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2022 Latest News Race Reports

NATIONAL SUCCESS FOR HANNAH

Three of Bolton’s talented young athletes travelled to Bedford to compete in the 2022 England Athletics National U20/U23 championships.

U23 athletes Hannah Kelly and Olivia Kimbowa competed in the 400m. Hannah won this event last year and as defending champion had a lot to live up to. Despite a slight injury to her hamstring suffered 10 days earlier She was still extremely confident of competing well. She breezed through her heat to make the final as the fastest qualifier.

Medical student Olivia who was busy studying for an exam between races was drawn in the same heat as Hannah. She ran a valiant race finishing 5th just outside her outdoors seasons best.

Last up was Rebecca Weekes also competing in a one lap race but with the added problem of 10 hurdles to negotiate. 400m hurdles is an incredibly technical event and Rebecca didn’t hit the first hurdle as she wanted to and it threw her off her rhythm. However she battled right to the end of the race and came a creditable 6th in her first U20 championship.

The Sunday dawned even hotter than the previous day so rehydration and conserving energy was the order of the day. Hannah lined up in the final in lane 4 with her main rival, Natasha Harrison, one lane outside her. Hannah used all of her 200m speed to power through the first half of the race to be leading going into the second bend. She continued her momentum and was comfortably ahead coming into the straight. The win was never in doubt and it was a very proud moment for Hannah to retain her title and be crowned EA U23 national champion for the second year in a row.

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CHERIE BLOSSOMS

This years English Schools national championships took place at a sunny Sportcity in Manchester 9-11TH July. This event is the pinnacle of any young athletes competition calendar and is the largest junior athletics championships in the world. To be selected for your county is difficult enough but then to compete against the best athletes in your age group is a massive challenge.

Cherie Ufuoma was Bolton Harriers sole competitor this year where she was selected for the Junior girls 100m. The Year 9 Sharples School pupil qualified after winning the Greater Manchester county schools championships and with a top 15 UK ranking had high hopes of performing well.

She was drawn in the unfavoured lane 1 in her heat but despite this Cherie had no issues progressing through to the semi final easily winning her race in 12.58 seconds. Later in the day she was drawn in lane 5 in the second semi final with the UK’s 2nd ranked athlete to her left. She ran a very assured race to finish second and book her place in the final the following day.

Cherie knew preparation was everything so took on lots of fuel that night, had an ice bath to help her legs recover and an early night. More sunshine followed on the Saturday and Cherie duly lined up in the final with family, friends, her coach and her PE teachers cheering her on.

Nerves were jangling in the final and the athlete at the side of her twitched when in the set position and Cherie uncharacteristically made a false start. There were a few nervous moments hoping she wasn’t disqualified but the officials deemed it a faulty start and so she lived to fight another day. When the gun went a second time Cherie hesitated and didn’t get her usual blistering start. Despite running her hardest she finished an agonising 4th to just miss out on a medal.

It wasn’t all disappointment though, Cherie ran 12.48 seconds in the final which was not only a PB but also broke the Bolton Harriers club record. Cherie and her coach Les Hall are incredibly grateful to the PE staff at Sharples school who went above and beyond to enable her to compete in the qualifying event.

Next up are the Northern championships where Cherie hopes to bring home a medal.

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SUPER SUNDAY

 membership at Bolton Harriers with regular attendance to training sessions can equip anyone with a good  core fitness to then attempt all manner of events.

That was proven on Sunday 12th June when Endurance Group members travelled up and down the country .

The ‘Pot Noodle Club’ in the form of Lee Petch. Scott Bracey and Mark Garner took to the fells again in the Knowl Hill Fell Race. Our intrepid guys conquered six miles and 1300 feet of ascent.

After 2 years of postponement Mary Cheung finally got to run the Edgworth 10K. A well organised race with plenty of supporters and marshalls round the beautiful Enwistle and Wayoh reservoirs was Mary’s description. She said “I had almost forgotten how tough the route was made even tougher by an uphill finish. Great to have finally got that race done” !

