Leigh Harriers’ ladies were again on top form at the second Red Rose Cross Country League match at Blackburn’s Witton Park on Saturday; the course is a true test of cross country running with the ‘saucer’ and the ‘spoon’ hills to negotiate on each lap.
The ladies two lap 5km course included two ascents of each of the hills. Laura Riches, although suffering from a cold, made light of the course winning the race in a time of 21:22, leading the team of Angela Allen 11th 23:25 and Georgina Leck 12th 23:29sec to first team place. Other good runs in the ladies team came from Ursula Mellor 28:53 Trudie Criscuolo 33:55 and Carly Sinclair 33:41. Leah Peploe, running in the same race in the under 17 ladies category was 3rd in the race 23:08.
Harriers rising star Keely Hodgkinson, not to be outdone by her senior team mate won the under 11 girls race over a 1.7km two lap course to make it two wins out of two. After a hard fought battle which saw the lead change several times, Keely crossed the line a deserved winner in a time of 6:17. The new young team of Emma McIntyre 7:40, Hannah Geeson 7:57, Joanna Smith 8:17, Gemma Smith 8:17, and Megan Geeson 8:30 won third team place.
The senior men’s team were also in good form. Tony Battersby lead the team challenge over a tough 10km four lap course with eight testing hills; Tony started the race circumspectly working his way through the field into 5th place in a time of 37:32, Liam Moore still only 18 years old ran a well-judged race in 7th place 38:06, Jamie Hunter 8th 38:20, Tom Knellor 10th 38:40, John Howarth 19th 40:04 and Phil Williams 39th 41:59 were just one point off winning the team race, still a top effort from the lads. Good runs also came from Martin Conroy 44:25; Adam Howarth 44:32 and Andy Howarth 48:04.
The under 11 boys and the under 15 boys teams both won their respective team races. Ben McLaughlin, still battling for that elusive first place, was second in the under 11 running a 1.7km two lap race finishing in a time of 6:07, Kyle Jones 10th 6:28 and Shea Mellor 13th 6:38 were the winning team scorers; good team support runs came from Kieron Kinealy 6:40, Billy Blain 6:49, Coel Mellor 6:51, Lewis Pickersgill 7:19. The under 15 boys ran 4km one lap course; James Wardle who is gaining confidence with every race battled hard to win 2nd place in a time of 14:44, Sam Wardle also ran an outstanding race finishing in 5th place 15:13, Dominic Howarth was 16:31 in 17th place in the race securing first team place, Tom Eldridge 19:30.
In the under 15 girls race, Olivia Stone came in 17th in 19:06, Eleanor Bond 19th in 19:12 and Melissa Evans 33rd in 22:33. The under 13 boys race was over a 2.5 km course; Kristian Wade showed lots of potential in his third race for the club finishing 8th in a good class field in 12:23, Alex Pickersgill 15:13, Ben Fisher 16:27. In the under 13 girls race Eve Williams placed 22nd 14:07, Sanna McClean 36th 16:07, John Churton was 10th in the under 17 men’s 5km race in a time of 20:53.