TWO highly rated Pendle AC youngsters raced to top-20 finishes at the English National Cross Country Championships in Nottingham on Saturday.

Kai Atkins and Matthew Barnes both enhanced their growing reputations with excellent displays at the big Wollaton Park event.

Atkins came 11th in the U13 boys race in a time of 11 minutes and 28 seconds. He was followed by clubmate Timothy Barnes in 274th (13mins 34secs).

Matthew Barnes, meanwhile, was 14th in the U15s boys race in 14mins 42secs followed by another Pendle member, Tiarnan Crorken, in 252nd (17mins 18secs).

Robert Warner could also be pleased with his performance, the Blackburn Harriers ace finishing 34th in the junior men’s race in 33mins 30secs.

Grace Handley led the Harriers’ charge in the U15 girls race as she passed the post in 44th (16mins 52secs).

Elizabeth Greenwood (96th in 17mins 38secs) and Megan Clarkson (166th in 18mins 24secs) followed up.

Natalya Irvine (49th in 12mins 59secs) came inside the top 50 in the U13 girls race.

She was supported by fellow Harriers members Maddie Elliott (82nd in 13mins 12secs), Hannah Cookson (239th in 14mins 22secs) and Emily Warren (334th in 15mins 1sec).

Beckie Taylor, who also runs for the Blackburn club, was 64th in the junior women’s race in 25mins 41secs.

In the U17 men’s race, Harriers’ Jack Hindle finished 78th (21mins 50secs) ahead of Pendle duo Matthew Dutton (82nd in 21mins 53secs) and Joshua Ingham (161st in 23mins 7secs).

Seven East Lancashire runners took part in the 1,657-strong senior men’s race.

Clayton-le-Moors Harriers pair Colin Shuttleworth and Mark Wightman were 773rd (48mins 7secs) and 928th (50mins) respectively.

Four Blackburn Harriers followed up, with Andrew Heys 954th (50mins 21secs), Allan Hartley 1,163rd (53mins 7secs), John Cookson 1,282nd (55mins 23secs) and Ian Clarkson 1,430th (58mins 11secs), before Chorley Athletic and Triathlon Club’s Philip McCullagh crossed the line in 1,586th (one hour, 4mins 22secs).

Angela Shian (386th in 38mins 48secs) was one of three Clayton-le-Moors finishers in the senior women’s race, the others being Christine Leathley (691st in 54mins 1sec) and Susan Allen (703rd in one hour 31secs).