A total of seven Manx Harriers turned out in the colours of Lancashire at the 2017 Inter-Counties Cross Country Championships. With Northern AC supplying 5 athletes it was the biggest-ever Manx representation in the Lancashire team at the event. There was local interest in seven of the ten races, which were held at a new venue at Prestwold Hall just outside Loughborough.
All athletes ran extremely well and produced some impressive results on an undulating course that became very muddy in places as the day progressed.
Participation in the event is by selection only, so there was quality right through the fields. The majority of the races had fields ranging from 260 to just over 300, with the exception of the junior women which had 183. Distances ranged from 3 kilometres for the under-13s to 12k for the senior men.
The first race with Manx interest was the senior women’s event, in which Elissa Morris ran with great commitment to place 113th on her county debut. Gail Griffiths finished 126th, a fine run and remarkably her highest ever finish on her eighth appearance at the event.
Next came the u17 women’s race in which Laura Dickinson executed a well-judged race to finish in 100th place, a really impressive run from a hard-working athlete. The junior (u20) women followed with Katie Astin coming 44th. continuing her comeback from injury with a solid run.
The first male race involving the locals followed with David Mullarkey placing 48th and George Dickinson 129th in the u17 men’s category. David, although not quite at his best, still ran with typical determination and plenty of quality, while George produced a really notable result to finish well in the top half of the field having only received a late promotion from reserve three days before the race to make his county debut.
The final race of the day, as is traditional, was the senior men’s event. Alan Corlett, back from a recent injury problem, proved that he is getting close to full fitness again with a run of trademark guts and determination. Ever the team man, his 98th place helped the Lancashire team to pack well and place seventh in the team race.