Rachel Bailey decided that one race wasn’t enough and travelled to The Wirral for the Port Sunlight 5k/10k and took to the starting line in both races.  In warm but windy conditions Rachel completed the 1 lap of the village 5k in 20 mins 29 secs for 4th Female and managed a top 10 Female spot in the 2 lap 10k in a time of 40 mins 20 secs.

Then the tri-athletes chipped in. Kirsty Taylor and Chris Byrne successfully completed the AJ Bell World Series Leeds Standard Tri. Chris described the swim as pleasant apart from the ‘washing machine’ start, bike ride lumpy but no huge climbs and the run having 3 brutal climbs. He completed in a time of 2 hours 46 mins. Kirsty was not far behind in a time of 2 hours 57 mins. She was delighted and said “This was my best time so far and was only aiming for 3:15. Really pleased with the sub 3 hours and with a lot of pros taking part I found it a really exciting and enjoyable event”.

Not to be outdone Endurance Group Leader Aidie Costello navigated the Royal Windsor Tri. Described as a prestigious triathlon in a picturesque location with the backdrop of Windsor Castle and a great event village atmosphere. Aidie successfully completed a swim in the River Thames, a bike route through the streets of Windsor and surrounding countryside and a run through Windsor Great Park.

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BROOKS ON ADRENALINE

Wednesday 8th June saw the latest round of the CLGP in the form of the Haigh Hall 4 Miler with a lower turnout than usual from Bolton United Harriers.

Eight Blue Vests made it to the start line in good conditions for an evening dash.

Callum Brooks made a blistering start on the tail of the eventual winner but settled for 4th place at the finish in an excellent time of 22 mins 25 secs. He said later “the race went well and was more hilly than I had envisaged never having raced there. Like other competitors I started a little too fast but then managed to settle into a rhythm after the first mile. I am still learning in these races and I will definitely take some pointers from this one. I will be back working hard in training next week to be ready for the next series race – the Horwich 5 Miler. I am really looking forward to that one”.

The ever improving Scott Sunderland was second Harrier back in another excellent time of 25 mins 13 secs. This young man very rarely misses training and is reaping the rewards with his race results this year.

Heather Tomlinson (nee Brown) is back in business after her wedding and honeymoon in America. Heather and husband Will went on several trail runs on their honeymoon and she showed she is still in great shape with a gender 2nd finish in a time of 25 mins 20 secs. She said “Haigh Hall was my first race as newly wed Mrs Tomlinson. Felt good to be back racing again after a few weeks off with my wedding and holidays. It was a tough course and pleased with a 2nd place finish. The race was part of my London Marathon training plan which is the next big race on my agenda, as well as the CLGP races”.

Gary Porteous has his sights on a series age category medal. He is another in great shape this year and a regular training attendee. He came back with another top 5 age category finish.

Still fighting his way back to his best after setbacks galore Dave Chrystal as 5th harrier back in a time of 27 mins 49 secs. Fingers crossed this well respected Harriers committee member can get back to full fitness.

Two young Harriers, who often go on training runs together, were next home in the form of Rachel Bailey and Thomas Gore, 28 mins 8 secs and 28 mins 13 secs respectively.

Most weeks involve a race of some description for Mark Garner and this week was no exception with a Haigh Hall time of 30mins 13 secs.

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HARRIERS BACK ON THE FELLS

Sunday 5th June saw bog and rock hopping duo Lee Petch and Mark Garner turn their attention to the Edenfield Fell Race.

This 6.4 mile and 477 metre of ascent race starts with a long climb up to Cowpe Lowe, then a downhill section to the Pennine Bridleway and up again past Waugh’s Well. After the Well runners ascend yet again, to Whittle Pike cross. From there a tussocky descent takes competitors through a boggy section before a final calf-burning scramble, swiftly followed by a mile and a half steep downhill plummet to the finish on Edenfield Cricket Club pitch.

