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

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!

 

 

 

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!

Northern nutters!

Northern Athletics Cross Country Championships over the years have delivered some very trying days out. Slushy icy snow, heavy mud, hail stones have been just a few of the interesting conditions “Mother Nature” has thrown at us!

Did this cause our four Harriers any delay in signing up? Hell no! They were on it “like a tramp on a kipper”!

The setting was in the parkland grounds of Harewood House just north of Leeds. A quick google on the morning of the race confirmed the venue as being rather posh with a very large open parkland estate.

After a decent journey the four Harriers managed a rendezvous in the car park. No mean feat as a thousand cars, trees and plenty of grass don’t lend themselves to be very good indicators of where you are! It was also useful that although we were in the middle of nowhere there was actually a mobile signal!

We then attempted to work out what the course was like. This proved to be a tough ask as the course for the men was two laps of 6k each, rather long for a warm up. We contented ourselves with just getting a flavour of it and figuring out the start and finish areas.

In essence the course was rough open grassland with a few swampy areas. As usual the more heavily trafficked areas had cut up a little. It twisted and turned over a vast area of the estate managing to take in plenty of climbs. It certainly seemed like it was going to be breezy in the exposed areas (the whole course!!)

We watched the start of the ladies race. The photos don’t do justice to either the spectacle of hundreds of ladies charging across a field or the toughness of an UPHILL start!

After not really enough time for a decent warm up it was game on for the Senior Men’s Race 12k, 2 laps. 😁

Newcomer to the fold was Rick Rose-Coulthard. Rather impressively wasting no time in getting involved and representing the club at Cross Country. Rick was joined by three Cross Country stalwarts…Mark Morgan-Hillam, Kevin Edwards and Mike Harris. It promised to be an interesting battle, Kev and Mike certainly felt like they were lacking a surname in the fight!

Mike nearly missed the start after undergoing an emergency last minute dash to the portaloos! At least a few fast strides were managed as warm up getting back to the start line!

The men do the full course which is the outer perimeter of these pretty coloured loops.

Rick shot off at the start and took an immediate lead among the Harriers. The  course was fantastic but tough going in places. There was some mud, spongy grass, breezy exposed areas and hard climbs. It was however constantly changing in character which kept things interesting. Rick maintained a decent lead throughout the first lap, hundreds of runners means it’s often hard to see your clubmates out on the course. Lap two really closed things up. Mark was creeping up on Mike with Mike in turn closing in on Rick. With a couple of miles to go it was really hard to call how the Harriers order would pan out. Meanwhile Kevin was having a fantastic run picking his way through the field.

With about a mile to go Mike got in front of Rick and by the time of the switchback hill climb it was easy for the three Harriers to see each other! Mike  was desperate to avoid any “sprint finish shenanigans” against younger legs ran hard downhill. Mark ” Week long taper” Hillam-Morgan finished strongly to bag third spot with Kevin nowhere near where he feared he might be – “The back” Those dozens of Haigh parkruns meant Kev was strong for those cheeky climbs!

Out of 761 finishers our guys were…

336rd Mike Harris 52:08

345th Rick Rose-Coulthard 52:25

362nd Mark Morgan-Hillam 52:44

660th Kevin Edwards 1:03:58

As you can tell from the after race photo we were well pleased with ourselves. A tough 12k but satisfying nevertheless. The event was a trial run for holding the National Cross Country Championships in 2019. It was definitely a thumbs up from Wigan Harriers and we should definitely make sure we enter teams next year! A great day out was then rounded off with the Harriers party night! Happy days! 🍺🍷🎟🎉

 

English National Cross Country Championships

A year later and the same three Harriers were taking on the Saucony English National Cross Country Championships, Steve Nicholls, Mark Morgan-Hillam and myself Mike Harris. This year they were being held at Wollaton Park Nottingham, ever since it was announced Steve had been saying what a great course it was, so it was hard to resist (well hard to resist if you are mad for a bit of XC!).

The previous month’s Northern XC Champs had dampened my enthusiasm slightly as the course was really tough and not pleasant or enjoyable in anyway. I hoped Steve’s pre-race talk about the course was accurate.

A two hour journey got us to the regal setting of Wollaton Hall. Rolling grassland with a herd of deer complete with an ornamental lake as a back drop. I carefully avoided the muddy patches of the car park after bad experiences of Arley Hall but this was an early indicator that the recent rains might have dampened the course a tad.

Overcoming dodgy mobile signals we eventually found each other and swapped pre-race excuses, nothing like having a team brimming with confidence. 😂

Walking across to the changing room marquee we saw a few younger lads completely covered in mud. Well, we are clever blokes and quickly realised that this was a sign of rather interesting conditions to come. The warm up realised the course to be grassy, undulating with a steep climb in the larger laps but we didn’t see much mud.

The start of the Nationals are always interesting. Last year the ground was firm enough so you could hear and feel the rumble of 1500+ runners storming across a field. This year tussocky grass dampened the enthusiasm of all but the most committed but Steve “my calf feels dodgy” Nicholls decided the best way to ease into the race was to try and get into the lead for the first bend, he nearly succeeded. Mark went off more conservatively (unusually) which meant I could still see him after 100 metres!

