Mid Lancs Cross Country Report

Saturday 9th November saw Harriers take part in the second Mid Lancs Cross Country fixture of the 2019/20 season. Just in time for the big day the temperatures took a tumble and one point sleet was on the weather forecast! Our teams were not worried however as they had their new tent making it’s second outing as ever complete with with tea and coffee facilities. We have certainly moved with the times!

First up were the Ladies team. Represented by Marie Jarvis, Danielle Brearton KellyAnne Towns, Jacqui Jones and Pauline Foster.

Hyndburn is one of people’s favourite courses. It has most natural obstacles you can imagine, not out and out hilly but plenty of undulations. The only thing missing is a stream or river but it trades water for mud and plenty of it. Not the severity of Knowsley or Witton Park (runners of the Northern XC Champs at those venues will be having palpitations at those mentions!!) but enough to make it very very tough.

The ladies had a brilliant day, they might have been light in numbers (come on we need more of you!) but they made up for it in an excellent performance. Leading the ladies home in a brilliant 7th place was Danielle in 27:19. A fantastic result that really got the team off to a great start. Next was Marie (battling a cold as well as the mud) in 32nd and 30:13. Making it home as 3rd counter was KellyAnne 41st place in 30:43. Jacqui was 56th in 31:45 and Pauline was 107th in 37:28, coming home completely covered in mud following a serious case of face planting.

This meant the Ladies were 5th team and 3rd V35 team. A great return on their efforts!

Next were the men with a turnout of 10 and a serious loading of handsome V40 runners! Hell! Who says the editor can’t show some artistic licence! By now the course was at it’s churned up finest. Please don’t be fooled by the excessive clothing in the photo, come race time it was strictly vest and shorts only for these tough guys!

Mike Harris, Steve Nicholls, Paul Fitzsimmons, Tony Foster, Chris Simpson (unusually camera shy?), Sanjay Bisnauthsing, Stuart Fairclough, Jeff Darbyshire and Mark Morgan-Hillam were the male line up.

Absolutely blasting round the course for the men was Jonathan, finishing 33rd in an impressive 40:41. Then the pop sensation Stevie Nicks bounced back to form in 72nd place in 43:37. An excellent debut from Sanjay in 81st and 44:13. Next was a steady procession of V40 Harriers. Mike in 85th with 44:30, Mark 91st with 44:41, Chris Simpson (who had adopted camo face paint by this stage) in 100th in 45:12 chased in by Stuart in 101st in 45:14. Then we had Paul Fitzsimmons in 108th in 45:36. Tony was 206th in 53:03 and Jeff was 259th in 1:04:06.10th place team and 6th V40 team.

A tough but very enjoyable day. An honourable mention to the younger athletes who also made the journey to represent Harriers, well done!

All our teams are in Divisions, based on season performance there is promotion and relegation. The ladies are in Division One and the men Division Two. In addition there are leagues for the age categories with the men’s V40 team in Division One.

Well I’m pleased to say that the Ladies are TOP of Division One! This means it’s really important we get as many of you running as possible for the rest of the season to maintain this position. The Ladies V35 are in 2nd place which again is fantastic, well done Ladies!

The Men are going steady in Division Two, currently in 4th place – the top two are promoted and bottom two relegated. For the V40 men it was their first points as they didn’t have a full complete of old boys at Ulverston. It was 2nd place team at Hyndburn so a great points return. Again it’s now vital we continue to turn out in big numbers!

Remaining fixtures

Sefton Park, Liverpool 23rd November

Towneley Park, Burnley 11th January

Lawson’s Ground, Blackpool 8th February

Ryelands Park, Lancaster 29th February

In addition there are the Northern XC Championships 25th January and National XC Championships 22nd February.

Cross Country news!

Important – registering to run Cross Country at Sefton Park Liverpool

Cross Country – Saturday 23rd November Liverpool

This isn’t the next race but it’s different in that you need to let us know before this weekend if you want to do it! The club will pay for the entries but we need to know so we can sort numbers and timing chips. There will be no on the day entries. It’s a fantastic event that attracts additional runners from across the country. Please only advise if you can definitely run. Thank you.