Both ‘Pot Noodle Club’ members were glad to see some flat ground at the cricket club with Mark clocking 1 hour 10 mins and Lee 1 hour 14 min

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HARRIERS HOST THE YDL

Saturday May 21st saw the YDL Round 2 at Levehulme Athletics Track hosted by Bolton United Harriers.

The club would like to thank all our officials, team managers, coaches, parents and of course the following athletes for their efforts: Summer Eden, Jennifer Ekiugbo, Alice Yoxall, Isobel Oxley, Mia Makin, Jessica Swales, Scarlett Thompson, Alfie Dodds, George Worcester, Finley Gibson, Ralphie Shore, Nathaniel Knowles, Marcus Valentine, Jamie Greenhalgh, Joshua Grundy, Benjamin Davies, Jack Hughes, Oliver Hilton, Harry Brown, Alex Preston, Max Preston, Jacob Kelly, Curtis Hornsey, Allyssia May, Matilda Hall, Ellie Deavall, Iris Beca, Princess Iwelu, Chloe Medard, Mollie Wood, Eva Blaney, Cerys Jones, Emilay Wood and Eloisa Dodds.

Many great performances on the day with the team finishing in 2nd spot and the results are attached.

Team manager Daran Makin had this to say “thanks to the athletes, thanks to the officials and thanks to every single person who helped out today. In my mind the event ran like clockwork and that only happens when you have a great team. I didn’t hear a single negative word from anyone today and Bolton were complimented quite a few times within my earshot. Congratulations to everyone involved.”

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MARK ON THE EDGE

Wednesday evening  May 18th saw the Blackstone Edge Fell Race in the South-West Pennines. Part of the FRA 50@50 Series, Blackstone Edge is a category AS Fell Race, covering 5.6k with 366m climb.

One intrepid Blue Vest took to the start line in the form of Mark Garner. Not fazed by any type of race Mark is a regular attendee at all manner of events. He said “Blackstone Edge is only a short fell race but the incline to the top is 20 percent. Most of time you are  pushing off your legs to maintain a steady pace to reach the top. The ground was boggy in parts and I had a few falls. The beauty of fell running ! I managed to pass a fair few on the downhill section and came in at 49mins in 130th place. I know I still have some improvement in me and aim to show it on the next one.”

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GREAT SCOTT !

Sunday May 22nd saw the Greater Manchester Half Marathon and 10k with 2 Blue Vests participating in the form of Scott Sunderland and Linzi Jones.

Scott has been a regular attendee and ‘flying’ in training recently. He has also  been putting in lots of long distance runs in his own time around Farnworth and Bolton. The young Land Rover Design Engineer is shrinking PB’s faster than his waistline, and is running better than the cars he helps to produce ! He absolutely obliterated his best ever Half Marathon by 23 minutes with a new PB of 1 hour 30 minutes. He was aiming for a sub 1:40.

A delighted Scott said “after the recent Manchester Marathon I was looking for another big race to participate in. The Greater Manchester Run is one I’ve wanted to do for a while and I really enjoyed the experience. I started slowly but I soon hit my stride and felt comfortable throughout. I upped my pace in the last 5k and had enough left for a sprint finish. Loved it !”

Linzi is a volunteer and coach at Bolton Harriers helping run the Falcons kids group along with her dad Gwylim Jones.  This also involves giving up time at the weekends attending athletics events. She is a busy mum with 2 daughters and works as a swimming teacher. Basically she is Bolton Harriers answer to Superwoman ! She has recently joined the Endurance Group to help with her own running.  She has made a solid start with just under 55 mins in the 10 k and said after the event “it was my first 10k in 13 years. I didn’t expect to get a good time. It was a great experience and I enjoyed the atmosphere with a big crowd cheering all the runners on.”

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HANNAH BACK ON THE INTERNATIONAL STAGE

Hannah ran at the Loughborough International on Sunday. She competed for the National Athletics League in the 400m coming third in 54.1secs. She then changed teams and ran for England in the first leg of the 4×400. England lead from gun to tape and ended up winning by 40m. Teams were England, Scotland, Wales, GB U20’s, Loughborough University  and the National Athletics League.

