It’s that time of year again and early December means only one thing; cross country at the notoriously and gloriously muddy Marl Pits. This fixture brought the Red Rose League to a close with some great results for the club. You’ve also been tearing up the tarmac at Guys 10 and Todmorden Park as well as additional cross country and the Shropshire Fells
A warm welcome to our newest members; James Dunderdale, Lucy Scott, Julie Newton, Michael Toms, Teresa de Curtis and Jessica McBride.
THURSDAY 1 DECEMBER
TODMORDEN PARK 5K WINTER SERIES – RACE 4
Martin Brady and Ron Chappell took part in the fourth race of the Todmorden Park 5K Winter Series organised by Cannonball Events. Martin was 23rd in 23:25 and Ron was 37th and 1st MV65 in 29:22.
SATURDAY 3 DECEMBER
BLACKBURN WITH DARWEN SCHOOLS CROSS COUNTRY
Natasha and Bronia Olszewska both ran in the Yr 8/9 girls race. Bronia finished 19th and Natasha was 5th and goes on to compete for Blackburn Schools at the Lancashire fixture.
CARDINGTON CRACKER FELL RACE
Andy Firth and Pete Browning travelled down to Shropshire to take part in the Cardington Cracker Fell Race organised by Telford AC. It a 9 mile race with 2602ft of ascent. 252 runners completed the race.
Report from Andrew Firth
This is the third year running that I’ve made the trip down to Shropshire for this festive race, having been told how good it was by Jon Sharples. It’s a fair trek, but a good excuse for a weekend away, but it could be done in a day trip with an early start from Lancashire.
For the first time I wasn’t the only Clayton Harrier in the race, Peter Browning also came down for a weekend away in his camper van. The race always attracts a good field, although the club vests in this part of the world are unfamiliar, although yellow vests appear to be prevalent (Shrewsbury, Mercia etc).
As the 250+ runners set off my objective was simply to try and keep Pete in sight. The run out to the first main hill, The Lawley, is over gently rising farmland. Although the stiff frost had firmed up the mud there is a section where we are routed up a very muddy and unpleasant bridle way to avoid a kissing gate at the top of the very nice path which runs parallel on the other side of the hedge!
After about 10 mins of gradual climbing we plunge down a steep descent which is quite treacherous since it is still in the shade and frozen. After a short marshy section I look ahead only to see The Lawley rearing up in front of us for a good 10 mins of hands on knees climbing, and the first of three tough climbs. I’m getting quite warm at this point, in the sun and sheltered from the wind – as expected Pete is pulling away and disappearing over the top.
As always I enjoyed the descent, but the run across to the next and biggest climb Caradoc is quite tough, muddy fields, a bit of uphill road and a bridle way. Once on the climb I look up to see Pete quite a way ahead. As he climbs out of bracken I time myself to the same point – approx 3 mins, I’ll do well to peg him to that. When we get to the top and start the ridge run he is nowhere in sight. It’s amazing how 3 mins looks like a small gap on a climb but on flatter ground he isn’t in sight!
Another steep and technical descent sees me reel in a few runners, but the link to the next hill is uphill reducing most people including me to a fast walk again.
After the checkpoint at Gaerstones farm we start the last steep climb (although there’s still more climbing to come) and I spot Pete up ahead – again on the climb it doesn’t look too far so I pick a spot and time myself to the same place. Only 2 mins, and whilst I’m thinking I have made up some time I’m not kidding myself that I can catch him. The remainder of the race is exactly the sort Pete thrives on – after the initial climb it eases off with a gradual climb to the final summit. Again on the ridge Pete almost out of sight and I don’t see him again till the finish.
Once at the final hill checkpoint a steep descent to the valley again in the shade is tricky on the frozen path, but I got good grip by tramping down on the dying bracken gaining a few more places. All that is left now is a gradual climb up to The Wilderness and a ridge run before the gradual descent to the finish through the fields we started on. It’s all I can do to keep the legs running, but now I’m aiming at a sub 2 hr finish it gives me the motivation to just about grind it out.
At the finish I just dip in under the 2 hrs with about 20 secs to spare – some 4 mins quicker than last year. Pete as expected picked up the pace and took a couple of mins out of me on the run in – finishing in about 1.56.
In summary this is an excellent race, made better by the perfect sunshine and finished off with Sunday lunch in the historic Royal Oak pub with Pete and Sandy. A grand day out.
