential role of 3rd V 35 lady in order to ensure Harriers scored those last few vital points for the team event. Our new recruits this season have been too youthful to qualify for the veterans team. One such was Melanie Wane following along as 5th team member and also taking part in her first cross country since Knowsley. Mel had come prepared and kitted up this time but was still forced into a quick Gazebo change into racing shorts at the last minute!

Whilst the ladies gave their all the Senior men were busy cavorting around the start field for the attentions of the local press photographer. Much to the amusement and derision of our fellow North West clubs, Harriers finest could be seen posing heroically for the camera whilst ensuring he caught their best side.

Julie Platt was first Harrier home and put in an incredible run for 10th place overall and 4th L40 in her category. Tracey Dutton also put together possibly one of her best cross country runs for a while with 16th place overall and 7th L35. That vital 3rd scoring spot was filled by Nina Fisher in 42nd place with another strong run. That was enough to earn the ladies 6th place on the day from 22 teams. That fabulous result was sufficient for 4th spot in Division 2 and guarantees their place for next season.

With survival in Division 2 secure it was all eyes to PB specialist Shona Taylor as she crossed the line as the third scoring V35 team member in 54th place. As 4th placed V35 Team on the day, the Ladies finished the season amongst the medals in second place just a point behind the mighty Wesham. The Ladies are due a hearty congratulations on such a magnificent result which represents a number of outstanding performances over a long hard season. The collective team effort that saw them to glory was perhaps exemplified by the final Harrier to cross the line in the form of Melanie Wane in 72nd place.

With the important business of the Ladies event settled it was over to the senior men who finished their photo-shoot with the press and were finally settling down to some serious pre-race preparation. The men were a few hands short due to the odd injury, and none came odder than Dave Collins’. Captain Awesome arrived fully togged up in his Latics scarf, sniffling and coughing and claiming his ineligibility to run was settled that morning when his better half Jayne told him he was “red hot in bed”.  Both Jayne and Dave were thus sidelined along with Mark Glynn and Rogers but offered some stirring support never the less. Mr Rogers made himself useful as Team photographer for the day and took his job very seriously with shouts of “best effort – this ones for the album” as weary competitors flashed past his lens.

DSCF5180The usual cavalry charge continued down the first hill with Darren Jackson whooping it up to rally the support of the surprisingly large crowd. At the front of the field Chris Smullen did his now familiar scalded cat act and shot off in pursuit of the Mid Lanc elite. Spectators report he took the hill on the first lap like it wasn’t there and galloped away to what resulted in a fabulous 20th place overall. Second placed Harrier was Steve Nicholls who was chased all the way by Silver Fox Waddington and off-road specialist Mike Harris.

Steve tries running with his eyes closed for fun

Steve tries running with his eyes closed for fun

Stevie finished in 37th place in 34:04 unaware of the battle behind him for Harriers honours between Mr Waddington and Mr Harris. Dave held his place as 3rd Harrier until the final approach to the quad sapping hell of the hill on lap 3 when Mike attacked like a man with suspiciously fresh legs. Mike put everything left into a final surge to charge past Dave and up the hill at an indecent rate of knots. He not only took the coach with that manoeuvre but also bagged another 4 competitors to finish 41st in 34:31 with Dave following in 45th place just 7 seconds behind. Dave Collins generously predictable appraisal of the run was that Mr Harris, “wasn’t trying hard enough.”

Daren Middleton came next and with no-one close enough to reap he settled for 70th place in 36:01. Darren was one of the few runners vaguely disappointed with the surprisingly short course, (5.1 miles) feeling he had more in reserve, which is another way of admitting he probably hadn’t tried hard enough!

DSCF5183Darren Jackson cant be accused of the same. After he finished showboating for the crowd and chatting to fellow Harriers Mr Jackson put his race face on and tore off to overtake Chris Burgess and Andy Eccles for his best performance since returning from his knee operation. Darren grabbed the all important 6th spot to round of the scoring for the A team.

Crazy Horse Burgess had turned up in an obviously poorly state having acquired something virulent from his youngster the day before. It is a testament to his dedication, enthusiasm and general all round Crazy Horseness that he ran anyway and bravely crossed the line in 83rd place in 36:50. Given his heroics it would be cruel to publish images of him bringing back his breakfast post-race, much to the sympathy and concern of his team mates who reached for their cameras and insisted in went on-line….so here it is:


Coach Eccles had a “steady run” in his own words to finish 87th in 36:58. Andy had performed an extended warm up as he travelled the course, looking out for the junior Harriers and offering the benefit of his coaching advice as they passed. A couple of runners hoping to back off towards the end of the race were sped on their way by Andys enthusiastic encouragement. “Oh to be their age and have it all to do again”, he was heard to say!