Everyone at Bolton Harriers sends their congratulations to Hannah.

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THE PIES THE LIMIT

Three adventurous Bolton Harriers journeyed to the Wigan Trail 10k held at Amberswood Nature Reserve on the morning of the 15th of May.

All debutants at this race; this intrepid trio were tempted across the border by the prospect of a flat scenic course, and also rumours of free pie and peas in the clubhouse afterwards. Clearly, while this is not generally part of an athlete’s strict training diet, they agreed to force it down so as not to appear rude.

The race got underway at 10.30 in the sunshine with the runners heading away from the sports club and into the depths of the woodland trails before emerging to head twice round the lake and then back for a finish on the grass next to the rugby pitch.

First back for BUH was Gary Porteous, who continued his excellent form, finishing in 23rd position in a time of 43 minutes flat. Gary said “this was a really enjoyable and well-organised race. The mixed terrain made it tough at times but I was pleased with my effort on the day which was a PB for a trail 10k”. Another PB for Gary, who has put his injury problems behind him and is putting in performances as dazzling as his luminous running shoes.

Second home for the Harriers was Dominic Sohor with a time of 44.02 in 38th position. Dominic described the event as “a cracking race in a lovely location. I will definitely be back next year as long as I can come up with another excuse for not being able to keep up with Gary”.

Completing the results for Bolton was Nigel Brodrick who put in a muscular performance crossing the line bang on 45 minutes (44th position). Nigel has really stepped things up of late, now that he has remembered how to get to Leverhulme Park for training and is producing some fine performances in races. Nigel described the post-race sustenance as “definitely worth running 6 miles for”.

All three agreed that they are hoping to be back at this race next year, no doubt accompanied by a few more hungry Bolton Harriers.

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RACHEL BAGS THE GOODIES ON THE QT

The New Balance Hierro Trail Race  was held at Hurst Green in Blackburn on Saturday 7th May. A single lap traffic free race from the golf course through Sandrock and Greengore.

Rachel Bailey had obviously been doing her research and what was not to like about a free race to enter with loads of goodies on offer. Obviously half of Bolton Harriers would have been there if they knew so best to keep this one quiet !

She duly romped home to 2nd placed female in a time of 33 mins 33 secs and glad she didn’t have a car full with her so enough space for all the goodies.

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SUNDERLAND POINTS TO A PB

Sunday 8th May saw the Chorley 10k. Endurance Group members Scott Sunderland and Mark Garner made their way to the two lap course, starting and finishing in Market Street and taking in Astley Park and the historic Astley Hall along the way.

The new slimline Sunderland stormed home to a 40 mins 54 secs PB and a top 40 finish. He said after the event “it was a great morning out on a hilly course. The first section was downhill and I managed to keep my pace and not get drawn into matching the fast starters. I managed then to pick my way through them by the end of the first lap. The second lap I became quite isolated and struggled on the hills. The excellent training I have received since joining the Harriers helped me through. It was worth it though with a Pb in the bag and a free Chorley Cake !

Mark made it home in a very respectable 47 mins 37 secs to finish 13th in his age category. A great effort from this busy athlete who is a regular attendee and who has been working  so hard in training.

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KIDS KICK OFF YDL IN STYLE

Sunday May 8th saw the first round of UK Athletics Youth Development League and a super team win for Bolton United Harriers.

Coach Les Hall said “we had many great achievements on the day but the highlight had to be the U 13 Girls equalling the club record in the 4 x 100m relay. I would like to congratulate Princess Iwelu, Chloe Medard, Tilly Hall and Allyssia May on a fantastic effort and winning their race by over 4 seconds”.

Harriers really excelled in the relays. Nathaniel Knowles, Ike Iwelu, Finley Gibson and Marcus Valentine were runners up in the U 15 Boys 4 x 300m in a time of 3 mins 4 secs. Isobel Oxley, Alice Yoxall, Mia Makin and Jennifer Ekiugbo won the U15 Girls 4 x 300m in a time of 3 mins 3 secs. Joshua Grundy, Benjamin Davies, Christopher Frank and Alex Preston won the U 13 Boys 4 x 100m in a time of 58.4 secs.

