Some may say Beka Millington is barking mad and bitten off more than she can chew but more likely is that she is one gutsy lady up for a challenge !
She has been training her young Sheepdog Gary the sport of Canicross since she got him as a pup and boy would he have enjoyed running with her over Saddleworth Moors. This was a race just for humans though and poor Gary had to stay at home but she advised he was there with her in spirit. Nominee for Bolton Harriers Female Distance Track Athlete of the Year Beka has proved she is a much more versatile athlete and at home on all surfaces and terrain.
Beka talked about her new goals “After a rocky road to the London Marathon I decided to switch my focus from times and try a new challenge for 2022. My first ultra marathon! I’m running Race to the Castle (100km nonstop) at the end of May, and Saddleworth 10 Reservoirs was the first of 2 training races I have in the build-up”.
The Saddleworth Ten Reservoir’s is described as a high level moorland challenge visiting 10 local reservoirs along the way. Due to the time of year full winter kit was required including full waterproof cover, hat and gloves, map and compass, spare clothing and food. Not for the faint hearted it’s 26 miles with 4400 ft of ascent. Starting from the Dysart Arms and past Dovestones and Yeoman Hey Reservoirs heading 2 miles up to the crags of Ravenstones. More ascent then over White Moss to Blackmoss Reservoir and eastwards along the Pennine Way before descending into Wessenden Valley. More ascent then to the ‘Isle of Skye’ road. A journey then across more of the Pennine Way to Chew Reservoir. Through the woods and back to the Dysart Arms.
After a slog of more than 5 hours and enough to break the will of many runners Beka made it back to the welcome of her proud partner Josh and beaming parents Mike and Karen, who had travelled all the way up from Southampton.
After a short recovery and some sustenance a delighted Beka said “It’s the most fun I’ve ever had at marathon distance, it was amazing ! Very very tough in parts, with going into a bog over my knees being one of the hardest parts, but absolutely beautiful. I’m bloody chuffed with myself !
Saturday 26th February saw Katie Percival make her marathon debut at Bingley.
Calm conditions greeted Katie and her partner Rob as they travelled over the Pennines. Starting and finishing from The Fishermans Pub next to Bradford and Bingley Rugby Club the race ventured out on the canal towpath towards Skipton. By and large flat with the small challenges of the 3 and five rise locks.
Looking relaxed at the start she said “I have had a block of 18 weeks training and a good few 3 hour runs in the Lake District hills. I am looking forward to seeing the 20 mile mark and then going for it. It’s a lovely environment and I will just keep taking it in to forget about the pain.”
Katie absolutely thundered round in an amazing time of 3 hours 18 minutes which was way under her target of 3 hours 30 minutes.
After she got her breath back and some sustenance she couldn’t hide her delight. “ I wanted to rinse myself and I think I succeeded in that. At half way I knew I was going a little too fast but I couldn’t slow down ! It was just a case after the turn that I entered pain cave and I just had to treat it as 1 mile reps. I eventually saw the bridges which I knew were close to the finish and I put the burners on. What’s next ? I don’t know but maybe some fell racing – I will have to take some time out to think about that one.
It was the Sports Hall Championships at The Etihad Manchester last Sunday and delighted team manager Gwylim Jones has reported there was a lot of medals won.
Athletes taking part were Under 11girls Jasmine Greenhalgh Amelie Hodgkiss Mabel lwelu Isabella Whittle Charley Marsden Emily Wood Aoife Waldron first time Rose Blaney first time Freya Lombard Kittie Beca Under 13 girls Cerys Jones Matilda Hall Alyssia May Ellie Deavall Molly Wood Eve Blaney first time Iris Beca Under 15 girls Alice Yoxall Under 11 boys Joshua Grundy Benjamin Davies Matthew Wood Ted Ratcliffe first time Jack Hughes Emmanuel Hassan first time Noah Tulin Elliott Molineux Under 13 boys Jamie Greenhalgh Alfie Dodds Curtis Hornsby Chris Franks Jacob Kelly.
Medal winners: U 11 girls Emily Wood speed bounce silver , Mabel Iwelu bronze 1 lap, gold 3 lap
U 13 girls Matilda Hall Standing long jump bronze Alyssia May Standing triple jump silver Ellie Deavall speed bounce silver Molly Wood 4lap silver u13 girls Princess lwelu 4 lap bronze U15 girls Alice Yoxall Standing long jump silver U11 boys Joshua Grundy 1 lap silver 3 lap gold Benjamin Davies1 lap bronze Speed bounce gold, Jack Hughes bronze speed bounce U13 boys Chris Franks 4 lap bronze Speed bounce silver Jamie Greenhalgh Shot put gold Alfie Dodds 2 lap bronze Shot put bronze Vertical jump bronze Relays U11 girls 4th U13 girls gold U11 boys silver U13 boys gold
Gwylim commented “all the kids put their heart and soul into it but I thought an outstanding performance was in the u13 girls by Molly Wood in 4lap – I was not expecting her to get a medal with such tough competition. Joshua Grundy and Benjamin Davies also put in great performances”.
