News reports - January 2017

29th January 2017: Indoor athletics continues

Whilst many of our middle and distance runners were battling the mud at Knowsley Safari Park, other athletes were savouring athletics without the weather at indoor centres; Manchester's Sportcity and the EIS, Sheffield, on Sunday.

At the Manchester indoor track, Ian Fitzpatrick, Chris Burgess and Luke Suarez were competing. Ian, a V50 who has only been running competitively for a couple of years, ran his first race on a 200m indoor track and recorded an excellent 1:39.98 for 600m. That's 66 sec 400m pace so he looks set to run a sub-2:20 PB for 800m. Chris is a regular at these Manchester indoor meetings and ran 7.90 and 7.76, the latter his fastest time this year. He ran 25.20 in the 200m, both race times pretty good for a V40!

Luke Suarez is hinting at a return to excellent form with a PB at Manchester over 60m where he clocked 8.04. Luke, the club Under 13 Record Holder over 60m, also competed in the long jump. In a field of 25 U15 and U17 jumpers, Luke came out on top with the best jump of 4m 78.

Meanwhile, the Sheffield Festival of Sport, which used to hold a prestigious annual open meeting at the Don Valley Stadium, held an open meeting at the English Institute of Sport's indoor track in Sheffield. Under 13s Amber Hughes and Katie Piercy and Under 11 Charlotte Hughes were there to enjoy the indoor competition. Charlotte ran her first 60m in 10.87, she put the 2.72 kg shot a best of 3m 07 and, over 200m, she ran 39.14.

In the under 13s events, Katie and Amber ran the 60m sprint, Amber in 8.95 and Katie in 9.51. Both girls ran slightly faster at Sheffield a week before in the Finish Line open meeting, Katie by just a hundredth and Amber by just 6 hundredths. Katie has a hand-timed performance (by me I think) of 9.2 at a Quadrathon last November and Amber's PB is 8.89.. Both Katie and Amber ran a 200m race, Amber finishing the 1-lap indoor race in 28.90 and Katie in 31.38, both PBs. Both girls also competed in the shot, Amber with a best of 7m 15 and Katie 6m 16, again both PBs for the girls.

Indoor athletics continues this weekend with the Northern U13 / U15 Indoor champs at Sheffield.

28th January 2017: Tough conditions for Northern Champs at Knowsley Safari Park

The Northern Cross Country Championships returned to Lord Derby's Knowsley Safari Park on Saturday, hoping to break a reputation for difficult weather conditions. The first time, in 2013, we had heavy overnight snow but the championships went ahead whilst other regions had to cancel theirs! Then, in 2014, we had gale force winds and rain and even hail and many club tents, including Southport Waterloo's, were destroyed. This year, the conditions were much more benign although that is certainly not to say "good". After overnight rain, the tent area was quickly transformed into a quagmire and the running line on the course became muddier and muddier. We did also have some rain during the day but it was the ground conditions that runners and spectators will remember. A number of runners finished with just one shoe and one senior man crossed the line carrying both shoes! And the Medical team were kept busy with several distressed runners. But that was the minority. Most runners recognised the tough conditions and responded appropriately and we were treated to some excellent displays of cross country racing.

Southport Waterloo had 34 runners at Knowsley, including 13 Senior Men.

The Championships kicked off with Under 17 and Junior Women but the first race with club interest was the Under 13 Girls' race over 3 kms. We had six girls competing in this race and Olivia Logan had a great run to cross the line 26th of over 200 finishers, in 12:54. Then Grace Tobin was 97th in 13:38, Annabel Lockie finished in 15:21 and Lizzie McCoy was the final team counter in 16:53 to finish the girls as 17th team. Millie Ireland completed the course in 16:59 and Katelyn Swift in 17:15.

We also finished a team in the Under 13 Boys' race over the same 3 kms course. Michael Henderson led our team home, 76th in 12:47, followed by Sam Coupland in 13:02, James Pike in 14:17 and Matthew Nichols in 14:21. The boys finished 23rd team.