Cross Country – Saturday 9th November Wilson Playing Fields, Hynburn

The next Cross Country race takes place Saturday 9th November at Hynburn. If you are a registered club member do please come along, join in and represent the club. There is no selection criteria, just a club vest is required. The course is either spikes or trail shoes and is sure to have a little mud so likely to be good fun! For details of location, course maps and timings please look at http://www.midlancs.org.uk/

Other Mid Lancs League dates

11th January Burnley Mid Lancs XC
8th February Blackpool Mid Lancs XC
29th February Lancaster Mid Lancs XC

Other Cross Country events

25th January Northern Athletics XC Champs,
Camp Hill Estate, Kirklington, Bedale, North Yorkshire, DL8 2LS – look up Camp Hill – looks a good venue.

Saturday 22nd February English National XC Champs
Wollaton Park, Nottingham – a fantastic venue for a great event

Hyndburn by Lorraine Cunliffe

“Let’s go shopping tomorrow,” declared Mr C, much to my surprise as this is definitely not his number one choice of pastimes. Then he mentioned Real Buzz and it became apparent … he meant running related shopping!! Bang went the 3 inch high heeled patent shoes that I was dreaming of – Shaun had spikes of a completely different nature in mind – cross country spikes!

Having never run cross country at school, I had no idea what I was letting myself in for and it certainly wasn’t something that I had ever considered taking up at my age but… Having secured a ballot place for London (thanks again Mr C!) I thought it was time to get a little more serious about my running and start strengthening those legs of mine to ensure that they have a chance of carrying me round a meagre 26.2 miles. So, much to my own surprise, I agreed and two hours later found myself with the afore mentioned spikes in hand.

I really didn’t know what to expect at all. I hadn’t initially signed up for the cross country races as I was reserving judgement until I’d heard my running buddy (Denise’s) thoughts about Sefton Park. Needless to say, last Saturday, I found myself sitting (rather quietly and nervously) in the car, which incidentally looked like we were going on a fortnight’s skiing holiday, heading towards the sunnier climates of Hyndburn. “It looks like its brightening up,” I was told as I looked up at some rather dubious dark clouds – I wasn’t too convinced and I was right not to be. As we parked up, the heavens opened literally – timed to perfection!

We spotted Team Heyes and Simmo masquerading as market stallholder sheltering from the sudden downpour, so we set off across a rather muddy (and slippery) field to battle the elements and erect the women’s tent. Once it was up, we huddled together like penguins to keep warm and at this point I honestly thought to myself – What on earth am I doing? Then I remembered, Pauline Taylor had manged to complete this very course with a broken ankle. Time for me to shut up, man up and derobe (brrrrr). By the way, anyone who knows me realises that being cold and wet are not really options for me. Miss Cunliffe (AKA photographer and support crew for the day) was sent to tell me to warm up. Great I thought, time to get my layers back on. Absolutely not. What it really meant was that her dad had sent her to tell me to start jogging up and down the field – in the rain!!! But hey – I did it – if only to stop myself from dying of hypothermia.

After a delayed start and overcoming the most dangerous obstacle of the day – avoiding getting your spikes stuck in the orange netting as we jumped over it (slight exaggeration with the word jump), the gun sounded. Heeding Jackie’s advice to stay high or face the choice of running back up the slope again – and believe me that was not going to happen – we were off. The first lap took us half way round the football field and through a dark undulating wooded area that was, at times, ankle deep with mud. Then, we literally had to get over the next hurdle – a stream (think gazelles Ms Jones!!) to re-join the course.

Continue reading

Upcoming Club Races

We are now 2 races into the 2018/19 Cross Country season and so far we have seen two contrasting races. Waterlogged Ulverston and a very dry and unmuddy Sefton Park. There have been some great performances and excellent debuts. For more on this please see this news story.

https://wiganharriersendurance.wordpress.com/2018/12/01/british-athletics-liverpool-cross-challenge/

A few of our brilliant ladies team in action.

Don’t worry though there are plenty more to come. Another four Mid Lancs League fixtures plus Northern and National Championships!

The next one is this weekend. Hurray!

Cross Country – Saturday 8th December Hyndburn  (no need to register just turn up!)

The next Cross Country race takes place this Saturday 8rd December at Wilson Playing Fields, Hyndburn. If you are a registered club member do please come along, join in and represent the club, we have a number for everyone!