Bolton Harriers would like to thank all the competitors and Team Manager Gwylim Jones and his daughter Lindsay for their efforts as always.
Sunday 27th March saw one of the oldest UK road races in the form of the Lostock 6. A fine day greeted a decent contingent of Bolton Harriers for the undulating course starting and finishing in Lostock Industrial Estate.
Turbo Tommy Harrison was first Blue vest back in a time of 32 mins 42 secs. A previous podium finisher when Harriers occupied the first 3 spots Tommy was not in his best shape but still put in a typical gutsy effort for overall 7th place justifying his nomination for Senior Male Athlete of the year. He said after the race “it was a struggle in parts due to a lack of fitness and a couple of recent illnesses. I was happy with the time I ran though for the start of the season. It was a decent enough run to start off a new training block. In the immediate future I have a target of a PB in the Mid Cheshire 5k and I want to put in a really good performance for the club in the Northern Road relays”.
Second Harrier back was rising star Callum Brooks. A young man, and new member, who has exploded into the Harriers Endurance Group and has been setting PB’s galore in various races and park runs in the last few months. Callum grabbed a top 20 finish in 34 mis 41 secs justifying his recent selection by the club in the forthcoming Northern Road Relays. He even received a message of congratulations from Team Manager Dave Shaw after the event – a very rare thing !
Veteran and epitome of consistency Mark Wolstencroft was third Harrier home in a time of 36 mins 14 secs. Showing why he is a nominee for Harriers Veteran Male Athlete of the Year he said after “I was put under severe pressure all the way round from one of the team”. He was referring to another rising star in first Harriers Lady home Heather Brown. Heather was a new addition to Dave Shaw’s group last year and has won several races at various distances and is a nominee for Harriers Senior Female Athlete of the year. Heather finished in 36 mins 32 secs.
Next in was the quietly spoken but a very strong and determined Matt Atkinson. Last years club London Marathon entrant and this years nominee for Most Improved Senior Male Athlete of the Year ran a great 37 mins 21 secs.
Three very consistent and regular faces at Endurance Group training sessions all came in together. Gary Porteous and Dominic Sohor both came in with massive pb’s for the race along with a Blue Vest regular in Thomas Gore. Gary and Tom 40 mins 21 secs and Dom 40 mins 25 secs.
Scott Sunderland is another new member and now a regular to training. He is improving as rapidly as his waistline is shrinking and came back with a commendable 41 mins 20 secs.
Club veteran stalwarts James Rideout and Gary Jones ran with smiles on their faces in their usual strong and steady manner in times of 42 mins 8 secs and 43 mins 54 sec.
Mark Garner wears the Blue Vest in all manner of Fell Races, Cross Country and Road races and didn’t disappoint again with a good showing at 46 mins and 9 secs.
Saturday 26th February saw a Bolton entourage of coach Dave Shaw, family and friends heading down the M6 to the Utilita Arena at Birmingham. They were travelling to support our very own Jonny Kay taking his place in the UK Athletics Indoor Championships. The UK’s top track and field athletes had gathered with national titles and places in the GB team up for grabs ahead of the World Athletics Indoor Championships in Belgrade.
The Heaton Hotshot was in good spirits and in a confident frame of mind. He had been working well in training sessions at Sports City Manchester and had ran 1200 metres in 2mins 56 secs and had two 600 metre runs at 1min 27 secs pace under his belt. He felt in his best ever shape going into the weekend.
“For the semi-final I knew it was going to be a tough ask to get a final spot. It had four guys in it who had achieved world standard of 3 mins 37 secs. George Mills took it on after a conservative start at the 700 metre mark and stretched the field further ever lap thereafter. I was able to stay with him but the final lap turned into a real scrap and although I had been nudged back to fourth spot I had achieved a pb of 3:45:51. This was more than 3 seconds chipped off my previous best. I was really pleased with that and It proved to be more than good enough for a place in the final the day after”.
