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Mid Lancs Cross Country – Saturday 15th October 2022

The first Mid Lancs League fixture of the 2022/3 season took place at Witton Park, Blackburn, a popular venue which hosts the annual Lancashire Championships each January, and at the end of January 2023 will also be the host venue for the Northern Championships. There was a full programme of races on the day, from under 11s to seniors and because the venue is host to a number of fixtures to follow, the race courses were slightly altered from what would normally be expected, with the senior men as a result, having to ascend “the saucer” five times on their 9.3k course. The day was dry after very heavy rain early in the morning and ground conditions were firm, although, as usual, the run down from the saucer to the notorious cow gate area was very muddy and sticky.

The under 13 boys’ team of Samuel Ridgeway (3rd), Hugh Smith (4th) and Lewis Nelson (5th) were first team home in their race of 3k. Charlie Woodruff was 9th, Samuel Bates 13th and Lucas Cooke 26th. Ava Jones was a clear first in the under 15 girls race, winning in 11.13 from Helm Hill`s Kate Collin (11.27) over 3k. Molly Taylor was 14th, Anna Pilling 15th, Lilly Washington 17th and Eloise Hallas 49th. Jenson Warren won the under 17 mens race over 4k in 15.36.

In the senior ladies race, Jamie Robinson had a very good race finishing 8th out of 152 finishers, and very unfortunately there was only one other runner from Harriers, Marian Hesketh, and a team score was not recorded as three runners are needed for the ladies.

In the mens race, Jacob Deacon (an U20) from Chorley AC and Tri was first, Ben Akin placed 17th and Sam Evans, new to cross country, was 27th. Luke Suffolk was 43rd and the remaining A team counters, where six are required in this race, were Andy Whaley, Steve Bone and Michael O`Donnell.

The weekend also saw the first event in the British Athletics Cross Challenge series, at the largely flat course at Llandaff Fields in Cardiff. Matthew Clark led from the gun to win the U15 boys race in 9.33 over 3.2k. Libby Huxley was 7th in the under 20 womens race in 15.02 over 4.4k.

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