There is no selection criteria, just a club vest is required. The course this weekend is a cracker and a great test. For details of location, course maps and timings please look at http://www.midlancs.org.uk/ Details of the rest of the 2018/19 Mid Lancs League fixtures will be there too.

Northern Athletics Cross Country Championships – Saturday 26th January 2019 at Pontefract Park, Park Rd, Pontefract WF8 4QD (please mail us if you want to do this one!)

We would like to enter teams and compete against clubs from all over the north of England. This year the course is at Pontefract Racecourse but hopefully there will be no hurdles to jump!

14.15 Senior Women 8.05K Competitors 20 years and over on 31st August / 1st September 2018
15.05 Senior Men 12.1K Competitors 20 years and over on 31st August / 1st September 2018

There is no cost to enter and we will be back in time for the Harriers January party!

Please email wiganendurance@hotmail.com if you want to represent the club in this excellent event. For more details see

https://www.northernathletics.org.uk/events/northern-athletics-cross-country-championships/

2019 Saucony English National Cross Country Championships – Saturday 23rd February at Harewood House near Leeds

The 2019 Saucony English National Cross Country Championships will take place at Harewood House near Leeds which was the venue used for the 2018 Northern Athletics Cross Country Championships. It’s a fantastic course and well recommended, don’t miss the chance to do a NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP!

Please email wiganendurance@hotmail.com if you want to represent the club in the National Championships.

British Athletics Liverpool Cross Challenge

After October’s rain sodden race at Ulverston it was time for one of the biggest fixtures of the season at Sefton Park. It was the 18th year that the Mid Lancs XC league had taken part in the Liverpool Cross Challenge. Originally the league was recruited to fill out the junior fields and the event has become a popular fixture in the Mid Lancs calendar.

Across the different events there are 37 clubs with entry of 1265 runners. It’s a fantastic way of taking part in a race involving elites. The challenge is usually to avoid being lapped!

The first event at Ulverston saw a Harriers entry limited to just 5 men, this meant that only the M40 team scored points. This meant it was vital we had a big entry and scored heavily. Wigan Harriers certainly didn’t disappoint! 15 ladies and 14 men – an awesome turnout. ⚫️❤️⚫️

Conditions were excellent, Sefton Park has never been so dry, probably too dry as parts of the were rutted. First up for the seniors were the ladies running 8.1 km.

Leading the ladies home was Danielle Brearton who has carried her excellent summer form into the autumn. The strength in depth and numbers meant the Ladies achieved these fantastic results.

The first 3 ladies counted as the A team and came in 6th, the next 3 were the  B team and were 12th. Both are L35 and L45 teams were 2nd behind a very strong Lytham St Annes.

Next up were the Men with 9.8 km of fast racing!

 

Making a brilliant debut to bring the men home was Jonathan Kearsley. Again with strong teams we were able to score heavily.

The first six men counted as the A team and came 15th and with plenty of male runners we were able to score as a B team too in 30th place. M40 were 4th and the V50 were 8th.

A quick scan through the updated results and then a lengthy calculation on how we fared against just the teams in our divisions yields the following provisional results for Sefton. (Polite way of saying I might have slipped an error in). Note 4 best results count (most of our teams didn’t score at Ulverston) so we we need to repeat!

Ladies 2nd place Div 1
L35 2nd place (only 1 Div)
L45 2nd place (only 1 Div)

Men 3rd place Div 2
V40 2nd place Div 1
V50 8th place (only 1 Div)

Well done all, especially our debutants who ran brilliantly. 👣

Next up is Hyndburn on 8th December and yes we have a number for every member!

 

 

 

Club racing opportunity!

Mid Lancs Cross Country League

The next Mid Lancs Cross Country fixture is the esteemed Liverpool Cross Challenge on 24th November where clubs from the North West compete head to head with some of the best elite runners in the country.

www.midlancs.org.uk

This is a massive event and a great day out. We always try to get as many runners as possible at this one and everyone is welcome. Don’t think “I will be too slow” runners of every ability will be there.

If you would like to run please email Jacqui Jones by 8th November. Email details have been sent out.

As this is a team event, your entry fee will be paid by the club.

Please only enter this event if you seriously plan to compete as entries are non refundable

All athletes will be allocated a race number specific to this event. These will be available for collection in the team tent on the day.

A couple of photos from last year of all those that were ready and dressed ready for action!