“On the Saturday evening I had dinner with friends and managed to get a good nights sleep. I woke up though still feeling really tired as I had put so much into the semi-final. I found I just didn’t have the legs in the final to cover all the moves and finished seventh in a time of 3:53:01. I have to be really pleased with the weekend though and basically being 7th in the UK at the moment is a major positive. The first three guys were all professional athletes and it feels really good to be mixing in with that level now. The time I ran in the semis gets me into the British Championships. If I can do 3:45 indoors potentially with the 4 second rule I can get down to 3:41 outdoors on the bigger tracks. Hopefully then as training progresses I can aim for sub 3:40. I am going to rest up this week and then myself and Dave are really excited to get back on with the training plans. Can I thank my Coach Dave for everything he does, my dad David for all the travelling he has done up and down the country with me, and my mum Joanne and the rest of the family for their support and encouragement.”
Three of Bolton United Harriers university athletes travelled across the Pennines to compete in their first British University and College Sports Indoor Athletics Championships. Instead of pulling on the blue vest of Bolton United harriers they wore their university colours.
First year student Ben To, competing for UCLAN, lined up in the 60m against some of the best U23 athletes in the country. Despite running 7.15 which is just outside his PB of 7.13 he could only manage 3rd in his heat and just missed out on a place in the semi-finals.
Edge Hill student Rebecca Weekes and University of Birmingham student Olivia Kimbowa were drawn against each other in the heats of the women’s 400m. Both got away to good starts but Olivia was really strong over the last 100m and won the heat in 58.61 seconds, a new indoor PB. Hurdles specialist Rebecca in one of her first races of the season also ran a big indoor PB of 60.72 seconds finishing third.
In the semi- final Olivia was drawn in lane 4 against the eventual winner of the 400m. She knew she had to work hard to be in contention at the half way stage and she valiantly tried to stay in touch with the leaders. Although she finished third in the race she smashed her lifetime best with a time of 57.60 seconds.
A delighted Olivia explained “57 seconds has been my target 400m time for the last couple years, so I’m over the moon to have finally reached that new lifetime best this weekend. To have won my first national medal with the amazing relay girls It really shows that all the hard work Les and I have put into training is going well. Training is now aimed at the outdoor season, which starts in April. I’m really excited to run even quicker times and compete at more national championships this year”.
Coach Les Hall was also really pleased with the performance. “Olivia can definitely run much quicker outdoors and I hope she will run mid 56’s. If she manages to improve further it will book her a place in the EA senior England Championships and should see her ranked in the national top 70, hot on the heels of training partner Hannah Kelly”.
Both girls also competed for their respective university 4x200m relay teams, both teams winning a place in the final. The Birmingham team proved too strong for Edge Hill and finished a fantastic 2nd, winning Olivia her first national medal. Both will go back to a period of hard training in readiness for this year’s outdoor season.
Hannah Kelly won her first senior England vest on Saturday 5th Feb. She was selected to compete in the new format Dynamic New Athletics ‘DNA’. She was running her favoured distance of 400m and was part of the 4x400m mixed relay squad. Lining up against teams from Scotland, Ireland, Wales, Spain and Portugal Hannah ran the third leg of the relay. She ran a perfect race and recorded 53.4 seconds for her leg which was 1.5 seconds quicker than the time she ran when winning the Northern senior championships in January. She next races at the British Championships at the end of February where she will compete against the best female 400m runners in the country
Ten young Bolton Harriers competed at this years Northern U13 and U15 championships. Most of them had never competed at a championship of this level before so there were lots of nerves. The first competitor of the day was Matilda Hall in the U13 girls long jump. Despite a nervy start, in the third round she leapt 4m 37 to set a new PB to reach the final 8. She couldn’t improve on this distance in her final three attempts but it was enough to win the bronze medal.
Multi talented Tilly then took on the high Jump. A relative newcomer to the event Tilly only jumps off a short run up but despite this soared over 1m 35 to equal her PB. She then attempted 1m 40 and at the second attempt sailed over to record another PB. 1m 43 proved a height too far but this should be within her reach in the summer and that would earn her a new club record. 1m 40 was enough to win her second medal of the day – one better a shiny silver medal.
In the U13 boys events newcomers Josh Grundy and Benji Davies lined up first in the 200m. The junior school boys were up against athletes a year older but despite this both came a creditable 4th position in their heats. Both felt more confident in the 60m. Josh raced first and came a fantastic third place in the semi final earning him a place in the final. Benji also ran a fantastic race but unfortunately missed out on the final by one place. In the final Josh finished 7th in a time of 8.95 seconds only 0.04 seconds outside the U13 boys club record.
