Harriers’ mud and glory run

Meg Beckett (left) of Preston with Jessica Rogers (Blackpool, Wyre and Fylde AC)

Meg Beckett (left) of Preston with Jessica Rogers (Blackpool, Wyre and Fylde AC)

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Preston Harriers runners were in action at the Liverpool cross country at Sefton Park, one of the most anticipated events in the local calendar.

The event is organised by British Athletics as it is part of the renowned annual cross challenge series with prize money.

The races are also the trials for the team selection for the European cross country championships, with the top five being awarded as of right a Great Britain vest.

More than 2,500 took part as the venue hosted both the Mid Lancs and Liverpool Leagues within all of the age-group races.

The day was overcast with frequent rain showers as the day progressed, although fortunately the forecast strong winds did not come in until after the competition had ended.

The Under-11s went first and they returned mud splattered, which set the tone for the whole day. Conditions became slippery and challenging.

Harriers’ Under-13s girls had a wonderful race in the Mid Lancs set-up.

The first three – Alissa Darbyshire, Darcey Lonsdale and Annie Duffy – packed from third to fifth to win the team event.

Everybody showed real determination in the final straight.

The top-placed Under-13s boy was Thomas Durney in 12th in a very tough race.

The Under-15s girls also ran well over 3K. The team was second on the day, behind a very strong Liverpool Harriers outfit and Emma Fulton was 13th, Tegan Macuras 15th and Eleanor Ward 20th. Kate Danby was 23rd and Charlotte Morris 25th.

The Under-17s men took first team honours too, with a series of very good runs – Nathan Dunn was third, Jake Lonsdale sixth and George Warbuton 10th.

Louis Barrow, Adam Roberts, Dexter Sparrow and Byron Sowerby all completed the course.

To conclude the day, the ladies ran 8.1K and the men 9.8K. First lady finisher was Nichola Jackson in ninth and the men’s top Harriers finisher was Gethin Butler (32nd).