Cross Country part two…eyes on the prize!

The excitement of the Cross Country season continues….

We learn about the debutants, the speedy drivers, the prize winners and see the smiley happy faces of those representing the club. 😊

At the halfway point of season 14 ladies and 16 men had represented the club with 2 ladies and 2 men with 100% participation records. There had been some excellent performances before Christmas that had laid sound foundations for the rest of the season. 👏🏼

Burnley – Fixture 4

After a extended break around the festive season it was time for the 4th Mid Lancs fixture held again at Towneley Park. A flat parkland course within earshot of Burnley’s Tuft Moor ground, on occasion we have run during a game and been cheered on by the crowds! Now I’ll be honest, the Burnley course is not anything too exciting and the last few years has often been a low point in terms of turnout but it’s important that points are scored at every fixture so kudos to everyone who competed.

A dull overcast day but thankfully no rain although the new tent was getting a little battered by the wind!

For the ladies we had the Three Amigos..Jayne, Marie and Lisa.

Leading the Ladies home was Marie in 22nd place and 24.02. Then we had Jayne in 68th (26.46) and Lisa 90th (27.51). Thankfully only 3 ladies are required for the Senior Women’s team so they were able to score vital team points. Well done ladies!

For the men it was the “Magnificent Seven” (Nothing like using a few film titles!), sounds better than Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Snow White couldn’t make it!

The men ran to form and leading them home in 42nd was big Jon in 38.12, another great run, In 2nd place for the men only a few places and seconds further back was John in 52nd 38.36 which also made him 3rd V50. After 10 days of illness Cross Country was always going to be an interesting challenge but I was pleased with my 42.42 coming in 4th behind Stuart who took 3rd place for the men in 41.54. Mike Casey came next in 48.41, then Tony in 49.44 and then Jeff made up the 7 with 55.50. A decent turnout and performance by the men.

The best part of the day is always coffee and cake and after using the car park of the Garden Centre it seemed rude not too!

 

Northern Athletics Cross Country Champs – Camp Hill Estate Bedale, Yorkshire

Five Senior men were in action, John Heyes, Jeff Darbyshire, Stuart Towns, Mike “Debutant” Vose and my good self Mike Harris.

The course was an interesting mix of decent solid ground and some awful muddy sections that sapped your strength. I have to say though compared to the Northern Races in folklore this was relatively easy! (Memory jogger….Knowsley x 2, Witton Park were all stinkers!)

We were all under orders to run fast as the Harriers Do was on in the evening plus Driver Jeff needed to go out early, more of that later.

We first managed to watch Harriers speedster Tim Hartley run in the Junior Men’s race. Tim had a great race managing to come home in 34th place in 29:04. Well done Tim. 👏🏼

The quick getaway planned meant no tent or flag just some alfresco changing into race gear outside the car. Numbers collected, warm up done and we were on!

A decent field meant there was the usual Zulu charge as 100’s of runners bounded off enthusiastically to the first bend.

The course had been really well thought through and was a decent mix. It was however one of the courses that you didn’t quite work out the laps from the map. Add in the fact it was long, very long and you get a tough race!

First back was John in 256th place in 54:37. Next was me in 57:46 350th place, then Stuart in 407th in 1:00:32, 4th was Mike Vose in 565th place in 1:15:58 with then Jeff in 574th place in 1:19:11.

Jeff very quickly realised he had about an hour to do a 2 hour journey so the Harriers were then plunged into the 2nd race of the day – Jeff going for it. Pleased to say we managed to get back in one piece and John and myself made it to the Harriers do in good time!

 

Vegas (Blackpool) – Fixture 5

Time to go exotic and take a trip to the Vegas of the North – Blackpool! Wind that was a common theme of post Christmas races and not the type caused by the Sprouts. Another tough outing for our tents resisting the blustery conditions. The wind had helped dry the course out and apart from a few sections conditions were decent underfoot. It was starting to hot up in the Ladies league with the Harriers in contention for the top spot. 😀

It had been a few years since we raced here (Dave Collins ran last time – that’s how long ago it was!) It’s a short course but the distance made up by doing more laps! It’s a pancake flat mixture of rough grass and playing fields, the wind turned up the difficulty up a notch but otherwise it was fairly benign.

Leading the ladies home in a fantastic 16th place (the track sessions obviously paying off!) was Marie Jarvis in 27:42. Next home and continuing what was turning into a fantastic season was Jacqui Jones in 29:23. 3rd lady was Jayne Salloum 29:58. Lisa Heyes 32:00, Carla Taylor 34:03, Dee Hughes 34:24, Rachel Lawton 36:08, Pauline Foster 36:55 and Michelle Jones 39:22. An absolutely brilliant nine turned out – well done all.

