Harriers aces take to the fells

Andrew Newton in action during the fourth leg of the fell relay

Andrew Newton in action during the fourth leg of the fell relay

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Preston Harriers entered theree teams at the British Athletics Fell and Hill Relay Championships took from Barley on courses set by host club, Clayton-le-Moors, on and around Pendle Hill.

The day was clear but windy, with a brisk east wind blowing across the high fell ads 147 teams participated, with six runners to a team, covering four legs.

There was some controversy over the entries as limitations were enforced on the numbers because of access and parking pressures in the village of Barley.

Preston Harriers entered three teams, but the planned veterans team was not allowed to compete because of the restrictions, so it was left to an open and a ladies’ team to fly the flag.

Leg one was a solo leg that did not visit the top of Pendle.

John Rainford ran for the open and Vicki Sherrington for the ladies.

Leg two was a pairs leg – a long leg, that included a long climb from Howcroft Brook and Ogden Clough to Pendle summit.

There was plenty of support for the runners on the climb too, and John Griffiths and Mike Burnham ran for the open team, whilst Ambi Tipping and Charlotte Rawcliffe did so for the ladies.

The third leg was a navigation leg, runners only finding out where they were going on the morning of the event.

Jon Green and Tony Livesey were 41st on their leg, whilst Lindsey Berends and Cat Slater picked up places too.

The final leg saw another long pull on to Pendle alongside Boar Clough. Andrew Newton ran the 22nd fastest leg and the open team finished in 74th place.

Mel Haworth was the last ladies’ team runner and they finished 138th in the final analysis.

The overall winners were Calder Valley.

Green Drive five-mile road race was keenly contested, with county and club honours at stake.

Preston Harriers’ David Rigby had a battle with local athlete Karl Billington, to be just pipped at the post for second overall in 25.10.

Harriers’ dominance on the day resulted in an avalanche of red, white and blue, with Rob Affleck pushing hard for third in 26.21, Gethin Butler fifth (26.43) and Andrew Benson sixth in 26.54.

Next to blast through the line was the ever improving Peter Cowling in 31.14 and he was followed in by Dominic Moon (32.19), Andrew Tranter (34.47), Phil Lakeland (38.11) and Chris Clark (52.06).

The Harriers ladies were headed by Karen Clark in 43.58, who was pressed to the line by Sue Wickham (45.11), Adela Nuttall (45.48), Judith Deakin (46.17), Angela Tranter (46.23) and Helen Boyer (46.26).