News reports - January 2020

26th January 2020: Club Fell GP races, 2020

Listed below are the races for the 2020 series. Most of the races have been run in previous years, both Pendle and Rivington Pike are included, either of which could be a venue for the Merseyside Fell Championships (to be confirmed). As last year a number of the races have junior races included and should there be sufficient interest from junior runners a junior championship will be included in the series.

As in previous years the Championship will be decided on the best four races from the series. Good luck to all taking part in the Grand Prix.

Sat 4th April   - Pendle, 2.00pm,  AS 7.3km/457m, Barley Village Hall, Barley nr. Burnley             (Possible Merseyside Fell Champs - TBC)

Sat 11th April   - Rivington Pike, 3.00pm, BS 5.2Km/213m, Crown Hotel, Horwich.

Sat 23rd May  - Hutton Roof, 2.15pm, BM 11.3km/397m,  Hutton Roof Village Hall – Nr Kirkby Lonsdale.

Sat 13th June  - Weets, 12.00pm Noon, AS 8.8km/550m, Letcliffe Park, Barnoldswick

Thurs 2nd July. -Tockholes, 7.15pm, BS 9.3km/335m, Rock Public house, Tockholes.

Wed 22nd July. - Harrock Hill, 7.30pm, BS 8.4km/275m, Farmers Arms, Bispham Green Nr Parbold.

Wed 12th Aug. - Pilgrims Cross, 7.15pm, BM 11.2km/396m, Sunnybank Social Club, Helmshore.

Sat 29th Aug.  – Pendleton, 2.00pm, AS 8km/457mm,  Village Hall, Pendleton, Nr Clitheroe.

Junior races are included at Pendle, Rivington Pike, Hutton Roof and Weets. Any junior championship will be decided from the best three races from four.           

25th January 2020: Two top 10 finishes at Northern XC Champs

The 2020 Northern Athletics Cross Country Championships were held this year on the Camp Hill Estate, Bedale, North Yorkshire. The travelling distance would account for the limited number of Southport Waterloo runners taking part but those deciding it was too far to go missed out on a superb cross country course. And, with the Merseyside Inter Counties team selection taking account of Northern performance, runners may miss out on county selection.

Camp Hill is an adventure park set in a natural park and woodlands setting. It holds the annual North Yorkshire County Show so is well placed to cope with major events. The park is gently undulating- so no challenging hills - but roams thru' attractive scenery with tough muddy patches in places. A gentle uphill finish on good grassland facilitated some fast finishes but there was enough mud on the far reaches of the course to ensure times overall were adversely affected. The weather was kind too!

The first race of the day was the Under 17 Women's race, running a small and a medium lap for 4.7 kms. Olivia Logan - last year's Northern Under 15 Girl bronze medallist - carried our club colours here and quickly settled into the leading group. As they finished the small lap, Olivia was lying 2nd of a breaking group of 4 but the more treacherous part of the course was on the medium lap. A near-fall cost her a few places but she recovered well to finish 7th of 116 girls in 18:11. Olivia is a 1st year Under 17 so this was an excellent result and sets her up as a medal contender next year.

The next race with club interest was the Under 13 Girls' race, running two small laps for 3K on good parkland for 11:21. Here Emily Dean was running and she finished 67th of 210 finishers in 11:21.

In the Under 13 Boys' race we had two runners and high hopes for Montgomery Barr. The boys also ran two small laps for 3K and Monty started well, in contention from an early stage. He worked strongly thru' the second lap and finished an excellent 5th of 186 boys in 9:44. He was 78th in these championships in Pontefract last year. Reuben Donnelly also took on this challenge and was 100th finisher in 10:59.

The only other age group in club colours at Bedale was the Senior Men where we had two running - Andrew Kershaw and John Sprackland. The start of the Senior Men's race in these big-field competitions is always impressive, with around 600 runners at the start. They ran a long course, three large laps for 12.6 kms! Three times thru' the muddy outlying areas would be enough to sap anyone's energy but the leading Northern runners took it in their stride. Andrew was 85th of 583 finishers - 88th at Harewood in 2018 when he last ran the Northerns - in 47:39 and John was 342nd in 57:11.

County Durham is pencilled in to host next year's Northern Champs so it will again mean long journeys for Merseyside runners.


21st January 2020: 3 more T&F club records to go for in 2020

The Youth Development League has just announced changes for the YDL(Lower) leagues in 2020. Motivated by equality and fairness, the League has decided that Under 13 Boys will run 75m, 150m and 1200m rather than the more usual 100m, 200m and 1500m. This applies only to the YDL(L). The Mid Lancs League has already addressed inequality by standardising on 100m, 200m and 1500m; and indeed our own Southport Waterloo Open T&F meeting now has the same distances for boys and girls, but by moving the girls up rather than moving the boys down.

