The run of success for the Horwich RMI Harriers rolls on as two of the club’s women raised the bar with performances that will take them to world championship events across the globe, writes David Barnes.

Sophie Walton travelled to U20/23 champs at Bedford including the world U20 selection process.

She already had the qualifying time but now had to finish in top 2 for the 200m to be selected. After a steady run in the first heat, she was ready for the final in 32 deg c and Walton came through second in 23.86secs.

Then the next day the call came and after selection for the U18 champs in Tallinn last year and invitation to the prestigious Mannheim Gala earlier this month, Walton will now be heading to Colombia later this year for the World U20 Championships.

Coach, Trevor Williams is understandably proud of her achievements, and said: “Sophie puts in so much hard work and training and the reward is that she can now look forward to the biggest competition yet of her career”.

At the weekend, Jane Counsell competed in the Ironman Switzerland event at Thun amidst the spectacular Alpine scenery of Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau and finished fifth in her age category in 12:22:30.

The result ensured Counsell gets an invite to the Ironman in Hawaii later this year where she will join Horwich’s George Martindale, the recent winner of Ironman UK in Bolton.

This was Counsell’s 10th Ironman, eight of those in Bolton and she said: “It has always been a dream for me to qualify for the Ironman World Championships,”

Earlier in 2022 Counsell ran the Manchester Marathon in a time of 3:14:16 three years after a fall in the same race. The marathon performance put her in the top 50 in the UK F45 category but it is her all-round ability and determination that gives her the edge in Ironman.

The Sale Sizzler has sizzled this year. This week Simon Bruton confirmed his 75th UK ranking for M35 at 5k with 20th place in 16:39. Gareth Webb was 1st M65 in 19:50 which moved him up to 51st place in the UK M65 rankings.

Richard O’Reilly broke the 20-minute barrier in 19:54. The Yates brothers went to the Greenway race in the Pendle & Burnley Grand Prix. Harry was first and Louis second in their age categories so with only two races to go it looks as if Harry is likely to be first in the under-13 series and Louis second in the under-9 series.

On the fells, Isaac Batty was second in the Lily Tarn selection race for the England Junior Home International. After a great season he will also be heading for the England U20 Mountain running Championships in September.

It was a rare appearance on the fells for Suzanne Budgett at the Kentmere Horseshoe fell race. A fine 2:34:56 run gave her 5th place in the W50 category.

Parkrun this week gave a run out for several Horwich fell runners. Dan Gilbert and Marcus Taylor were first and fourth at Bolton and Graham Schofield at Burnley got a 79.50 per cent age graded result.

That grading was beaten by Rob Jackson doing his third parkrun at Worsley with a 81.65 per cent result and was joined by Steve Thomasson adding the venue to his list of European adventures this year.

But as usual it was Mary White at Haigh Woodland who had the top age grading of 83.57 per cent - not surprising really for an athlete that earlier this year was a silver medallist in the World Duathlon Championship.