Jess and Steve get England call up

Jess Coulson at Sefton Park

Jess Coulson has gained selection for the IAAF Cross Cup International in Brussels. Photo from UK Athletics

Stockport Harriers' Women's Cross Country teams fought hard in the slippery conditions at Blackley's mud-bath course in Boggart Hole Clough.

The under-15 girls won the last of the North West Women's League series with Leah Kay finishing the overall winner of the under-15 girls' three races after a good second place.

Team mates Michelle Wiblin in 3rd, Bryoney Pearce 5th and Sarah Kay 10th packed well to ensure the team win.

The Senior Ladies' team finished 3rd team behind Macclesfield and Sale Harriers with Jenny Knass first of the team home improving on her 9th place at Macclesfield by battling through the mud into 6th place followed home by Estelle McGuire in 10th and Helen Walch and Karen McCrackle in 23rd and 27th.

In the under-20 women's race Claire McMurdock had her best run in the league with a 2nd place and Carley Davies in 5th

Ruth Jenyon and Rhea Fallows were 4th and 12th in the under-17 women's race while Becky Hetherington was 9th in the under-13 girls' race with Amy Lawson in 24th.

In the under-13 boys' Sam Riley came home 3rd, Harry Long 7th, Jack Nixon 9th and Cameron Murphy 12th while
David Thomson was 11th, Phillip Nixon 12th and Nathan Ludlain 15th in the under-15 boys' race.

Stockport's rising cross country runner Jessica Coulson has gained selection to run for the England Cross Country team at the IAAF Cross Cup International in Brussels, Belgium on December 18th. Jess was selected for the England team after her outstanding run in the European cross-country trial at Sefton Park Liverpool where she finished 9th and will be the youngest member on the Junior Women's team at only 15 years old.

The Stockport team will be well represented at the International as the Harriers' Steve Vernon was also named for the six man England senior team. However Steve makes his way to Holland first to run for the Great Britain team in this Sunday's European Cross Championships in Tilburg, Holland.

Stockport 10 a big success

Jenny Knass knocked 8 minutes of her personal best to record   62-53 to finished second

Jenny Knass knocked 8 minutes of her personal best to finish second in 62-53.

Stockport Harriers' headline event the Stockport 10 was held in near perfect conditions last Sunday and also drew praise for Paul Beaver and his team of hard working helpers for it's excellent organisation and friendly atmosphere.

Despite the loss of leading ladies Jenny Murray through a foot stress fracture, Toni McIntosh suffering a hamstring injury and Vicky Barrett and Sharon Glendon out with viruses it proved to be an excellent day with no more than 13 ladies running personal bests.

Jenny Knass was our first counter finishing 2nd behind the new course record holder Pauline Powell from Blackburn. Jenny who was looking to break the 65 minute barrier stormed through knocking 8 minutes of her personal best to record 62-53 for the distance.

Sally Keigher on her comeback trail finished in 68-56 for 7th place followed by Samantha Thomas 10th in 71-16, giving Stockport the ladies' team prize after just missing out last year.

Karen McCrackle was our 4th counter with another personal best in 72-25, followed by Alice Dagg in 73-04 and Alison Coulson in 77-38, breaking the club V45 10 mile record in the process.

Maryte Moore finished in 79-15 to record a personal best by 10 minutes followed by Ross Mann in a new club V50 record of 78-37. Ruth Lee knocked 5 minutes off her personal best to clock 82-37 followed Jayne Lawton, Jane Cocks and Helen Beard also with personal bests.

Many new ladies from the squad who were running their first race committed themselves well over the 10 miles.

bashir hussain

In the men's race Bashir Hussain (pictured right) was first home for the club in 54-00 for 5th place also winning the V40 prize, next Mike Shaw in 12th, Ben Gregory 18th and first V50 in 60-22. With Andy Whittington 22th, Stockports men's team took second in the team race behind a strong Sale Harriers squad who placed three in the first 10.

European Cross Country Championships

Steve Vernon finished 3rd counter for the Great Britain team

Steve Vernon (far right) finished 3rd counter for the Great Britain team

Steve Vernon put in a solid performance at the European Cross Country Championships in Tilburg, Holland.

The race was held in a local park and was a typical continental course lots of laps with tight twisting bends very spectator friendly but hard work for the athletes.

Steve was last out of the pen for the six man GB team but had made up considerable ground on his team mates by the second of the six lap course. He was up to 28th and was second counter after two laps for the team and was running in a group that contained four times past winner Paulo Guerra of Portugal.

Steve managed to hang on at the end for 36th being overtaken by fellow Brit Mike Skinner in the finishing straight.

He will be on international duty again this Sunday for the England Cross Country Team with fellow squad member Jessica Coulson who makes her England AAA team debut in the Junior women's race in Brussells, Belguim at the IAAF Lotto Cross Cup.

Greater Manchester Cross Country Championships

Stockport's juniors came away from the Greater Manchester Cross Country Championships with a huge collection of medals.

Ross Millington continued his run of county gold medals with a win the under-17's race ahead of East Cheshire's Simon Horsfield. Bronze went to Simon Pearson and with Steve Bennett in eighth Stockport won the team award.

Last year's under-17's champion Andy Nixon took the Junior gold this time.

Another double in girls' races where Michel Wiblin won the under-15's gold and led the team to second while Jess Coulson took the under-17's gold and helped the team take third.

Jess 6th in Belgium Lotto Cross Cup

Jess Coulson

Stockport Harriers' Jess Coulson ended the first half of a great season with an England junior debut in the IAAF Lotto Cross Country Cup in Brussels.

Jess was rewarded with an England team place after her magnificent run in the UK cross challenge where she finished ninth.

At 15-years-old she was the youngest girl in the England junior under-20 team, but finished in a remarkable sixth place for the four-girl team that easily won the team competition from the Belgian team.

The race, at the Kings Park in the centre of Brussels, near the Heysel stadium, was the last of the IAAF races on the continent before the New Year break.

Jess, who won the Greater Manchester Cross Country Championships title a fortnight ago, was not fazed by the big occasion and ran with the leaders for most of the race around the muddy four-lap course.

Going into the last lap, Jess made a big effort to push herself into sixth for the team. The race was won by Belgium’s top ranked cross runner Selien De Schyrder.

Jess said after the race: "It makes all the hard work worthwhile when you pull on the England vest.

"I want to run for England again."

Boxing Day Race and Marathon Entry Draw

This year's Boxing Day race organised by Jim Herron raised over £230 for the Beechwood Cancer Centre.

First home was Andy Nixon just ahead of Mike Shaw and Andy Oldham in 3rd. Junior Leah Kay was first lady and Julie Aikin first Vet lady. Phil Nixon and Charly Davies won the junior prizes. Hussein Yousefian and Helen Todd were winners in the over-50s and Barry Swindels first over-60.

The allocation of club places for next year's Flora London Marathon was decided by means of a simple draw after the Boxing Day run.

With as many as 16 rejection slips being returned this year it was decided by a special committee of club chairman Mike Durcan, coaches Ron Newton and Pete Torrence to put all the names into the hat.

Juniors Aimee Aikin and Emma O'Connell drew the following lucky names:

1. Pete Powell
2. Lee "gingerbreadman" Barrett
3. Dave Smith
4. Vicky Buckley
Reserve: Andy Smith

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