U13 girls debutants Princess Iwelu and Chloe Medard doubled up in the 60m and the 200m – potentially 6 races in the afternoon if they reached their finals. Both ran fantastic 200m heats and duly qualified for the semi finals. Chloe ran hard but just ran out of steam to finish an excellent 4th in her race. In the next semi final Princess battled hard and qualified for the final as a fastest loser with a time of 28.84 seconds. In the final Princess took advantage of an inside lane and came third to claim the bronze medal.
Coach Les Hall has high hopes of his U13 girl sprinters and believes that this years crop could emulate the relay team from 2021 which finished the year ranked 7th in the UK. Allyssia May, Matilda Hall, Princess Iwelu and Chloe Medard all entered the 60m. In the heats Allyssia and Matilda easily won their heats and Princess and Chloe also progressed to the semi finals. In the first semi final Allyssia blew the rest of the field away winning easily and put a marker down to the other competitors.
In the second semi final Matilda Hall and Chloe Medard both lined up against the fastest girl in the North of England. Tilly got a blistering start and opened up a gap of 2 metres and never looked likely to be beaten. She recorded a new PB of 8.50 seconds. The semi final was Chloes 4th race of the day but she still came a fantastic 6th place. In the last semi final Princess ran a quick 8.84 seconds to finish third and qualify for her second final of the day.
Three Bolton U13 girls had made the final of the 60m – the club had never had so many competitors make a regional final. All girls ran superb races but Allyssia wasn’t to be denied. She stormed through the line in 8.28 seconds which smashed her PB and broke her own club record. Matilda was a close second and came away with her third medal of the day. It was Princess’ 6th race of the day but she still finished an amazing 6th to cap off an incredible day.
U15 girls Cherie Ufuoma and Summer Eden were not to be outdone. Both breezed through heats and lined up against each other in the third semi final of the 60m. The girls dominated their competitors and finished first and second to book their places in the final. Both ran fantastic races and Cherie came away with the bronze medal and Summer finished 5th against girls all 12 months older than her. Next year Summer will be hoping to go even better and has a medal in her sites. Both girls smashed their PB’s with Summer running 8.16 seconds and Cherie ran 8.08 seconds which broke yet another club record.
In the U15 boys Jamie Greenhalgh and Alfie Dodds competed in the the shot putt. Both had performed really well during the 2021 season and hoped to improve further. Jamie threw a new PB of 7m 71 to finish 5th and Alfie was close to his PB with a throw of 7m 03.
It was a great day for Bolton Harriers and their young stars came away with one gold medal, two silver medals and three bronze medals. It’s great to see some of the stars if the future compete so well.
Sunday 6th February saw the Blackburn 10k and extremely blustery and challenging conditions. The race was described as a friendly but challenging race starting on the athletics track at Witton Park, climbing the heights of Buncer Lane and then descending through the countryside of Pleasington back to the track for a racing finish. Four Harriers in the form of Cherry Collison, Suleman Badat, Callum Brooks and Simon Williams made the short journey up the A666.
Callum Brooks, the most recent Endurance Group recruit, has already made a big impression in training. He made his way to the race with Sully Badat and they are never far away from each other in training, constantly pushing each other. Its working as Sully has trimmed down his Bolton Parkrun PB by over a minute in a month to 19:03 and Callum has been trimming down his PB’s on a Saturday morning at Leverhulme almost on a weekly basis to a recent 18:25.
Callum was on another running high after the race and enthused “the course was tough, we knew coming into it that it contained a lot of hills and that they were steep. Thanks to all the hill training we do at Bolton Harriers and the fact I’ve tried to incorporate more hills in my own runs to better prepare for Bolton Park Run, I felt ready for it. I probably set off a little too fast but I didn’t want to get stuck behind too many. I wanted to have my eye on the leading groups to chase and follow round a new course to myself. The race was really good though and really enjoyable. The marshals were great and kept you motivated. I just tried to go at my pushing pace for as long as I could and I was feeling pretty good up until 8km in, I did feel it then but I gritted my teeth and pushed through. I felt like I had given it my all once I got back onto the track. I ended up finishing 14th out of 675, with a time of 37 minutes and 39 seconds. I set a new PB which I’m very happy about. It was only my second 10k so hopefully with a bit more practise and training I can improve and build on it. Overall though a great race and I would highly recommend it. I’m looking forward to doing it again next year !”
Sully Badat was not far behind Callum and coasted to a top 25 finish in a more than excellent time of 38:39. He looked so fresh at the finish and as though he could easily have run it again ! Sully seems to be defying Father Time and although now well into his forties he is still improving and therefore popping up with PB’s at middle distances on a regular basis.
