Grab yourself 10 free races!

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

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

Six ML and four Red Rose fixtures await you!

Cross Country fixture list link

You might have the company of some these fine people!




Rossendale Red Rose Cross Country

Kevin Edwards gives us his honest feedback on Rossendale Cross Country…

Marl Pits XC was the last fixture of the Red Rose League, after the last 18 months of being plagued with injures and set backs, I was determined this year I would complete a season of cross country races, whatever my level of fitness or injury.

The first 3 had gone without much incidence, yes I had fallen over on them all and turned my ankle, but that’s all part of cross country running, it makes you stronger for the road races in summer.

Well Marl Pits XC has a reputation of being one of the toughest XC courses in the northwest and I was not to be disappointed! Going into the race I knew my injury was far from recovered, but I wasn’t backing out, did a two mile run in the morning to see how it felt and I could put one leg in front of the other so that’s enough for me.

Battling my way through storm Desmond, I made it, always a good start with my navigational skills. Walking to the start I saw Andy Eccles in his car, I had secretly been hoping no one else from Wigan Harriers seniors would turn up to see my exploits, then I saw Tracy, Jane and Shona warming up and Dave Collins.

Me, Dave and Andy made our way back to the changing rooms (yes changing rooms we normally do it alfresco) everybody was joking and smiling in that sort of nervous way that happens before something really bad is coming up.

Warm up done. Off we go two laps round the field in ankle deep mud and water, a bit of water, well it is meant to be a cross country.

Argh first climb near vertical hill covered in mud, don’t walk little steps, keep moving, phew made it, didn’t fall over! Next big obstacle was a muddy decent with no path, a stream at the bottom with a plank over it about 6 inches wide, ok I admit defeat I am walking this one, there is no way mountain rescue are taking me of the course on a stretcher (yes, we had mountain rescue in attendance) ok crack on, next mud covered incline pulling myself up using every available tree within reach, hit the top, swamp, yes the swamp I had heard about the swamp but how hard can it be, very when you ignore the marshal and go left and end up waist deep in mud, pulling yourself out using you hands. We now start the decline back to the start, some were rocky narrow paths, some were slide down on your backside ones, some had ditches at the bottom, but the hardest was a 20 meter mud slide with spectators and cameras at the bottom cheering and waiting for some classic photo opportunities, made it down that one very slowly. Yeh back to the start, two more laps to go.

All this time I was getting passed constantly and getting a little bit dejected, my hamstring wouldn’t let me run and stride properly but come on man up.

Lap two was pretty much the same with me going really slow on inclines and decline, at the swamp I started to get lapped not just by 1 or 2 but it felt like the whole field, I just hoped Dave and Andy didn’t lap me.

Lap three, we are not going to DNF. Now I am right at the back of the field, not many people are passing me now, its just me sludging through the mud with me thanking the marshals, nearly home and a guy runs past me wearing running tights and a big waterproof jacket, the humiliation is complete.

Jane meets me at the finish with my jacket, I smile but inside I am far from happy.

Make my way back the changing rooms where gallows humour is in full flow, Dave and Andy already showered and changed.

Marl Pits is the top of my list for the hardest cross county I have ever run, even tougher than Knowsley in the snow, and you now what, I would do it again (maybe with a injury free hamstring) don’t give up, we will lose the occasional battle but the war continues.



KEVIN 161th out of 175
DAVE 60th
ANDY 94th


Congratulations Kev, great write up and excellent commitment to complete the series. Well done to all the Harriers who competed in the Red Rose series this year.


Cross Country season ahoy!

With the completion of the autumn road relays sees the start of the Cross Country season looming large.

As a club we compete in two leagues Red Rose and Mid Lancs which gives anyone really keen an opportunity to run 10 times! Don’t worry no expects anyone to be that foolhardy!

With all the talk of mud you might expect bogs and puddles but often courses especially in early season are benign and a great opportunity to improve strength and stamina. You’ll be following in the footsteps (but maybe slightly slower) of Mo and Paula who both started out competing in Cross Country events.

