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Superb effort from Harriers’ cross-country starlets

- 26th Nov 2003

Stockport Harriers' young middle distance team had an outstanding day at the fourth round of the Reebok cross-country series which was held in conjuction with the senior European trial at Liverpool's Sefton Park.

The Harriers squad once again showed that they can compete at the highest level.

Edgeley under-13 girl Lucy McLoughlin was involved in a three-way battle with Gloucester's top ranked 1500m runner Sarah Hopkinson and Scotland's Eilish McColgan - daughter of world 10,000m champion Liz.

Around the 3km cross-country course, McLoughlin and Hopkinson broke away from McColgan's early brave efforts. The pair raced together only for Hopkinson to outkick McLoughlin inside the last 300m to win by eight seconds in 10.06. Team-mate Charlotte Barber - one of the youngest athletes in the race - finished 15th in 10.43.

Barber's brother Steven was involved in the tightest finish of the day, six seconds seperating the first five athletes with the race winner decided in the last few strides.

Once again a Gloucster AC athlete Ben Coldray just edged past Harriers youngster Steve and Miles Hollinshead of Larkhall AC in the last 100m sprint for the line. Coldray's winning time was 9.42, while Barber and Hollinshead were both given 9.43.

Stockport's National under-15 boys cross-country relay holders had a tough battle with Scotland's Kilbrachan AC and the Northern Ireland squad team. In the early lead for the Stockport team were the club's top ranked 1500m runners Ross Millington of Woodsmoor and Bramhall's Jacob Corrigan. City of Stoke AC runner Alex Derricott, who is leading the race series, took the lead early on taking Ross and himself away from the main group. Corrigan was a little further back having his own private battle with a group of four athletes including Scotland's Derek Hawkins of Kilbrachan AC.

Derricott managed to put a 20-metre gap between himself and Millington with less than a kilometre to go, but managed to hold on to the fast finishing Harrier who was closing down the lead to win by just four seconds in 8:50 for the 3km course. Ross finished in 8.54, but despite the efforts of Simon Bennett (33rd), Michael Wood (57th) and Stuart Cameron (60th), Stockport just lost the team battle from Northern Ireland by six points but just edged the Scottish champions for second spot.

In the other races, Hazel Grove's Rhea Fallows was 31st in the girls under-15 race and Ben Styles 21st in the boys under-17 race, with David Hicketts 51st. In the senior men's race, Steve Vernon pulled up after 5km and senior lady Jenny Murray finished 65th in her first championship race.