Harriers celebrate four IPC European championship selections and masters’ relay gold

Report: Peter Powell -

It is definitely now the case of “high fives” following the selection process of British athletics for the forthcoming IPC European athletics championships to take place in Grosseto, Italy from the 10th to 16th of June.

No less than four Stockport athletes have made the grade and have been selected, with Dan Bramall and Andy Small both participating in the T33 100 metres wheelchair event and who are already ranked 2nd and 4th respectively and will be trying to improve their positions still further.

Carly Tait (right) will be going for the triple in the T34 class of the 100, 400 and 800 metre events whilst newcomer to a full senior international debut will be Joshua Howard who goes in the T38 long jump competition and has been firing on all cylinders this year with massive improvements to his personal best cleared distances.

The selected participants go with the best wishes of all athletes from the Stockport fraternity and their respective coaches being Rick Hoskins and Joe Frost will be waiting eagerly for the results which will help as a springboard for paralympic selection later in the year.

The sun shone on the County track and field championships at Macclesfield including numerous young athletes from the Stockport area with the event combining the counties of Cheshire and Greater Manchester with a colossal 73 medal positions being achieved by local Harriers which involved 23 gold, 29 silver and 21 bronze medals and should bode well for team Stockport in future track and field league situations.

Over-65’s road relay champions; Rob Taylor, Frank Reilly and Alan Pover.

Over-65’s road relay champions; Rob Taylor, Frank Reilly and Alan Pover.

From one junior age spectrum to the other end of the senior age groups found Stockport’s over 65’s age group still doing the business at road relays and this time at Sutton Park, Birmingham in the 28th National Masters competition with a stomping lead out from ever green veteran Rob Taylor.

Taylor put the hammer down on the first leg to finish as the sole athlete to sub 19 minutes for the 3 mile hilly course who then handed on to second leg runner Frank Reilly (18:36) who then kept up a convincing pace to finish in a cumulative time of 38:17 which just left Stockport’s Alan Pover to accomplish the relay anchor leg, stopping the clock in 58:53.

No other club came anywhere near the team’s finishing time with Elswick Harriers second in 1:00:26 and Rotherham taking the bronze medal in 1:00:35 whilst Frank Reilly was heard to comment: “It was no picnic that course, some say it was fairly flat but I beg to differ and right from the beginning it seemed like nothing but hills”.

Could finishing in a brewery inspire athletes to participate in the Bollington Brewing company’s sponsored 3 local peaks fell race? A large field of redoubtable athletes stayed the course with first to finish for Stockport being James Corden for 4th position and 1st over 40 in a time of 41:28 for the 5.7 mile course which involved over 1200 feet of climb in total and three summits in all to conquer.

Phil Burns was 2nd for Stockport (45:05), Ben Snell 3rd (48:39) and making the journey all the way from Anglesey was former Harriers’ committee member Ian Mulligan who was 62nd overall (49:04) out of a total of 253 athletes who completed the hilly course with many now having their eye on the Boars Head fell race in June, when the real test will come for fell racing supremacy in the local area.

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