Clubs split across multiple counties tend to struggle in the team competitions leaving focus on the individuals and this year it was Kirsty Longley and Joe Niven who stepped up to the collect the top accolades with each picking up Merseyside championship titles at Stadt Moers Park Knowsley on Saturday.
Kirsty (29:39) whose performances having been outstanding all though 2019 kicked off 2020 in the same vein when she retained her Merseyside title showing great composure and experience in how to lead races from the front, opening up a dominant and unchallenged lead through the last lap. It was also a welcomed return for Kirsty Mckenzie (65th in 45:37) who continued her winter progression following her return from injury.
In the Under 20 men’s race, it was the turn of young Joe Niven (35:18) to shine as he kept close to the experienced shoulder of Kevin Usher within the ranks of the senior mens race, pacing superbly and showing great strength over the latter hills to break away from the nearest challenger.
The under 15 boys picked up a team silver with Mike Henderson 4th (15:30), Andy Storch 8th (16:18), Gideon Lucas 9th (16:20) and James Read 14th (17:34). Conrad Lucas narrowly missed out on a medal in 15th place (17:35). Emily Williamson (21:55) was the sole Merseysider for the u15 girls finishing 17th.
In the u11s; Thomas Henderson (6:35) took 8th and Keiran Edmunds (7:22) 16th in the boys race with Imogen Marshall (8:09) the only representative in the girls race taking home 19th.
In the u13s; Ben Turner-Bone (16:54) lead the boys home in 27th quickly followed by Evan Williams (17:09) in 28th, Ben Steele (19:54) in 36th and Charlie Steele (23:55) in 41st to finish 6th team overall.
In the u17s (who ran combined with the u20’s); Faye Hannaway (23:10) and Phoebe Lucas (23:46) worked hard together to finish 7th/8th respectively, 11th & 12th in the overall field.
Our senior men were far from full strength due illness and injuries but still performed well taking 7th team with Chris Maher (45:01) 8th and the evergreen Kevin Usher (v50 46:33) in 11th place, Tom Harkin (50:42) supported well in his first championship outing in 33rd supported by the bloody kneed Greg Callaghan (54:53) in 59th, Chris Pedder (60:30) in 90th, Dan Gilbody (60:42) in 93rd and Andrew Conway (62:16) in 101st.
For the other half of the club it was a trip to the big hill at Witton Park for the Lancashire championships where, in the u11’s, William Roberts (7:18) got the club underway finishing 25th in the boys and Libby Cocker (10:15) took home 43rd place in the girls.
Our under 13 girls narrowly missed out on a team medal finishing 4th lead home by a strong run from Sarah Yates who climbed a step closer to that elusive medal, beaten on the line to finish 4th (12:19), supported superbly by Susanna Owens 6th (12:37), Anna Yates 29th (14:13), Eve Maund 40th (15:53) and Skylar Lindsay 41st (15:58). In the boys race; Toby Farrer placed 33rd (12:27) and Matthew Carroll placed 44th (13:29).
In the u15s; Nicholas Usher placed 20th (14:15) accompanied by Daniel Dewhurst in 35th (15:38) followed by the girls duo of Kate Sutcliffe (15:51) in 20th and Alicia Woods (17:30) in 40th.
Another squad who also narrowly missed out on medals was the under 17 men, with Oliver Sutcliffe 6th (19:09), Jake Dickinson 9th (19:23), Se Loughlin 17th (20:20), Mark Roberts 20th (21:19), Jared Nicholls 21st (21:35) and Michael Kain 24th (22:26).
The senior women were represented by Rachel Yates in 28th (30:31) and Laura Purdy 45th (32:25), both placing in the top 10 V40’s. Harriet Foley was 6th (29:38) in the under 20 women’s race.
The other contenders for stars of the day were our under 20 men who picked up team silver with Ross Harrison 5th (35:53), Dan Jones 8th (37:04) and Adam Jones 9th (37:24). In the senior men’s race we again were far from full strength but finished in a reasonable 9th place with the additions of Kyle Nichols 72nd (40:45), Mike Gall 86th (42:22) and Mark Hudson 123rd (47:13).