News reports - March 2017

26th March 2017: Ciaran Walsh 6th at Cheshire 10K

Seven of our senior runners enjoyed a sunny 10K at Arly Hall, Antrobus, on Sunday, the Cheshire 10K offering a fast, flat and traffic-free course. Ciaran Walsh was 6th overall of 1300 runners finishing in 32:50 to take 3 minutes off his previous best 10K time. David Hamilton was also highly place, 13th overall in 33:33, another PB. Angela Delaney was 20th female overall and 1st L45 in 43:40. Other finishers were Richard Talbot, 38:30, Rob Johnson, 39:57, Mike Walker, 41:22, and Gina Bellhouse, 54:40.

Full results

19th March 2017: 18 road runners target 4 different races on Sunday

It must be a little unusual for so many North West road races to be held on the same day. On 19th March, Southport Waterloo runners were taking part in a 20 miler, two half marathons and a 5K . The permitting system for events should work to avoid clashes but seems ineffective in that regard. In May, we have the Manchester Great North Run combining with a new half marathon on the same day as the Rock 'n Roll marathon and half marathon in Liverpool, with the re-instated Waterloo 15k the very next day!

The Trimpell 20 through historic Lancaster and the Lune Valley attracted 9 of our runners. Often used as a pre-London Marathon race, Rob McGrath was well placed to finish 20th overall in 2:10:24. Mike Walker ran 2:35:19, Tracey Allan 2:36:56, Georgina Gillen 2:44:31, Karen Wilson 2:44:32, Gillian and Adrian Shandley 3:14, Gina Bellhouse 3:27 and Jordan Shandley 3:32. Many of these times were PBs.

Of the two Half Marathons on offer, 5 chose the Wigan Festival event where Richard Talbot was first home in club colours in a chip time of 89:54. James Brooker ran 93:27, Robbie Trecarichi 1:43:40, David Marsh 1:47:09 and Catherine McElhinney 2:15:40. Carl McMahon and Rachel Jacks were at the Wilmslow Half where Carl ran 89:33 and Rachel 90:53, both very good performances, although Rachel did run slightly faster at Wrexham in February!

Finally, The Wigan Festival included a 5K road race and here Alan Joyce and Matt Goddard competed. Alan's 19:40 gun time takes him to the top of our 5K road rankings after just three months of the year. Matt's chip time was a faster 19:21 but his gun time was 20:45.

19th March 2017: Stephanie Robertson completes successful indoor season

Sportcity saw its share of action today with its last indoor athletics for the season and a big clash later on in the football. The real drama was in the long jump; was Luke Suarez going to break the big 5 metre mark and could Steph get her run up right to hit the board on her left foot?

Steph has specialised in hurdles, and her work in training over the last 24 months is starting to pay dividends. It has not come easy to her at all but she is getting technically competent and the benefit of her frighteningly fast cadence is starting to be unlocked- Steph challenged at the Northern Championships and was the only athlete from SWAC to attend the National Championships, where she was 5th in her semi final.

First event of the day was Steph’s last chance to make her club record last, having already taken more than half a second off the 10.17 set by Eleanor Newton a decade ago. Steph was (characteristically) 1st to the first hurdle, and probably for the first time that I have seen, only opened the gap at every interval to win by a huge margin in 9.41- a very respectable time, and that is about the pace she will need to qualify for English schools outdoors.

Luke Suarez has been another of our regulars in the indoor fixtures. His first event was Long Jump, and a quality jump of 4.93 was barely short of his PB. Though clearly frustrated by not breaking 5m yet, I hope Luke will see that a performance like this during the winter, when regular quality training for long jump is near impossible, is a very positive step towards what is sure to be a successful outdoor season. Luke also ran the 60m, 8.21 was not his best performance of the year, compared 8.01 set earlier this season. Luke can be very encouraged by his indoor performances even if he is just short of 2 milestones.