Graham Millington denied his recent diet of baked beans following the horse meat scare had anything to do with his largely solo run for 101st place in 38:05. Whilst it may not have helped him power up the hill it certainly did help clear a space in the gazebo post race.

DSCF5198Peter Mills had begun the race chasing after Darren Jackson before settling in behind Graham and deciding he would run at his team mates pace for the rest of the race. It is unclear if the baked bean diet had anything to do with Peter dropping back a few places or if it was the 5k race he had already taken part in earlier that day. Either way, Peter finished the day in a sprint for the line battle with Gary Wane, who pipped him for 105th place in 38:44 with Peter just 1 second behind. Not to be outdone by Peters “double race” antics, Mr Wane was to go on to compete in the Heaton Park 15k on Sunday too.

It was a case of “the quick or the hungry” back at the gazebo as demand was high for Traceys muffins. Tracey had been gathering  a lot of interst in her muffins on the internet during the week and came with blueberry flavour by popular demand on Facebook. Just as the runners huddled round for their post race treat a passing dog broke free of its owner and buried its nose in Julies chocolate offerings.

Tall tales grew taller still later that evening as Harriers met up at the Brocket in town to celebrate the end of a successful and well fought cross country season. With trophies already collected in the Red Rose league we look forward to the upcoming Mid Lancs presentation nigth when the Endurance wing will add to the already overflowing collection in the trophy cabinet at Robin Park.


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Calling all Harriers

Its been a fabulous couple of weeks for Wigan Harriers with PB performances coming thick and fast from Mad Dog10k to Wrexham and Blackpool Half Marathons, not to mention a fine showing at Parbold Hill and the National Cross Country Championships. Despite all those super efforts it isn’t time to rest up yet with the final cross country fixture of the season and a perfect opportunity to celebrate our successes so far.

We normally excuse non-attendance at cross country on presentation of a note from either a genuine medical professional, both Great Grandparents or God. No such dispensation will be given at Beacon Park this Saturday with everyone who owns a pair of spikes expected to turn up and get them muddy one last time! For the Senior Men it’s a chance to show why they have secured promotion for a second year in succession, and the Ladies will need all the support of their club mates as they fight to the very end in a division too tight to call.

If that wasn’t a good enough reason to don the red and black vests, Harriers are planning a celebratory get together at 7.30pm in the Brocket later that evening to mark a wonderful start to the year so far. Given his current excitement levels with a good 3 days to go we expect Chris “Crazy Horse” Burgess to be shirtless on the table tops playing air guitar to “We are the Champions” by 8pm. How can you miss that?

First timers, debutantes and hoary old hands are all actively encouraged to make their way to Beacon Park for 1pm onwards, (or a little earlier if you are a junior!). Look out for the slightly battleworn blue Gazebo with the magnificent sharks fin Harriers banner and as long as you have a Harriers card you can fill your boots with all manner of confectionary delights before and after the races. This one is going to go down in Harriers history – don’t miss it!

Map to Beacon Park

Harriers Champions at Lancaster!

Wigan Harriers Senior men wrapped up promotion in the Mid Lancs League 3 this weekend, and are destined to finish the season as Division champions. Another magnificent display saw them bag maximum points for the 4th time this year resulting in an unassailable position with one race remaining. Adding a gloss to the glory were the Mens V40 team who also go up to the top division of the V40 league as Champions.

For the Senior Ladies its all still to run for at Beacon Park in the final fixture with both the Division 2 Senior and the Vet 35 competition too close to call. The season could still end in promotion or relegation its that tight! A splendid team effort this week saw them finish 7th from 26 teams at the weekend. Thanks to the youthful nature of Saturdays squad there were no points to be had in the V35 competition though!

Kicking off the afternoon were the juniors with Nathan Dunn once again putting in a splendid performance to finish just 2 seconds behind close rival Ben Blacburn in 2nd place. Nathan sits in 4th place overall with just a single point seprating him and Ben after a well fought season long battle. Scott Thompson followed Nathan home with an excellent 11th place in 13:53.

The U17 girls race saw a formation of Harriers finish in 8th 9th and 10th. Natalie Thompson, Danielle Thompson and Victoria Cowling put in a well co-ordinated team performance with just under 40 seconds covering all 3 girls. It ws the first time this season Harriers registered a full team in the event and it is nice to see the table now register points for the squad.

