News reports - January 2019

12th / 13th January 2019: 3 medals, a club record and 9 PBs at the Northern Indoor T&F Champs

The Northern Athletics Under 17 / Under 20 / Senior Indoor Championships were held this weekend at the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield.  2 days packed so full that if you were there for all events you didn't see daylight.  On the entry lists, 9 separate athletes were representing Southport Waterloo AC, including Bekki Roche who was confident that her transfer to our club would be processed by the time of the event. A systems issue at England Athletics, however, has delayed this change but Bekki is still acknowledged below. 

Saturday was the busier of the two days for our athletes with U17 Women Amy Bloxsome, Stephanie Robertson and Abbie Bamber, U17 Men Sam Coupland and Luke Suarez, U20 Woman Lauren Lewis, U20 Man Ben Apps and Senior Man Harry Flanagan all in action.  Hardly time to visit the cafe, but more to be said about that later.

Combined Eventer Sam Coupland our busiest athlete over the weekend with 4 events and was first into the call room and ultimately into the arena for the U17M long jump. His first jump of the competition was his longest of his 6 measured at 5.67m a new personal best finishing 8th of 13 athletes.  This competition was won by Archie Yeo from Scunthorpe and District in a new Northern Athletics Championship Best performance of 7.33m, a great start to this popular meeting. Stephanie Robertson was next, in the U17W 60m hurdles.  A very fast start and Steph crossed the line 3rd in 9.30s, narrowly missing out on the final but a new Club Record replacing Eleanor Newton's previous mark from 2010.  Sam was back next for his U17M 60m hurdles and with 9 athletes needing to be reduced to 8 for a final, a false start disqualification of another athlete meant all he had to do was finish, which he did in 9.63s third in his heat.

Abbie Bamber was initially entered into the U17W 60m hurdles and 300m.  With the 300m potentially requiring heat, semi and final she decided to drop the hurdles and concentrate her energy on the 300m, finishing 2nd in her heat in 43.79s and qualifying for the semi.  Harry Flanagan had the same challenge with the Senior Men 400m requiring heats, semi and final. However, with some non-attendance this was revised to semi and final with Harry finishing 3rd in his semi in 51.37s just missing out on the final. 

Next the 60m hurdles final for U17M and Sam's last event of day 1. He finished 7th with a new PB of 9.46s.  The hurdles were then packed away and the 60m straight was ready for the flat sprint, not before Abbie had finished 3rd in her 300m semi final in a new PB of 43.17s securing her place in the final.  

Our 60m sprinters were, Amy Bloxsome, Stephanie Robertson, Lauren Lewis and Luke Suarez.  Amy and Steph were first up in the U17W race. Amy finishing 7th in her heat with 9.27s and Steph 3rd in 8.25s qualifying for the semi final.  U20W Lauren was 5th in her heat in 8.11s a little disappointed after she had set a new club record for this event of 7.90s at the Sale Indoor event just prior to Christmas. Luke was 3rd in his heat of the U17M 60m in a new PB time of 7.57s qualifying for the semi final. 

Attention turned to Ben Apps who was competing in the U20M triple jump. In the early competition, Ben appeared to have jumped his best as his distances slowly decreased and with one jump remaining he was in 4th position.  Ben's giant hop, step and leap of 13.55m with his final jump moved him into 3rd and earned him a Northern Athletics Championship bronze medal and a place on our Roll of Honour.  Unfortunately, for Ben's mum Emma a decision to visit the previously mentioned cafe lead to her not only missing his successful last jump but also his medal presentation. Ooops!

Abbie's 300m final followed and was a quite a challenge, this being her 3rd race over this distance in a few hours. She finished 6th in 44.23s.  Soon after, semi finals of the 60m for Steph and Luke. Steph equalled her earlier time of 8.25s finishing 5th in her heat, Luke's 7.56s was a new PB, he also finished 5th both just missing out on finals and concluding the day for our athletes. 