Being in amongst 1800 runners means it’s quite tricky to suss where you are on the course, concentration levels need to be sky high as frequently there are fallers you need to dodge. Anyone veering off course could have been followed by a 1000 blokes as we certainly couldn’t see the tapes. A few guys were in trail shoes, which were not coping well with the grassy slopes. After a few minutes we discovered why everyone had looked so muddy. A deep stinky muddy trench, impossible to avoid.💩 Photos afterwards showed people both submerged to their shoulders and face planted in this mud, nice! You will all be pleased to know your Harriers threesome avoided this fate. ☺️

Now the course turned out to be a sort of “inverted russian doll”, every lap got longer but kept all the interesting stuff like the hill and the stinky mud. A decent challenge but certainly very runnable.

Very early in the race an uncomfortable looking Steve came back to me, clearly bothered by his dodgy calf. It wasn’t long after I past Steve that he called it quits and joined the 100’s of spectators.

I was starting to enjoy the race as it became apparent that apart from a few hazards the rest of the course was very good. It was around three miles in that I spotted Steve on the sidelines, he shouted me on and said Mark was just ahead. Now Mark is clearly a much better runner than me so I just assumed he was running to a strategy. Around 3.5 miles I caught him, by this point I was slightly confused just how many laps we were doing. My watch clearly indicating there was a long way to go, plenty of time for GB Sticks to storm past.

Each lap took us past the spectators by the finish line and the noise they created was phenomenal. There was no chance of hearing an individual shout. Thankfully Mark’s family were positioned on the quieter stretch of the hill so provided a welcome morale boost before the lactic burn kicked in. It was clear now a few runners were starting to suffer and it was possible to gradually move through the field. Unlike a normal XC there were a lack of familiar faces to measure your performance against, you just had to try and keep pushing on.

The final lap meant one last big effort. The convoluted nature of the course meant it was far from clear how far you needed to travel to the finish but eventually it came. Not long after Mark crossed the line too to ensure 2/3 Harriers got round safely. 852th place in 53.18 was the reward for my efforts, not often you can be pleased with coming in the top 1000. Mark came 964th in 54.38. To put this into context there were circa 1800 runners and we both ran sub 7 minute miles for nearly 8 miles through plenty of bog. A good effort but the real challenge was still to come….cleaning the mud off. Not sure my toenails will ever be clean again. 😂

The Magnificent 7 and the Lone Ranger

Knowsley Safari Park was the scene for the Northern Athletics Cross Country Championships, two laps and then the lions are released well that’s what we joked but those poor lions 🦁 wouldn’t have stood a chance of making it through the swamp.

Many have bitter memories of running at Knowsley, for good reason, it’s usually tough and Saturday didn’t disappoint. Let me make one thing very clear, the photographs do NOT do it justice, it was very heavy mud in most of the course.

First up was the Ladies race. First place Harrier was Pauline Foster with a very determined run. Well done Pauline, our lone ranger. Pauline ran the two lap course in 52.28 coming home in 317th place out of 362

When Pauline realised she was our sole female competitor there was no complaints or grumbling, she just got on with it and did herself proud.

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Meanwhile the men sorted themselves out for a team photo in the nick of time. GB “social media” Sticks resisted the temptation to try a team selfie and chose someone slow looking to take the photo. The men had seven so barring two drop outs we were good for a team placing.

Now my warm up had consisted of running over to collect the numbers and then over to the only part of the course that wasn’t muddy so I have to admit a slight tinge of guilt that I underplayed the course to Northerns newbie David Barton. He has recently joined in on the delights of XC experiencing the joys of Towneley Park too. David you now deserve an easier one!

Kev Total Warrior Edwards was ready for the challenge in his trail shoes and white socks (did they wash alright?), fair play to Kev, XC is not his favourite and it never was at the peak of his powers but when he can he joins us and he always makes a great contribution to the team. Thanks Kevin.

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Three laps and 12k of undulating muddy hell. Here’s some action shots…

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Finishing line photos.

I think we all burst down the finishing straight, joyous that it was over at last!

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There was plenty of on course support, thanks support crew. 🙏

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Men’s results then…a total of 676 finishers (plenty pulled up!)

166th Tesfagaber Waldu 50.58

263th Mark Morgan-Hillam 54.23

332th Stephen Nicholls 56.38

349th Mike Harris 57.26

432th Gary Wane 1.00.42

454th David Barton 1.01.49

615th Kevin Edwards 1.11.52

Team result was 34th out of 50 teams. Well done fellas!

Two more Mid Lancs fixtures and the Nationals to go, how exciting!

 

Cuerden Valley Cross Country

This Saturday sees the 2nd fixture of the Mid Lancs Cross Country League take place at Cuerden Valley Park in nearby Bamber Bridge.

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Although the area for club tents is sloping (lol!) we aim to take the tent and flag to claim a small portion of Lancashire for the day.

Cuerden Valley course description

You will notice there is a choice of car parks, all around the perimeter of the park.  The nearest is the one off Berkeley Drive (this is the main car park for the park). If this is full you will be directed to one of the others.  If you are arriving late it may be better for them to head for one of the other car parks.  Clayton Green Asda on the east has a large car park and it’s now possible to use the car park of a closed down hotel; Pines Hotel 570 Preston Road PR6 7EB.

Not sure whether you are ready for this then take a look at this article for some encouragement.

What’s it all about?

We need at least 12 men and 6 ladies so everyone registered with the club is welcome to join us. Coffee and cake to follow!

If you want any further advice then ask the coaches at training.