Simon Williams has been another enthusiastic and very welcome new recruit to the Endurance Group at Bolton Harriers and said “I have been running for less than a year, and joining the club has definitely helped my fitness and confidence. It’s only my second organised 10k and I have to say I found the start of the run really tough especially into the Blackburn winter wind. The start was about 2 miles uphill which I have never done before. The Harriers hill rep sessions definitely helped me cope mentally as well as physically with that. My position in the field made for a really congested climb with all the runners making it hard to run at a natural pace. Once that was done I had the need to find someone else to latch onto to keep me running on the front foot. Fortunately ‘up popped my fairy godmother’ in the shape of club mate Cherry Collison at about the 6k mark and she paced me to the finish which made all the difference. I pretty much gave it everything to get round in 50 minutes. not an earth shattering time, but for me it felt like the run of my life” !
Cherry is a strong seasoned campaigner for Bolton Harriers, running many races in the famous blue vest over the years. Not only an accomplished runner but a strong tri-athlete and just at home on a bike or in the water. Despite an attempted playful push back from Simon at the finishing line she dead-heated with him in a very respectable time of 50:23.
Sunday January 30th saw two coastal 10 mile races at Morecambe and Lytham St Annes respectively and the running gods had been kind with dry weather.
Katie Percival travelled down from her new base in the Lake District with partner and Running Mayor of Bolton Robert Short. In a pre-race interview she explained the race was part of her preparation for a marathon in 4 week’s time. Conditions looked perfect and she was hoping for a new PB after recent PB’s at 5k and 10k in the famous blue vest of Bolton Harriers. She was even hoping for a positive Strava comment from Harriers coach Dave Shaw ! She described this as the equivalent of a Hollywood handshake as Dave is not known to pass on praise lightly.
Sure enough after a very smooth run Katie cruised back in a big PB of 1 hour and 7 minutes as First Lady and 11th overall. She commented “I was happy to run on the flat in perfect weather conditions. Really pleased with the PB. I am missing training with Bolton Harriers now that I have moved house but still proud to be a member and wear the Bolton vest”.
Phil had travelled further South to Lytham St Annes and despite not feeling in the best of shape ran really well for a top 10 finish in a time of 58 minutes 55 seconds. He explained “I didn’t expect to run that well due to having a sore knee in the week building up to the race. I wore a knee compression sleeve and surprisingly didn’t feel any pain. I got carried away at the start and went off fast but I then slowed down and tried to keep the pace under 6 minute a mile from 4 mile onwards. I had ran 5.45ish pace for the first 3 miles. I managed to sustain this. The 9 mile section was very windy which resulted in a 6.09 mile but then I managed to get a sub 6 again in the 10th. I was really happy with the time. Roll on the Manchester Marathon.”
Saturday 29th January saw the Northern Cross Country Championships at Pontefract Park Racecourse and Storm Malik did not deter Bolton Harriers duo Jordan Brophy and Rachel Bailey making the trip across the Pennines to take their place at the start. Horse Racing has taken place at the course for centuries but this was a day for a different type of thoroughbred on an undulating course through stiff winds and soft going underfoot.
Jordan described his senior men’s event. “This had been my first experience in the Northern League Cross Country and I thoroughly enjoyed the event. The conditions were dry but the wind speeds high. Once the starting pistol had been fired it created a stampede with the hustle and bustle for space in the first two kilometres. Upon reflection I now know that I naively allowed myself to be caught out by running too fast at the start of the event and this showed up in the latter stages. The event was meant to be 12.1k, although it ended up just over 13k and I finished in an overall time of 58 minutes 51 seconds. I’m not happy or disappointed with the result, I am considering this a bench mark and learning experience for next year’s event.”
Rachel is one of the more industrious and versatile athletes at Bolton Harriers and enters lots of events at different distances and on different surfaces throughout the year. She said “I was racing in the senior women for the first time, came in 85th out of 263, with a time of 39 minutes. It could have been better had I not had the discomfort of picking up a blood blister 3.5miles into the 5mile race. Good experience and I look forward to a busy year of racing.”
Herbie Kay is making a very promising start to his athletics career just like his club namesake Jonny.
He took his place in the Under 15 Pentathlon at the weekend in the Scottish Indoor Championships.
Herbie started the event with a personal best of 5.07m in the Long Jump. He followed this up with a PB in the 60m Hurdles with 10.24 secs. He then went on to equal his indoor best of 1.45m in the High Jump. Herbie then took his place at the Shot Putt, improving in every round before launching another PB of 6.88m. To wrap things up in his first ever Pentathlon he then ran yet another PB in the 800m slicing a full 8 seconds off his previous best in a time of 2.23.12.
All Action Herbie had wrapped up a great day’s work with improvement in every event and 6th place with 1954 points.