Next, the Under 15 Girls where disaster struck for Lilly-Ann Grayson who took a bad fall and was forced to retire. Jess Dean was our first finisher, 68th overall in 18:22 for 4 kms, closely followed in by Freya Walsh, 71st in 18:25, with Bethany Swift finishing in 31:02.

In the Under 15 Boys' race we only had Harry Pike and James Cain. Harry did very well to finish 49th of 171 finishers in 15:38 for his 4 kms. It was not James' day, however, but he did battle though to finish the race.

Next, we had 5 runners in the Senior Women's race where the main course by this time was very muddy indeed! Nicola Simpson was our first finisher, 152nd in 41:10 for the 8 km course. This was probably the longest cross country race of the season so far and the tough, energy sapping conditions told on all the runners. Tracey Allan was next, 232nd in 45:37, then Sue Cooper, 267th in 48:01, Carole James 276th in 49:02 and Gina Bellhouse was 329th in 54:35. Nicola, Tracey, Sue and Carole were our team counters, finishing 37th Team.

Thirteen of our Senior Men took advantage of a local Northern Championships and ran the 3-lap 12 km course at Knowsley. There were over a 1000 entered for this race and the start of a major Senior Men's race is quite a spectacle. With a chipping point at the start of the 2nd and 3rd lap, I would estimate about 700 actually started the race and, with a few inevitable DNFs, just over 670 finished.

Our team was led home by David Hamilton who was 122nd in 49:17. Mark Dunham was next, 165th in 50:57, then John Sprackland, 330th in 56:35, Richard Talbot, 360th in 57:51, Neil Adshead, 365th in 57:57 and our final team counter was Matt Nelson, 388th in 58:43. We took 25th team place of 50 complete teams.

Other finishers were Steve Wilkinson, in his first race since last year's L&D Championships!, 58:44, Simon Tobin, 61:12, Keith Swift, 66:56, David Wright, 69:18, Neil Silcock, 72:08, Billy Hargreaves, 83:42, and Ian Pike, 88:27.

All that remained was to rescue the tent and flag from a sea of mud and retire to the warm of the car!

Thanks to team managers Katy Coupland, Carole James and Steve James.

Our seniors have another cross country Championships next weekend when the Liverpool & District Cross Country Union hold their annual champs at Clarke Gardens. Steve James will be handling the entries for that one.

Full results

22nd January 2017: Our Under 11 and Under 15 Girls feature in North West Sporthall Final


The Final of the North West Sportshall League was held in the Kingsway Leisure Centre in Widnes - but not as you would know it! The seating stand had been deemed unsafe and so spectators and athletes had to use seats at ground level so it was less of a spectacle. But the support for the teams was as loud as ever and loved by the runners.

Our Under 11 and Under 15 Girls had made it through to the Final by finishing in the top 6 in the League. The competition for Under 11s was in the morning and Under 13s / Under 15s in the afternoon.

Our Under 11 Girls were Maisie Bird, Daisy Bond, Amber Hughes, Michaela Hopkins, Jessica Keenan, Grace Malone, and Katelyn Swift. Maisie did speed bounce, 45 in the 20 seconds. Daisy did standing triple jump clearing a very consistent 4m 41, 4m 43, 4m 43, and the vertical jump, 36cms, 36 cms, 38 cms. Amber won the javelin competition. With three attempts, she first threw 5 metres, then 9 metres and then a magnificent 15 metres to win the event. She was also in excellent form in the chest push where she was 2nd equal with 6m 50, again pulling out her best performance in the final round.

Michaela also did javelin, with a best of 10m, and registered 46 in the speed bounce. Jessica competed in chest push and long jump, with bests of 5m 25 and 1m 71. Grace did long jump (1m 73) and vertical jump (3 jumps of an equal 35 cms). And, finally, Katelyn cleared 3m 99 in her individual triple jump competition.

