Rossendale Free Press

Harriers go up against country’s best


AFTER a year off due to Covid, the English National Cross Country relays took place on Saturday at Berry Hill Park, Mansfield and the Harriers fielded two senior men’s teams and an U20 men’s team for this prestigiou­s fixture on the calendar where they were up against the very best in the country.

The three man U20 team ran 3K over an undulating course which was surprising­ly dry given the wet weather we’ve had recently. Ben Kirkman led off and clocked 9mins 33secs, a very decent time for the course which involved a couple of short and steep climbs in the wooded area, a longer climb up to the top of the hill and a quick downhill to the finish before handing over to Joe Hopley in 37th place from the 63 teams who started.

Joe isn’t enjoying the early season form that saw him winning his age group in several fell races but he will improve as the season progresses and won’t be disappoint­ed with his 10mins 11secs for the course. Kurtis Mitton took over in 40th position but after a recent illness he struggled with the pace and dropped into 43rd place after 11mins 28secs.

The senior men’s race was a fascinatin­g affair with the lead changing hands several times before Shaftesbur­y Barnet AC crossed the finish line in first place after the four 5K legs, having been only 28th after the first leg.

172 teams made the start very congested on the first leg which involves two laps and twice the number of climbs that the U20s ran.

Stephen Corbishley ran 17mins 35secs on leg 1 to finish in 79th place before handing over to Jon Cleaver who managed 17mins 49secs but brought us up to 68th place.

Veteran Chris Fell, who hasn’t hit top form yet this season, finished his leg after 17mins 57secs in 58th spot before Matty Harris brought the A team home in 58th place with 18mins 02secs.

The B team of Dean Thompson, Sean Greenwood, Michael

Corbishley and

Matthew Clawson finished in 105th place with Greenwood, the best of the four, running a creditable 19mins 09secs.

Elsewhere on the fell on Saturday three of the juniors contested the Shepherd’s Skyline race and Charlie Dobson was in fine form, finishing in second place in the U11s, just four seconds behind Bingley’s Thomas Jebb.

Alex Carr was first girl and fourth overall in the same race and in the U13s Holly Nicholls finished in sixth place and third girl.

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