Many thanks to the team captains, Cathy Flitcroft and Dougie Potter for this report.
After an 11 year hiatus Preston's senior ladies regained the ladies team title at this years Inter-Club series, which is made up of 7 races between 4 -5 miles long, runs from April to
This year a squad of 30 ladies from Preston donned their blue vests with a view of improving on the team’s 6 th place finish last year. Helped significantly this year by some new faces at Preston including Michelle Chadwick, Chloe Reid and Charlotte Gregory, the team made a fantastic start by winning the first race of the series and then went on to win 5 from the 7 races. Charlotte Gregory in particular has gone from strength to strength throughout the series from finishing 9th female in the first race at Blackpool to 1st female at the final race at Worden Park.
Far from plain sailing though, injury and illness impacted the squad with numerous key ladies unable to compete across all the series, specifically Katie Littlefair, who from being a 100m sprinter dipped her toe into road racing and found herself to be a natural.
This win isn’t all about the ladies at the sharp end however, the depth of the squad this year has meant that Preston have been able to prevent other clubs from getting the points they need by battling right up to the line: no matter what position in the race, every lady played their part.
This win would also not have been possible without our backbone of ladies who completed 5 or more of the series of races: Laura Conn, Dannie Kyle, Becky Maughan, Katie Johnstone, Angela Tranter, Sue Wickham and Julie Tyrer and not to mention our super-sub Liz Horne who has only recently joined the club and completed the last 3 races in the series putting in a strong performance in each.
Preston Ladies are now looking towards the cross country season with a view of promotion from Division 2.
North West Relays: 9th September 2023
Preston Harriers Senior athletes were out in force at the recent North West relays at Heaton Park. In extremely hot and humid conditions both the senior ladies and senior men each entered 4 teams into this event which incorporated the Lancashire Championships.
These relays are always a very popular event and this year a total of 40 Lancashire teams across the senior categories took to the start line. The senior ladies event comprised 3 legs whilst the men ran 4 legs; in both cases each leg was 4.2km.
In the Ladies race, the 1st leg runners started strongly with an incredible run by Charlotte Gregory first Preston runner home in a time of 17:00 (fastest Preston lady on the day) handing over in 7th place. Hot on her heels was the next 1st leg Preston runner Imogen Blackwell who ran an amazing leg (17:19), followed by strong runs by Laura Conn (19:26) and Kim Slater (19:50).
Next it was the turn of the 2nd leg runners. Liz Horne continued her good form and led the way for Preston (18:25) and brought the team home in 6th place with Martha Rayner (19:59) and Grace Rayner (19:16) both putting in impressive runs and Julie Tyrer (24:54) pushed hard all the way.
As we entered the final leg the ladies continued to give their all. Chloe Reid brought the first Preston team home (19:17) finishing in overall 6th place, despite picking up an injury mid race. Lauren Waddington had a storming run (18:27) finishing 7th, Katie Littlefair (18:53) continued in her newly found fondness of road racing and ran hard, finishing 9th, and Victoria Duckett (21:05) ran a very respectable time finishing 14th.
In the Men’s race, 1st leg runners also started off strongly with Jenson Warren coming home the first Harrier, coming in 4th in a amazing time of 13:18 (fastest Preston Harrier). Not far behind was Sam Evans with a strong run (13:40), followed by the other 1st leg runners, Alex Venables (15:37) and Dave Lea (16:56).
As the 2nd leg runners came in, it was Billy Reid leading the Preston teams (14:28) with Luke Suffolk closing the gap with every stride (14:23). Following on were Stuart Nixon (16:04) and Gareth Fairclough (16:53).
The third leg runners were next and 1st Harrier home was Wesley Wilkinson with a great run
(13:51), followed by Alex Kerfoot (15:26), Josh Parratt (16:10) and Robert Conroy (16:54).
For the last leg runners, first home was Max Holden (15:39) bringing the team home in 6th followed by Chris Williams finishing 9th in a very impressive time (15:21), Dougie Potter, finishing 15th (16:44) and Brendan Pugh (18:04) who stepped up at the last minute to fill in, which was greatly appreciated, finished 19th.
Everybody gave it their all and that’s all the club asks at these events. I was also great to see our U20 males and females out in force to boost the senior teams and make this such an enjoyable event.
These relays are all about the TEAM. From faster to slower, everyone’s contribution is appreciated exactly the same. A very good day and great to see so many Preston Harriers vests. Hopefully this will continue as the club continues to bolster its senior members.