There are currently no AAA Graded Standards for boys over 75m, 150m or 1200m as these distances have mainly been available only at open meetings. The new YDL distances will at least provide for three more club records for the Under 13 boys to go for. But the records aren't vacant and it will take a young sprinter of considerable talent to beat James Armstrong's 9.8 secs for 75m.

19th January 2020: Under 15 Girls win NW Sportshall Final

Our Under 13 and Under 15 Girls made it through to the North West final of the Sportshall Athletics League, held at the Kingsway Leisure Centre in Widnes on Sunday.

The Under 13s competed as a team, with individual event medals. Hannah Keenan picked up an individual bronze medal in the 6 lap.

The Under 15s is more an individual combined events style competition. Our Girls took the overall winners cup, Amber Hughes, Libby Simpson and Ellie Clark took the individual medals for top scorers in the league and Amber Hughes won the overall individual title.

Further details will be provided when the results are published.

13th January 2010: SWAC 2020 Grand Prix Season

Following the winter break, February sees a return to Grand Prix action.

The Road GP commences traditionally with the Mad Dog 10k held on Sunday 9th February.

The Trail GP starts the following week at the 50th Parbold Hill Race on Saturday 15th February, continuing at The Standish Hall Trail 10k on Saturday 22nd February.

The full schedule for both GPs is show on the Road Running GP web page. At the time of publication a few event dates are still  “to be confirmed” and will be updated once the information is available.

Club members are reminded that, to be eligible in the GPs, club colours must be worn and the club name listed on your race entry.

11th/12th January 2020: 2 medals taken at Northern Indoor Champs

This weekend was the Northern Athletics u17, u20 & Senior Indoor Athletics Championships at the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield. 

On Saturday, Josh Stammers, Steph Robertson were in action and on Sunday Ben Apps; with Sam Coupland there both days.

First into his blocks on Saturday was Josh in the u17M 60m heats, sprinting into the final with a new personal best of 7.41s and in the final recording a time of 7:53

Steph was last to compete on Saturday in the u20W Triple Jump having earlier set a new PB of 7.99s in the u20W 60m - to equal Lauren Lewis's Club Record.  Her best jump of 10.73m was just one cm off her best for this event.

Later, Josh and Sam competed in the u17M Long Jump, with Josh jumping 6.06m and Sam 6.18m in a competition won by Jerel Livingston of Trafford AC in a new Championship Best of 7.41m.

On Sunday, Ben was first into his spikes, in the U20M Long Jump.  His best jump of 6.62m came in the 4th round and was good for 3rd place and a Northern Athletics bronze medal.

Combined Event specialist Sam was much busier than the previous day, with u17M High Jump, Shot and Pole Vault, all scheduled within a frantic hour.  High Jump was first and Sam did not disappoint with a best jump of 1.85m to win the event and the Northern Athletics title. Then it was straight over to Pole Vault where his positivity saw him take on a new Pole that delivered a personal best of 3.30m.  Sam then had to run to an adjoining hall where the Shot was in the third round.  His best put of 8.78m, clearly tired from his earlier events.

Congratulations to all, Sam's and Ben's achievements are now featured on the club's Roll of Honour.


11th January 2020: Mid Lancs XC League continues at Burnley

After a good turn-out for the Merseyside County Cross Country Championships at Stadt Moers Park last weekend, hopes were high for a good number of Southport Waterloo runners at the January Mid Lancs League XC fixture at Towneley Park, Burnley; but it wasn't to be with only 19 participating across all the age groups. We haven't had large numbers of juniors competing recently in cross country but it isn't that long ago that our Senior Men were regular contenders to win this league - in fact, winners in 2010, 2011 and 2013. We had just 4 runners out today but did manage a team finish!

The course at Towneley Park is often a muddy one but the ground conditions were fairly good today allowing for some fast running; indeed, a much faster course than Stadt Moers last weekend. It was overcast, with a moderate wind and, bang in line with the forecast, the rain came on at 2 pm. Fortunately, the heaviest rain didn't arrive until we were well on our way home along the M65.

Monty Barr was probably our best runner here, finishing 2nd Under 13 Boy.

We had no runners in the Under 11 Girls' race but two in the Under 11 Boys. Harvey Thompson did really well to finish 21st of 89 runners covering the 2 kms course in 7:41. Joseph Cooper was not far behind, 33rd overall in 7:58.

