Quine, who was forced to miss the event through
injury and recent illness for only
the second time in the 11 years that Manx Harriers
have been attending the championships, reports from
had New Year celebrations finished, than athletes were lining up for the
Lancashire Cross Country Championships at Blackburn.
With their annual trip, Manx Harriers made sure that some of the spoils were
brought home to the island on Saturday night.
Held over a
tough course which includes an energy sapping 400m hill, the Manx continued to
make their mark and a number are now hoping for selection for the Lancashire team for the Inter Counties Championships to
the held in March.
action were the under 13 boys and under 13 girls who were all making their
debuts in off Island cross country
competition. Despite all being understandably nervous beforehand, they all
coped very well and did not let the occasion get the better of them, the boys
being rewarded with a team bronze medal.
ran a very mature race, starting steadily and looking very strong on the hill
to claim 11th place. He was supported by Tom Bateson (15th),
Michael Callister (16th) and Richard Seed (19th). There
were 33 finishers.
did not want to be outdone by the lads. In a field of 45 runners, Nicola Cooil
was very impressive to finish 8th with Sophie Knox 17th, Bronwyn
Kaneen 29th and Leanne Garrett 38th. Unfortunately, this
was not quite enough for a medal the girls finishing 4th in the
All of the
youngsters will have gained greatly from this experience and are chomping at
the bit for more competition like this.
compete were the under 15s. After a very steady start, Andrew Newton really
started to move through the field. With about 1000m to go he was up to 9th
and his progress continued in the closing stages picking up two more places for
7th place. He was rewarded with a letter for possible inter counties
selection. It should be noted that in the corresponding race three years ago,
Keith Gerrard finished in 9th place.
Butterworth started a little quicker but dug in well to hold onto 12th
place. Ben Brand had breathing difficulties and showed determination to keep
going to the finish, coming home in 17th place. Who is to say that with hard
work and determination these lads cannot emulate Keiths achievements in years
girls event Ciara Kaneen was another making her of Island
cross country debut. She finished mid-field in 19th place.
with a big future in running should he decide to concentrate on it is Chris
Shimmin. In the under 17s event, he ran with the leaders until about half way.
Despite losing touch with the leaders, he consolidated his position in the second
half coming home in 6th place and therefore gaining an invitation
for the inter counties event.
corresponding event for girls, Dawn Georgeson ran with typical spirit for a mid
race position of 12th place.
these successes there was still a feeling that there was more to come from the
older athletes in the squad and they did not disappoint. In the womens race, a
very nervous Cal Partington made a steady start. Once into her stride as her
confidence developed, she started to gain places and with about a mile to go
held 7th place. She lost a place on the last mile but nevertheless
was very pleased with her effort and will hopefully look forward to more
of-island competition in the future. As a bonus, Cal was awarded 1st in the
veterans 35-39 class.
watched her daughters in action, Bridget Kaneen also competed and ran gamely
for 32nd place from the 50 finishers.
men (including veterans) and under 20 men started together, the seniors running
7 miles and the under 20s 5 miles. Keith Gerrard a first year under 20 went
straight to the front of the field and by the end of his five mile stint held a
lead of about 200m over the leading senior. Who is to say he could not have won
the senior race? This was arguably the run of the day in any age group male or
female and drew gasps of astonishment from many in the crowd as the young Manx
runner left the older runners trailing.
senior mens race itself, Keiths training partner Darren Gray had a storming
run to finish in 11th place. Again, great reward for his hard
training Darren finished 34th in this race two years ago and 65
last year. Just behind him Gianni
Epifani was 15th and old warhorse Andy Fox 16th.
question now was how fast would the team close in its six runners? With Murray
Lambden 28th, Mike Garrett 29th and Nick Percival 38th
would this be enough to regain the team title? The answer was yes rivals
Clayton-le-Moors had to wait until 59th for their 6th
runner to finish thus handing victory to Manx Harriers by 11 points.
more awards in the veterans races Andy Fox 3rd over 40, Murray
Lambden 2nd over 45 and Dave Newton a very surprised 2nd
completed a very successful day for the island club. Lots of money is invested
by the club in supporting this event and it is great to see this being
due to Andy Fox for organising the trip and to all the officials and helpers
who supported the athletes.