 

A trip to the seaside……honest

Saturday 13th October is the magic date! What for? A trip to the seaside for the Mid Lancs Cross Country season opener in Ulverston, Cumbria.

All paid up members are eligible to run, no selection criteria, all welcome. 6 events all part of your membership so don’t miss out!

Ulverston was a new venue last season, first used March earlier this year. It’s a great course to start the season. It’s held on the playing fields and surrounding land of Glaxo. Even after a long winter it was good underfoot, with a few sections of gravel/hardcore so most people wore trail shoes.

Hills? Nope! A few short inclines but we are on the sea side so nothing tough.

The course is quite short so the men ran 4 laps to rack up 5.7 miles.

There’s a decent sized car park a few hundred metres away so all quite convenient.

Refreshments? Yep! We will have it covered every way. Harriers Airpot or Booths coffee shop, either way we will get our treats!

Last March Men’s posse including Simmo without his wig! 😀

ORDER OF EVENTS

Approx Distances
12.30pm u11up to 2K
12.45pm u11 boys up to 2K
1.00pm u13 girls 2.5K
1.20pm u15 girls and u13 boys 3K
1.40pm u15 boys and u17 women 4K
2.00pm u17 men, v70 men and jnr, snr & vet women 6K
2.30pm jnr, snr and vet men 9-10K

Need a lift? Drop an email to wiganendurance@hotmail.com and we will get you sorted. 🏃‍♀️🏃‍♀️🏃‍♀️🏃‍♀️🏃🏻🏃🏻🏃🏻🏃🏻🏃🏻🏃🏻

 

Cross Country Chronicles

Darker nights, morning frost, chilly days, falling leaves are all a sign of the changing seasons but also a clear sign that the best season of the year is rapidly approaching….Cross Country Season!

Cross Country is a fantastic opportunity for Endurance runners to work on core and leg strength, speed endurance as a building block for Spring Marathons or Road Running. A few renowned runners you might have heard of such as Paula Radcliffe, Mo Farah and of course John Heyes all developed their skills on the Cross Country circuit before going onto to be global stars.

We even manage a smile sometimes….

Wigan Harriers compete in the Mid Lancs Cross Country League. Six fixtures split by a Christmas break which take us all over the North West region.

How does it all work?

Well team work is the key. For the men the first 6 runners to finish count as the A team, next 6 the B team and so on. For the Ladies it’s the first 4 for the A team and so on. Come 10th 10 points, 50th 50 points, the team with the lowest points come first. Still with me? Good…How you do as a team is compared to 7 other teams in your mini league. The Ladies are in Division 1 and the Men are in Division 2 so beat all the teams in your league and you get 7 points.

if you didn’t follow the previous paragraph don’t worry you simply run as hard as possible, time is irrelevant just beating as many people is the key!

There are Vet leagues too so there is an opportunity for everyone to chip in and contribute to the team effort.

Over the years dozens of people have run Cross Country for Wigan Harriers and we need you to follow in this great tradition. Having incomplete teams gets you nil points so we need plenty of runners. Any registered Harrier can run, how fast or slow you think you are is irrelevant, we need and welcome everyone.

The fixture list has changed slightly from when it was first published.

2018/19 Fixtures

13th October 2018 GSK Sports Club, Ulverston

24th November 2018 Sefton Park, Liverpool

8th December 2018 Wilson Playing Fields, Hyndburn (changed date)

12th January 2019 Towneley Park, Burnley

9th February 2019 Leigh Sports Village

2nd March 2019 Cuerden Valley

Sometimes the course can have a few rain puddles but don’t worry we have never lost anyone in the swamp.

An afternoon of hard racing means a treat is often well deserved so coffee and cake is virtually obligatory! Cafe or our own supplies, we like to cover all the bases!

If 6 races aren’t enough for you? Don’t worry we can do the Northern or National Championships but we can save that for another edition of The Chronicles! 😁

Here’s a few more of the team photos from last year, come and join us!

Danger mouse!

My first Cross-Country season with Wigan Harriers by Kevin Rex.

I have been a member of Wigan Harriers for almost 18 months now. I love running and the sense of achievement and satisfaction you get from racing and competing. Being a member of this club, whilst wearing the black and red colours and representing Wigan Harriers, is a great feeling.