Nine was the magic number for the men. Leading the men over the finish line was Jonathan Kearsley in 39:11, well done Jon on another excellent showing of 46th place. Winning his battle with a Preston Harrier and taking 2nd place in the team was Mr Speedy aka John Heyes in 40:02. Not too far behind the younger Jon.

There was then quite a battle between myself and Steve Nicholls with Steve putting in a decent sprint finish to take 3rd place in 41:21 with myself Mike Harris in 41:24. The vets kept coming with Stuart Towns next in 41:56, Mark Morgan-Hillam 42:07, Mike Casey 49:23, Tony Foster 50:39 and Jeff Darbyshire in 55:00. It was a decent scoring performance for all the teams.

Here’s 5 of the men looking suitably pleased with their efforts.

 

Nottingham – The English National Cross Country Championships 22nd February

The Nationals returned to the fantastic Wollaton Park venue in Nottingham in February. The rolling grounds make a great course, made super challenging with the addition of loads of thick gloppy mud! Horrendous rain in the build up threatened the cancellation (seems a lifetime ago now!) and much of the normal grass field parking was closed. The surrounding streets were very popular but we managed to get the team bus 🚌 close to the action!

The course hadn’t handled the rain too well!!

Steve Nicholls, Mark Morgan-Hillam and myself had raced here a few years earlier so were excited to be returning and had vowed to bring additional numbers. A keen fan of Cross Country over the last few years has been Jeff Darbyshire and he was straight on it when the club email went out. Stuart Towns joined the party along with the speed twins Kearsley & Heyes.

Representing the Ladies was Jacqui Jones who was having a great season in the Mid Lancs League. Jacqui is one of the founding members of the Endurance Group and it was fantastic to see her running so well and so strong. Well done on 460th place in 48:00.

Sandwiched between Jacqui’s race and the Senior Men’s race was the Junior Men’s race that featured Tim Hartley. On a 10k course it was tremendous opportunity for Tim to test himself against some of the nation’s finest XC runners. It was also his last chance to race the Nationals without having to swerve all us slow old men as he lapped us. Tim had a great run managing 84th place in 41:41.

Our warm up consisted of scouting out the course whilst trying to see Tim and Jacqui in action. What we didn’t do on the warm up was experience the full horrors of the mud, just viewing the drier sections of the course, by accident! (Later that evening I saw a Facebook video which made it look like a clip from Zombie Apocalypse!)

A carefully arranged tree provided an additional challenge. Hurdle it or step on it – that was the choice.

John goes for the “Camo” look in attempt to sneak up on big Jon. 😊

Pink arm sleeves aren’t compulsory club kit but they get you noticed!

Attempting to hover over the water…no chance, it was deep!

Mark’s game face, I think he was enjoying it! Sharp eyed will spot Stu Towns attempting to find a drier line….there wasn’t one!

The finishing straight will be a little drier, err no I don’t think so!

The Nationals for the Senior Men are run over the 12k distance and are a tremendous test of fitness. Bringing the Harriers men home was Big Jon in 602nd place with 56:12. Next was John Heyes, 785th in 59:10.  I had my regular battle with Steve Nicholls, after Steve made his usual explosive start to the race acting as a target to keep me working hard on the 2nd lap. I finished 892nd in 1:00:36. Judging by the photos Mark and Stuart spent part of the race stalking each other. Stuart triumphed in 1:01:45 (967th) with Steve (1029th, 1:02:54) tucking in between them in. Mark finished in 1:03:03 in 1036th place. Meanwhile a little further back Jeff was getting into a real battle which even including runners being tripped up. Jeff stayed on his feet so I’ll leave the story at that! Jeff finished in 1673th place in 1:24:19.

I’m having you, Jeff on the charge!

Regrouping in the tent a quick squint on Strava told Mark and I that the course was longer and slower for us than three years earlier. On reflection no surprise bearing in mind the difficult conditions. There were 1716 finishers with plenty not able to hack the horrendous conditions. When the results came out it revealed the Men’s team were 81st.

If you ever get the chance, do the Nationals, there aren’t many sports where everyone has the chance to compete at a National level. Well done everyone!

 

Lancaster – Fixture 6

The last fixture in February – unheard of but with what was coming a few weeks later it was perhaps just as well the season was all wrapped up before March. By now most runners were deep into their marathon training and Cross Country was a tough distraction.

Seven ladies made the trip north with a very serious chance of claiming a league medal or even the title if results went their way.

A dry day but the wind! Both tents were flattened by the wind. In the end we persevered and pitched one behind a huge oak tree for protection. A few tweaks to the course to when I last ran there but enough in it to keep it reasonably interesting.

It was the return of the Magnificent Seven for the ladies. Vera Schleiffer joined the stalwarts with her Harriers XC debut!

