Harriers back in track action

Amy Lupton in action at Hull

Amy Lupton in action at Hull

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The track season opener saw Preston Harriers’ Under-20s and Under-17s teams travel Pitreavie in Scotland and battle to finish third, just a point behind Doncaster in a tight match.

The Under-13s and Under-15s teams travelled to Sportscity in Manchester to take on the best clubs in the top division of the North.

Hosts Sale won the match with Harriers a clear second.

Many athletes were competing for the first time, with 24 personal bests contributing to a brilliant result. If the team continues to maintain second place then the national final beckons.

On the Sunday, the senior team, who compete in the top Northern Division, had the long trip to Hull. Despite a depleted team, the athletes who went filled events that were not their first choice to cover for those athletes that were unable to go and recorded a brilliant win.

This was Harriers’ first ever win in Division One.

Result: Preston Harriers 357, Kingston upon Hull 351, Derby 347, Sale 317, Wakefield 276, Blackburn 235.

With the missing athletes returning to strengthen the team for the next fixture then Harriers have a real chance of winning the championship for the second time in their 128-years history.

The only other time they won the championship was in 2012 – without winning a single match. Last year they finished fourth.

Harriers athletes took part in the Sherriff 10K at Scorton, a race named in tribute to Philip Sherriff who sadly lost his life at just 37 years old.

Leading the Preston Harriers charge was Rob Affleck, who initially permitted the leading pack to set the early pace over the first climbing mile but gradually picked them off as he ramped up the pace.

As the miles rolled on, Affleck established an unassailable lead and establish a new course record of 
34.32, well clear of his nearest rival.

Next Harrier home was Neil McDonald, who paced himself well to enable him to fend off a late surge from a chasing pack over the closing mile, to set a respectable 38.34 for sixth overall and reap the rewards of first MV45.

Sue Wickham, who used the race as preparation for the Windermere Marathon on May 18, was content to finish strongly in 66.05.

Bank Holiday Monday saw the second annual Avenham 5K race staged on the banks of the River Ribble.

Preston Harriers’ Gethin Butler got stuck in at the front of the leading pack right at the start of the race to storm the line in 16.20 for second overall with Jason Parker pushing him all the way for fifth place in 16.52 and David Watson in a respectable 10th overall in 17.40, first MV45.

In close contention was Paul Lightfoot in 17.53, who was followed in by two improving athletes Daniel Whitlock in 18.10 and the mighty 
William Johnstone 18.55 first MV50.

Preston Harriers continued to stream through with Steven Macuras (19.35), Andrew Tranter (21.23), Vicki Sherrington (23.38), Chris Brown (24.53), Angela Tranter (28.52), Andree Helm (30.29), Clare Parisi (32.10), Victoria Carson (32.11), Beverly Flood (33.47) and Diane Brown (41.04) to complete the team.

In the Fun Run, Preston Harriers was well represented by Tegan Macuras who battled all the way to the line in 4.35 for second place overall and first female home.

Annwen Butler pushed hard all the way in 5.39 and was followed in by debutant racer Leah Mackay and Mary Tranter to complete the Harriers junior team.

The British Masters 10k road race championship for 2014 was incorporated into the Grand East Anglia Run, and two members of Preston Harriers made the long journey to King’s Lynn to test themselves against the best masters runners in the country.

Kevin Hesketh was fifth in a very competitive MV60 field with a chip time of 38.13 and Marian Hesketh was first WV60 with a chip time of 43.01.