Sat 9 Dec 2017, Leigh Sports Village The big question at the third Mid Lancs cross country fixture of the season was not so much whether it would snow but what shoes to wear. The course snaked its way round the outskirts of the sports village, across grassy areas, through thick woodland deep in mud and along hard, stony tracks. Some parts were very muddy, just right for spikes, but the more solid sections cried out for fell shoes. Whichever decision was made, there were moments when it was regretted.
Numbers were down on previous fixtures, but those who did run enjoyed some exciting racing. In the under 11 girls’ race, Preston Harriers were represented by Megan Reynolds in 23rd place, Ella Sturzaker (60th) and Rachel Thompson (69th). Hayden Ridgley was the best of the under 11 boys in 37th place and he was backed up by Oliver Adewale (58th), Joseph Thompson (65th) and Josh Perry (66th). The under 13 girls team consisted of Charlotte Mahoney (33rd), Rhiannon Magee (55th) and Megan Ind (56th). Jenson Warren (21st), Billy Reid (28th) and Vladimir Wiggins (32nd) made up the under 13 boys team which placed 6th, and Luca Barrow, Jamie Hawtin, Daniel Eastham and Harley Vickers also ran. Harriers’ under 15 girls packed in well, with Grace Brown in 8th place, Scarlett Sutton 13th and Jessica Watson 22nd to claim 3rd team. Callin Magee and Eva Sturzacker also ran. Only Luke Suffolk and Arran Baldwin ran in the under 15 boys’ race, and Eleanor Ward was the only under 17 woman from Preston Harriers to compete.
Harriers’ senior women took 9th place in the overall team competition and 4th in the veterans’ team rankings, with the scorers being Emma Essex-Crosby, Marian Hesketh and Amanda Ridgley in both. With the start of the senior men’s race, the snow did arrive, adding to an already cold and wet experience. Preston Harriers closed in two full teams and their A team won the fixture with some outstanding performances. Daniel Bebbington contested the lead in the early stages before eventually losing out to regular league winner James Douglas of Border Harriers by a mere 12 seconds after more than half an hour of tough racing. Andy Benson took an impressive 5th place and Richard Smith had another excellent run to finish 15th in a field of 230 runners. The other scoring members of the team were Matt Livingstone (32nd), Alex Waddelove (38th) and Ben Read (39th).