It was then over to the Senior Ladies who were led home by Julie Platt in 17th place, with Tracey Dutton less than 60 seconds behind in 21st. Julie and Tracey now sit 8th and 9th respectively in the L35 standings.

Completing the scoring for Harriers was Nina Fisher posting a very creditable 69th place in only her second senior Cross Country event.  Nina has learned a trick or two since her first outing at Knowsley and this time chose to ignore Mr Collins support rather than respond and be accused of “not trying hard enough”. Nina says she even went as far as making sure to avoid eye contact with Dave, which is something a lot of us try to do during training sessions as it only encourages him.

We were fortunate to have a Ladies team at all as the squad were so engrossed in discussing race tactics that they chose to carry on up the M6 rather than take the Lancaster exit. It is fortunate that Cross Country doesnt require any self navigation!

Andy Kauffman led the way for the men with a blistering performance for 15th overall and his best placing of the campaign so far. Missing out on a few Tuesday speed sessions recently in favour of a cake decorating class obviously hasn’t slowed him down. Hopefully we will all reap the benefits when Andy gets his fondant fancies out in the gazebo at Beacon Park.

Chris Smullen was next home in 38th place (43:32). Not only was this a fine cross country performance, Chris had arrived in Lancaster early to do a few extra miles warm up, and then tagged on a few more at the end to turn the event into a decent length marathon training run ahead of his appearance in London later this year. Kev “Go Hard or Go Home” Edwards is in danger of losing his Harriers Hardcore crown!

Captain Awesome Dave Collins put in another strong performance in 45:00 dead for 47th place. Dave puts his current run of good form down to Tesco lasagne – so Caprtain Horseome it is from now on! Chris Burgess reports himself disappointed with a performance that saw him home 56 seconds later in 57th place. Taking account of a mid week illness and a dubious curry the night before he has no need to hang his head. Those unfortunate to follow him may disgaree.

The final scoring positions came down to a battle between Kevin Edwards and Mike Harris with Kevin prevailing by the slimmest of margins and Mike consolidating the team performance 2 seconds behind him. Both runners posted their highest placings of the season in 50th and 51st positions. Kev had led for the entire race and it was “Mike Worsley” style comedy sprint for the line that brough Mr Harris within touching distance as he out paced Paul Marshall at the death.

Coach Eccles running with a numb foot sustained in the arctic conditions at Knowsley finished in 100th place just ahead of Barry Abram in 103rd. With many years of experience behind him, our fully qualified coach Mr Eccles knows a thing or two about proper pre race preparation. Leading by example Andy demonstrated the performance enhancing benefits of 8 pints, 2 brandies and various “other” drinks the night before a cross country event. It never did Alf Tupper any harm! Mr Eccles had to take advantage of a garden chair in order to enjoy Tracey Duttons’ Muffins post race.

Gary Wane took advantage of a weekend without the wife to get up to some filthy fun on his own. What better to fill the empty hours alone than giving his wonky ankle another good test to bring it home for Harriers in 133rd place overall.

The mens team were a superb 4th from 22 Teams overall which equated to top place in the V40 Teams and top place in the Division. For the men at least, Beacon Park will be no more than a muddy victory lap as we cheer on the ladies in their nail biting end to the season.

Lancaster X-Country next up

Dave Collins with the trophy last year

Dave Collins with the trophy last year

Following on from the great success of the Northern Cross Country Championships at Knowsley Park, Harriers are back in action this weekend in the penultimate Mid Lancs fixture at Lancaster this weekend

We are expecting another bumper turn out this Saturday as we look to consolidate our position in respective leagues.

The Ladies Team are looking good in 3rd place on 16 points, but the division is so tight that the season could still end in either the glory of promotion or the disappointment of relegation. Every run now matters vitally to the team! The ladies V35 Team is level with top placed Southport Waterloo on 26 points with 2 more chances to score.

The Senior mens team are in a great position in Division 3 in joint second place with Red Rose runners and with a real chance to go for top spot over the next couple of fixtures. That would mean promotion for the club 2 years running and represent a fine reward for the efforts this year. Even more impressive is the V45 team who are 10 points clear at the top of Division 2 and looking good to clinch promotion this weekend.

