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Northern Athletics Mens 12 & Womens 6 Stage Road Relay, Blackpool, 25th March 2017

Updated: Mar 14, 2022

The Northern Athletics 12 & 6 Stage Relays were held at Stanley Park, Blackpool. Some of the outstanding individuals and teams in the vast northern region that extends from Derby to Morpeth, including international athletes such as Tom Lancashire, Ben Connor and Emma Clayton, along with other stars like Dejene Gezimu and Blackpool’s own Emily Japp, were among the headliners in a strong and high quality field. The races consisted of 9.5km long legs, four for the men and two for the women, and 5.2km short legs, eight for the men and four for the women.

In good conditions for running with little breeze, clear conditions and even the threat of some warmth, the racing was great for both the runners and the spectators. Preston Harriers entered a team in the men’s 12 stage relay and two in the women’s 6 stage relays. The men’s team was hit with several injuries over winter with some carrying injuries and illness on the day but in spite of this they managed to stay in contention for a top 25 place that would qualify for the national championship until the latter stages. The team, made up of Rob Affleck, Andrew Newton, Toney Donnelly, Jason Parker, Andrew Grimshaw, Dave Watson, Kevin Hunt, Neil McDonald, Lee Foley, Steve Hallas, Chris Miles and Alex Waddelove were on their limits and fought hard for 30th overall. Sale displaced Salford as the champions with an outstanding performance, in the lead for large portions of the race. Liverpool Harriers were second with Salford, including three former Preston Harriers, claiming third place.

The Harriers’ women’s teams had a good variety of runners from track, road and fell and were delighted to include some of the new club members who recently joined the club through the beginners’ fitness group. Preston’s A team, made up of Emma Essex-Crosby, Katey Foster, Sharon Wilkinson, Vicki Sherrington, Marian Hesketh and Loy Kalasiram, had a strong run and were in a constantly close battle throughout, taking 35th overall. The B team, made up of Felicity Cross, Sarah Wilson, Amanda Ridgeley, Judith Deakin, Sinead Sweeney and Kelly Grainger, and including several debutants, made a good show of it and displayed some strong finishes to take 50th position.

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