The club also  had many individual successes. George Worcester won the U 15 Boys B 100m in 14.7 secs. Ike Iwelu won the U 15 Boys B 200m in 27.2 secs. Jamie Greenhalgh won the U15 Boys A Discus emphatically with a throw of 25.59m and the Hammer B with 17.26m. Alfie Dodds had thrown the Hammer 23.14m in the A group for runners up spot. Cherie Ufuoma won the U 15 Girls A 100m in 12.8 and was runner up in the Girls High Jump A with 1.45m. To cap off an all action day Cherie threw the discus 18.85m in the Girls A event. Summer Eden won the U15 Girls Discus B with a throw of 15.07m.

Bolton Harriers would like to thank the Coaches in attendance Gwylim Jones, Les Hall and Ian Jakeway, Team Managers Daran Makin and John May, and the following athletes for their efforts: Alfie Dodds, George Worcester, Finley Gibson, Ike Iwelu, Nathaniel Knowles, Brajan Kaczmarowski, Marcus Valentine, Jamie Greenhalgh, Cherie Ufuoma, Jennifer Ekiugbo, Alice Yoxall, Mia Makin, Isobel Oxley, Jessica Swales, Scarlett Thompson, Summer Eden, Isobel Hall, Joshua Grundy, Benjamin Davies, Christopher Frank, Harry Brown, Alex Preston, Max Preston, Allyssia May, Ellie Deavall, Matilda Hall,  Iris Beca, Princess Iwelu, Cerys Jones, Mollie Wood, Eve Blaney, Eloisa Dodds and Chloe Medard.

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HARRIERS STUDYING SUCCESS

Chelmsford played host to the 2022 British University Championships (BUCS) weekend beginning 30th April and four Bolton Harriers represented their universities. They were  competing against many of the elite athletes in the country.

Edge Hill student Rebecca Weekes had a busy weekend competing in the 400m hurdles, 200m and the 4x400m relay. In her preferred event the 400m hurdles Rebecca ran a measured heat to finish 4th in a seasons best 67.91 seconds to qualify for the semi final. In the SF she ran even better to record a personal best of 66.18 seconds. In the 200m she ran another seasons best of 26.99 seconds and then was part of the university relay team that finished 6th in their heat.

Ben To was the only representative from UCLAN to make the start line. In his heat he ran 11.04 seconds which is just outside his PB and duly qualified for the semi final. In his next race he ran much better and he smashed his PB, breaking through the elusive 11 seconds barrier (the mark of a top male sprinter) to record 10.92 seconds. Afterwards Ben was delighted with the run “I felt so strong and now I’ve broken 11 seconds I think I can run even faster”. He also competed in the 200m where he made the SF, his best time of the weekend 22.72.

Birmingham University duo Olivia Kimbowa and Hannah Kelly both pulled on the red vest of Birmingham to compete in the 400m and the 400m relay. In the flat 400 Olivia qualified for the semi final and ran a fantastic race in a time of 57.71 seconds to finish 3rd. Unfortunately she missed out on the final by just one place but the UOB student wasn’t disappointed. Hannah went one better and qualified for the final by winning both her heat and the semi final.

The final proved to be a shoot out between Hannah and Loughborough student Natasha Harrison. Hannah did exactly what coach Les Hall wanted – she ran good, better, best. A good heat, a better semi and the best in the final. She ran a PB in the final of 54.03 but just missed out on gold by a tiny margin. Not to be outdone through Hannah and Olivia ran the first two legs in the relay to put their team in a winning position which they held onto on the last leg to take away a well deserved gold medal each.

All athletes now return to training with their thoughts on improving their performances throughout the season.

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CLUB RECORDS TUMBLE AT TRAFFORD

Bank Holiday Monday May 2nd  was a day for record breaking for two of Bolton United Harriers U13 stars of the future. Allyssia May and Josh Grundy both competed in the 75m, Josh running a big PB in 10.85 secs and Allyssia equalled her own top of the UK rankingS 9.99 secs PB.