We have had issues in recent fixtures of members mis-counting cross country laps and getting a little confused! For clarity: On Saturday for the Ladies the course consists of 1 small and 2 large laps. For the mens team its one small lap, one large lap, and 3 of the ominous sounding extra large laps. Course Map

Mid Lancs issued the following directions to get to the venue at Lancaster University:

Exit M6 at jct 33. Follow signs to Lancaster. Go through Galgate. Take 1st right into the University signposted Lancaster House Hotel (not the main entrance to the University). Access to the car park is 100m on left (gravel car park next to tennis courts)

map to the venue

Hyndburn Cross Country this Saturday

Its back to business in the Mid Lancs Cross Country League as we head off to Hyndburn this weekend to resume our 2012/13 campaign. Wilson Playing Fields is the venue, just off Junction 7 of the M65 on the way to Burnley.

With just 2 fixtures left after Hyndburn this is a critical race in the season with our teams poised for glory in more than one division. The ladies Vet 35 team are in second place just 3 points off Southport Waterloo. The ladies have scored in 2 out of a potnetial 3 races this year so a good result on Saturday could make a huge difference.

The Senior Mens Team are currently in 3rd after failing to put out a full scoring team at Kendal last time round. This makes it all the more critical that we make the effort to field a strong team on Saturday and get back in contention for those all important top slots.

The Mens V40 Team top the table in Division Two with a real chance of gaining promotion and honours for the second season in succession.

The ladies head off at 2.00pm, with the men following at 2.30pm. We will be sorting out the usual transport arrangements over the course of the week so anyone needing a lift should make it known and we can make sure we get as many runners to toe the line as possible.

Knowsley Cross Country Championships

Saturday 26th of January sees the Northern Athletic Cross Country Championships held in the exotic surroundings of Knowsley Safari Park. Wigan Harriers are intending to submit a healthy squad to represent the club at this headline event, and racing members are asked to confirm their availability as soon as possible.

The deadline for on-line entries is Friday 11th January with Club Coach Andy Eccles co-ordinating our submission. With that in mind, can all members looking to run please let Andy know as soon as possible either by facebook, email, or at the next training session.

Those with families may be pleased to note that free entry to some of the Safari Park attractions will be available for guests on the day. This includes the Sea Lion show, Birds of Prey, and animal walk around area.

Every fit and able competing member is encouraged to make space in the diary for this spectacular fixture. If Andy has your phone number then expect a phone call pressuring you into running! If he hasnt, you will be tracked down and pestered via other means!

More details available HERE.

Leverhulme Park Cross Country 2012

The finale of the Red Rose Cross Country League 2012 took place at a busy Leverhulme Park this weekend with a fine showing from Wigan Harriers. Relatively benign conditions greeted runners arriving in Bolton for this last race in the season with a few Championship places left to decide. Recent rainfall resulted in a testing course which was heavy in places with a good dose of traditional cross country mud thrown in.

After siting the gazebo on the highest and driest ground available, the Senior Team members set off to watch the juniors finish their season in style. Nathan Dunn faced his final showdown of the season against Josh Boyle of Hyndburn in the U13 boys race. These two talented youngsters had been battling it out for top spot all season with barely a second separating them at the end of each race. Nathan needed outright victory to have a chance of winning the series.

In a truly thrilling finish Nathan entered the home straight trailing somewhat to the Hyndburn runner who opened up a gap as he broke for home. Nathan kept calm and slowly hauled back the deficit before timing his final push to perfection. With around 50 metres to go he found another gear and passed Josh with gathering pace and charged for the line with the Senior Team cheering him on. With both boys level on points it is Nathan who takes the title on the tie break rule of having run all 4 events in the series over the 3 finishes of his competitor. Congratulations Nathan!

In the U13 girls race it was another splendid run from Charlotte Newsham to take 3rd place in 10:11. Charlotte secured joint 3rd place in the League. Only an outstanding run from Natalya Irvine of Blackburn Harriers for her first win of the season denied Charlotte 3rd place outright. Rebecca Jones also did Harriers proud with 18th place in 11:24. Alice Rowe didn’t run on Saturday but her performances over the previous 3 races earned her joint 9th place. Well done girls!

Emma Wheatley and Rachel Sidebotham represented the club in the U15 Girls event. Emma came home in 16th place in 20:33, followed by Rachel in 21st  in 21:09. Rachel ended her season in 17th place overall.