On Sunday, Sam Coupland and Lauren Lewis returned.  Sam to take part in the high jump and shot putt, Lauren to long jump.  In the U17M high jump Sam started jumping at 1.60m, clearing this and 1.65m at the first attempt. He had a little trouble clearing 1.70m, then cleared 1.75m with his first try.  He wasn't to jump any higher but 1.75m was good enough for 3rd place and a Northern Athletics Championship bronze medal.  2 hours later, Sam was taking on some rather stronger young men in the U17M shot.  His best putt of 8.77m was a new personal best and good enough for another 3rd place and a second Northern Athletics Championship bronze medal for the day both added to our Roll of Honour

Lauren's U20W long jump started with a warm up including sending her mum Lorraine to get her coffee... and when competition started early stages didn't go to plan, with two no jumps and a short successful jump she only just made it into the top 8 to continue jumping.  2 more no jumps followed, though these all appeared very long.  But her best was the 5th jump of the competition, clearing 5.11m; good for 6th overall. 

Bekki Roche was last in action in the U17W shot putt. Bekki represented Southport Waterloo last year as second claim and trains at Litherland.  We are delighted she has decided to join us to compete in 2019 in Blue and Yellow. She is a very talented thrower and today won the Shot title with a best putt of 12.43m. This would be a new club record but as her club status is still being ironed out we'll have to wait to acknowledge this formally, Congratulations Bekki. 

Thank you to all the parents who supported this event and to Ron and Lesley Scott who also represented our club as officials.  There are some indoor track meetings at Sportcity though the rest of the winter, the U13/U15 Northern Championships on 3rd February, U15/U17/U20 England Athletics Championships on 24th February and U15/U17 England and Northern Combined Events on 9th/10th March.  Lots to go at before the spring and commencement of our 2019 outdoor season.

Full Results

12th January 2019: Record turnout for 4th Mid Lancs XC; but few SWAC juniors

Round 4 of the Mid Lancs Cross Country League was hosted by Trawden AC at the popular Towneley Park venue in Burnley on Saturday. This course has proved very attractive to cross country runners over the years and previously held the record, outside of the BA Cross Challenge event, for the number of Mid Lancs participants. That record was smashed on Saturday when the number of finishers exceeded 960!

Towneley Park is a well organised venue and the course is not too demanding. In the past it has had surface water and mud in places but, apart from a strip of mud shortly after the Start, ground conditions were pretty good and contributed to some fast times despite a strong, gusting wind and occasional showers, heaviest during the Senior Men's race.

There were some great races but the most memorable feature was the number of Under 11s taking part. The average per fixture last season was 65 girls and 72 boys. On Saturday we had 95 Under 11 Girl finishers and 113 Boys! That's a magnificent attendance and bodes well for the health of our sport. Unfortunately, this spike in attendance was not matched in the Southport Waterloo camp. Participants at this age are tomorrow's Under 13, Under 15 and Under 17 cross country and middle distance runners. As a club, we managed just 1 runner in the Under 11 Girls' race and 1 finisher in the Under 11 Boys!

Overall, we had 10 Junior finishers and 26 in the Senior races.

Charlotte Hughes was our sole participant in the Under 11 Girls' race over 2 kms. She was 41st of 95 in a very respectable 8:23. Luke Ward did even better in the Under 11 Boys' race. He was 8th of 113 in 6:53, a great top 10 finish . We did, in fact, have another Under 11 Boy but he got caught up in the mud shortly after the start and was forced to retire.

We had three finishers in the Under 13 Girls' race so picked up team points here. Emily Dean was 15th of 57 girls running 9:59 for the 2.7 kms. Lauren Byrne completed in 11:47 and Apphia Keenan in 11:49. The team were 8th on the day.

Monty Barr and Adam Byrne featured in the Under 13 Boys' race over 3.7 kms. Monty had a good run to finish 13th of 64 in 10:51. Adam ran the large lap course in 11:57.

Millie Ireland was our only runner in the Under 15 Girls' race over 3.2 Kms. She completed the course in 13:56.

Jessica Dean and Freya Walsh ran in the Under 17 Women's race over 4 kms. Jessica was 4th in 15:11 and Freya 10th in 17:30. With two races left in the series, no club can now win team medals in this age category.

We had no runners in the Under 15 Boys, Under 17 Men or Under 20 Women or Under 20 Men.