So imagine my surprise on one Thursday night after training in late October 2016, when I was informed by Mike Harris, Gary Wane and Mark Morgan-Hillam that, if I wanted, I could come along to and take part in the Mid Lancs Cross Country League and represent Wigan Harriers.

I, like a lot of members of Wigan Harriers, assumed that the cross country league was for, shall I say, the more elite members of the club. However, I was advised that this was not the case, and that all paid members of Wigan Harriers are welcome to come along and compete for the club. As Mike Harris said, “No-one is invited, all club members are entered and can take part. Why pay X amount for a race when you can do it for FREE once a month throughout the cross-country season”.

Needless to say, I was sold and so I decided that Cuerden Valley in Bamber Bridge, Preston, would be my first attempt at doing an XC, as I now call them. The day of the race started early as I had already previously agreed to go along to Haigh Hall Park Run with some of my running buddies to celebrate their 1st birthday. I took the run very slowly as I wanted to save my legs for the XC race that afternoon.

When I got home, I fuelled up on some banana porridge and changed into my Wigan Harriers running kit. Before I set off I was a little unsure on a few details. So I messaged Mark Morgan Hillam who was more than helpful and advised me on what I needed to do and where I needed to go when I got there. I was even involved in a bit of team banter when I, being the newbie, stupidly asked the question that shouldn’t be asked to experienced XC runners. I asked, “Can I were a T-shirt under my vest?” The response was hilarious and this little bit of banter made me feel like I was part of the team and helped to settle some of my pre-race nerves.

When I arrived at the event there was already a race going on. I watched a bit of this whilst trying to find the Wigan Harriers flag and tent in the crowd. When I got there, members from the men’s and ladies teams helped me find my race number. They informed me that I needed to keep this number and use it again for future Mid Lancs XC events. I put my number on and I was ready to race.

Before the race started Mark and the guys took me to one side and showed me the route and explained what conditions and terrain to expect during the race. From where I was stood it looked like a tough and very hilly course. I was informed that I had in fact picked one of the toughest courses in the mid lancs fixtures for my first go at cross country.

With that said the pre-race nerves came back. However they were settled again by the encouraging words and comments from everyone. We then had a little warm up and went to cheer on the ladies team in their race. Then it was time for the team photograph and, yes, I still had my t-shirt on under my vest. What can I say? It was cold out there…

Race time arrived in no time and, before I knew it, I was on the start line waiting to go. There were some last words of motivation from Gary Wane – and then something terrible happened that could only happen to me. Whilst limbering up, I stepped backwards only to hear some guys behind me shout, “Watch out!” I wondered what was going on – I had only gone and trodden on a field mouse… it had the whole of Cuerdon Valley to roam around, but it had to go and choose to stand behind my shoe. I was mortified, and a little embarrassed, but at least it took my mind off the nerves and amused my teammates…

Moments later, the starting gun went and we were off. Immediately I was slipping everywhere as, being the inexperienced and less equipped member of the team, I had no spikes to wear. I got around the first corner and was headed straight towards and through a ditch of thick mud. As I stomped through the muddy ditch I almost lost one of my trainers. I just about managed to keep it on and I was off and running.

After the first lap I felt like I was starting to finding my stride and I began to relax and enjoy it. My favourite part of the course was running through the stream. The ice cold water cooled my feet and made it feel like a proper cross country race for me.

After four hilly laps (one short, one medium and two long,) of what is probably one of the toughest runs I have taken part in, I approached the finish line. I could see and hear the rest of the XC team cheering me on. This made me feel good and I pushed myself all the way across the finish line.

Even though on the day I finished last out of the men’s team they thanked me and congratulated me for my performance. I left the race feeling included and proud of myself for getting through what was a very muddy and tough race.

The positive experience of the day, and the fun I had, made me want to try more XC fixtures. However, before I did, the more experienced members of the team advised me that I really needed to get some spikes. So with that I was off to the sweatshop to buy myself a pair.

My second, and the next race of the season, was a British Athletics Cross Country event at Sefton Park in Liverpool. This was an event where professional athletes took part and competed alongside amateurs. I learnt from some of my fellow Harriers that apparently, in the past, Olympic champion Mo Farah competed in this event. So of course I was going to go along and compete, if only to say I ran on the same field as Mo Farah.