Christmas came early for Richie Noone in the form of a very smart looking pair of cross country spikes courtesy of Andy Eccles. Andy generously donated an unwanted pair to the grateful Richie who promptly donned them for a recce of the route and declared them comfy as a pair of “beddies”. Half way round the recce Andy seemed to have a change of heart and decided to stand on Richies foot, spiking the shoes and leaving them with a 2 inch tear. Instead of a nice pair of shiny new shoes, Richie was hobbling round the course with a shoe stylishly bandaged back together with blue electrical tape: Austerity Measure Specials!

After a couple of races to soften up the wet ground the course was looking decidedly boggy in places. Dave Collins surveyed the 2nd hill on the route declared it was in such a state that most runners would be walking up it no matter what was on their feet. Graham Millington declared this to be nonsense.

“I reckon that’s definitely runnable” he said, and immediately slipped on his backside, slid down the hill and almost collected Mr Collins on the way.

At 1.35 the Senior Ladies headed out on the first of their laps of the course with Jayne Taylor leading the way for Harriers. Jayne needed to finish in front of season long rival Suzanne Budgett of Leigh RMI in order to secure 3rd place in the Lady Vets League. It was a fine run from Jayne but 10th place overall, and 1st L50 runner wasn’t enough to beat the RMI runner who put another runner between them to finish 2 points clear for 3rd in the competition. Jayne does finish in first place in the 50+ category for the season though.

Next over the line for Wigan was Tracey Dutton, charging her way to 20th place overall and 3rd in the L40 category. All that cross training on the road to recovery seems to have paid off as this was Traceys best finish of the Red Rose season. It left her in joint 9th place overall in the Lady Vets Competition, and a fantastic 3rd place in the L40 category.

Another Harriers runner stepping up the pace on the way back from injury is Jacqui Jones who also saved the best till last this weekend. Jacquis’ race for 24th place overall also bagged her 3rd place in the L45 category. This was enough to ensure joint 14tj in the Vets competition and an impressive 5th in the L45 league. Continuing this theme was Shona Taylor who placed 29th Vet for her highest finish of the campaign.

The cumulative performances of our Senior Ladies landed them top spot in the Vets League. This is a remarkable performance particularly when considering the ladies scored in only 3 out of the 4 races this season and all of them have fought injuries at one point or another during the campaign. Its good to see a Wigan Harriers sitting firmly at the top of the table so well done to all of our senior Ladies runners for a fabulous effort this year.

Debut cross country entrant Gary Wane was quickly introduced to the “man up” ruling when he produced a smart looking base-layer ahead of the Senior Mens race. A delayed start gave enough time for the man-suit debate to reach ridiculous new heights as the wearing of gloves came under scrutiny too. Dave Collins wasn’t to be parted from his woolly mitts, and thanks to the reasonable temperatures on the day Mike Harris wasn’t forced to carry through his threat of breaking ranks and bringing shame on the club with the wearing of an undergarment. 

When the gun finally went off for the start of the final race of the day, 10 black and red vests charged up the field for Wigan Harriers. It is a real testimony to how the club has grown, and how active the members are that we are now slightly disappointed not to field 2 full mens’ teams. Work pressures kept regulars Darren Middleton and Kev Edwards away, whilst Tim Pilkington was still reportedly applying ice to a swelling which has been troublin ghim lately.

Mark Rogers led the way for the men through the congested first half lap which saw considerable bunching at various points. Dave Collins and Dave Waddington used course knowledge to their tactical advantage and attacked the first couple of turns in order to get ahead of the crowds. The bunching on the initial hill climbs made overtaking impossible without risking a tumble.

Mike Harris and Andy Eccles followed behind with Martin and Barry competing for the final scoring place in 6th and 7th position. Graham Millington claimed to have stopped to tie a shoe lace on Lap 1, a story met with counter claims along the lies of, “yeah – and I stopped for a cup of tea and a burger too…”. He was followed by Richie Noone in his makeshift shoes with Gary Wane making a cautious start with a dubious ankle. The final place for Harriers was taken by the vintage black and red vest of Tony who joined us as a guest runner for his first cross country of the season. We’ll be expecting the membership fee to accompany his application for some time in the new year!

Mark had a spectacular run for first Harrier home in 42:12 for and a highly impressive 41st place overall. He was pursued by Captain Awesome himself Dave Collins in 43:56 for 59th overall and 2nd V50. Dave actually finished the campaign as 3rd V50 runner, but as the category extends to all 50+ runners he was relegated to 5th by a couple of speedy V55 men. If only he had tried hard enough… Just a few places behind in 66th overall was Dave Waddington in 44:37 as 9th V40

Mike Harris reports settling down into a steady, if somewhat lonely run in 4th place for Harriers. With Sefton Park having been his first experience of local league cross country, Bolton was something of a contrast. The runner behind was too far away to challenge, whilst the man in front was sufficiently distant to maintain the gap despite a few surges from Mike to make up the space. He finished well in 81st place in a time of 46:33

Andy Eccles looked to be running well as he continues to pick up fitness following a calf strain earlier in the year. Our club coach is his own harshest critic although his time of 47:24 earned him 10th V50 in 94th place overall.