The Senior Women's race was won by England international 800m and 1500m runner Jessica Judd, running for Blackburn Harriers. Southport Waterloo had 9 runners in the race and Amanda Crook led them home in excellent form finishing 3rd in 18:54 for the 5.8 kms. With Clare Constable 11th in 21:56 and Tracey Allan 24th in 22:54, we took 3rd team spot on the day ahead of league Div'n 1 rivals Preston, Blackpool and Clayton le Moors so that should elevate the ladies into medal contention. New to the sport, Ellie Ireland had a great run to finish 75th of 194 in 26:01. Helen Lodge finished in 27:09. Catherine McElhinney in 28:47, Sue Cooper - 3rd L65 - in 28:53, Sue Stewart - 4th L65 - in 29:18 and Katy Coupland in 31:32. Clare, Tracey and Ellie were 7th LV35 team.

17 of our Senior Men took part at Burnley. On this occasion Andrew Kershaw was first home for the club, 21st of 306 finishers in 33:14 for the 9.8 kms. I think this might be the first time Andrew has led our Senior Men in a Mid Lancs cross country race and a 21st place finish is a very good result indeed. Next was Francois Rafferty, 1st V50 and 33rd overall in 34:20, then Alex Waddelove 51st in 35:20, Anthony Pratt, 81st in 36:49, Keith Lunt, 88th in 37:01, and final team counter John Sprackland, 114th in 38:04. Richard Talbot completed in 39:17, Carl McMahon, 39:35, Ron Johnson 3rd V60 in 39:39, Neil Adshead, 40:47, Martyn Smith, 42:07, Keith Swift, 42:11, Neil Silcock, 44:44, Malcolm Teale, 45:56, Gareth Williams, 48:49, Graham Padden, 53:10, and Ian Pike, 53:24. Francois, John and Richard maintained their hold on the Vet 50 team awards with another win in Burnley; that's 4 team wins from 4 fixtures and they are now unbeatable in the league table!

The next fixture is at Leigh on 9th February - the day before the L&D Champs so a feast of cross country running that weekend - and then the league season ends at Cuerden Valley Park on Saturday 2nd March. Both these venues are fairly local and provide a great opportunity for young runners to get a taste of off road running!

Thanks to team managers Lee Coupland, Michelle Spencer and Steve James, and to John Byrne who stood in for Lee today; and thanks to all who made the trip to Burnley to run the Towneley Park course.

Full results

5th January 2019: Senior Men, & U13 Girls, U13 Boys and U15 Girls take team medals at County XC Champs; but only 1 individual award and 3 unplaced awards

The Merseyside County Cross Country Championships were held on Saturday in Sherdley Park, St Helens, hosted by St Helens Sutton AC and St Helens Striders. After such good running conditions in Sefton Park for the BA Cross Challenge event, it was perhaps surprising that conditions were excellent again in Sherdley Park which has in the past been water-logged and muddy. But conditions were good to firm underfoot and with reasonable temperatures for January and no wind it made for a very pleasant day's cross country running.

Entries for this year's event were high but didn't always translate into runners on the day. And that could also be said of Southport Waterloo with 60 entered, 42 running and 40 finishing.

The Under 11 non-championship races apart, the 1st 4 in each race - the 1st 6 Senior Men - would receive invitation letters to represent their county in the Inter Counties Championships in Loughborough in March, the rest of the team being selected following the Northern XC Champs. Already selected for the Inter Counties are Emily Dean, Olivia Logan and Jessica Dean. Several more of our runners are bound to be added to the team later.

This year, the Under 11 Boys and Girls were run separately. In the Under 11 Girls' race, Renee Adams was 14th of 32 in 6:27 for her 1.5 kms and Felicity Fletcher was 20th in 6:55. Renee wins a medal, however, as the county recently re-introduced a medal for the highest placed runner not from a team winning an individual or team award.

Joseph Wake and Charles Fletcher ran in the Under 11 Boys' race. There was another 'unplaced' runner award for Joseph who finished 5th in 5:44 for 1.5 km. Charles was 24th in 6:32.

Club followers were delighted to see 6 young girls in Southport Waterloo vests line up for the start of the Under 13 Girls' race over 3 kms. Emily Dean was the strongest, finishing 4th of 38 finishers in 12:29. Elizabeth Wake also ran very well for 14th place in 13:21 with Amber Hughes 19th in 13:57, sister Charlotte Hughes 25th in 14:35, Jemima Fletcher 27th in 14:49 and Lauren Byrne 34th in 15:26. The first 4 of Emily, Elizabeth, Amber and Charlotte took 3rd place team medals. Many of these girls are not middle or distance runners but cross country develops strength and endurance as a base for many other T&F events.

