Young Harriers enjoy testing themselves at Sportshall event

Indoor athletics, cross country and the fells feature strongly in the Horwich Harriers calendar at this time of year and last weekend was no different.

It was the Greater Manchester Sportshall championships at SportCity and Harriers had plenty of representation.

Sportshall introduces young athletes to indoor track and field through a variety of events; traditional track races as well as agility activities such as the speed bounce and the vertical jump.

Thea Sherlock and Anna Hart just missed out on medals in the speed bounce and triple jump, but gold medals came in the vertical jump under-11 girls’ event for Abigail Ajet and the u13 boys’ vertical and long jumps for Chidera Ajet.

Abigail then got a silver in the long jump and there was a silver, too, for Evie Parker in the u15 girls’ speed bounce.

Sarah Lawman, Anna Hart and Chidera all just missed out on medalling in the one-lap u11 race, while in the three-lap u11 boys’ time trial, Malachi Howard was well ahead in his group which earned him a gold medal.

Chidera and Archie Parker ran the two-lap u13 final and Chidera won a silver medal in a very close photo finish for first place.

Malachi missed out on first place in the boys’ u11 race final, beaten by the dip on the line – but got his third medal of the day.

The u11 boys’ relay final was eventful. After a great start from Malachi, Jack Johnson fell but, doing the best for the team, picked himself up to pass the baton in fourth place to Joshua Gregory, followed by Bobby Redfern for the final leg and they narrowly missed a medal place.

The two-lap u11 girls’ relay was the event finale. The girls had worked hard on the crucial relay skill of handovers and after a long day they finished in a respectable fourth position.

Coach Siy Sherlock said the day was full of highs, lows, tears and smiles.

He said: “As I keep telling our athletes, this is a journey where there are no losers only learners.

“If you win, then celebrate and plan how to repeat the feeling; if you don’t win, then reflect on areas for improvement and work on them for the next event.”

Elsewhere, it was the second round of the South East Lancs Cross Country League at Heaton Park where the u11 girls were out in strength with nine Harriers taking part in temperatures hovering around zero.

Grace Freary and Sarah Lawman were second and third, and were joined by Anna Hart to take the first place in the team competition ahead of five other clubs.

The u17 races saw Charlotte Wilkinson take second place and both Emma Bradley and Ted Billington got sixth places.

Amelia Shan and Grace Mort are regular competitors for the Harriers and featured strongly in the u13 and u15 races. In the senior races, Richard O’Reilly took second place in the M55 category and Alison Mort was third F40.

On the fells, Suzanne Budgett, who has had a great running career at many of the tough races, surprisingly ran at the Winter League for the first time.

The League, hosted by Helm Hill runners at a range of superb locations in the Lakes, had its first race at Scout Scar and it saw Budgett demonstrate her prowess in finishing first out of nine women in the W60 category.

Graham Schofield is a regular at these races and a past series winner, and at Scout Scar he was third of the men in the M60 category.

At parkrun this week, the icy weather prevented some events taking place so at Heaton Park and Peel Park there were more than 1,000 runners.

At Peel, Aidan McKenna had his best parkrun result in 21st place out of 441 runners with a time of 20mins 3secs.

At Heaton Park, Maria Lowe was the first F40 runner, Tony Hesketh was the second M70 and Sean McMyler was the third M60.