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Mid Lancs League Cross Country fixture at Hyndburn 10th December 2022

On a weekend of challenging weather, with many races cancelled, cross country runners battled through snow and ice to run in the Mid Lancs League fixture at Hyndburn. Numbers were down in all categories, with illness and injuries taking their toll on top of travel difficulties, but for those who were able to attend, the technical course provided a good challenge. Soft, wet snow drizzled down all afternoon, and this was a help to the runners, as it settled on the tree roots in the woodland sections and made them easier to pick out in the inevitable mud. Only a few Preston Harriers juniors took part. In the Under 11 Girls race, Georgina Andrews was 10th and Georgina Benson 20th, and Charlie Benson was 28th in the Under 11 Boys’ race. Adam Link placed 13th in the Under 15 Boys and Matthew Link was 23rd in the same race. Marian Hesketh was the only senior female to take part. Fell specialist Michael McLoughlin ran well to take 4th place in the V70 men’s category.

The real story of the day was the senior men’s race, where Preston Harriers were well represented and looking good for a high team placing. The men’s course covered 3 gruelling laps of muddy paths, with multiple tree roots and logs to negotiate. As if that wasn’t enough, a lack of marshals contributed to an error whereby some of the leading men set out on a 4th lap instead of sprinting for the finish line. Only the first 2 runners actually completed a 4th lap but about 12 to 15 set out on an extra lap before realising the mistake and turning back, finishing lower down the field than they would otherwise have done. After consultation with an independent official, the organisers decided that the results would have to reflect the order in which the runners crossed the line. The only other option would be to declare the whole race null and void. Preston Harriers were still first team, with the counters being Wesley Wilkinson, Matthew Sowerby, Sam Evans, Luke Suffolk, Andy Whaley and Steve Bone. All the right runners, but not necessarily in the right order.

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