Harriers compete well over the country and indoors

Wessex League, Poole, Sunday February 13th

Results are available here

Whilst three of the Senior Wells Harriers were competing in the televised English national Indoor Championship Finals, there was a strong turn out of 18 Harriers at Sunday’s Wessex Cross-country league match held at Upton Country Park, near Poole. Conditions were surprisingly good underfoot with the blustery wind perhaps causing the bigger challenge, particularly for the lighter, younger, athletes. For many of the juniors this was the sixth competitive outing in 7 weeks, but it did not seem to diminish performances. A number of other Harriers were saving themselves for this coming Saturday’s English national cross-country championship to be held at Birmingham.

Proceedings were started at Poole with the running of the U11s race over a 1.1km distance. For the Harriers, Callum Batten together with Ashleigh Chinnock toed the start line and both ran exceedingly well. Callum has been an ever present this season for the Harriers and has two firsts, a second and a fourth to his credit in the previous four fixtures. At Poole, however, he was still shaking off a cold, and had to give way to a number of other stronger runners to finish 8th. There seems little doubt, however, that his sequence of results augurs well for the future. Ashleigh, in her third outing at the League this year, also showed good determination to cover the distance and continues to improve.

In the U13 girl’s race Leighanna Chappel again ran well to finish in 5th place over the 2.3km distance. This follows on from her previous three top ten performances and will confirm her amongst the top U13 girls in the League so far with just one fixture to go. Leighanna, Ashleigh and Callum are regulars at the Harriers Monday evening training session for juniors at Millfield track, starting at 6.00pm.

In the U13 boys race the trio of Ben Venus, Charlie McLean, and Tom Thick once again performed exceedingly well, and subject to confirmation should have finished first team home on the day. This will mean that they continue to lead the U13 section of the League with just the remaining fixture at Wimborne next month to go. Ben was 3rd, Charlie 4th and Tom 10th at Poole. Together they comprise three-quarters of the team that achieved thirteenth place at the recent South of England Championships.

In the U15 girls race Hannah Forrest was the sole Harrier competing and she ran well to finish 5th overall, almost catching the 4th placed athlete in the finishing straight with a final burst of speed. In the U17 women’s Kyra Hawkins ran a well-judged race to finish 8th and continues to recover her earlier season form.

The Senior women’s race saw four Harriers compete. Ann Taswell ran a strong race to finish 2nd overall, having pulled away from the chasing pack with 2km of the 5.2km course to go. With this performance Ann will have moved up the individual League standings, and subject to confirmation may have moved into the first three overall. Ann was well supported by Tracey Halliday, 13th overall, Syreena Squirrel, 15th, and Becky Lee, 17th. Tracey’s finishing position was her highest to date, whilst Syreena is improving rapidly and paced the race to perfection. Becky continues to dominate the F50 category with her races, and this performance came just a fortnight after she gained 4th F50 place at the Las Vegas Half Marathon.

The Senior men’s team was a little depleted at Poole as a number of the men save themselves for the challenge of the National Cross-country Championships this coming Saturday. Stalwart and Veterans team manager, Dickie Wythe once again led the team home with his gutsy 11th position. Not too far behind was Dave Barlow, in 19th and Dickie’s son, Dave Wythe, in 20th place, in his first competitive outing for the Harriers. On this performance the Harrier’s ‘A’ team should retain their 3rd team place in the League overall. Dickie Wythe and Dave Barlow now prepare for the British Masters Indoor Championships at Cardiff this coming weekend.

Backing up the Harrier’s first team, was a quartet of Harriers to ensure that we also had a strong ‘B’ team showing, and retain our 2nd place in this section. Dave Stanfield had his highest finish to date in 24th place, followed closely by Stuart Marsh in 27th, and supported by team manager for the day Paul Chadwick, 55th and Adam Hawkins, 87th. Stuart continues to dominate the V50 section, whilst Paul’s race was his first in almost a year as he continues to recover from a patellar tendon injury which meant no running for a total of 8 months of that period. Adam once again demonstrated his commitment to athletics with his gutsy run