Again, there were just two Southport Waterloo runners in the Under 13 Girls' race. Emily Dean was again a top 10 finisher, 7th on the day of 49 girls running 10:39 for approx 2.7 kms. Tiana Chambers, who also ran at Stadt Moers, was 25th in 11:31.

A team finish was achieved in the Under 13 Boys' race with Monty Barr our best runner of the day, finishing 2nd of 55 runners in 10:28 for 3.2 kms. The individual rankings for the league this season have not been published yet but we think Monty has won the league after the 1st four fixtures. I don't think he can be beaten although today's winner could tie on points if he finishes 1st in the last two fixtures. Luke Ward was 9th in 11:24, Stephen Morgan 22nd in 12:06 and Daniel Jones 49th in 14:31. I understand Reuben Donnelly also ran but we can't yet identify him in the results. Monty, Luke and Joseph finished 3rd team and that will raise them up the league table. Trawden and Blackburn look to have the gold and silver tied up but we could contest for the bronze medals with a good finish at the remaining fixtures.

We had no Under 15s running. Freya Walsh started in the Under 17 Women's race but health issues forced a retirement.

On then to the Senior Women and Southport Waterloo (just) managed a team finish with three to count. Jessica Dean was first home, 43rd of 187 women in 25:13 for the 5.8 kms. In fact, I believe Jessica is still an Under 20 Woman so should also be recorded as 6th Under 20. Michelle Spencer was 66th in 26:42 and Catherine McElhinney, 106th in 28:52. The team were 20th overall, 6th team in Div'n 1 and its all to play for now, whether Southport Waterloo or Blackpool Wyre & Fylde are relegated at the end of the season.

7 of our Senior Men competed at Burnley, led home by Rob McGrath who finished 4th MV50, 60th overall of 275 finishers in 39:06 for the 9.8 kms. John Sprackland was 8th MV50 in 40:30, Martyn Smith finished in 42:17, Richard Talbot in 43:28, Rob Johnson was 4th MV60 in 43:40 and the final team counter was Graham Liu finishing in 46:56. The team are likely to follow our Senior Women into Division 2 next season! Ian Pike ran 58:59. Rob, John and Richard were 2nd MV50 team and tying with Preston to lead the MV50 team rankings this year. (Report amended. Results initially showed Paul Warrington as 1st S'port finisher but Paul wasn't running at Burnley so it was a misread number. Team positions will be poorer.)

Thanks to Michelle Spencer, Steve James and Graham Boreham who stepped in to look after the younger runners in Lee's absence at the Northern Indoor Champs.

The next cross country event is the Northern Champs on 25th January and the M'side Schools Champs are at Arrowe Park on 1st February.


4th January 2020: 7 individual medals and 2 team awards at Merseyside XC Champs

The first of the season's cross country championships - the Merseyside County Championships - were held at Stadt Moers Park in Whiston on Saturday. These championships were last held here in 2011 and 2014 since when they have alternated between Sherdley Park in St Helens and Arrowe Park on the Wirral. In reality, the number of venues for senior cross country events in Merseyside is limited. Stadt Moers is a small, compact park with quite complex courses to make up the required distances. It is often rather wet and muddy (what XC course isn't I hear you say!) and today part of the course had to be re-routed because of surface water. But in fact, despite being muddy in places, the event went very well indeed and provided some very enjoyable and competitive races. The weather was kind too; dry with sunshine although the chilly wind became more insistent as the afternoon progressed.

Southport Waterloo where there in reasonable numbers; 45 in total. And met with some success! 7 individual medals and two team awards. Monty Barr was 2nd Under 13 Boy, Olivia Logan was 1st Under 17 Woman, Lucy Milling was 3rd Under 17 Woman, James Tartt was 3rd Senior Man and there were, I think, three vet awards; Carole James was 1st LV55, John Sprackland 1st MV55 and Billy Hargreaves was 2nd MV65. Our Senior Men took the silver team medals and our Under 17 Women took bronze in the combined Under 17 and Under 20 Women's team category.

These races also provide a first stage selection for the Merseyside team for Inter Counties on Saturday 7th March in Loughborough. The first 4 or first 6 in the Senior Men received selection letters. Others will earn selection at the Northern Champs.

One of my delights of the day was to see 7 of our youngsters competing in the combined Under 11s non-Championship race. Erin Griffin and Felicity Fletcher were 8th and 11th in the Girls' result, Erin running the 1500m in 7:09 and Felicity in 7:24. With 5 Under 11 Boys we even finished a team. Harvey Thompson was first home for the club in 6:39 for his 1500m in 10th place, followed by Harry Williams, 13th in 7:10, Joseph Cooper, 14th in 7:11, William James, 17th in 7:26 and Charles Fletcher, 18th, also in 7:26. The team of 3 finished just 4 points off the 3rd placed medallists.