However they both found a different gear  in the 150m. Josh, who is still at primary school, lined up in the first heat of the 150m and despite being the youngest in the race ran superbly to finish 4th in a big PB of 21.22 secs to break the Bolton U13 boys 150m club record.

Allyssia wasn’t to be outdone, despite being disappointed to only equal the fastest time in the country this year over 75m she also took part in the 150m race 1. She blasted the start and came into the straight a few metres down on first but powered through the last 60m to record a time of 19.66 seconds. It was a huge PB for Allyssia but also broke the club U13 150m record previously held by current Great Britain athlete Hannah Kelly.

This is a huge moment for Allyssia who is now ranked number 1 in the UK over both sprint distances. Both athletes are part of Les Hall’s incredibly talented junior sprint group and will look to improve their times again throughout the season.

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HARRIERS EASTER ROUND UP

Salford 10k on Good Friday 

Martin Reid ran a solid race into 11th spot in a time of 33:03 and said ” Well done everyone! Great to see so many of us running. Huge thanks for all the support round the course and pics. Excited to see everyone later”. Martin was referring to the well deserved Easter social day out that Dave Shaw had arranged for his group after the race. 

Other Harrier entrants: Rhys Francis 34:33 Phil Hardman 35:50 Rob Short 36:07 Jordan Brophy 36:58 Heather Brown 38:16 Chris Pickford 38:21 Katie Percival 42:06.

Dave Shaw had travelled down to Salford on his bike and was taking photos and shouting  encouragement from the sidelines. He was pleased with his team’s performance, notably Rhys Francis who came away with a pb.

Apparently the after race celebrations went on into the night and Jordan Brophy managed to get a taxi not only to the wrong house but the wrong town also !

Rivington Pike Fell Race

Easter Saturday saw one of the oldest and most historic fell races in the country. A 3.25 mile 800ft ascent trip to the Pike and back from Lever Park Avenue in Horwich. Leader of the ‘Pot Noodle Club’ Lee Petch took his place at the starting line along with Rachel Bailey, Ruby Erzan-Essien and her dad and club volunteer Ato Erzan-Essien.

Time irrelevant on this thigh burning ‘fun’ event Lee Petch said “the photo sums it up ! Lovely to see Ato, Ruby and Rachel representing the club along with myself in such an iconic event. I look forward to a Summer of Fell Racing and seeing more Blue Vests running over all those hills”.

Trafford Open Meeting

Coach Les Hall had this to say “As you know I’m very proud of every one of our group – for the hard work and dedication they show each and every session and their commitment to competition. I feel I should share this  from Easter Monday’s  Trafford open meeting – the U13 75m. It’s a mixed gender event so boys and girls racing together and our own Allyssia, Tilly and Princess were in the race. They were all sensational and despite running into a headwind Allyssia ran 9.99, Tilly 10.35 and Princess 10.49. As of today Allyssia is ranked 1st in the UK, Tilly 4th and Princess 9th. This is an amazing feat for girls from one training group. Everyone performed so well yesterday and I know you are all going to have an amazing season”.

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MOORS THE MERRIER FOR BEKA

Saturday April 9th saw the emergence of Bolton Harrier’s Endurance Group member Beka Millington as an Ultra Runner. After the group had five debutants the weekend before in the Manchester Marathon, Beka decided to take it up a notch or two and took aim at the 36 mile event. Not only was it 36 miles it was up and down dale with 2,027 metres of ascent and she  was out on the moors for over 10 hours and burned 5,213 calories !

The Calderdale Hike has been run by 24th St Paul’s Scout Group since 1979  and the first 3 events were based upon a circuit of the Calderdale Way (50 miles). After the third hike it was decided to scale down the length of the route as the manning of such a large event was proving to be increasingly difficult. It was changed to one of 25 miles and one of 36 miles, for runners and walkers alike. 