All the dates are now on the website so please have a look and see what you can do, whether it’s one, two or all, you’ll be guaranteed a warm welcome to the Harriers tent. Don’t worry all abilities are welcome and boxes of cakes are always a firm favourite amongst the Harriers post race.

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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!

Red Rose Cross Country – Leigh 2012

The cross country season got off to a flying start at Leigh Sports Village this weekend with the first fixture in the Red Rose League calendar. A total of 11 Senior Wigan Harriers turned out along with a further 9 juniors in a magnificent showing for the club. The rain finally gave it a rest and temepratures bordered on the downright mild as teams from across the region gathered to take on a fast, flat course.

The Harriers blue Gazebo made its first appearance of the year and kept the Senior Men busy for a good 15 minutes of organized haplesness as they shuffled around the field with a half built tent tryng to find shelter from the breeze. Only having 3 tent pegs left over from last season didn’t give great confidence that the gazebo would last the day. Fortunately Darren Middleton returned from a forgaing mission with a handful of extra pegs he had “borrowed” from around the venue. Darren again proved his blagging credentials in securing a set of safety pins for Mike Worsley who was contemplating how long spit and best intentions would hold his number to his vest.

Whilst the Senior Teams busied themselves with camping skills, Mathew Baptista was representing the club in fne style in the Boys Under 11 event. Mathew stormed home to 19th place in 6:34 to set the standard for the day. In the U11 girls race, Shona Taylors’ daughter Emily did her mum proud with an impressive 7:37 to secure 24th place.

Perhaps the result of the day went to Nathan Dunn who won the U13 boys event outright. Nathan ran a strong race to finish 9 seconds clear of the second place runner in 7:29. Well done Nathan. Kim Baptista and Alice Rowe took on the U13 girls race and both ran well. Kim came home in 6th place with an 8:38 run, and Alice was close behind in 9:01 and 13th place. Henry Lucas was our only runner in the highy competitive Boys U15 race and came home with a balanced 15:15 in 28th place. Rachel Sidebotham recorded a 16:18 in the corresponding girls U15 race for 18th place.

With the juniors having set the standard it was over to Jayne and Shona Taylor to follow suit for the Endurance Group in the Ladies race. Jayne put in a fine performance to come home in 21:58 and 18th overall amongst a very strong field. Her efforts secured 2nd place in her age category. Shona Taylor followed up her sterling performance in last weeks Relays at the same venue with a quality run for 70th place overall. Her 27:28 meant a fabulous 13th place in her category.

Wigan Harriers

Upon returning to the Gazebo, Jayne helped to inform the raging debate amongst the mens team over Spikes or Trail shoes when she reported heavy going on the big lap out into the country. With that hot topic settled, discussion then switched to Andy Eccles disturbing undergarments, and the possible benefits of Viagra in a cross county context. Disappointingly Andys girdle / nappy turned out to be a back warmer, and apparently the only sporting benefits to Viagra are to un-nerve the opposition.

The stirring sight of 9 of Harriers finest Senior Men took to the field wearing the red and black vests with no small amount of collective pride. For once it was a steady start with Dave Collins and Andy Eccles leading the way round the first small lap before the 180 starters headed out on the first of 3 big laps. Chris Burgess worked his way through the field to lead the Harriers charge with Darren Middleton and Barry Abram formed a pair running as 4th and 5th Harriers.

As the course re-enters the main field the Wigan runners were releived to see the Gazebo still standing, before checking ahead to guage the distance to the next Harrier. A few performances were boosted with both the prospect of chasing down a fellow Harrier, along with the the prospect of being chase down by the Harrier behind!

The ground began to cut up on the second and third laps it became clear that those who had opted for full cross country spikes had the advantage ver those shod in trail shoes. The benefits of a trail shoe on the firmer gravel path sections were lost by the lack of grip across the soggy fields and thickening mud.

Chris gives blood for the cause, and shows us what happens if you dont wear socks!