Proud father Justin said “he really enjoyed the event and had lots of support from the coaches and fellow athletes he trains with. This really helped over a long competition. It was his first indoor Pentathlon and only his second ever, and gaining 4 PB’s was fantastic for him. This can now be used as a gauge for his preparation towards the National Indoor Combined Events Championships in Sheffield next month”.
Top Bolton athletes Hannah Kelly and Jonny Kay headed across the Pennines to compete at the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield in the Northern Indoor Athletics Championships. Both are competing at the British Championships in February and are hoping performances this winter may get them a senior international vest in the coming weeks. Both had coaches and family members eagerly cheering them on.
First up was Hannah in the senior women’s 400m under the watchful eye of her coach Les Hall. She breezed through the heat and headed into the final as firm favourite. She blasted off from the gun and flew through the first 200m and then controlled the rest of the race to win by 10m in a time of 54.91 seconds to put her at the top of the UK rankings. She commented “I’m really happy with my performance at the weekend as it was my first 400m of the season and I ran an indoor 400m PB. It shows that training is going well and I’m looking forward to the rest of the season. I have the British Championships on the 26th February and I am hoping to get closer to my outdoor 400m PB of 54.04”.
Jonny Kay lined up in the senior men’s 1500m. After last week’s race where he got the qualifying time for the British Championships this race was all about retaining the 1500m title. From the start Jonny put himself in the ideal position on the shoulder of the race leader. Like a seasoned pro he waited until 150m to go and kicked away from the field to take gold.
Jonny also entered the senior men’s 800m on Sunday and after cruising through his heat in first place he took his place on the start line for the final against three real 800m speed merchants. He lost out in what turned out to be a last lap dash for the line finishing just outside the medals in fourth place.
Positive as ever Kay summed up his weekend. “The 1500 was a good race against a good standard. I thought my main threat was Alfie Manthorpe from Sheffield who had ran British Championship 3000m standard the week before. We started off really slow in the final but I kicked away from 150m out. Alfie followed me but I had saved another gear and felt confident I could hold him off and so it proved. Myself and coach Dave Shaw had decided to enter both the 1500m and 800m. Obviously the 1500m is my flagship event but I wanted to ready myself for multiple races at one event. The 800m semi was comfortable. The final was a totally different proposition and I was up against three specialist speed merchants. It turned into a last lap sprint and I didn’t quite have the speed. I still came up with a 26 second last lap though which showed I do have some speed there ! Two days rest now and then training is aimed at the British Championships in February.”
Also in the women’s 400m, medical student Olivia Kimbowa, getting some race practise in before the British University championships, ran a solid race finishing third in her heat and missed out on the final by one place. The Harriers had one competitor in the 200m, U17 Poppy Dunne, racing hard she came third in her heat in a time of 29.02 seconds.
Three Bolton athletes took part in the 60m. Jake Harwood and Mark Lintott both competed in the U17 male competition and both easily qualified for the semi- finals. In the first semi Jake Harwood came 4th and broke his PB qualifying for his first regional final. In the second semi- final younger athlete Mark recovered from a slow start but powered through the field to also finish 4th but agonisingly missed out on the final by 0.001 of a second. Jake once again broke his PB in the final and finished in a fantastic 7th place.
In the senior men’s 60m Ben To who was recovering from illness made his way into the semi- final but despite running a PB of 7.13 seconds was another Harrier who just missed out on a final this time by 0.02 seconds. Ben is another young Harrier looking forward to the British University Championships where he will compete in the 60m for his University.
There is certainly a lot of love in the air at Dave Shaw’s training sessions these days. After Josh Sabery and Rebecca Kay’s ( Josh n Becs) wedding last year Will Tomlinson and Heather Brown have now named the day for an April Wedding in Cheshire.
The happy couple are obviously very busy making arrangements for the big day and Will has even taking up sewing but is drawing the line at making the bride and bridesmaids dresses. Maybe Heather is drawing the line on that one though – who know !
Despite all that they are still finding time for training and races and actually making quite a good fist of it. They made the short journey across Lancashire for the Garstang 10k on Sunday.
Both in excellent form and numerous podium finishes in the last few months the trend continued. Heather was First Female and 13th overall with an excellent pb of 38 mins 57 seconds and Will was 4th overall (only 7 seconds away from a top 3 finish) in a super time of 34 mins 43 seconds.
Heather commented after the race “first race of the year and a new 10k PB. Wanted to break 39 on that course so I am pleased with the result and feel I have made a good step forward. Great run and fabulous scenic route (just a little lumpy in our coach Dave Shaw’s words!). Onwards and upwards now for 2022!”