The routes are changed usually every 3 years, thereby bringing in different parts of Calderdale and the Pennine countryside into the day event which is appreciated by all the competitors. A few years ago the event became part of the Ultra Running Series and it now attracts entries from some of the top fell runners in the country who try to achieve a personal goal throughout the season on some of the toughest running challenges throughout the country. This has increased the entry levels in the runners category thus boosting the income from the hike.

After a long rest and replacing some of those calories an excited Beka said ” despite having run the course in its entirety over the last few weeks, I still managed a couple of wrong turns on the moors so I finished at just under 39 miles. It was very demanding on tough terrain but the weather was on my side (apart from one small snow flurry) and I really enjoyed myself. After my 109k got cancelled a couple of weeks ago, this race kept me motivated. I’ve now switched to another 100k in July so I get a few more weeks to build up strength and endurance”.

Bolton United Harriers send Beka congratulations and best wishes for her next challenge.

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Junior Club Championship Results

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2022 Latest News Race Reports

HARRIER’S ENDURANCE GROUP ARE MILES BETTER

2022 New Year Resolutions for Bolton Harriers Endurance members seem to  involve living up to the group name and to push themselves harder and further. Ryan Kirkman will be doing his second Ironman, Aidie Costello is training for his debut Ironman and Beka Millington is throwing herself into the Ultra Marathon scene. Lots and lots of the groups weekend Strava runs are showing training runs of anything between 15 and 25 miles.

The Manchester Marathon on Sunday 3rd April had nine Blue Vests entered, with eight of those from the Endurance Group.  Five members were running their first ever marathon.

Gary Porteous is the latest member to get the Marathon itch and has been a regular attendee at club sessions and also been busy with his own training. He can often be seen setting off from his Heaton base on a weekend for the hills round Rivington or long road runs to the Chorley area and back. It has all been worthwhile and Gary ran a super race to come back with a time of 3 hrs 31 mins. After a short recovery and some sustenance he said “my training plan didn’t get off to the best of starts as I caught COVID just before Christmas, so I had just over 12 weeks to train, but I stuck to my plan and gradually upped the mileage each week until I was averaging about 40 miles per week. My longest run and the hardest was about 22 miles which was incredibly brutal on the hills of Bolton. But it put me in good stead, and on race day I felt relaxed and and focused. During the race I felt comfortable and maintained my planned pace until about 20 miles , after that I had a bit of a dip, but I dug in and gritted my teeth and counted the miles down. I was so close to a sub 3hr30m. I never thought I would achieve running  a marathon when I joined the Harriers, and I have to thank all the coaches and the rest of the group for giving me the encouragement and belief”.

Another Heaton resident and marathon debutant was  Dominic Sohor who has made a remarkable recovery from a stroke in 2017. He was unable to speak for some time and left needing urgent hospital treatment. He wanted to show his appreciation for the Royal Bolton Hospital Speech and Language Therapy Department by running and raising money for them in the process. He succeeded and got round in a time of 4 hours 22 minutes. On a better day he would be capable of a much better time and said “I enjoyed the first half but second half was pretty horrific with mega sore glutes, hips and my hands went all tingly. Taking part in the marathon and raising funds is my way of being able to say thank you for my care and hopefully helping others who suffer from Aphasia”.

Chris Toole is another newcomer to the group and the 3rd marathon debutant . This guy works so hard in training and the proof in the pudding was a wonderful time of 3 hours 29 mins.

Andy Gallagher, more of a fell race specialist was the fourth group member attempting 26 miles for the first time. He said “I was slow and steady from the start to finish. I have only  had ten weeks to train having stopped running for three months because of knee problems. I decided to run just for the experience and atmosphere which was fantastic.Think I sneaked under 4 hours 45 mins. Well done to everyone else who ran today”.

Scott Sunderland is a much welcome and relative newcomer to Bolton Harriers. Again since joining has been a dedicated attendee to training and has trimmed down his figure to the point if he enters any more road races he had better be careful he doesn’t fall down a grid ! The Land Rover Design Engineer proved he can clock up the miles also and came back with a time of 3 hours 51 mins for his first ever marathon.