In addition to the individual events, all the girls competed within teams on the track in the very fast 4 x 1-lap, over / under and 2 x 2-lap relays and the 6-lap paarlauf. The paarlauf was won by Amber and Jessica in 1:25.6, ahead of West Cheshire who finished in 1:27.4.

Competition for the Under 11s finished with a Grand Prix race, an exciting relay race with tunnels and hurdles that gets the spectators screaming their support.

The girls did magnificently but finished outside the medals in 4th place. In fact, the scores were very tight with West Cheshire winning with 276 points, then Wirral with 274, Crewe & Nantwich with 270, Southport Waterloo on 242 and Macclesfield 238. One team didn't attend.

Full Under 11 results.

Our Under 15 Girls were Jessica Dean, Megan Howarth, Eve McMahon, Stephanie Robertson and Bethany Swift. Both Stephanie and Jessica took individual medals, Stephanie a triple medal winner with a triple jump bronze, 8-lap paarlauf gold and 2-lap gold. Jessica partnered Stephanie in the paarlauf to win her gold medal.

Under 15 results will be added here when they become available.

With different competitions in the morning and afternoon, some of our young athletes helped out in the other age group field events events. So, thanks to team manager Chris Henders and all our helpers; Jessica Dean, Megan Howarth, Amber Hughes, Katie Piercy, Bethany Swift, Alice Bird, Chris Henders, Lesley Scott, Barrie Hughes and Dave Whitehead.


Ed: Results eventually published mid March Results for SWAC Under 15 Girls | full U13/!5 results

22nd January 2017: Two 1000m club records at EIS

Grace Tobin and Sam Coupland were at the EIS in Sheffield for the 3rd fixture in the S Yorkshire Open Indoor Series. Both ran the 1000m, Grace in 3:18.30 to win her race and Sam in 3:26.84. Both are age group club records although Sam has run faster. Grace also put the shot 5m 81 and ran 30.42 for 200m. Sam shot put of 6m 59 was, I believe, a PB; as was his 9.12 time for 60m.

This popular series clashed with the Sportshall Athletics Regional Final - or I suspect more of our younger athletes would have attended.

14th January 2017: Mid Lancs Cross Country returns to Towneley Park

With the Christmas festivities now a receding memory, and just a week after a great club presence at the county cross country championships, runners returned to league competition with the fourth Mid Lancs fixture. The event, held in Towneley Park, Burnley, is usually hosted by Clayton-le-Moors Harriers but was today organised by Trawden AC, a club fast making their name in the league. The course was well set out, well marshaled and overall very well organised. The weather was also kind to us after storm force winds and rain on the Friday but, of course, the surface was muddy in many places with some standing water. But then it is cross country!

Towneley Park always attracts high numbers in the Mid Lancs League and today was no exception with possibly a record number of runners. 40 Southport Waterloo runners took part, much the same as last weekend, but the Senior Men in particular were not as strong. We had three top ten finishes, all juniors. Olivia Logan was 4th Under 13 Girl, Harry Pike 6th Under 15 Boy and Jessica Dean 8th Under 15 Girl.

79 competed in the Under 11 Girls' race where Emily Dean had a great run to lead our team home. She was 12th overall in 8:22 for the 2-lap 2 km course. Libby Simpson was 25th in 8:51 and Katelyn Swift 53rd in 9:33. The team finished 6th. With end-of-season awards decided on the best 4 from 6 fixtures, the girls look to be just outside the medal positions but with a good team finish at Rossall School and at Leigh Sports Village - almost a home fixture for us - who knows what might be achieved!

We had no Under 11 Boys competing.

Our girls managed a team finish in the Under 13 Girls' race where Olivia Logan was once again outstanding. She finished 4th overall in 10:03 running much better than at Liverpool and impressed this coach with her running in the last lap where she battled off a strong challenge from the Preston Harrier. If Olivia runs well at Rossall School and / or at Leigh, she must be in the frame for an individual league medal at the end of the season. Grace Tobin also ran well, finishing 14th of the 62 finishers in 10:44 for the 2.7 kms with Millie Ireland 52nd in 12:42. Our girls are currently in 2nd place in the team rankings but Preston and Blackpool could push them out of medal contention. A good team result is needed at the final fixtures.

