Athletics is about both individual and team performance and last weekend the fells in the Dales at Giggleswick and the road racing at Birkenhead Park gave the Harriers juniors and seniors the chance to do both.

At Giggleswick, it was also an opportunity to don the school and college colours in the English Schools Fell Championships with around 250 entrants. There were seven harriers, Charlotte and Maddison Wilkinson, Sophie and Leo Orrell, Harry Yates, Grace Mort and Mark Titmuss representing five schools, including Canon Slade and Westhoughton High Schools. Harry Yates (Canon Slade) finished 17th out of 82 runners in the Year 8/9 boys’ race and Charlotte Wilkinson (Cardinal Newman) was ninth in the Year 12/13 girls’ race over the 6k course with 250m of ascent.

The junior cross-country season has commenced, too, with several Harriers taking part in the Chorley Schools’ Championships. Grace Freary, Kitty Crossland, Sarah Lowman, Harrison Stokes and Ben Topham all ran well to qualify for the Lancashire Schools’ Championships later in the season with the ambition beyond that to qualify for the English Schools’ Cross-Country Championships.

The Northern Athletics Road Relays took place at Birkenhead Park where Horwich had four teams with 19 athletes. In the under-17s race, there were 31 clubs represented and the Horwich team of Harrison Stokes, Aidan McKenna and Ben Topham finished 26th. The women’s team of Lindsey Brindle, Gemma Stokes, Milly Lever and Alison Mort were 43rd out of 60 teams, while the men had an ‘A’ and a ‘B’ team. The ‘A’ team were led out by James Scott-Farrington who recorded the fastest time for a Harrier, of 15mins 9secs. Benjamin Hall and Simon Bruton then took the baton on the next two stages giving a great platform for Ian Conroy and James Kevan, two of the club’s Irish internationals, to gain 13 places for the team, a position held by Joe Mercer on the final stage as the ‘A’ team finished 16th out of 48 ‘A’ teams in the competition.

The ‘B’ team of Mike Hampson, Thomas Massey, Nick Leigh, Sam Fairhurst, Sam Walsh and Julian Goudge had a fine race, too, to finish 48th out of the 92 teams in the men’s event. Glynne Lever, club chairman, said it was a great day for all four teams and the men’s ‘A’ team have qualified for the English National Road relays in Birmingham in October.

It was the final Trafford Medal meeting of 2023 and Grace Freary finished it in style with a new personal-best time of 4:11.85 for the 1200m. Grace was sixth out of 11 U13s and the first finisher of the year-one age-band runners in the race.

Steve Thomasson was on his travels again, also in pursuit of a new PB, at the Odense half-marathon where he finished in 1:40:04 - not a PB but a second-best ever time and the race marked the 20th country in which he has completed a half-marathon. He now looks forward to the Polar night half marathon at Tromsø in the new year, hoping to see the Northern Lights again.

On the fells, it was Suzanne Budgett who again featured as a winner, this time taking the F60 first prize at the six-mile Orton fell race. She finished 13 minutes ahead of the next F60 woman, showing what great form she is in.

The only other fell result was from Chris Charnley at the seven-mile Waddington fell race, in Bowland, where he finished 51st in 1:13:19. The previous day, he completed his 255th parkrun at Haigh Woodland. Janet Middleton got her 50th parkrun T-shirt at Heaton and Rob Jackson was given a close run by Graham Schofield for highest age-graded result this week. Graham got 82.46 per cent at Heaton and Rob achieved 84.89 per cent at Peel.