After a frustrating few weeks with missed training sessions and seasonal illness Bolton Harrier’s star Jonny Kay showed he is getting back to his best with a win on Sunday in Sheffield at the BMC Indoor Meeting.
The British Milers Club is the premier middle distance athletics club in the country. Their aim is to improve the world standing of UK middle distance running by providing seeded and paced competition, athlete support and educating coaches. Athletes have got to achieve qualifying times to join making it an aspiration for lots of talented runners in this country.
Jonny made the early start over the Pennines, along with his coach Dave Shaw, feeling confident and in the mood to put his stamp on the 1500m race to come.
He explained “I have felt in good shape in the last couple of weeks and had done a 1200m the Tuesday before on the track in Bolton in 3 minutes flat. I therefore knew I was primed to get under the British Championship standard time of 3:50.5 and full of confidence. I also assessed the opposition and thought immediately I was basically going to have to solo run it to achieve my goal.”
Jonny went on to describe the race “I pulled right behind the pacemaker from the off for the first 1000m – I actually thought the pacemaker did an excellent job – I then knew I had to pull away and hit the front and one other guy managed to come with me. I managed to find another gear and pull away from him though in the last 400m. I felt really strong then all the way to the line.” Jonny had stormed home in a time of 3:49.8 thereby qualifying for the British Championships.
“Myself and my coach Dave feel we can now get down to the low 3:40s by the time the British Championships come around in seven weeks or so. We have a lot more training planned for the coming weeks and I have the 800 and 1500m in the Northern Championships this weekend coming. Exciting times ahead !”
Well done to all the athletes who took part in the Sale indoor open meeting on Sunday.Training partners and good friends Jamie Greenhalgh and Alfie Dodds competed in the U15 shot put at the third Sale indoor meeting. Both did some last minute technical work on the Bolton indoor track on Thursday which paid dividends – both recorded PB’s with Jamie coming out on top with a best of 7m 34 to Alfie’s 7m 12.Matilda Hall was once again Bolton’s only jumper and her best long jump was 4m 24 which she followed up with an equal PB of 1m 35 in the high jump. She was really close to clearing 1m 40 and it bodes well for her target to break the clubs U13 high jump record of 1m 42. U17 men Mark Lintott and Jake Harwood lined up in the same race in the 60m. Both executed their starts well and stormed through the line with Mark recording 7.51 seconds and Jake 7.56 seconds. Both of these performances are inside the EA U17 qualifying standard so both hope to compete in national championships in February. Jake followed this up with a strong 24.64 seconds in the 200m. U17 Poppy Dunne recovered from a difficult start in the 60m but ran strongly to record 8.77 secs and then competed in her favoured 200m event finishing 4th in 28.93 secs. Last seasons U13 sprint sensation Summer Eden continued her development as an U15. She dominated her 60m race and smashed her PB with a time of 8.26 seconds. Summer will compete in the Northern Championships in February and then the EA national champs later in the month. U13’s Allyssia May and Matilda Hall also competed in the 60m, running against girls up to two years older than them. Matilda came third in her heat equalling her PB in 8.63 secs. Allyssia built on her last race and once again smashed the club U13 record with a time of 8.36 seconds. Multi eventer Herbie Kay competed in two events in his preparation for his next combined event competition. In the 60m hurdles the U15 athlete ran 10.28 secs and then he cleared 1m 45 in the high jump just below his PB. Seniors Hannah Kelly and Olivia Kimbowa both dropped down a distance to compete over 200m and get some valued speed work before next weekends Northern championships where they both race over 400m. In the first women’s race Hannah started strongly and finished in 24.92 seconds. Olivia followed this up with a third place finish in heat 3 in a time of 26.41.
U13 Harrier Matilda Hall was the first competitor of the day. She was one of a number of indoor debutants but didn’t disappoint with a huge PB in the long jump of 4m 31. She followed this up equalling her PB in the high jump with a clearance of 1m 35.
Next up were the speed merchants in the 60m. Senior Ben To equalled his PB coming 3rd in the fastest heat in a time of 7.16 seconds, setting him up nicely for the Northern championships in January. U17 Vincent Worthington also making his debut, finished 2nd in his heat in a fantastic time of 7.84 seconds. Also in the U17 age group it was a first time competition for Kennedy Lawson. Despite nerves about using starting blocks for the first time she powered through in 8.47 seconds.
In the U15’s there were four Bolton female athletes – Cherie Ufuoma, Summer Eden and two U13’s stepped up an age group. First up was Cherie who competed at the English Schools in the summer. Competing over 60m for the first time she ran 8.17 seconds which qualifies her for the EA national championships in February. Next up was Summer who powered to second place in her heat in a time of 8.40 seconds. The two U13 competitors Allyssia May and Matilda Hall lined up in the same race. Both ran fantastic races with Allyssia finishing first in 8.43 seconds with Matilda second in 8.63.