Next Steph was competing in the 60m, no, Long Jump, no, she’s gone back to the start line and the 60 is about to go! We’ve all been there haven’t we, and after 2 competitors false started, stress levels could have been high, but Steph is not easily shaken, a new PB and club record set at 8.41 (exactly a second faster than her Hurdles) showed good composure. Speaking of composure, Long jump. When an athlete isn’t hitting the board there can be tears and tantrums, but after 3 jumps to gauge it (all well over 4 metres) Steph’s cool head prevailed, equalling her outdoor PB of 4.61 on her last jump. Dealing with run up adversity is integral to long jumpers’ chances of success,. It is an event that anyone can win on the day, if they keep their head.

So an end to the indoors and Lots of our young athletes have excelled at championships, exceeded expectations at open meetings and blasted PBs into orbit at Series fixtures, not to mention some quality sportshall athletics. This all looks very promising for the YDL league which starts on Sunday 22nd of April.

18th March 2017: V45 Men win Masters XC silver

The British Masters Cross Country championships were held on Saturday.  This event can be held anywhere in the United Kingdom, but this year it was in Liverpool, in Mystery Pak behind the Wavertree Athletics Centre and several SWAC runners took the opportunity to compete.

Our main hope was the M45-54 team competition, and our team really rose to the occasion and  won the silver medals.   Francois Rafferty was 6th M45, Matt Thompson 8th M45, with John Sprackland 13th M50 completing the team, which narrowly beat the 3rd and 4th teams.  Congratulations !  And thanks to John for organising the team.

Also competing were Rob Johnson (8th M60), Phil Bailey (14th M65) and Billy Hargreaves (8th M70).

Next year's Championships will be in North Scotland (Forres)

18th March 2017: Three Under 15s represent their county in Sportshall

UK Championships

UK Championships


Three Southport Waterloo Under 15s were part of the Merseyside team for the North West Sportshall Under 13 / Under 15 Regional Final at Sportcity in Manchester on Saturday. This regional event determines who goes forward to the Sportshall Athletics National Final, again in Sportcity, on the weekend of 22nd / 23rd April. Merseyside were up again Cheshire, Cumbria, Greater Manchester and Lancashire.

In competition, Stephanie Robertson, Jessica Dean and Jamie Hopkins more than earned their place in the county team. Stephanie was just beaten by the thickness of her vest in the 2-lap sprint, both girls being given the same time.and Jessica won her heat in the 4-lap race.

Overall, Merseyside were 3rd in the Under 13 Girls' competition, 3rd in the Under 13 Boys, 3rd in the Under 15 Girls and the county's Under 15 Boys, including Jamie, emerged as Champions and are selected for the National Final! This may be the first time a Merseyside team has qualified for the National event. I certainly don't recall that happening before.

The Under 15 Girls compete in an 'all rounder' competition with the winners going to the National Final regardless of where their team finished. In the Under 15 Girls competition Stephanie came 3rd, just 1 point off 2nd place. Very well done to her.

15th March 2017: 300 runners contest Sefton Yr 5 / 6 Cross Country Champs

The Sefton Junior Schools Cross Country Champs, now in their 10th year and organised by the Southport Waterloo, were held this year at a new venue - Jubilee Woods at Sefton Meadows, between Sefton Village and Maghull. They move around the borough to give all local schoolchildren an opportunity to take part and this year we welcomed St Andrews Primary, Maghull. Altogether, 23 schools were represented. That's a small number compared with the total number of schools in Sefton but we had just over 300 runners for the four races so that made for another great competitive championships.

And the weather was kind to us. It was the warmest day of the year in England with virtually no wind so we had ideal running conditions on the firm grassland. course. Very few venues make an ideal cross country course and this wasn't ideal, with the start and finish areas particularly crowded. The venue also required onsite parking on grass for over 140 cars which our team of parking stewards handled admirably!

Year 5s did a 2-lap 1.53 km course. Year 6 boys and girls did one lap, then detoured into the woods and around the hidden large owl statue erected to represent the barn owls of Sefton Meadows. In fact, the pathway through he woodland was designed in the shape of a barn owl. The Year 6s then ran the main lap again for 2.02 kms.

