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Northern Cross Country Championship – Saturday 28th January 2017

The prestigious Northern Cross Country Championships returned to Knowsley Safari Park for the first time since 2014. On that occasion, there were very strong winds and this time, after heavy overnight rain, the course swiftly became heavy and energy sapping with the hills and undulations to deal with too. Preston Harriers juniors, especially, coped extremely well and it turned out to be a highly successful day and one to remember with past achievements at this competition.

In the junior men’s race, Patrick Dever, bidding to retain his title from last year at Blackburn had to settle for 2nd behind Scott Beattie of Morpeth. The team, however, took a hard battled first place in a close contest with Holmfirth Harriers. Tiarnan Crorken was 23rd, Jake Lonsdale 26th and Chris Durney 31st. Ben Read was 66th.

The Under 17 women finished 2nd in the team event and they really closed in well in the first race of the day over 5.3k. They had relatively better conditions than later on. Blythe Fourie was a very good 14th, with Eleanor Ward 25th, Ella Moulding 27th and Alice Miller 48th. Sophie Rotherham and Charlotte Morris also ran and helped the team to the placing. The U15 girls took a team bronze in their race over 4k. Lucy Treaddell was an excellent 8th, battling strongly through her run, and Darcey Lonsdale was 18th, Alissa Darbyshire 64th and Caitlyn Preddy 97th. The value of packing in on team placings is highlighted here, as Liverpool Harriers, the team of winner Ella McNiven, only finished 4th. Nathan Dunn just missed an individual medal by finishing 4th in the U17 men’s race. He was only four seconds off third place. Adam Roberts, Will Howard, and Matias Grixti all ran too. Thomas Barnes in 18th and Ethan Warren in 21st were high up in the U13 boys race. The ladies race, when underway, finally saw the sun come out and there were determined runs from Katey Foster, after being unwell, in 90th and Emma Essex-Crosby in 120th. Sue Wickham and Olga Wiggins also team counted, with injury and illnesses restricting the turn out. Claire Duck of Leeds City retained her title from last year. The senior men’s race saw 676 finishers and Daniel Bebbington was 41st and Andy Benson 82nd over the gruelling 12k distance. The team, with six to count were 20th. Ben Connor of Derby won comfortably.

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