Emily Dean had a typically courageous run in the Under 13 Girls' race finishing 5th of 28 girls in 15:53 for 3 kms. Tiana Chambers completed the course in 18:47, Hannah Keenan in 19:44 and Amelia Thompson in 19:49. The team of 4 finished 4th.

A team of 8 in the Under 13 Boys' race was a pleasing sight for endurance coach Graham Boreham. (And I think he also correctly predicted the finishing order!) Monty Barr was again superb but was again up against Oberon Kearney from Wirral AC and couldn't get past him despite a strong run in to the finish. Monty was 2nd in 13:56 for the 3 kms, just a second behind the winner. Luke Ward was 14th of the 41 finishers in 15:01, Reuben Donnelly was next, 19th in 15:35, and Joe Wake was the final team counter, 22nd in 16:10. The team finished 4th of 6 complete teams. Stephen Morgan finished in 17:20, Sammy Pickerill in 18:31, Daniel Jones in 20:59 and Jack Bradshaw in 21:07.

We had two girls in the Under 15 Girls' race over 4 kms. Eleanor James ran 21:32 and Holly Bradshaw 26:44. We had no Under 15 Boys.

There were hopes of medals in the combined Under 17 and Under 20 Women's race - and they didn't disappoint! U20 Harrier Ella McNiven was the combined race winner over 4.5 kms in 18:44 but Olivia Logan was just 5 seconds behind to win the Under 17 category. And Lucy Milling ran her best cross country race yet, finishing 3rd Under 17 Woman in 19:56. Lilly-Ann Grayson completed in 21:52 for 6th Under 17 and Freya Walsh completed in 24:28. Olivia, Lucy and Lilly-Ann finished 3rd team but it was a really close team result with Wirral winning with 15 pts, Liverpool H 2nd also on 15 pts and Southport Waterloo 3rd on 16 pts. Two individual medals and a team award in this age group is a superb result. Well done girls!

Unfortunately, there wasn't a similar result in the Under 17 Men's or Under 20 Men's races with no Southport Waterloo runners.

On then to the Senior Women where we had just 4 runners. Well done to those who ran but just 4 runners must surely be disappointing. A strong Nicola Simpson led our team home, 29th overall of just short of a 100 finishers, a good field for these championships. She completed the 8 kms course in 38:36. Michelle Spencer was not far behind, 35th in 40:28, then Carole James, 42nd overall and 1st LV55 in 41:56, and, with a strong, fast finish, Catherine McElhinney, 59th in 43:57. The team were 9th of 11 club teams.

With 4 runners in the top 20 of the Senior Men's race, a podium finish was decidedly on the cards; but nonetheless delightful when it was announced that they took 2nd place. It was a good turnout overall, with 16 of our Senior Men running at Stadt Moers. James Tartt and Ben Johnson gave it everything and were always up in 3th and 4th place. James took the individual bronze running 43:41 for the 12 kms with Ben 4th in 44:07. There were 135 finishers in this race so, with 2 small and 3 large laps it was not long before we had a continuous line of runners around the park.

Andrew Kershaw was our 3rd finisher, 12th in 46:42, with David Hamilton 16th in 47:55, Steve Wilkinson, 44th in 52:44, and Gareth Simpson our final team counter, 45th in 52:52. John Sprackland was 1st MV55 in 53:06, a spritely Rob Johnson ran 56:48, Richard Talbot, 57:02, Neil Adshead, 57:26, Sam Moran, 58:20, Martin Smyth, 63:48, Clive James, 64:33, Graham Liu, 66:35, Mark Gillan, 72:42, and Billy Hargreaves, 2nd MV65 in 81:21. The team of 6 taking the silver medals were 31 points clear of Wirral AC in 3rd place and so a really good results which can hopefully be repeated at the L&D Championships next month - although I'm not sure how that will pan out with a Mid Lancs fixture the same weekend!

Thanks as ever to our team managers: Lee Coupland, Michelle Spencer and Steve James.

The next cross country event is a Mid Lancs fixture at Towneley park, Burnley next Saturday, 11th January. And the Merseyside Schools XC Champs have moved from 18th January to their regular date of 1st February and, I believe, may be held again on the flat (and boring!) Aintree race course. (Note: Course now confirmed as Arrowe Park, Wirral).

Full results