Club Secretary and coach Chris Henders has done much to encourage younger athletes to get involve in the club and so it was perhaps not surprising that many of the front runners today were members of the club. Southport Waterloo runners won three of the four races: Emily Dean in Year 5 Girls, Sammy Pickerill in the Year 5 Boys and Amber Hughes in the Year 6 Girls' race. In fact, Southport Waterloo runners took the top four places in the Year 6 Girls' race. Some of Wednesday's young runners are already joining in with the club's training sessions

There were 77 finishers in the Year 5 Girls' race which was won by Emily Dean from St Philips in 6:24. St Luke's Formby took 2nd and 3rd places with Issy Conway finishing in 6:40 and Iris Davidson in 6:46. St Edmunds and St Thomas' took the team award with Great Crosby 2nd and Springwell Park 3rd.

The Year 5 Boys' race was once again the biggest race with 108 finishers. Sammy Pickerill representing Our Lady of Lourdes won the race by a country mile in 5:34. William O'Donnell, also from Our Lady of Lourdes, was 2nd in 6:02 and Casper England from St Mary's Prep was 3rd in 6:04. St Mary's Prep took team honours with Our Lady of Lourdes 2nd and Great Crosby 3rd.

47 girls contested the Year 6 Girls' race with Amber Hughes of Forefield winning in 8:28. Jessica Keenan from St Andrews Maghull was 2nd in 8:33 with Libby Simpson from Norwood 3rd in 8:39. Norwood won the team medals with Great Crosby taking silver and Christ Church bronze.

The final race of the day was the Year 6 Boys' race with 69 finishers. It was won convincingly by Sam Langford from Norwood in 8:07. Arthur Weights from Farnborough Road was 2nd in 8:10 with Churchtown's James Read 3rd in 8:11. Farnborough Rd took team gold with St Luke's Formby taking silver and The Grange bronze.

Competition was more evenly spread this year that I can remember which made it difficult to identify the two overall Trophy winners. The 12 individual 1st, 2nd, 3rd awards went to runners from 9 different schools. And in team competition 10 schools shared the 12 sets of team medals. However, Great Crosby won three sets of team medals and they emerge as 7-time winner of the Southport Waterloo Challenge Trophy. The Sefton Cup, contested by smaller schools, was won by St Mary's Prep.

Thanks to all the volunteer helpers on the day without whom we could not hold events like this, These championships are now established as a regular and popular event in the Junior Schools' calendar.

Full results | photos on the day

12th March 2017: Amber Hughes captains Merseyside Sportshall team

Three of our under 11 girls were selected to represent Merseyside in the North West Counties Sports Hall. They were Amber Hughes (captain of the girls' team), Jessica Keenan and Grace Malone.

Amber competed in 2 field events: standing long jump were she jumped a pb of 2.08 and chest push where again she again threw a pb of 7.75.These results placed her 3rd individually in both events but more importantly gave Merseyside two team event victories. Jess did the Target Throw and managed 9 points which placed her 3rd overall as well which was an excellent effort as she only had ten minutes on the day to learn the event!! On the track Amber was part of the 2 x 2 lap relay that was victorious and teamed up with Jess as part of the 4 x 1 hurdles relay again that led the field home. Jess and Amber than ran the 6 lap parlauf and were narrowly denied victory by 0.1 of a second in a thrilling race!!

Grace was first reserve for the team so competed in 3 or 4 non scoring relays were I personally think she proved it was a wrong decision to omit her from the scoring part of the team as she performed excellently winning several of those races.

Overall Merseyside placed 2nd of the 5 counties losing out to Lancashire by a mere 5 points!! More importantly the girls had a great day and an enjoyable experience at this level of competition.


Ed: The Under 13 Under 15 North West Sportshall final is next weekend, 18th March, again indoors at Sportcity.

