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Lancashire Cross Country Championships, Witton Park, Blackburn – 8th January 2022

Despite the copious amounts of mud and the soggy ground, the Preston Harriers athletes and teams had a wonderful day at the Lancashire Cross Country Championships at Witton Park. Each county athletic association holds its own county championships with the majority all held on the same weekend.

At U13, U15, U17 and the seniors, the first six in each race are automatically selected for the prestigious inter-counties championships. At U20, it is the first four and in each event the Lancashire team manager has some more discretionary picks. The inter-counties event will be held at Prestwold Hall, Loughborough in mid-March.

Matthew Clark won the under 15 boys race over 3.8k and George Rainford was 7th. The team collected a silver medal each with Gordon Ballantyne (15th) and Tom Bates also counting.

In the U11 girls race, Georgina Benson was a creditable 14th, out of 29 finishers. New recruit Sam Ridgeway was 6th in the U13 boys race over one large lap of 3.2k & Lucas Cooke was 24th. Anna Pilling ran in the U13 girls race, also over 3.2k and finished 12th. Ava Jones took 4th spot in the U15 girls event, with Holly Moffat 17th and Natasha Cooke 25th. Charlie Haigh and Billy Reid were 14th & 15th respectively in the U17 men’s race.

The senior ladies team took a magnificent 1st place, with four of the club’s ladies selected for Lancashire! Over three large laps and a gruelling 6.7k, Emma McColm was a very good 4th in 26.09. Libby Huxley was 2nd U20, and 5th overall in the senior race in 26.39. Sophie Rotheram was 6th in 26.50 and Chloe Lam-Moores 9th in 28.49. There was excellent support from the other ladies and some individual medals were won too, with Marian Hesketh (2nd vet 65), Sue Wickham (2nd vet 60) and Adela Nuttall (3rd vet 60)

The senior men were the last to race, on now heavily churned up courses and four large laps over 9.8k became a real test of stamina. Nathan Dunn finished 6th in 34.35, with Ben Akin and Will Metcalf being together for much of the route, finishing 30th & 31st. With Mariusz Kovacs (46th), Jon Green (50th), and Steve Hallas (65th) the men were third Lancashire team and also placed third vets team.

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