The year ended with the Ribble Valley 10k at Clitheroe where we had a depleted team due to illness. That said, our team of 5 produced solid performances on a deceptively tough course. Veteran Tony O’Brien making his course debut took home 1st position in the V50 category with a time of 32:48 which was also good enough to win the V45 category (50th overall). Se Loughlin continued his recent good form with his 2nd best ever time of 31:32 and finished 4th Junior man. Thomas Harkin, with a season best time of 36:11 finished 5th in the V50 category. Paul Milburn (36:52) and Ste Bolton (41:47) both finished in the top 30%.
Cross Country County Championships
The Cross Country County Championships takes place each year in the 1st week in January just as the ground gets muddy. This year was no different at Witton Park, Blackburn, for the Lancashire County Championships as athletes came home with no shoes on or one shoe off. That aside across the Lancashire and Merseyside Championships we had some super performances.
Kirsty Longley, completed her 5th win in a row in the Senior Womens’ event at Merseyside, an incredible achievement as she came home 1st in 29:10.
Also at Arrowe Park we had a small contingent of young athletes with Harrison Wright finishing a decent 18th position in the U11 boys race and Sienna Hendley in the U11 girls race.
Thomas Harkin and comeback king, Bernie Murphy, were accompanied by Chris Pedder in the senior mens’ race with Thomas 5th V45 in 47:20, Bernie 1st V55 in 48:02 and Chris 1st V65 in 54:39.
Over at Witton Park, Matthew Bennet and Zac Macleod finished 8th and 18th respectively and can be proud of really positive runs. Hattie Loughrey represented our U13 girls and put in her fastest time yet with twins Zac and Fin Roach running well in the U13 boys race with William Roberts, who finished well in 19th overall.
Reuben Anderson, in his 1st club cross country had a great finish to end up 18th in 14:39 in the U15 boys race and Sarah Yates in the U15 girls finished 6th to claim a Lancashire squad place again. In the U17 women race the distance increased significantly and Anna Yates finished well in 11th position.
The last race of the day was our strongest performance overall. Olly Sutcliffe was composed throughout as he won the U20 event (11th overall), despite nearly taking a tumble in the mud, whilst Dan Jones had a super run finishing shortly behind Olly but still in the top 20% of all runners.
Ross Harrison tip toed his way through the mud and appeared stronger as the race progressed and was a comfortable 4th place, seemingly with too much to make up to gain 3rd with a few hundred metres to go. An unbelievable resolve in the last 100 metres saw him make up about 15 metres to take 3rd place shortly before the line. He was rewarded with a Lancashire squad place for his efforts.