12th March 2017: Emily Dean meets the Queen at Buckingham Palace

"What did you do last weekend?" It would be hard to beat Emily Dean's answer. On Saturday, she was enjoying her athletics as part of our Under 11 Sportshall Athletics team taking part in the Tom Pink Relays in Sheffield. Then on Sunday she traveled down to London with her family where, on Monday, she met the Queen. She had the honour of handing over the Commonwealth Games torch relay baton to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II before it was passed on to Australia's double Olympic cycling champion Anna Meares to start its journey to all the Commonwealth countries before arriving in Australia for the Games in 2018.

What a great experience for Emily that came about as her school is twinned with another in Adelaide.

11th March 2017: Sportshall squad travel to Sheffield for Tom Pink Relays
AAA logo


Our sportshall squad of under 11 and 13s had a great day out at the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield for the annual Tom Pink Relays on Saturday.

We had a complete under 11 girls' team of twelve athletes: Amber Hughes, Jessica Keenan, Grace Malone, Emily Dean, Maisie Bird, Michaela Hopkins, Natalie Denise-Piercy, Katelyn Swift, Lottie Hughes, Hannah Keenan, Grace Barr and Appiah Keenan.

The A team qualified for the final of the over and under relay with a victory in their heat, and they went on to receive a silver medal in the final with a very close battle with the eventual winners. Amber Hughes finished her sportshall season for the club with a successful day of competition. She took bronze in her standing triple jump event.

The under 13 girls were: Alice Bird (captain for the day), Grace Tobin, Katie Piercy, Elise Crosbie and Lucy McQueen. There were no medals for the girls in the events but a few excellent performances on a day dominated by Crewe, Amber Valley and Halifax who shared the majority of the medals between them.

Lastly ,a small team of under 11 boys: Ralph Collis, Sean Hopkins, Monty Barr and Marcus Mullins, competed in a strong number of events. In one competition they had Amber Hughes race with them to complete the 5 person relay team. With her strong finish, they gave a few of the boys' teams a scare in the 1,000 metre relay. The full results will follow on soon to enable a full overview of the field events.

Well done to all our athletes today and a thank you for my volunteers today: Barrie Hughes, Alan McQueen, Sophie Dermot-Derrane, Eve McMahon, Ella Tobin, Chloe Crosbie and Bethany Swift. It is really great to see so many athletes from our club who come along and help us out both at these events and down at the primary athletes training sessions

We hope that next year we are even stronger at these relays with perhaps more boys attending?

Thank you all from Christopher Henders, Team Manager.

Track results | Field results

11th March 2017: Ten SWAC run for Merseyside at Inter Counties

The British Athletics Inter Counties Cross Country Championships, held for many years in and televised by Sky from Wollaton Park in Nottingham, moved to Cofton Park in Birmingham in 2010, and has now found a new venue for 2017: Prestwold Hall just outside Loughborough. This parkland course will suit those selected for international competition. It is basically one very large and gently undulating field in front of Prestwold Hall with the Start and Finish and tentage etc in an adjoining field. There were long fast stretches, some muddy downhill sections and a long gradual climb that was more challenging than it looked. But a good venue for this prestigious national event, with the added advantage of hard standing to park over 3000 cars.

Michael Henderson and Sam Coupland competed in the Under 13 Boys race. Michael was 170th in 13:25 for 3 kms and Sam 277th in 14:19. Michael was 4th team counter, the Merseyside team finishing 29th of 39.

Our Under 13 girls in the purple of Merseyside were Olivia Logan and Lucy Milling. Olivia unfortunately lost a shoe when her heel was clipped and this meant she ran a considerable distance with just one shoe. She finished 76th in 14:05 for 3 kms and would have been placed higher without the incident. Nonetheless she was 3rd Merseyside counter, the team finishing 12th of 40 complete teams. Lucy also had a good run, finishing in 119th place of over 300 girls so excellent running all round!

Harry Pike ran in the Under 15 Boys race over 4.5 kms. He was 128th in 17:32 and was 4th Merseyside team counter, 21st of 41 teams.

Our Under 15 Girls were Jessica Dean and Freya Walsh. Jess was 240th in 18:49 and Freya 250th in 18:57 for 4 kms. Merseyside were 13th team of 41.