Martin Andrews was gradually caught by Barry Abram over the first 2 laps who encouraged his team mate along as he passed. Martin dug deep and latched on as the pair of them swapped the position several times over the last couple of miles. After the final lap of the big field it came down to flat our sprint to the line in which Martin reports Barry made him “suffer for it”. Martin edged it at the last to round off the scoring for the team as 6th man in 103rd place overall in 48:46. Barry was just seconds behind in 48:49.

Graham Millington had a grandstand view of that race as he trailed just 45 seconds behind. Graham was digging deep as he battled to stay ahead of Richie Noone for the first time in a competitive outing. It was only as he began the final loop of the field and saw Richie offering support from the sidelines that it became clear why Rich hadn’t appeared on his shoulder sooner! It turned out that whilst Richie securely taped his dodgy shoe to his right foot, he took less care with the shoe on his left foot – which disappeared in the mud within a mile of the start leaving him to limp back to the tent village. Reports of him taking it off and chucking it into the bushes as an excuse for an early finish are both unkind and unfounded. 

Phantom pursuit from Richie didn’t do Graham any harm as he crossed the line for 109th place in 49:33 in what he claims as his best cross country performance of the year so far. Next home for Harriers was Gary marking his debut with a fine performance for 149 th place. Gary was ably supported throughout by the new Mrs Wane. This prompted several runners to wonder at what point their own spouses no longer found it romantic to stand around in a freezing cold and muddy park whilst they run about in shorts for fun….(general consensus was shortly after the 1st wedding anniversary so make the most of it Gary!)

The mens Vet team finished in a respectable 3rd place on the day for 5th overall in the competition.

Jayne Taylor strictly limited access to Traceys Muffins as runners queued up to get their portion in the gazebo afterwards. The tent was packed up in record time as Harriers headed of with some haste with the prospect of the club Christmas night out to follow later that evening. There wont be a report of the Christmas night out but one or two revellers were forced to delay their Sunday run till at least Monday, and one or two were still a little poorly on Monday too!

Leverhulme Park Cross Country

Harriers head off to Leverhulme Park in Bolton on Saturday for the final fixture in the Red Rose Cross Country series. With our club Xmas night to follow, it promises to be a fun packed weekend ahead.

The last event in the 2012 campaign will see the individual standings settled, and with a few of our runners there is still everything to run for. Young Nathan Dunn goes into the U13 boys race in 2nd place in the competition and looking claim to top spot if he can better Josh Boyle from Hynburn. Another top spot finish could do it to go with his opening victory at Leigh. Charlotte Newsham is sitting pretty in 3rd place in the U13 girls competition and still in with a chance of grabbing 2nd spot if results go the right way. Full vocal support from the rest of the club will be fully appreciated as both set off at 1.00pm

Jayne Taylor is currently tied for 3rd place in the Vet Ladies event and will be fighting it out with Suzanne Budgett of Horwich RMI to the last.Our Vet Ladies are also our best performing team in Red Rose and a good performance on Saturday could even see them overhaul Accrington Road Runners to take top honours.

Our Senior Men are not in any medal shot position this year but bragging rights are at stake as the final race could shuffle the pack and throw out some interesting results in the individual standings. A good team performance can also lift the team to a respectable mid table finish.

Set the Sat Nav for BL2 6EB or click the link: Leverhulme Park

Ladies race starts at 1.35 with the men heading out at 2.15 with most runners arriving from 12.30 onwards to set up the gazebo and shout on the juniors.

The action then switches to Little Fifteen in the centre of Wigan as the Endurance Group meet from 6.30 for the Christmas “Do”. We move on to the Spice Lounge for the meal at 7.30pm, but as the restaurant doesn’t have a license, drinks can be dropped off before hand. Make sure you bag your tipple and label it with both your name and “Wigan Harriers”.

Anyone who hasn’t run at Leverhulme Park and is unable to present either a genuine Doctors certificate or a note from their Mum can expect to be reminded of it throughout the evening.  Anyone who does run at Bolton but does so in a base layer knows what to expect!