Mid Lancs Cross Country – Barrow, 6th March.
Gary Priestley got his just rewards for an outstanding season cross country when he clinched 1st place in this years Mid Lancs Senior Men’s competition on a warm, sunny afternoon in Barrow.
Gary had already finished within the top four in all the other rounds and he knew that a top three finish today would guarantee first place overall – all he had to do was do it today! He had discussed tac-tics before the start but it basically was just – top 3.
Gary set off and with Peter Huck (Junior Man) and they pushed the pace for all of the race and they pulled further and further away from the chasing pack. As the race unfolded therefore it was turning out to be the best plan ever. A top two finish was working out.
With the individual champion plan on track, attention moves to the Senior Men’s team. We were in second place in division 3 having achieved promotion in our first season in the Mid Lancs last year. So could we again, not just get promotion but could we secure top spot. To do this we had to beat all the other senior men’s teams in our division. Chairman Pete Bland had been contacting runners all week making sure we turned out as many star’s as possible. Russell Maddams had a very solid performance in 4th place – so then we need 4 more runners. Steve Nolan, Simon Parkinson, Denis Mason and Tony Hesketh were going to be our 4 more counters.
Attention was also passing to the V40 team. They had been sat in joint second place and Wigan weren’t going to finish a team so if we could secure first place we might be able to get a joint second place.
As the race unfurled on this three large lap course the results for our runners were as follows – Gary 2nd in 29.05, Russell 4th in 29.58, Steve 25th in 32.36, Simon 31st in 33.30, Denis 39th in 34.28 and Tony, suffering with a sore calf and taking it easier than usual, was 89th in 38.11.
These results gave Gary the individual championship and Horwich A team 1st place in division 3 and so promotion to division 2 for next year. The A team were second team on the day, that’s beating all the teams except one from all the divisions – good effort lads.
Whilst all this was going on at the sharp end of the race Gordon Stone, Pete Bland and Pete Ramsdale and Barry Allman were battling in their own race. Gordon, now a stress free and full time athlete continues to improve and turned a 34second deficit behind Pete Ramsdale at the Nationals in Leeds last week into a winning margin of 15 seconds today at Barrow. Pete Bland, giving all these runners 10 years, ‘worked his socks off’ completed the course ahead of Barry. This quartet completes the 10 senior Horwich harriers running today. Good turn out lads.
For the record Gordon 108th in 39.35, Pete R 112th in 39.50, Pete B 121st in 41.08 and Barry 129th in 41.58.
The Vet 50 team didn’t manage promotion as local clubs turned out in force for their local race. We’ll do it next year guys.
Thanks to all runners who have competed in any cross country this season.
Enjoy the summer.
Cross Country Captain
Full results see Race Results.