And in the final Senior Mens race of 283 finishers, there were three Southport Waterloo runners. Ben Johnson was characteristically well placed and finished 52nd overall in 41:04 for the 12 kms. Ciaran Walsh was 167 in 43:49 and David Hamilton 201st in 44:40. Ben was2nd team counter for Merseyside and Ciaran 5th counter, the team being placed 13th of 32.

Well done to all those selected. To have 10 club runners competing for Merseyside is not only well deserved but a recognition of our runners' abilities - and there would have been another three barring injury and other commitments. And our Southport Waterloo contingent contributed 5 team counters. Great stuff!

Full results

4th March 2017: Olivia Logan wins her first Mid Lancs XC; 9 end-of-season awards

Update: As John Sprackland points out "It seems that the results have been updated and the mystery supervet ‘Mike Wyatt’ no longer appears in second place in the race, giving us one final opportunity to gloat… Not only did the V50s win the title with a maximum points score of 40, we finished the season with a perfect team performance at Leigh - me, Pete and Neil finishing 1st, 2nd and 3rd!"

The final fixture in the Mid Lancs Cross Country season was held at Leigh Sports Village on Saturday. It wasn't an ideal cross country venue; more of a trail race. But the League relies on clubs offering to host and the reality is that there are fewer and fewer proper cross country courses available. Today's course did actually have a number of interesting features, particularly for the older age groups getting out to Pennington Flash. The very young had maybe 40% grass and the rest stony paths, particularly along the route of the old Liverpool to Leigh railway line that suffered the Beeching axe in 1969.

Away from the stony paths and the start and finish grass fields, the course included a number of muddy and wet stretches and woodland with exposed tree-roots. It was relatively flat so would have pleased some people. Again, spectators had to be prepared to walk to see the races develop.

The results of today's races I discuss below but first of all I think this has been one of the club's most successful seasons in the League. It was exciting when our Senior Men were vying for and succeeding in winning the Senior title but it has been particularly pleasing to see so many youngsters competing in cross country this season. Today, we had 45 runners and 21 of them were juniors.

And we have punched above our weight in the end-of-season awards. I reckon we have 6 individual awards and 3 team awards to collect at the Presentation Evening on Friday, 21st April. With apologies for any missed, I reckon our winners are:

Olivia Logan, 2nd individual Under 13 Girl

Jessica Dean, 3rd individual Under 15 Girl

Sue Stewart, 2nd LV65

John Sprackland, 1st MV50

Peter Roome, 3rd MV50

Rob Johnson, 2nd MV60 (equal on points with the winner who takes 1st place under tie break rules)

Under 15 Girls, 2nd Team

Snr Men V40, 2nd Team

Snr Men V50, 1st Team

Well done to all and apologies for any I've missed.

Returning to today's event, we had 4 top ten finishes; Amber Hughes, 7th Under 11 Girl, Emily Dean, 9th Under 11 Girl, Olivia Logan, 1st Under 13 Girl, and Michael Henderson, 7th Under 13 Boy. In the veteran categories, Sue Stewart was 2nd LV65, Francois Rafferty was 5th MV40, Matt Thompson, 6th MV40, John Sprackland, 2nd MV50, Peter Roome, 3rd MV50, Neil Adshead, 4th MV50, Rob Johnson, 1st MV60 and Steve James 2nd MV70.

A big field of 78 runners finished in the Under 11 Girls' race where Amber Hughes was first back for the club, 7th overall in 6:14 for the 1.8 km junior lap. Emily Dean had another good run to finish just behind, 9th in 6:19. Libby Simpson was 23rd in 6:46, Grace Malone, 26th in 6:49 and Katelyn Swift was 47th in 7:13. The girls were 2nd team here at Leigh and finished the season 4th overall. It would have been great to get into a medal position but to finish 4th amongst so many teams gives great confidence for the future.

In the Under 11 Boys' race we had just two runners; Sammy Pickerill and Will Collins. I'm not sure Will has run cross country for us before so welcome! Sammy finished 21st of 62 finishers in 6:15 and Will was 34th in 6:35.

