HORWICH Harriers won both the men’s and women’s team prizes and the longstanding Pike race.

There were several good club performances in the event, organised by the club, which is one of the oldest in the fell race calendar and attracts the finest athletes in fell running aspiring to put their names on the trophies.

It was an historic moment on Saturday as Sarah McCormack, of Ambleside AC, set a new women’s record of 19mins 11secs, beating a time that was set in 1987 when Carol Greenwood ran the race in 19:38.

McCormack has many appearances for Ireland, including winning the mountain racing World Cup series in 2019.

Glynne Lever, Horwich chairman, said: “Course records are special and to break one that has stood for so long takes a special performance.

“What Sarah achieved on Easter Saturday was incredible and will take some beating.”

Louise Hackett, of Wolverhampton & Bilston, and Betty Bergstrand, of Middlesbrough Mandale, took second and third places in the women’s race.

Saturday’s race also saw an impressive run from Jacob Adkin, of Keswick AC, in taking the men’s trophy.

He was winner of the European Mountain Running championship at Zermatt in 2019, representing Great Britain.

Nick Swinburn, of Northumberland Fell Runners, is a previous Pike race winner but this year had to settle for second place and Ben Rothery of Ilkley was third.

As ever at the Pike race, the runners were cheered on by a big turnout of spectators who enjoy the spectacle of effort on the way up and audacious ability on the downhill.

Isaac Battye was the top Horwich man in the race with a splendid eighth place and as one of Horwich’s younger athletes the possibility of a home win in the Pike race is a real prospect in the future.

Janet Rashleigh would say she is not really a fell runner and it is true she has a great record in cross country, but in the Pike race in finishing first of the Harriers’ women and first F60 she showed she is more than quite good at fell running too.

Lindsey Brindle had a strong return to racing, taking the F40 prize, while Danny Hope, James Titmuss and Paul Boardman also gave the Harriers category prizes at M40, M45 and M60.

The race also saw the return of several of the club’s legendary athletes.

Paul Dugdale won the Pike race six times between 1986 and 1991 in the red and black with a fastest time of 16:18, a time only surpassed by John Wild’s 1981 time of 15:53.

On Saturday in Helm Hill colours, Dugdale duly took second M55 place with a time of 21:52.

There were also great runs by a trio of Horwich fell champions.

John Parker, England M70 champion in 2011 and 2012, won the M80 category prize and; Paul Murray, England M60 champion in 2002, was second in the M80 category on Saturday.

Horwich’s Graham Schofield and Ste Williams were second and third in the M65 category and in the same section, only six months after major surgery, Steve Jackson, who was England M50 champion in 2004 and 2005, made a welcome return to racing.

Toby Middleton has been training with the England squad at Loughborough and was cheering on the Harriers at the Pike race.

He has focused on the Bunny fell race series at Haworth where he has had two second-place finishes and is currently joint first in the series which will conclude this week.

Also elsewhere, but on the road, the Salford 10k race had more than 430 runners and Colin Rigby was the top Harrier in a time of 38:53.

Neil Holding was third of 19 in the M60 category in a time of 40:39.