We also had a team finish in the Under 13 Boys' race where Sam Coupland led our contingent home, 24th of 62 finishers in 11:56 for the 3.2 kms. Matthew Nichols, a new runner who is developing very nicely, was 36th in 12:25, Joseph Sutton, 37th in 12:36 and James Pike 41st in 12:59. The boys finished 7th team.

The field sizes get smaller for Under 15s and Under 17s but we had four girls in the Under 15 Girls' race, led home by Jessica Dean who was 8th in 11:55 for her 3.2 kms, just finishing in front of Sam Coupland in the combined Under 15 Girls' / Under 13 Boys' race. Freya Walsh ran in as 11th girl in 12:19, Hannah Doyle 19th in 13:44 and Bethany Swift, 28th in 17:20. Our girls were 2nd team today and are 2nd in the overall team rankings. They should pick up end-of-season medals and a good finish in the remaining fixtures should clinch it!

Club performance in the Under 15 Boys' race is easily reported with Harry Pike our sole runner. In fact, Harry ran really well and its a pity he was not supported by team-mates. He was 6th of 31 finishers in 14:16 for his 4 kms.

We had no Under 17 or Under 20 Men or Women.

There were a few regulars missing from the Senior Women's team but Rachel Jacks ran her first race of the year and her first cross country race of the season; in fact her first cross country race since the 2013 Cross Challenge in Sefton Park! She led our ladies home in fine style, an impressive 22nd place of 149 finishers in 24:07 for her 5.8 kms. She looks in fine form! Sue Cooper was our 2nd counter, 67th and 6th L55 in 28:10, with team manager Carole James just behind, 71st in 28:34. Stephanie James, in her first cross country of the season, was 79th in 29:20, Gina Bellhouse, 95th in 30:50, Lilly O'Driscoll, 99th in 31:03, Sue Stewart, 107th overall and 2nd L65 in 31:38, and Jane Blacklin, 131st in 35:10. Rachel, Sue and Carole were 5th team in Div'n 2 but holding on to their mid-table position, Sue, Carole and Gina were 13th L35 team, Sue, Gina and Sue 7th L45 team, and Sue, Sue and Jane 4th L55 team.

Finally, after the Lord Mayor's Show - county champions last weekend - our Senior Men were 10th team today. Never mind the county championships but its a long way from the heady days when Southport Waterloo and Barrow & Furness Striders would battle for supremacy in this League. Barrow didn't even finish a Senior Men's team at Burnley!

Rob McGrath was our fastest senior, 43rd of the 251 finishers in 38:34 for the 9.8 kms. John Sprackland was 2nd counter, 78th in 40:28, Peter Roome, 83rd in 40:46, Richard Talbot, 97th in 41:25, Neil Adshead, 98th in 41:29 and Simon Tobin was the final team counter, 102nd in 41:35. Rob Johnson was 1st M60 completing the course in 41:39, Ian Fitzpatrick, in 42:24, Carl McMahon, 44:05, Keith Swift, 46:38, Matt Nelson, 47:11, Dave Wright, 47:42, and Neil Silcock, 49:49. Five of our first team counters were M50 so Rob, John, Peter and Richard were 4th M40 team and Rob, John and Peter were 1st M50 team.

Our Senior Men are 3rd in the overall team ranking, 3rd M40 and 3rd M50 (where the top three teams are all on equal points) so there is plenty to play for in the remaining fixtures.

Thanks to all who took part at Burnley and to team managers Steve James, Carole James and Katy Coupland.

Full results | Team standings

The final two fixtures are at Rossall School, Cleveleys, on 11th February, and Leigh Sports Village on 4th March. Before that, seniors have the L&D Championships at Clarke Gardens on Sunday 5th February.

8th January 2017: New Year brings new club records

Jamie Hopkins, Steph Robertson and Chris Burgess made the journey across the M62 in weather that made everyone thankful for indoor athletics.

