LEIGH Harrier Lauren Howarth started for Great Britain in the European Cross Country Championships at Budapest on Sunday.
Lauren, 22, was running in her fourth European Championship and finished in a fantastic fifth place in the ladies U23 championships; competing over a challenging 6 km five lap course made more difficult by a covering of frozen snow and with temperatures below freezing.
The race did not start well: on the first lap, one of the Soviet runners stopped after losing a shoe and tripped several runners including Lauren. Undaunted, she quickly got back into the race and battled hard to catch up with the leading group, crossing the line in 5th place in a time of 20:53 the second counter for the GB team and the winner of a team silver medal.
l In the Mid Lancashire League at Kendal 10-year-old Ben McLaughlin, one of a squad of young talented runners at Leigh Harriers, won the U11 boys race; over a one lap 2000mts undulating course. Ben raced hard to the line winning by two seconds in a time of 6:36.
l Leigh & District Primary Schools Cross Country Championships.
Leigh Harriers sponsored and hosted the first of two Saturday morning Primary Schools Cross Country meetings; 11 schools took part with over 200 young athletes competing in four races. The first race of the morning was the Year 3/4 girls race won by Alanah Hutchinson in 6:40, Second was Jess Unsworth in 6:57, and third was Jacey-Lee Unsworth in 6:59. The team race was won by Lowton West with 43 points, and joint second was Atherton St Philips 56 points and Sacred Heart Hindley Green 56 points.
In the Boys Year 3/4 race first was Coel Mellor 5:43 Chow Bent, second Joseph Sweeney 5:49 Sacred Heart Leigh and third Tyler Coldwell 6:17 Lowton West. Team winners were 1 Lowton West, 2 Parklee Atherton, and 3 Sacred Heart, Hindley Green.
The girls Y 5-6 race was won by Keely Hodgkinson Atherton St Philips in 5:25, second was Hannah Sheehan 6:14 X11 Apostles and third Emily Guerin 6:26 Lowton Westpark; the team race was won by Atherton St Philips and joint second were Lowton West and Sacred Heart Hindley.
The boys Year 5/6 race was won by Kyle Jones 5:18 Parklee Atherton, second was Connor Wyatt 5:23 Sacred Heart, Hindley Green and third James Williams 5:27 Lowton West. The team winners were Sacred Heart, Hindley Green, second Lowton West and third St Georges Central.
The second race will be on Saturday, January 13 where team prizes and overall school winners of the two races will be presented. The overall team positions are very close in most of the age groups with Lowton West and Sacred Heart, Hindley Green very close for overall School winners.