Apart from the wind the conditions weren’t too bad for decent running with just a few patches of mud to dampen any over enthusiastic running! 😊

Vera made an impressive start to her Harriers XC running coming in just under a minute behind super Jacqui Jones. Jacqui was 39th in 29:18, a great result to cap off a fantastic season, clinching the Silver medal with a 2nd 🥈place in the L55 category. Well done! 👏🏼⚫️🔴⚫️👏🏼

Vera was 51st in 30:12, hope you enjoyed it! Next was Lisa Heyes in her 5th outing of the season coming in 68th place with 31:55. Dee Hughes was 90th in 33:38, Rachel Lawton was 10th in 35:29 and Pauline Foster was 109th in 36:08. Great running from our ladies team.

Leading lady for the season was Marie Jarvis who ended up overall in 17th place, well done! 👏🏼

The performances from the ladies were very consistent over the entire season and they were well in contention for the prestigious Gold medal. In the end they were only denied that on countback of race times as their points tally matched eventual winners Blackburn Harriers. A big congratulations to the Ladies on winning the Silver medal.🥈

Representing the men in the final outing of the season were Paul Carter, John Heyes, Tony Foster, Mike Harris (scribe), Sanjay Bisnauthsing, Jonathan Kearsley, Steve Nicholls and Mike Vose.

The Ladies did a fantastic job of capturing the men in action.

There was some swapping of positions in the middle of team.

Mike Vose wasn’t put off by his Northern XC outing and was ready for more action.

As ever John kept his happy face on, he loves his XC that lad! Going into the last race John was well in the hunt for a medal in the V50 age category.

Amongst the men there was some trading of positions a few times between Sanjay, Steve and myself. Always good racing against team mates as well as other clubs, as it forces you to push on with some extra effort. XC is more about places than times so each athlete you pass boosts the team position.

Inevitably Jon Kearsley led the men home again in 29th place with 37:49. This gave Jon a great 22nd place in the season’s standings, a brilliant set of performances.

Next in was John Heyes, clinching a bronze medal 🥉with 50th place in 39:17. Next was myself in 40:40 in 70th place (Really enjoyed that season!), closely followed by Sanjay in 74th in 40:53 and Steve in 76th in 41:02. Nothing much between the three of us. In 186th place was Paul Carter with 49:07, Tony Foster in 192nd with 49:58 and finally new regular Mike Vose in 212nd place with 54:50.

For the season the men did enough to retain their position in Division two but with a strong showing from their old codgers managed an excellent bronze medal 🥉in the V40 league. Well done Gents! 👏🏼

I would like to take this opportunity to do a shout out to Juniors and parents who turned out for the Harriers this season. I’ve not mentioned them in the reports but it was always great to see them amongst the results. Well done all.

Finally with a word count approaching 2,500 I would like to thank all the senior athletes who turned out this season. We wouldn’t be a team without you. ⚫️🔴⚫️

Ladies roll of honour in no particular order (numbers are XC appearances)

Vera Schleiffer 1
Rachel Lawton 4
Katrina Hamilton 1
Jacqui Jones 6
Kelly Anne Towns 3
Lisa Heyes 5
Laura Dootson 1
Marie Jarvis 4
Pauline Foster 4
Danielle Brearton 2
Sarah Coates 1
Jayne Salloum 3
Davina Hughes 3
Carla Taylor 2
Michelle Jones 3

Men’s roll of honour in no particular order (numbers are XC appearances)

Steve Pendergrast 1
John Heyes 7
Mike Harris 8
Steve Nicholls 6
Jon Kearsley 6
Stuart Towns 6
Paul Fitzsimmons 1
Tony Foster 4
Mike Vose 2
Sanjay Bisnauthsing 2
Stuart Fairclough 2
Jeff Darbyshire 6
Mark Morgan-Hillam 4
Chris Simpson 1
Mike Casey 3
Darren Jackson 1
Paul Carter 2

 

Cross Country – The first half!

I was always determined to write the end of season Cross Country report before the end of March. Why? Well if it was anything like my recent attempts to blog it wouldn’t happen otherwise. I also associate March with being the last month of the season so it was rather surprising we were all done by the end of February. One month on it was just as well we had finished as March turned into the most bizarre month (with more of course to come!)

Added note – it of course took me ages to complete this blog!

A very wet and muddy and muddy Cross Country season, that is probably the biggest understatement ever! It was just as well we started the season with a couple of brand new tents. Thankfully they survived the season and were reasonably clean when we put them away but more of the last fixture later!

Ulverston – Fixture 1

We started the season with a September away day to Ulverston. We ended the previous season there so it seemed strange to be back there so soon. Now my memory is getting poor with old age but I do recall the savage weather forecast being incorrect and we were treated to some decent sun. A course shoehorned into the space available at Glaxo sports ground, it was the 3rd time we had competed there and it was a decent benign opener to the season. With it being further afield it’s always a good place to earn good team points if you can get a team out. The ladies got their season off to a great start with a brilliant 3rd place overall and 3rd within Division one. Blackburn Harriers taking the win.