MANCHESTER AREA CROSS COUNTRY LEAGUE – HEATON PARK, MANCHESTER
The Manchester area cross country league was established following the merger of the Manchester & district, the Cheshire and the North West Women’s Cross Country leagues in 2006. The league provides competitive cross country running across all age groups.
Laura Hesketh was our sole competitor in this event and she finished 8th overall in and 4th senior woman.
NWNL HAMELDON HILL
Jean Brown took part in the second event of the North West Night League orienteering event which took place on and around Hameldon Hill & Woods.
RED ROSE CROSS COUNTRY LEAGUE – MARL PITS
This was the fourth and final fixture of the Red Rose series at the infamous Marl Pits site. Despite the driest conditions for many years, there was still plenty of mud on the course.
Our U11 boys continued their winning streak with first and second places for Dexta Thompson and Robbie Smedley. Together with Jenson Bentham in 12th they took the lead in the team results finishing in 1st position.
Helana White was our first U11 girl finishing in 3rd place overall. The U11 Girls’ team finished in 6th place (H White | S Hargreaves | K Thompson).
The second win of the day came from Jackson McKay as he battled a group of fast Horwich Harriers to take first place. The U13 boys’ team finished in 4th place (J McKay | C Brown | L Jackson)
Ella Dorrington was our first U13 girl in 11th place overall. Together with Keira Stevenson and Bronia Olszewska, the team finished in 9th place overall.
Stanley Grewal was our first U15 boy in 19th place. The U15 boys’ team finished in 5th place ( S Grewal | J Bowman | A Stevenson)
Second place for Briony Holt in this race. Millie Stubbs followed in 9th place with a battle for third Clayton finisher between Liberty Thompson and Natasha Olszewska. The U15 girls’ team finished in 2nd place.
Curtis Holt was our first U17 finisher in 7th place, followed by Simon Wilshaw in 8th. The team was completed by Reece Lawrence in 12th giving the U17 men’s team 2nd place.
Lucy Stevenson was our sole competitor in this age category. She finished in 10th place.
George Pier was our sole U20 representative and he finished in 7th place.
Louisa Powell-Smith had a great run to finish in 2nd place and 1st L35. Katy Thompson was 1st L60. Our ladies team finished in 8th place (L Powell-Smith | M Abbot | C Darling-Smedley). The same ladies made up the ladies’ vets team and finished in 3rd place.
Report from Louisa Powell-Smith
Marl Pitts – I loved it! Great course, super atmosphere and great team support. Brilliant running from everyone on a testing course. Good battle between myself and Laura Riches of Leigh for first place. After gaining the lead and pulling away on the last lap I fell victim to the bog on the hill and as a result lost the lead. Despite fighting back, I had nothing left in the tank and had to settle for second place.
Despite it reportedly being the driest the course has been in recent years, the bogs were still there and still claiming shoes, feet and legs. Michelle Abbot had the misfortune to misjudge the mud and ended up waist deep and having to be rescued by another runner. Undeterred, she worked hard to catch up and pip team mate Cassandra Darling-Smedley to the finish.
Danny Collinge was the first Clayton man and finished in 5th place overall.
Jeffrey Pickup was 1st V65. The Men’s team finished 6th (D Collinge | M Perry | M Duckworth | A Cran | G Pier | N Roscoe). The Vet men’s team (A Cran | N Roscoe | J Pickup | J Wilcock) finished in 10th place.
Report from Matthew Duckworth
Marl Pitts, what can I say! One of my favourite fixtures. if you ever think its an easy XC fixture because it’s shorter than usual, think again! With the steep, muddy climbs and the bog you have to run through at the top, it becomes one of the toughest. The conditions this year were pretty good really but after most of the cross country so far being quite warm and good underfoot, it was a completely different race in Rossendale on Saturday.
RED ROSE CROSS COUNTRY LEAGUE SERIES RESULTS
This has been a great cross country season for our juniors in particular with some excellent performances and results from the U11 boys and U 17 men. Individual wins for Dexta Thompson and Jackson McKay and excellent results for many others. Our senior result reflect the fact that no seniors managed to compete in more than 3 of the fixtures due to a clash with Mid Lancs this year and most choosing the Mid Lancs Fixture.
U11 Boys – Our U11 boys have taken the team prize with Dexta Thompson and Robbie Smedley taking 1st and 2nd place in the individual rankings.
U11 Girls – Our U11 girls’ team has finished in 5th place. Helana White finished in joint 4th place overall despite missing a fixture and a bout of appendicitis; a superb result for her.
