EAST Lancashire had a strong presence at the Mid Lancs Cross Country League opener at Towneley Park on Saturday.
The region’s clubs enjoyed both individual and team successes as the six-race series started in style in Burnley, with meetings at Liverpool, Lancaster, Hyndburn, Kendal and Skelmersdale still to come.
Rossendale Harriers’ Matthew Mackay won the under 11 boys race, ahead of a 58-strong field, with team-mate Orla Hort finishing sixth in the equivalent girls’ race.
Hyndburn’s Nicola Moynihan was East Lancashire’s top finisher in the under 11 girls in fourth, with Pendle’s Ruby Schofield in fifth.
Eleanor Root finished 13th for Clayton-le-Moors Harriers, just ahead of team-mate Millie Stubbs who finished 16th.
Clayton’s Isaac Wilkinson came in 11th in the under 11 boys race.
Hyndburn’s Blythe Fourie continued her impressive form with a convincing victory in the under 13 girls race, finishing 17 seconds ahead of the rest of the field.
Natalya Irvine, of Blackburn Harriers finished in fifth, with Hyndburn’s Charlie Coy also running well to finish in the top 10. Clayton’s Lucy Horrocks raced to 13th.
Rossendale Harriers finished the under 13 girls team event in second place, just behind Liverpool Pembroke Sefton, with Sarah Longshaw their best finisher in 11th.
Rossendale also finished second in the under 13 boys event, with Joshua Whitbread’s fourth place finish a key factor in their success.
Team-mate Ethan Radcliffe came in sixth, with Louis Barlow, Elliot Snape and James Nuttall also in the top 20 to ensure a good team score.
In the fourth race of the afternoon, Blackburn Harriers’ Elizabeth Greenwood was agonisingly close to victory in the under 15 girls category, finishing just five seconds behind Liverpool’s Rosie Johnson in second.
In the boys’ race, Pendle’s James Marchant and Matthew Barnes finished fourth and fifth respectively with team-mate Tiarnan Corken in seventh, helping their club to second place, just two points behind Preston.
In the ladies senior race, Clayton-le-Moors Harriers runner Sue Burns won the over 45 category, finishing the race in 13th place overall, and helping her club to victory in both the over 35 and over 45 team competitions. Chorley’s Lynne Clough was the first over the line from the region, coming sixth overall and third in the over 35 race, with Pendle’s Anna Anderson in 10th and Rossendale’s Emma Flanagan in 12th.
Clayton-le-Moors finished the main ladies team event in seventh, the best Division Three side, with Rossendale ending in 10th place and Division Two Chorley in ninth.
In the men’s senior race, Clayton-le-Moors ended their day in second place, behind a highly impressive Southport Waterloo, with Andy Stubbs their best individual finisher in 19th.
Stubbs was the fifth best over 40, just behind Blackburn Harriers’ Andy Buttery, who finished in third and 13th overall as the best East Lancashire runner in the race.
Clayton-le-Moors Harriers’ Phil Hall won the over 50 race, finishing 25th overall, just ahead of fellow veteran and team-mates Mark Aspinall and Mike Wallis. Andrew Corbishley, of Rossendale Harriers, was victorious in the over 60 race.