A competitive atmosphere was very evident at last week’s Chorley Inter-Club, not just club against club but within the ranks of Preston Harriers.
With championship honours being contested, the leading Harriers protagonists David Rigby and Robert Affleck stamped their dominance on proceedings right at the start.
As the race progressed each athlete ramped up his pace to test each other’s strength over the tough undulating Astley Park route.
The overall victory was decided by an explosion of pace over the last 400 metres with Affleck storming the line in 25.40 and Rigby pushing hard for second in 25.49.
The Harriers men continued to dominate the event with Gethin Butler taking a comfortable fourth in 27.56 and a trio of athletes following in close quarters with David Watson (29.24), Neil Mc Donald (29.36) and Richard Smith (29.37).
Next to stream through the line were Mark Lee, second MV50 in 29.57, Chris Wales (30.44), Paul Lightfoot (30.55), Billy Johnstone (31.03), Andy Grimshaw (31.37), Peter Cowling (33.03), Stephen Bonsu (33.48), George Green (34.03), Harriers stalwart Alan Appleby (34.08), Stephen Needham (34.11), Michael Brennand (34.16), Kevin Hesketh (34.26), John Bradley (35.09), Peter Carter (36.16), Steve Taylor (36.39), Dave Wakefield (38.52), Phil Lakeland (40.02) and Eddy Little (42.06).
The strength and depth of the Harriers men’s team was reflected in outright men’s team victory, overall vet men’s victory and a close second in the vet 50 and 60 category with everything up for grabs at the last Interclub hosted by Red Rose at Worden Park.
Preston Harriers’ ladies came out in force to be rewarded with outright victory on the day, with Becky Rigby making her presence felt as second female in 31.51.
Suzanne McGarry was the next lady through in 34.29 and she was followed in by Ambi Tipping (35.06), Jenny Gornall (35.14), Marian Hesketh (35.27), Charlotte Rawcliffe (37.15), Charlotte Bellamy (41.17), Kate Lakeland (42.04), Louise Gavell (42.11), Helen Boyer (44.07), Jo Grime (45.23), Adela Nuttall (47.11) and completing the Harrier ladies team was Dianne Brown
l Blustery winds and changes in the course made for slow times in the popular Birchwood 10K road race.
David Rigby was the first Preston Harriers athlete to finish in an excellent fifth place (32.56).
Chris Tully was 15th in 34.50 and Kevin Hesketh was second V60 in 39.01. Marian Hesketh was first FV60 in 43.38.
And in-form Affleck won the Wagon and Horses Half-Marathon in a time of 74.38 and Helen Boyer ran a personal best of 2.07.47 in the same race.
At the Northern Athletics Under-15s and Under-17s Track and Field Championships at Wigan’s Robin Park Stadium, agood turnout of 20 Preston Harriers competed.
The performance of the weekend came from Harriers’ Edward Jeans who won gold in the Under-17 men’s hammer with a throw of 58.76m, more than nine metres further than the silver medallist.
The result was all the more remarkable as Jeans has another year in this age group. In the Under-17s men’s discus he also took fourth place with a throw of 37.24m.
Silver medals were won by two athletes – Ava Louise McGuckian in the Under-15s girls’ pole vault with a clearance of 2.45m and Eden Ashton in the Under-17s women’s 80m hurdles in a time of 11.94secs.