U13 Boys – Our U13 Boys’ team finished in 5th place. Jackson McKay has finished in 1st place in the individual rankings.
U13 Girls – 9th place for the U13 girls.
U15 Boys – 4th place for the U15 boys
U15 Girls – 4th place for the U15 girls
U17 Men – 2nd place for the U17 men’s team
Ladies – with a clash of fixtures between the Red Rose and Mid Lancs cross country leagues none of our ladies ran all four fixtures as they opted for the Mid Lancs option. In fact, only Michelle Abbot and Christine Leathley qualified for the rankings having both competed in 3 fixtures. Michelle was 6th L35 overall and Christine was 2nd L65.
Our ladies team finished in 13th place. And our vet ladies were 8th.
Men – A similar story for the men. The men’s’ team finished in 6th place with the vet men in 8th place.
SUNDAY 4 DECEMBER
332 runners finished the rescheduled Guys 10 road race. Jacob Watson was our first Clayton man in 10th place overall and with a time of 00:58:50. Richard Stevenson made the top 20 in 01:01:14. Super vet runners John Hartley and David Scott were 1st MV60 and 1st MV70.
Elizabeth Mullan was our first Clayton lady in 88th place and 01:12:46 and we saw the welcome return from injury of Donna Airey in 124th.
Report from Irene Roche
A lovely, bright December morning saw members of Clayton-le-Moors Harriers running in the Guys 10 mile road race. Many of us had entries brought forward from last year’s cancellation due to flooding. What a contrast in weather! It was good to see runners return from injury – Michael Hogan and Donna Airey – with superb performances. Andy Quinn was spotted at the finish and pulled into the photo snap before he got away.
Michelle Butschok and Liz Mullan were extremely pleased with a PB each and Angela, Vicky and me came into the finish as one job lot. Our own club president David Scott and Ian Hargreaves kept with us for the first three miles, then both left us behind to gain around three minutes on us. Well done both of you – perhaps our conversation spurred you both on. Totally enjoyed the morning and I’m entering again next year.
Report from Donna Airey
Having only run twice in 5 weeks due to injury, the 9pm Saturday night decision to do the race was definitely a gamble. The ankle held up, unlike the rest of me. Struggling with the distance from mile 5, I was glad to see the finish line. Course, organisation and marshals and even the weather were all great! This race is definitely on my list next year. Ankle hasn’t doubled in size today and I managed to knock 5 minutes off my current 10 mile race time. Thankfully, the gamble paid off this time.
Report from Adam Stephenson
A good turnout of Clayton Harriers rolled up in Garstang on a lovely Winter’s morning for the Guys 10 miler. It was a mostly flat course, and it was a good job as well because I think a few found it tough. By the seventh or eighth mile I felt like I was running through treacle with boots on! It’s a nice and scenic route, and very well organised and marshalled throughout. I’d definitely recommend it to anybody wanting to have a go at that distance.
There were a few PBs from our group which is always great, and some cheese at the end! Oh…and a well-earned pint.
PFO HAMELDON HILL
The competition area is Hameldon Hill, with its extensive quarries and crags on the northern flank, and below them areas of woodland and the remnants of a WWII firing range
Report from the PFO website (abridged)
93 competitors at a PFO Level C event was a good turnout for this time of year, competing, as it did, with Christmas shopping. Thanks to the weather gods who smiled on us this year, remembering that our Pendle Night event exactly a year ago was cancelled due to Storm Desmond and our Pendle Day event involved some deep wading through Ogden Clough flood water.
All went well on the day with many comments and curses about the tricky nature of the quarries. Reeds on the open moor are inevitable in this part of Lancashire, so we cannot in all conscience offer apologies for this. Often the longer path route choice is quicker.
As they say in these parts, it was a grand day out.
Burnley parkrun – A total of 218 runners took part
Burnley junior parkrun – A total of 34 runners took part
|1||Nicholas HENNESSEY||6:57||JM11-14||New PB!|
|22||Emily JOHNSON||12:18||JW10||New PB!|
Chester parkrun – A total of 170 runners took part.
|77||Bethany WHEATCROFT||27:09||JW11-14||First Timer!|
Concord parkrun, Sheffield – A total of 83 runners took part.
|78||Robin PRICE||33:38||VM70-74||First Timer!|
Cuerden Valley parkrun – A total of 136 runners took part.
Fell Foot parkrun, Newby Bridge – A total of 123 runners took part.
Pendle parkrun – A total of 61 runners took part.
Preston parkrun – A total of 275 runners took part.