Ladies team – Laura Dootson, Kelly Anne Towns, Jacqui Jones, Lisa Heyes, Rachel Lawton and Katrina Hamilton.

The men were able to watch as the course got slowly churned up. There are a few sections of hard ground so it’s one of those courses where the jury is out on which shoes are best.

The men were starting to sweat on whether for the second year running we would only have 5 and not the 6 required for a team score but thankfully 6 rolled up! Steve Nicholls running with a cough, any thoughts of suggesting he sat it out being put on the back burner!

Jonathan Kearsley got his season off to a flyer with a great run although he was aided by some pacemaking for the first 200 metres from Steve “Go out real hard” Nicholls.

Bringing the men home then was the Harriers blond bomber Jon Kearsley (big Jon) in 35th place. His love of the mud only rivalled by his love of his dry robe. Of subtly different dimensions but not lacking any speed was the other John – of the Heyes variety. Apart from a small scare at the end of the first lap John had 2nd place covered off for the team. After briefly surprising John I held onto 3rd place. Although I was reasonably fit from Autumn marathon I have no recollection of actually feeling it as I made my way around multiple laps. A good reminder of how good Cross Country running is for your fitness! 4th for the team was Steve, then Stuart Towns and Steve Pendergrast. I may have remembered this incorrectly but I think it was Stephen and Katrina’s first XC race and it was great to have them there as without them we wouldn’t have managed complete teams. Well done, a great effort as it’s a decent drive for your first outing.

Men’s team – Jonathan Kearsley, John Heyes, Mike Harris, Steve Nicholls, Stuart Towns & Stephen Pendergrast.

It’s at this point I cheat slightly as I wrote a report for the second race, although John Heyes and Stuart Towns said I only wrote one to illustrate they weren’t there! (They were off trying to win the Warrington Way pairs relay)

Hyndburn – Fixture 2

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!

Ladies team – Danielle Brearton, Marie Jarvis, KellyAnne Towns, Jacqui Jones and Pauline Foster.

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 Derbyshire and Mark Morgan-Hillam were the male line up.

It’s fair to say that the going was heavy and after a series of races to churn it up downright horrible in parts. There were a few runners who examined the mud in closer detail, Simmo not wanting to be outdone by Pauline doing a bit of a face plant too! Apparently the mud is good for your complexion!

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.

Men’s team – Jonathan Kearsley, Steve Nicholls, Sanjay Bisnauthsing, Mike Harris, Mark Morgan-Hillam, Chris Simpson, Stuart Fairclough, Paul Fitzsimmons, Tony Foster and Jeff Derbyshire.

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

Sefton Park – 3rd fixture

Sefton Park, one of the bigger fixtures on the calendar. A combination of leagues, a National series of events and a European Championships qualifier draws the athletes and spectators in decent numbers.

A fairly flat parkland course that drains well resulting in only a few patches of mud after poor weather. NOT THIS YEAR! After the wet weather we had in the autumn it was muddy on all of the course and very very heavy in parts. It certainly changed it from a course where it’s possible to run at your “road race pace”. It was only looking at the photos that reminded me how bloody awful the mud was!

Danielle had another great run coming home first place for the team and 10th in the ML race. Recovered from her cold was Marie Jarvis in 2nd place (21st) and final place on the ladies A team was Jacqui Jones who was having an excellent season. Overall we had 12 female athletes competing which was a fantastic turnout with a great 6th place.

Ladies team – Danielle Brearton, Marie Jarvis, Jacqui Jones, KellyAnne Towns, Jayne Salloum, Lisa Heyes, Davina Hughes, Carla Taylor, Pauline Foster, Rachel Lawton, Michelle Jones and Sarah Coates.

Now the men got to enjoy the course after everyone else had given it a right good chewing over. One time we should get to go first!

Check out the orange shoes and white socks sported by Jeff “Keen as mustard” Derbyshire. New on for Sefton, it’s fair to say they lost their glow after a battle in the trenches!

It was a tough day at the office but leading the men home was Tim Hartley with a fantastic 33rd place. Next home and 1st Vet Harrier was John Heyes with a super 52nd, this helped the Men’s Vet team to a great 3rd place, We had a strong team out but there was some serious switching around of finish positions from previous races!

Full Men’s team was Tim Hartley, John Heyes, Stuart Fairclough, Mark Morgan-Hillam, Steve Nicholls, Mike Harris, Chris Simpson, Darren Jackson, Paul Carter, Mike Casey and Jeff Derbyshire.

Next was a long break until the January races and a chance for Mother Nature to rustle up some extra mud!

To be continued……

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!