One man who won’t be falling down grids is Mark Garner. Mark is out of the Barney Rubble mould, strong as an Ox and represents the Blue Vests in all sorts of events and distances  including Fell races. Mark kept up a really steady pace and completed in a respectable 4 hours 4 mins. He has already entered for next years marathon.

Chris Byrne is also a member of Bolton Triathlon Club and has proven stamina in these events. He went round in his usual strong and steady style and finished with a time of 4 hours and 4 mins matching Mark Garner.

Thomas Gore always runs with a smile on his face and arrived at the finishing line with a big cheesy grin acknowledging yet another super run in 3 hours 21 mins. Another who is a really versatile runner and just loves to run and represent the club in lots of events.

Phil Hardman was the solo representative from Dave Shaw’s group and is a battle hardened warrior in these events. He never seems to get out of bed for anything less than a half marathon. He stormed round in a time of 2 hours 48 minutes and was in the top 500 of over 14000 runners.

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TURBO TOMMY TROTS UP FOR TITLE TRIO

Sunday 3rd April saw a glorious Spring Morning for the annual Trotters 5 hosted by Burnden Runners.

Bolton United Harriers sent a strong contingent down to Smithills and dominated  the race with 6 Blue Vests in the first 11. Tommy Harrison was outright winner for an impressive third time and Harriers also won the Men’s Team Event. In addition they also had first Female Home in Heather Brown.

Ever modest Turbo Tommy Harrison said after his 28 mins 44 secs victory “I was happy just to get a run out again and it was a nice confidence booster. I thought I ran a well-controlled race and paced it as I had planned. I got pushed along by young Callum Brooks for the first 2 miles before edging away up the hills. The highlight for me was receiving the team prize with young Callum and Rhys. As we had other runners not far behind those two It shows the club has plenty of depth, and hopefully sets us up to command the Central Lancashire Grand Prix series this year. I now have plans for a solid Bolton 5k and will then see if I can pinch a 5k PB at the Mid Cheshire at the end of April”.

Newcomer to the club Callum Brooks was second Harrier home and 4th overall in a time of 29 mins 39 secs. Callum has only just migrated up to Dave Shaw’s impressive stable of runners. His improvement this year has been astonishing and it looks set to continue. Dave has high hopes of this young man. Callum was delighted with his first race in his new group “I am really enjoying the new more intense sessions at the club and have had a lot of support from Dave. As regards the race I just tried to enjoy it and stay with Tommy as long as I could. Tommy is a class act though and obviously he did pull away from me. I aimed to get under 30 minutes and was comfortably under so am well pleased. I have got the Bolton 5k coming up soon and will be aiming for a PB in that”.

Rhys Francis was 5th overall in a time of 30 mins 58 secs and can only improve. He is looking to get back to his form of 2020 when he had the Bolton 5k pinched from him by 1 second by his team mate and winner of this event Tommy Harrison.

Joe Grisdale ran his usual strong and steady race to gain a top 10 finish. Newly qualified coach Jordan Brophy just behind him in 11th after a blistering start.

‘Always the bridesmaid, never the bride’ most certainly does not apply to Heather Brown. She continues to take up where Laura Lombard has left off with yet another first lady finish. This young lady who is soon to be married to team mate Will Tomlinson put her wedding plans on hold for a day and ran a super race of 32 mins 54 secs. She was more than a minute quicker than the second lady home and  said “really chuffed with first lady in first CGLP race and first time I have ran that course. Safe to say my quads will be feeling it for some time! Great to have the sideline support from coach Dave Shaw and my soon to be husband Will”.

The ever dependable James Rideout was first back from  Harrier’s Endurance group in 36 mins 30 secs, with 4th overall lady Rachel Bailey just behind. The final three ‘elder statesmen’ Blue Vests were Nigel Brodrick in 37 mins 48 secs, Gary Jones 38 mins 42 secs and Ken Fowler who ran his usual consistently good race as second Veteran 65 in a time of 39 mins 21 secs.