HORWICH Harriers athletes were around the world following their running passion again recently.

James Kevan was once more in Ireland’s colours in Italy for the Nation’s Cup mountain race and took the 1,000m ascent, 19k race in his stride despite cramps during the race.

Meanwhile, Steve Thomasson was at Åland in Finland for a10k, returning to racing after six months of calf problems.

He now has an itinerary of Norway, Poland, Germany and the Faroe Islands lined up for 2022.

Closer to home, Rob Jackson is having an impressive year and following his recent British Masters triumphs he was back at Heaton Park for the ‘We Love NHS’ 10k where he was first home in both the M50 and M55 categories with a smart time of 38mins 27secs.

The Harriers have upped their game by fielding several teams in recent cross-country events and at Wythenshawe Park, for the 55th University of Manchester cross-country relays, Horwich had two scratch women’s teams including some taking part in their first ever cross-country race.

The A team of Milly Lever, Jodie Adamson and Alison Mort finished 34th out of 69 teams and the B team of Helen MacDonald, Johanna Dodsworth and Rachel Holland were 50th.

They are now keen to repeat and improve on these results built on the hard work in recent weeks on the track.

MacDonald as a first-timer reflected the experience was “challenging but fun and we all had a big smile on our faces once it was over, looking forward to racing again”.

The men’s teams had more experience of the challenges of cross-country and were 20th and 39th out of 53 teams.

The A team were sent out with a fast first leg from Luke Foley and then on the final leg, Nick Leigh gained several places with an even quicker time.

The B team, also a scratch outfit, will be looking to build on a fine effort with Jonathan Bruton and Dominic Jones giving them a solid platform.

The men had also had a good time at the South East Lancs Cross-Country League at Heaton Park where the new course was reported to be a tough improvement on the previous configuration.

Foley was second, Leigh came in fourth and with Jones and Richard O’Reilly they took third team place out of 14 clubs.

For the juniors, Grace Mort had a second place at under-13 and Charlotte Wilkinson took third at u15 - a result she repeated in the Mid-Lancs League at Hyndburn.

The club’s AGM celebrated the achievements through a very tough period for everyone and it is looking forward to ambitious plans for new developments including the club’s centenary celebrations in 2024.

Members also congratulated club stalwart, Alastair Murray who has fulfilled many roles for the club over 20 years and was rewarded with lifetime membership.