HORWICH RMI Harriers athletes were in fine form at the first round of the Manchester Area Cross Country League.

Harriers, already in the top division, achieved second team place in the senior men’s race, challenging Sale Harriers Manchester for the top spot and holding off the large contingent of Chorlton Runners.

James Scott-Farrington, following his recent Bolton Ironman triumph, once again showed he is the man for all seasons in fifth place and Luke Foley was 17th but really it was a team effort that made it happen.

For the women, Janet Rashleigh was a winner by two minutes in the FV60 category, looking to repeat her series triumph in 2019/20.

Meanwhile at Leverhulme Park, it was the second round of the Red Rose League and the Harriers’ under-11s made the running with Charlie Cowburn second in the boys’ race and Gracie Sherbourne second in the girls’ race. The latter was joined by Grace Freary and Lily Mort to win the team prize.

The Harriers cover the full age spectrum and at the other end, John Parker, the English M70 fell champion in 2011, was first M80 this week, and Tony Hesketh was just pipped to the top spot in the M70 category. Sam Fairhurst had an excellent 20th place in the senior mens’ race and is now likely to be encouraged to join the Harriers’ squad for the next Manchester League fixture.

October is the month for fell relays and the club’s increasing strength in depth has meant it was able to field both a men’s team and a mixed team at the British Fell Relay Championships at Tebay.

Four of the men’s team had competed a couple of weeks earlier in the Hodgsons’ Fell Relay at Patterdale where Paul Grundy and Toby Middleton had run the strongest leg.

This time it was the turn of club fell captain Dan Gilbert, pairing with Julian Goudge to run the strongest leg for the men as they finished 53rd out of 216 teams from throughout the UK.

The newly assembled mixed team had an impressive debut in 17th place out of 30 in their category with Sophie Seddon and Chris Heys having strong first and final-leg runs.

Gilbert is enjoying his captaincy and is in good form, as the following day he turned out again to take fourth place in the 13-mile Windgather fell race at Buxton.

There were some excellent individual performances elsewhere with Toby Middleton taking 19th place in the under-20 race at the British Athletics Cross Challenge fixture at Cardiff, with competition now heading to each of the other UK home countries.

At Bury it was the Northern Masters track and field championships and Rob Jackson was understandably very pleased with his performances, achieving a gold medal in the 3,000m, and a silver in each of the 800 and 1500m for the M55 category.

At Abersoch on the north Wales coast, Emma Bradley won the Beach Sprint trophy for women on the sandy beach, taking third overall.