The weather on the day was absolutely freezing. So needless to say it was t-shirt under the vest again for me. However, the more experienced members of the team still went out there in the freezing cold in just their vests.
I was more at home this time around and felt a lot more relaxed. I knew what to do and how things worked. The nerves I felt at Cuerden Valley Park were gone. So I focused on trying to put in a good performance for the team.
Before the race we did a warm up run and watched the some of the ladies race. I was pleased to see that the course was flat and not as muddy as Cuerden Valley. It was boggy in some parts, but overall it was a lot better.

After the warm up we made our way back to the tent for the team photograph. There were a lot more people representing Harriers for the men’s team at this one – 14 to be exact. This made it possible to have an A and B team, meaning more points for the team.

After the photographs we all went to the start line as a team. There were lots of pats on back and encouraging word from fellow team members. This made me more confident and pumped up for this one. I was determined to run as hard and as fast as I could for the team.

The gun fired and off everyone went. A mile or so into the race I felt good and I was even managing to keeping up with one of the more experienced members of the team, Kevin Edwards.

As the race went on it was lovely to see flat surface after flat surface in front of me, not a hill in sight. You could even see some of the faster athletes in the distance. I continued to push on and felt like I was keeping my composure well. That along with support from some of the ladies team spurred me on for the final couple of miles.

Approaching the final stretch I pushed hard and move my little legs as fast as I could over the finish line. I stopped my watch and got my breath back. I felt as though I had run well and gave everything I had for the team. Little did I know that I had actually smashed my PB for this distance on all surfaces by just over three minutes, clocking an official time of 46 minutes and 6 seconds.

To say I was gobsmacked is an understatement. I still to this day do not know where I got that performance from. It still stands to this day as my personal best running performance ever and probably will for some time. If I can put my performance down to anything, I think a mixture of the atmosphere of the day, the flat course, wearing spikes for the first time and the amazing support and encouragement from my fellow Wigan Harriers XC team was the main reasons for my mind blowing results.

After Sefton Park I’m sad to say that I missed the next two races in Towneley Park, Burnley, and Cleveleys School, Rossall, due to family commitments and a race clash with the Parbold Hill race which I had entered before I started taking part in Mid Lancs XC events.

The next race I would compete in would be the final XC fixture of the season at Leigh Sports Village. Rather worryingly, a few weeks prior to this race taking place, I was suffering with tendonitis of the Achilles. However I was determined I was going to make it to the last race of the season and I am happy to say I did.

Although my performance was not as strong as I would have liked, I still enjoyed being back with the XC gang and competing in the black and red once again. The appreciation I received from fellow Harriers for coming and taking part again reminded me of why I now love these events so much.

Lastly, because of the positive experiences and feeling of inclusion I received in my first two XC races, I took it upon myself to return the favour and try and encourage some of my running buddies at Downhill Runners to come along and give an XC a try. I am glad to say one of them did. So Jayne Salloum became the newest member of Wigan Harriers ladies XC team.
She was a great addition, and she really enjoyed it. I know Jayne, and hopefully some other new members, will be there competing next season. Needless to say, so will I…..

2017 important dates

As 2016 is drawing to a close it’s an ideal time to remind everyone of some important dates in 2017. All these events are open to all club members, no selection required! 🏃🏻

Don’t forget we also have the last three Mid Lancs Cross Country events to come.
https://wiganharriersendurance.wordpress.com/fixtures/cross-country-fixtures/

Saturday 28th January
Northern Cross Country Championships
Knowsley Safari Park.
£7 to enter.

Saturday 25th February
National Cross Country Championships
Nottingham Wollaton park
£7 to enter.

Contact Steve Nicholls to enter both of the above events.

Sunday 19th March
Wigan Half Marathon and 5k
If the buzz around town is half as good as the 10k then it will be another two cracking events. Sign up to be part of the Harriers massive!
http://www.wiganhalfmarathon.co.uk

Sunday 26th March
Northern Athletics 6 and 12 Stage Road Relays
Right on our doorstep…Haigh Hall.
http://www.northernathletics.org.uk/events/northern-athletics-12-6-stage-road-relays-championships/

Sunday 7th May
Wigan Trail 10k
Our very own race is back again, spread the word!
Marshal or race make sure you are there. 😊
https://wiganharriersendurance.wordpress.com/amberswood-trail-race-series/