After a string of 2nd place finishes, Olivia Logan came through to win her first Mid Lancs cross country race at Leigh, beating the Leven Valley runner who has regularly taken the honours this year. What a great result!! There were 64 in the Under 13 Girls' race and Olivia won in 7:59 for the 2.3 km course. Grace Tobin was always well placed and finished 14th in 8:36 with Millie Ireland completing the course in 10:21 and Chloe Sutton in 10:54 The girls finished a team at Leigh but were placed 5th overall for the season. It shows how close the competition is that the girls scored 30 for their best 4 races and 32 points was good enough for 2nd place!

We had 6 Under 13 Boys competing - a magnificent turnout! Michael Henderson was once again our strongest lad and finished 7th overall of 54 finishers in 10:47 for the 3 kms. Sam Coupland was 15th in 11:27, Lewis McMahon was 20th in 11:47, James Pike, 33rd in 12:21, Joseph Sutton, 36th in 12:35 and Leo McEvilly 40th in 12:41. Michael, Sam and Lewis finished 3rd team on the day, with the boys placed 4th overall for the season.

There was some tension for our Under 15 Girls who went into this fixture as joint leaders in the League after 5 fixtures, on equal points with Clayton le Moors. If they could just beat Clayton at Leigh, they would win the league. But it wasn't to be. Clayton only had 3 runners out but they did enough! Jessica Dean was first home for the club, 8th of 31 girls in 11:49. Freya Walsh was 15th in 12:14, Hannah Doyle was 22nd in 13:27 and Bethany Swift finished in 19:22. Jess, Freya and Hannah were 3rd team at Leigh but with Clayton finishing 2nd team, our girls have to settle for the silver medals. That is of course a great achievement for the girls. Well done to all the team!

Whilst we had a good turnout of juniors, we didn't have any Under 15 Boys, Under 17s or Under 20s.

Turning then to the Senior Women's race, nine of our ladies took part over the 6 km, 1 small + 1 large lap course. Nicola Simpson led the team home just as she did at Rossall School last month. She was 22nd of 135 finishers in 24:57 for the 6 kms. Michelle Spencer was next, 44th overall in 26:39, with Carole James anchoring the team, 60th in 27:59. Mari Dyson finished in 28:22, Lilly O'Driscoll in 29:59, Sue Stewart in 30:23, Gina Bellhouse in 32:33, Lynne Vickers in 33:09 and Elaine Sutton in 33:11. Nocola, Michelle and Carole were 14th team on the day leaving them 3rd team in Ladies Div'n 2. Unfortunately, medals only go to 1st and 2nd in these divisions. Michelle, Carole and Mari were 8th L35 team and Carole, sue and Gina 8th L45 team.

Running over the 6 kms course, Steve James was 2nd MV70 in 31:19.

Francois Refferty led our Senior Men home, finishing 21st of 199 in 41:11 for 10 kms. He managed to stay ahead of a returning-to-form Matt Thompson, 23rd in 41:16. John Sprackland was 45th in 43:22, Peter Roome, 56th in 44:09, Richard Talbot, 59th in 44:20, and the final team counter was Neil Adshead, 64th overall in 44:46. Our other finishers were Rob Johnson, in 46:33, Carl McMahon, in 47:07, Mike Cunningham, 50:10, Keith Swift, 50:24, Matt Nelson, 51:03Clive James, 57:41, Lee Coupland, 60:43 and Ian Pike, 62:14. Interestingly, Ian was our only non-veteran senior man today, where many of our vets did very well indeed, finishing 5th and 6th MV40, 1st, 2nd and 3rd MV50, 1st MV60 and 2nd MV70. Our main team were 5th overall, leaving us 4th in Div'n 1 at the end of the season. Not surprisingly, we won both the MV40 and MV60 team categories today and our veteran performances are reflected in the end-of-season individual and team awards.

Thanks to our team managers Steve James, Carole James and Katy Coupland for all their efforts this season. They will be as delighted as I am with the performances over the season.

Full results | Final individual rankings | Final team rankings