And we also had a team finish in the Under 13 Boys' race. 5 Southport Waterloo boys toed the Start line. Monty Barr proved to be the strongest finishing 5th of 27 in 11:18 for the 3 kms. Luke Ward was 15th in 11:49, Sammy Pickerill 18th in 12:19, Adam Byrne 24th in 13:48 and Jack Bradshaw 26th in 17:08. Monty, Luke, Sammy and Adam went home with county team bronze medals.

In my hopefully unbiased report, the Under 15 Girls' race was the best race of the day with Olivia Logan winning in some style over local adversary Liverpool Harrier Faye O'Hare. Faye beat Olivia at last year's County Champs by a minute but at the BA Cross Challenge in Sefton Park last November Olivia finished just under 30 secs ahead of Faye. Olivia has developed in strength, in endurance and in tactical running skills over the past year or so and played out the perfect race at Sherdley Park. The two girls were never more that a metre or two apart; Faye always in front and Olivia relentlessly sitting in behind. Coming off the final bend, with 120m or so to the finish, Olivia surged past. Both girls raced hard to the line but Olivia was not to be beaten!

Apart from Olivia's winning run, we had 6 girls in this race, perhaps a return to recent years when Under 15 Girls would be our biggest team. Eleanor James was 13th of the 22 finishers in 18:45 for their 4 kms. Annabel Lockie finished in 19:45, Holly Bradshaw in 20:08, Millie Ireland in 22:05 and Katie Piercy in 22:27. Olivia, Eleanor, Annabel and Holly took team bronze medals.

We had no Under 15 Boys running.

In the combined Under 17 / Under 20 Women's race, Jessica Dean finished 7th overall but 2nd Under 17. She ran 19:44 for her 4.5 kms and collected an 'Unplaced' runner award.

The next race with a club interest was the Senior Women's race. Southport Waterloo won the Women's championship back in 2008 and Amanda Crook was individual champion in both 2009 and 2013. Sadly, this year we didn't manage a team! Tracey Allan was our best runner, finishing 12th of 69 in 35:30 for 8 kms. Tracey was 4th LV35 so just missed out on a vet medal. Next was Nicola Simpson, 21st in 36:39, and followed in by Michelle Spencer, 34th in 39:46; all finishing in the top half of the field.

An interesting side note in the Women's race is that the county has agreed with clubs to keep the distance at 8 kms albeit the selection for Inter Counties is for a race now extended to 10 kms in line with international standards. For a number, the move up to 10 kms for cross country is a step too far!

The Senior Men's race had 16 Southport Waterloo runners. Ben Johnson led the team home finishing strongly in 7th place of 156 finishers. He ran 41:00 for the 12 kms, 3-lap course. With 7 runners in the top 50, a team medal looked a possibility but we would have to await the final result. Mark Dunham was our 2nd counter, 14th in 42:44, with Andrew Kershaw 24th in 44:26, then Francois Rafferty 26th in 44:53 Alex Waddelove 35th in 46:10 and final team counter James Paybody, 44th in 47:20. This team were awarded county silver medals on the day but this was to be downgraded to bronze later when the results were checked and the correction of an mis-recorded number gave enough points to St Helens Sutton to take silver by one point, relegating Southport Waterloo to county bronze.

Other finishers were Gareth Simpson, 47:57, Steve Wilkinson, 48:43, Mike Taylor, 49:15, Rob Johnson, 52:18, Keith Swift, 54:20, Graham Liu, 59:13, Billy Hargreaves, 68:23, Lee Coupland, 70:43, and Ian Pike, 72:14. John Byrne ran two of the three laps but injury forced a DNF. Bill Hargreaves was 4th MV65 beaten for the vet bronze award by the runner just in front of him!

Thanks to team managers Lee Coupland, Michelle Spencer and Steve james.

Next Saturday sees a return to league cross country running with the annual trip to Towneley Park in Burnley for Round 4 of the Mid Lancs League.

Full results

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