Jamie was first to hurdle (in a 2 event juggle with long jump) winning his heat by a number of horse lengths, crossing the line in 10.80. The hurdling was smooth, but an extra step before the last hurdle cost a lot of speed. Long Jump was a very competent 4 and a half meters after one session on the run up.

Steph stepped up to the 60m hurdle line knowing she had done all the work in training to secure the u15 club record, but still had to produce the performance. We had spotted this winters northern number one, and national rank 4, Abigail Pawlett, and though Steph admitted that at her first hurdles of the season, she felt abby's presence was a negative, she was happy to focus on her own lane. And she did just that, a run of 9.64 smashed the club record by over half a second, and Steph challenged Abbey right to the last hurdle, at which point the difference in flat speed opened up a small gap.

On to flat 60m, Jamie ran well to get a new PB of 8.79- a good time for someone whose training is focused on jumping.

Steph had mixed emotions 3 weeks ago when she equalled Mia's club record; naturally competitive athletes want to be the best, bar non. So Steph set a new club record of her own at 8.44.

Chris Burgess was in fine form considering he can rarely get to the track in the evenings. I can't actually work out how, but during the 2 60m sprint sessions, he has ran 3 times, the best of which, 7.80 was barely a tenth outside his PB. Somewhere in the middle of those, his 25.43 200m was another fine performance.

7th January 2017: 2 team gold, 1 team silver, 2 team bronze and 6 individual medals at County XC Champs

A strange situation having a county cross country event and no Ron Scott in attendance. A significant weekend birthday celebration with his family took precedence….many happy returns Ron!!

So to the 2017 Merseyside XC championships, back this year at the popular Sherdley Park in St Helens which offered all conditions including a foggy start. Walking the course early gave an insight as to what to expect in the races, wet ground but firm in places, many short hill climbs and descents and a long relatively flat and muddy run for home.

The races started just after 10:45 on the short 1.5k course for the under 11s, boys and girls together in the fog with SWAC having 5 finishers out of the 38. Sam Pickerill (in a bright orange tee shirt) was our first home in 3rd overall (2nd Boy) in 5’32”- now that’s a mighty fine time but, I did observe the marshals sending the young runners in a slight deviation to the set course which may just have knocked a few metres off!! Our other finishers were Will Collins 12th, Libby Simpson 13th, Emily Dean 14th, & Grace Malone 21st.  This gave our U11s 2nd team finish behind Liverpool Harriers.

The U13 girls were next on at 11:00 for their 3k course with 38 runners of which we had 9 so we should get a team finish surely!! Leading the pack for SWAC was the ever impressive Olivia Logan followed closely by a fast improving Lucy Milling. The top places rarely changed over the race distance with Olivia, for the second successive year, taking the individual Silver medal, Lucy finished a creditable 4th with Grace Tobin 8th and our final team counter Amber Hughes, in her first U13 championship, 13th. Our other girls finished 19th Alex Murphy-Worrell, 24th Annabel Lockie, Millie Ireland 31st, Katelyn Swift 33rd & Lizzie McCoy 34th. The Team beat all expectations and made their coach ever so proud as they took the team Gold with 27 points, Wirral team Silver with 28 points & Liverpool Harriers team Bronze with 29 points. It doesn’t get closer than that!!

Following swiftly on, and by now the fog was lifting but showery rain replaced it instead, 27 U13 Boys set off at 11:20 to cover the same 3k course as the Girls. 6 Southport Waterloo runners in this race so again a team finish was on the cards. Michael Henderson set off on a mission tucked right in behind a Liverpool Harrier and the front three jostled their positions all through the course, Michael ran a superb tactical race and took the Silver individual medal sandwiched between a Liverpool Gold and a Wirral Bronze. Our other team finishers were Sam Coupland 13th, Matt Nichols 16th & James Pike 18th. An injured Lewis McMahon finished 22nd and Felix Anderson came in 25th….Well done All!! This did give the U13 Boys the Team bronze medal behind Liverpool Harriers & Wirral.

