Cross Country Section
Holmfirth Harriers head North
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Herrington Country Park Sunderland was the venue on Saturday for the North of England Cross Country Championships. The beautifully landscaped park, once home to one of the North East’s largest coal mines and over looked by the famous Penshaw Monument provided a wonderful venue for the North’s largest cross country race of the year. Twenty four junior athletes and ten senior athletes from Holmfirth made the journey to the North East and competed alongside over 1500 athletes from all over the north of England.
Holmfirth’s top individual results came in two of the junior races. In the U13 boys race Lewis Byram, improved on his 9th position in last year’s race to finish in 5th in the u13 boys race. After a slow start Lewis worked his way though the field during the second lap to finish fast closing down the leaders. Max Kaye, who at last year’s championship was forced to drop out due to stomach cramps made up for his disappointment from 12 months ago and had a fantastic race to finish in 6th place in the U17 men’s race.
Bronze Medal for Holmfirth’s Ladies
The highlight of the day’s racing came from the senior women’s race. The ladies were back on form after a disappointing show in the Yorkshire Championships, and the team showed their strength in depth with excellent individual efforts being rewarded with bronze medals, a first in the club's history and beating tough competition. The 8.2km 2 lap course was very muddy and tough going by the time the ladies race started. Katie Walshaw led the team home in an excellent 13th place in a time of 32:50. Helen Berry ran an excellent race in 23rd (34:07) and with Kath Farquhar (36:25) and Claire Leaver (36:42) having good runs in 62nd and 64th respectively, the team finished in 3rd place, just 2 points ahead of Hallamshire, who had kept Holmfirth out of the medals in the recent Yorkshire Championships three weeks previously. Lucy Griffiths (38:34) and Cara Penfold (40:18) , who have been reliable and loyal club members this season, both ran well to finish in 93rd and 114th. The team event was won by Bingley and the race was won by Susan Partridge of Leeds City in 30:38.
Good performances throughout the age groups
With the ground still hard with frost the U15 boy’s race was first event of the day. Three young athletes from Holmfirth contested the race; Aaron Arthur was first home in 89th position in a time of 18.28, Eddie Hinchliffe hard on his heels in 93rd and Robert Hinchliffe 98th. Also running early in the day were the U13 girls. Five girls from Holmfirth competed. Olivia Sykes was first back in 34th place, Erica Byram followed Olivia home in 45th spot, Lucy Byram next back in 83rd and Daisy Hinchliffe the final team counter in 102nd place. Genieve Durrans ran well for 118th place. The girls team finished 10th.
The ground had started thaw by the time the U15 girls and u17 men raced. The girls raced over the same distance but much muddier 4.25 km course as the U15 boys. The Girls team of Ruby Sykes, Lucy Farquhar, Sophie Spencer and Sophie Williams finished in 16th place; Ruby first back for the team in 51st, Lucy 79th, Sophie Spencer 87th and Sophie Williams 137th. In the U17 men’s race Max Kaye (6th) was joined by Max Lawton and Jake Richardson, both of whom ran well over a challenging 6km course to finish in 78th and 111th place respectively.
The U13 boys had to wait until the end of the junior programme for their race and with 8 boys from the club in this age group and 4 to count for the team hopes were high. Lewis Byram (5th) was first back for the team followed home by Aaron Kettlewell in 23rd and Seth Waterman in 31st. Bradley Bedford completed the team places in 54th place. The team finished in 5th place only a few points separating them from the bronze medal position. Backing up these team counters were Andrew Farquhar 70th, Lewis Bartholomew 78th, Ben Dickinson 90th and Joe Williams 117th.
The last, longest and muddiest race of the day was the senior men’s 12km event. Contested by 500 men and won by GB international Tom Lancashire the race also featured 5 Holmfirth athletes. Richard Smith was first home for the club in 87th place (45:28), followed by Alistair Langron 147rd (48:43) ,Nathan Martin next home in 162nd place (49:38), David Williams 197th (50.45) and Brandon Holroyd 339 (57:20).
As the day was drawing to a close Holmfirth’s athletes and loyal band of supporters boarded the bus and headed south for Holmfirth to prepare for the final race of the season , the English National Championships at Alton Towers on 19th February.