Jonny Kay opened up his indoor campaign hoping to emulate his bronze medal at the British championships in 2020. Today he was racing over 600m and finished strongly in a time of 1 min 20 setting himself up nicely for the rest of the indoor season.
Last up were the 300’s. Hannah Kelly and Olivia Kimbowa competed in the senior women’s event. Hannah who has hopes of competing at the Commonwealth games in 2022 ran the quickest female time of the day by nearly a second in 39.86. Olivia ran close to her indoor PB with a time of 42.18. In the U15’s Isobel Oxley also making her debut ran a controlled race and smashed her PB coming home in 46.13.
Buoyed by their recent Bolton Parkrun gender firsts Harriers couple Will Tomlinson and Heather Brown travelled up to Longridge for the Christmas Pudding Seven Miler.
The Longridge course was described as a tough and undulating seven mile course over the beautiful Longridge fells all on roads. A bit of an understatement apparently with the severe inclines to negotiate.
The young Harriers couple did not let it faze them, gritted their teeth and battled round in 41 mins 56 secs and 46 mins 48 secs respectively. Will earning a podium finish and Heather first female yet again.
Will said “I was just grateful to have come through some injury issues and finally get on the start line following a solid block of training. It was obvious early on that first place was out of reach, however I found myself in a tough three-way battle for the remaining two podium positions. Over the last downhill mile I managed to kick on from 4th to 2nd place through the finishing line which I was super pleased about”.Heather has had a stunning first year in competitive running with gender firsts in virtually everything she has entered and at various distances. Gushing with pride she said “Super happy to finish my road running race year on a high, taking 1st lady. Our coach Dave Shaw’s advice was to enjoy it and get stuck in – I took an early lead with the front pack and knew I just needed to keep the pace. Being a frequenter of hill running I knew I was in my element as a misty Jeffrey Hill approached. After four and half miles of climb it was all downhill from there. Being the home stomping ground of my mum and grandparents I really wanted to win it for them and they were waiting with loud cheers at the finish line”!
Two more ‘Blue Vests’ made the short journey up the A666 for the Blackburn 10k. Sully Badat has been making great progress recently with the Bolton parkrun and has improved by over a minute in a month. He proved he had the stamina for the longer distance here and won his V45 age category in a time of 37 mins 13 secs and an overall top 20 finish. One of the leading runners in Aidie Costello’s Endurance Group Sully has been training really well both at home and with his Harriers group. He said “I have really enjoyed my running these last few months, I have lost some weight and feel in the best shape I can remember. Blackburn went totally to plan and am really pleased with my performance”.
Harriers warhorse Mark Wolstencroft was not far behind and galloped home in 37 mins 52 secs for a 2ndplace in the V55 age category. He explained “if the finish had been around the whole of the Ewood park pitch I would have seen the other V55 in front of me and I might have had him !”
GWYLIM’S KIDS GO CROSS COUNTRY
Sunday also saw a Greater Manchester Cross Country Championships at Leigh Sports Village. The club only had 4 young athletes on the day and coach Gwylim Jones stated “I have been really pleased with the enthusiasm to turn out event after event by Lily Philbin, Emily Wood and Cerys Jones. Emily in particular was taking part in her first Under 13s race moving up from the Under 11s and she put in an outstanding performance. Eve Blaney was also taking part in her first event of this kind and I was delighted with her”.
Sunday 12th December saw the Telford 10k. Statistically proven as the fastest 10k course in the UK the race had a seriously strong countrywide field. A two lap traffic free tarmac course utilising Telford Town Park for this England Athletics Age Group Masters Qualifying Event.
Danny Shaw and Martin Reid took their places at the start for the hotpot event.
Danny, aiming for a sub 32, came home an agonising 1 second away in exactly 32 minutes. Martin was typically first to congratulate his slightly disappointed team mate who nonetheless had run a magnificent race. He eulogized “Danny’s run was an absolutely sensational effort. It was a fast course stacked with class runners. He ran a pretty even first and second 5k but really went for it in the last 400m with a sub 65 seconds and was extremely unlucky not to get the sub 32”.
As regards his own performance (a not so shabby 34 mins 30 secs) Martin explained “I didn’t run as well as I would have liked. I’m taking a couple of weeks off for Christmas. I need to recharge mentally and physically as I have been running five days a week since doing a marathon last year. I need to miss it and get desperate to be back out there again”.