Two Horwich Harriers headed to the Lake District for the Langdale Horseshoe Race and had to deal with the results of heavy rainfall in the preceding days.

When Dan Gilbert and clubmate Julian Goudge arrived in the Langdale Valley, the cloud base was well below all the local summits.

Gilbert said: “We were expecting a day of boggy ground, swollen streams, wet slippery rocks and poor visibility along with the forecast strong summit winds and that’s exactly what we got.”

Goudge took a tumble around five miles into the 13-mile race which resulted in cuts and grazes to knee, hand and head. After dusting himself down and checking there was no major damage, he continued on.

The route is known for its rough terrain and several tricky navigational sections, both of which are usually made worse by the unpredictable October weather and this year was no exception.

The section around the multiple summits of Crinkle Crags is one of the trickiest in the fell-running pantheon and finding the checkpoint on the final summit, and then navigating off it in the right direction, caused problems for a lot of runners.

It was a day when getting around the route safely was the main priority rather than times and finishing positions.

Goudge recovered well to finish in 55th position in a time of 3hrs 9mins and Gilbert came home in 75th in 3:16:00 - an achievement in itself considering that 57 of the 253 starters did not complete the race.

On the same day the weather was a lot more clement at Heaton Park for the first fixture in this year’s South East Lancs Cross Country League as 11 Harriers juniors took to the course that is always fair but testing.

Isla Newton followed up her great fourth place the previous week at Todmorden in the Red Rose League with a win in the under-11 girls’ race. Imogen Meakin (sixth) and Harper Day, in 18th, gave the team a third place. Jennifer Irving did not quite make the team result but is a regular cross-country performer with steadily improving times.

There was a first-ever family cross-country day out for the MacDonald family. Mum and Dad, Helen and Adam, introduced their juniors to the sport with Eve (14th at U13), Matthew (seventh at U13) and Toby (29th at U11) with six-year-old Matilda in the wings waiting to join the fun when age rules allow.

The junior squad was completed by Lauren Freary (11th at U15), Harry Yates (fifth at U15), Grace Freary (fifth at U13) and Alex Westwood, at U11.

In the senior races, as well as Helen MacDonald in 17th place, Hayley Winder was 20th, resuming her fine cross-country form from last year.

In the men’s race, Richard O’Reilly led the Horwich team home with a 40th-place finish. Adam MacDonald was 55th, Doug Fleming 62nd and Lawrence Pinnell 90th, while O’Reilly was fourth M55 and Fleming was second M60.

Suzanne Budgett has had a fine fell season in 2023 and is now taking on the Cumbria Cross Country League. On Saturday, she was 13th at Cockermouth and first F60.

On the road, Gary Porteous was the sole Harrier at the Gin Pit 5 at Astley and took 39th place, fourth out of 12 runners in the M55 category.

Marcus Taylor took in the Tiptree 10-mile road race to carry Horwich colours in the Essex County Road Running Championship and he got his best 10-mile time since 2018, finishing 75th out of 457 in 1:09:08.

Rob Jackson warmed up for the Manchester half-marathon next weekend with another great run at Peel Parkrun, where he was fourth overall and top age-graded runner.

At Haigh Woodland, O’Reilly was also warming up for the cross country later in the day with fifth place, closely followed by Lindsey Brindle, in seventh and first woman finisher.