Red Rose Cross Country – Bolton

RRXC Match 3 – Leverhulme Park, Bolton
Saturday, 22nd November 2014

Bolton United Harriers hosted the third Red Rose Cross Country meeting – a fixture that has become a favourite amongst the region’s runners due to its varied terrain that offers a bit of ‘something for everyone’, from steep hilly sections, wooded trails, open grassland and even a pond crossing.

IMG_3251asmPleasantly mild, if not unseasonably warm conditions, allowed all the athletes to runbathe (?!) under the autumnal sun, with a bit of mud to act as UV protection! Heavy rain overnight, with a light shower or two during the early morning set-up, did little to affect the course though.

The highly competitive U11 races saw nearly 100 runners in each, so Isabella Merritt’s 7th (of 97) and Ben Pickford’s 12th (of 88) were of particular note. Though the boys finished fifth overall (65 points), the girls’ fourth (43) could easily have been second but for 2 points. Of the seven competing teams, Bolton’s strong under-13 girls’ team was the pick of their juniors, winning gold (23) as Alice Tonge was edged out of an individual podium (58 competitors); Adam Akik (12thof 46) led the boys (5th – 62pts). Joe Gande’s knee injury affected the U15 boys’ placing (fourth – 69pts)), with Luke Entwistle leading the way (8th overall). Arguably the pick of the individual performances, Rachel Bailey stormed to her maiden x-country victory by 2 seconds with excellent tactics and an impressive sprint finish; the team were 3rd. Both U17 teams finished second with individual leaders Declan Toomey and Amy Howatson also second in reduced fields of 20.

IMG_3222asmMaddie Erzan-Essien’s second counter in the U13’s race was also a highlight – at start of her second lap (700m into the race), as she passed the nearest marshal (by chance, her coach Dean Johnson), she made it known that one of her shoes had succumbed to the gloopy mud. She carried on regardless, not only managing to record her best ever finish (8th), but overtake four in the last 100m in the process! Furthermore, good team spirit was shown across the age-groups, as Ben Pickford (also standing with DJ), undertook a search-and-rescue mission; he swiftly located and plucked the lost trainer from the mud after all athletes had passed, before scampering off up the hill and into the woods in the hope of re-saddling the shoe before the end of the race. Sadly, it was all in vain, but, apart from the risk of being spiked, Maddie might consider running the whole race at Rossendale shoeless on this performance. Certainly, it won’t have done the youngster’s confidence any harm!

For the seniors, Nicola Cartridge affirmed her strong showing at Chorley with another impressive outing, finishing 14th of 136 and be first counter for the women’s team that collected 111 points (9th). Under-20 runners Zoe Gibson and Megan Robinson debuted with solid runs too. IMG_3266asmThe men’s team was once again shorn of several big names due to injury, with Jonny Kay dropping out after 1 lap when in third position. Only a yard behind, Frazer Jardine, who’d suffered a similar fate on his last outing, took over the leader’s role, but tired to finish 8th of 236. Gutsy displays from Karl Darcy (25th) and the resurgent Ben Scott (56th) were matched with notably determined pushes in the home straight from Nick Howarth, Ato Erzan-Essien and Paul Rossington, as the men also finished ninth (354pts).

U11 Boys: Ben Pickford 7:09; Ethan Mason 7:38; Louis Greenhalgh 7:45; Joshua Bentley-Hughes 8:16; Matthew Wilkinson 8:22; Jack Thornley 8:57; Keajan Wilcox 9:05; Mason Wild 9:10
U11 Girls: Isabella Merritt 7:37; Lily Philbin 8:04; Ella Richardson 8:09; Ruby Erzan-Essien 8:16; Lucy Gettinby 8:29; Clemencia Longthorne 8:43; Grace Tonge 8:48; Amy Rossington 8:53; Abigail Steel-Lesh 9:08; Sophia Aftab 9:58
U13 Boys: Adam Akik 12:36; Aaron Moulin 12:39; William Cooper 14:41; Harrison Wild 15:54
U13 Girls: Alice Tonge 12:35; Madeleine Erzan-Essien 13:16; Molly Philbin 13:22; Ellie-Jo Ramsden 13:39; Francesca Fordham 13:43; Ciara Gettinby 15:17; Eleanor Wilkinson
U15 Boys: Luke Entwistle 15:52; Oliver Clough 19:45; Scott Hood 21:36
U15 Girls: Rachel Bailey 17:03; Georgia Greenhalgh 19:01; Leah Rushworth 21:02; Sophie Green 21:43; Ellie Forrest 21:55; Lauren Holt 23:14
IMG_3356asmU17 Boys: Declan Toomey 19:05; Matthew Walker 20:10; Jordan Kirkwood 23:09
U17 Girls: Amy Howatson 22:33; Mercedes Mercer 25:53; Katie Oakley 26:15
Women: Nicola Cartridge 23:48; Zoe Gibson 26:28; Cherry Collinson 26:34; Donna Cooper 27:20; Megan Robinson 27:45; Adrienne Fisher 28:49; Lea Taylor 29:24; Sara Green 30:51; Jane Lim 33:42
Men: Frazer Jardine 37:05; Karl Darcy 39:10; Ben Scott 42:13; Marc Zeller 42:57; Andrew Doyle 43:29; Nick Howarth 46:56; Eric Ranicar 47:20; Gary Jones 47:49; Marcus Chester 49:19; Chris Pickford 49:23; Ato Erzan-Essien 50:50; Stewart Brierley 52:06; Andrew Barrow 52:29; Paul Rossington 55:31

Full results
Photos (BUH&AC) coming soon and Photos (RunningPix).

Elsewhere, the Chorley Fire 10K saw Paul Jeffrey-Read finish 11th in 39:08 and Caroline Wilkinson in 67:26.