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Harriers enjoy a memorable day at the UK Cross Challenge

18th Nov 2005
Steve Vernon gained selection for the European Cross Country Championships

Steve Vernon finished 6th and gained selection for the European Cross Country Championships

Steve Vernon capped a memorable day for the Harriers at Liverpool's Sefton Park on Saturday at the UK Cross Challenge series which was also the Great Britain selection race for the European Cross Country Championships to be held at Tilburg in Holland on December the 11th.

Steve who won the UK short course race for the second time in March has never run the longer 10km distance championship race in the past because of injury problems.

Steve will be looking forward to softer conditions underfoot on the flat course in Holland. The last time Steve ran in a European Cross Championships was as a junior in Slovenia where he finished 10th helping the GB team to gold in the process.

By running a cautious race Steve did enough to make the team for Tilburg in two weeks time.

Jess Coulson with Keith Hatton

Jess Coulson who was good enough to finish in 9th position and almost claim a place in the under-20's GB team

The Harriers' squad that ran in Saturdays races all agreed however that the performance of the day had to go to 15-year-old Jessica Coulson who was good enough to finish in 9th position to almost claim a place in the under-20's GB team

Jess was able to hold her own against the nation's top under-20 athletes and it was a remarkable feat for her age in her first taste of big time athletics.

Jess was only three places and 12 seconds down on the sixth runner, Scotland's Commonwealth Games bound 1,500 metre runner Morag McLarty from Central A.C. Glasgow.

Ross Millington

Also Ross Millington (right), the club's top 1,500 metre man, nearly came out on top in the men's under-17s race, he was leading until a stitch slowed Ross down but held on to third place behind Welsh champion Leun Ellis in 2nd and winner Michael Billington the European Schools Cross Champion. Steve Pearson ran his best race this year to finish 12th.

Earlier in the day a group of young athletes from the Harriers also made the trip to Liverpool to compete at the event with some great results.

Richard Hindley again showed what a great season he his having with a great run in the under-11 boys', leading from the start he led all the way and was never caught, winning in 7 minutes 25 seconds over the 2km course.

In the under-11 girls' race the story was very much the same with Hannah Coulson taking the lead from the start and never being caught to win in a time of 7.58 over the same distance, but just behind her team mates where all having great runs with Imogen Nutter fighting through to finish 3rd in 8.11, followed by Aimee Aikin 7th in 8.45 then Emma O'Connell 11th in 9.04, Danielle Leith 12th in 9.07 and Alice Bowdon 14th in 9.09.

Becky Hetherington had a lot of competition in the under-13 girls' race with a very strong turn out from all over the country ment but came though to finish 11th with a time of 11.30 over the 3km course.

The under-13 boys' race also had a very strong turn out with Sam Bowdon finding the going very fast but had a strong run in to finish 50th.

The Liverpool Cross Challenge will be featured on UKTV Sport presented by Denise Lewis and John Inverdale on UKTV G2 on Sunday 4 December at 6.30pm. It will be repeated daily until the following Sunday at the same time, 6.30pm on UKTV G2.

Ladies go well in the Macclesfield mud

Carley Davies was first runner home in the under-20s race at Macclesfield race in 5th place

Carley Davies was first runner home in the under-20s race at Macclesfield in 5th place

Stockport Harriers women's squad competed in the second round of the North West Women's Cross Country League at a muddy Macclesfield on Saturday.

The team's juniors all made big improvements from the first match especially in the under-20/under-17 combined race.

The first runner home in that race was Carley Davies in 5th, she was making the most of the weekend back in Stockport after traveling from Birmingham University, Carley was on duty for Stockport County Ladies the following day.

Her team mates packed well in the top ten with Ruth Jenyon producing another good race in 6th with Claire McMurdock 7th and newcomer Helen Hudson in 8th. The under-15 girls were even more closely matched with Leah Kay making it two victories in the league with another convincing win from Charlotte Barber in 2nd and Leah's sister Sarah in 5th. Hannah Walker also made a big improvement to 15th position for the girls to win the match.

In the senior women's race Estelle McGuire was first home for the team in 13th, Helen Walch a battling 25th for the lady veterans-40, Jayne Mellor 27th and Karen McCrackle in 32nd.

The girls' under-13 pair of Amy Lawson 13th and Jade Friel 31st did well in the boggy ground.

The boys' under-13 team easily took the boys' race with in-form Michael Logue in 3rd, closely followed by Jack Nixon 4th, Harry Long in 5th and Sam Riley 8th. Steve Pearson took 2nd again in the under-17 men's race and Stuart Cameron impressive in 8th place.