Next out were the U15 Girls over a 4k course at 11:40 and again we had runners enough for a team finish. With 19 starters, our 5 girls set off at a steady pace but it was quite obvious that Lilly-Ann looked none too well and at about three quarter distance could go no further. We wish you a speedy recovery!! There was yet more drama as the medics in an AWD vehicle were called out to a downed athlete on the course up by Sutton High School. Anyway to our finishers, with some gritty running, Jess Dean was our first home in 9th with Freya Walsh right behind in 10th, Hannah Doyle came in 13th and Beth Swift in 17th to secure the Team Bronze. Terrific effort all round and well done.

So to the U15 Boys at 12:00 and of the 16 starters we had just one, and what a splendid performance by Harry Pike who was right up with the leaders over the entire 4k course but despite vocal encouragement to pass the Wirral runner in 3rd, Harry remained in 4th with a colossal sprint along the very long finishing straight was unable to bag the Bronze, But well done for a splendid run today Harry!

No U17 / 20 Men or U17 / 20 Women for SWAC today so to the Senior Women with a 13:15 start time over the two lap 8k course and I spotted just 4 blue and gold vests in the considerable field, all 4 finishing. Michelle Spencer in 33rd place in 40:06, Sue Cooper 36th in 40:44 and L55 silver medallist, Nicola Simpson 38th in 41:05 and Tracey Allen 43rd of the 78 finishers in 41:52.. The ladies were 9th team.

It was close now to my departure time and my old boots had let so much water in I was in danger of getting trench foot, but I did see the Senior Men start their 3 lap 12k course at 14:00 with plenty of SWAC runners present. As lap one spread out the runners by roughly ½ way we were right up there with Ben Johnson and Jay Tartt in the leading group with Ciaran Walsh, Joe & Pat Vis very close too and David Hamilton and Ben Dunham right up there also….and by my reckoning that was Gold team position, but a long way to go yet….

Steve James adds:The Senior Men's race was wonderful to watch for the few SWAC supporters, because several of our runners were well placed throughout.

Ben Johnson led the leading group early on, but soon Burney and Gesimu from Liverpool took over and continued to increase their lead all the way to the finish, with Gesimu just winning.  Behind them were 2 athletes from other clubs and no less than 7 SWAC runners in the next 9 places. James Tartt, in his first cross country race since his disastrous injury 2 years ago at Hyndburn, moved through into 3rd place, with Ben holding on to 4th.  Ciaran Walsh, showing his best ever form over the country, just failed to catch the 5th man on the line, but secured his first county selection. Pat Vis (7th), Mark Dunham (9th and V35 bronze medallist) and Joe Vis (10th) completed the team,  with Dave Hamilton in good form coming 11th and very unfortunate to miss out on the team medals, but having an easy win in the V45 class.

Other SWAC finishers were Peter Roome (47), Richard Talbot (49), John Sprackland (53), Rob Johnson (60) Carl McMahon (98), and Keith Swift (94) in a field of 127.

Final Men's team scores were Southport Waterloo 39, Liverpool Harriers 69, Wirral 139 and 9 other teams 

So thanks as always to the hard working team managers Katy, Steve & Carol and to all the Athletes young and old and to the supporters who offered much encouragement (and transport), Congratulations to all our medal winners, there were lots of smiles today!! Thanks too to Lee Coupland for bringing the club tent.

Ed: and thanks to Steve Boreham for this report and many of the photos published here.

Full results


Ed: Based on Saturday's results, Olivia Logan, Lucy Milling, Michael Henderson, Harry Pike, Jay Tartt, Ben Johnson and Ciaran Walsh have automatic selection for the Inter Counties championships at Prestwold Hall, Loughborough on Saturday 11th March. Others will be selected after the Northerns (at Knowsley Safari Park on 28th January.)


NB: If your result hasn't been picked up by Power of Ten, look here and click the envelope Notify beside your performance.