The first 3 runners home for Wigan Harriers crossed he line within 50 seconds of each-other. Chris Burgess marked his return to cross country in style as first Harrier in 39:37 and 51st place overall. Hot on his heels was Dave Collins in 39:42 as 4th V50 and 57th overall. Just 40 seconds behind Dave was Andy Eccles in 66th place and 6th V50 in 40:22.Similarly, there was barely more than a minute covering the next 3 team members with Darren Middleton in 42:02 (87th), Barry Abrams chasing him down in 42:15, (90th), and final scoring member Richard Noone in 100th place in 43:10.Unable to bridge the gap for a scoring place was Graham Millington in 112th place, who was compensated by an unofficial PB over 10k in 43:58. Also notching his fastest time over the distance was Stuart holding in 44:27 and 119th place. Not only did Stuart run a fabulous race, he achieved his main target which was to stay stayed upright throughout!

As all true teams should, the Harriers gathered on the finish straight to cheer each of our runners home. This team loyalty was rewarded as cross country debutante Mike Worsley made his way up the final few hundred metres looking like he had given everything for the cause. Club mates cheered him on and began to shout their warnings as a runner came charging from behind to make a bid for Mikes place before the line. Mike seemed oblivious and the charging runner quickly closed the gap and looked a cert to overhaul the Harriers runner until Mike suddenly realized the danger, and did a passable impression of a scalded cat  for the comedy finish of the day and a 50 metre sprint to save his place.

Mike Worsley smashed his previous 10k time recorded at the Great North Run with a fantastic 46:47.

A fine team performance all round and a hugely enjoyable day out for those who took part.

Red Rose Cross Country Results – Leigh 2012

Leigh Red Rose Cross Country

The first cross country fixture of the season will take place this Saturday with the Red Rose series opener at Leigh Sports Village.

Wigan Harriers hope to field as many runners as possible on this flat and fast course. There is no maximum number of runners per club with the first 3 ladies, and first 6 men over the line scoring for the A’ Team. However, if we are just one runner short the team doesn’t score at all which is why we are encouraging everyone to get along and take part!

Everyone resgistered as a member of Wigan Harriers will count for the club and Jaqui Jones has e-mailed everyone with the full list of those pre-entered. Non-affiliated competitors can register to run on the day for a small fee and their results will be counted towards the individual standings.

Race numbers will be available for collection from our Race Day Pavillion, (its a blue gazebo!), where Andy Eccles or Jayne Taylor will hand them out. We aim to meet up from around 12:45 to help Richie get the Gazebo set up, giving us enough time to sort out numbers and go for a warm up/recce. The Senior Ladies race start at 1.35pm with the Mens event beginning at 2.15pm.

For anyone who hasn’t run cross country before this venue is a great introduction with a mixture of hard path, tracks, grass and mud to tackle on a relatively level course. With the weather forecast looking reasonable, a good fell / trail shoe would probably suffice if you haven’t yet got hold of a pair of cross country spikes.

Cross Country 2012

The clocks will be going back soon, the nights drawing in, shorts put away in exchange for full length running tights and before you know it the Cross Country season will be upon us again! Mud, frozen sweat and tears await us as we dig out our spikes for our second season in the local leagues.

After a succesful campaign last year saw both men and womens Wigan Harriers teams promoted, the Senior Men will be competing in Div 3 this year, with the Ladies in Division 2. It is a sign of how much the club has expanded over the last 12 months that we hope to have enough runners to field a Senior Mens B Team as well as a full strength A Team in as many fixtures as possible. The list of dates can be found here: Mid Lancs Cross Country Fixtures 2012

Please pencil them in to your diaries right now and lets see if we can build on our glorious start last year with what promises to be a closely fought season.The fist Mid Lancs fixture is at Townley Park in Burnley on the 7th of November. With several of our runners taking part in marathons around this time, it is more important than ever to get a good turn out!

Given the greater numbers in the club this year we are also hoping to put out full strength teams in as many of the Red Rose Cross Country fixtures as possible this year too. Whilst we did contest many of these events last season, we didnt manage to muster a full scoring team home for either the mens or ladies squads. Lets aim to put that right with a good showing at the initial outing at Leigh Sports Village on Saturday 9th September.

Every paid up member of Wigan Harriers is eligible to compete in the Cross Country Leagues with just a nominal £5 entry fee covering all races in the series. If you take part in the Tuesday and Thursday training sessions you capable of taking part no matter what level of ability. The more red and black vests that turn out the better!