Horwich Harriers had another strong showing for the start of the Manchester Area Cross Country League (MACCL) at Heaton Park last Saturday.

An impressive 48 senior Harriers signed up and the men’s team claimed third place on the day, being led home by James Kevan, continuing his fine season with a seventh place.

He labelled the conditions as “The best I’ve ever seen on this course”.

Julian Goudge recovered well from his tumble last week to take first place in MV50, while Nick Leigh fought valiantly after a sleepless night to place third V45 and Benjamin Hall ran a superb race to come home second MU20 and fourth counter for the team.

Alastair Murray pinned a number on again after a torrid couple of years with injury and he will hope to be challenging for the top spots again soon.

The women’s team showed well, with Milly Lever and Janet Rashleigh coming in one position and 10 seconds apart - Lever securing eighth FU20 and Rashleigh first FV60. Helen Macdonald and Hayley Winder both scored strong top-15 places in their age categories.

The juniors did the club proud as ever, with several debutants in various categories. Theo Pickstone had a great debut as an under-11, picking up 12th place, while Isla Newton matched his result in the u11 girls. Ben Topham rose to the occasion in his first race over the longer u17 distance, taking 14th place, while the u17 girls - Charlotte Wilkinson, Emma Bradley and Alice Tucker - kicked off the season with a fourth place in the team event.

On the same day, two of the club’s multi-sports athletes competed in the Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii.

Triathlon superstar Erica Booth stormed around the course in 10hrs 37mins - a time good enough for 32nd place out of 327 in her age group and 191st out of a whopping 2,062 competitors.

Booth’s performance was even more impressive given the quick turnaround from winning Bolton Ironman just three months ago.

She said: “I can’t believe I’ve just done that! Swim was great, bike was good on the way out.

“Constantly pressing into the headwind on the way back meant sore hot feet, though, and I was struggling to put the power down in the last 35 miles.

“The run was just survival against yourself and the conditions.”

This will not come as a surprise to anyone with knowledge of the infamous conditions in Kona, with one athlete memorably likening the bike leg to five or more hours riding into the blast from an open oven door.

Jane Counsell also performed exceptionally well, finishing in 14:43:00 - a massive 1:40:00 PB - after only deciding to race at the last minute.

There was a cracking run from Sam Walsh in the Yorkshire Marathon, clocking 2:41:00 for 30th place.

In the Manchester Half, Rob Jackson had a “very pleasing” run, clocking 1:24:00 to finish fifth M55 a day before his 58th birthday. Richard Pollitt and Gary Porteus also ran well in 1:23:31 and 1:38:27, respectively.

Gareth Webb is on the hunt for a bigger wardrobe, after adding another national vest to his growing collection. He has been selected to run for England in the M65 category over 10km after his impressive time of 40:17 in the recent Knutsford 10km.

Meanwhile, members Marcus Taylor, Julian Goudge and Geoff Capps attended the Bob Graham dinner on Saturday night, each receiving their certificates for a successful sub-24 hour circumnavigation of the 66 miles, 27,000 feet of climbing and 42 peaks that make up the challenge.

Only one in three returns successfully to Keswick Moot Hall before the clock runs down - roughly 100 attempt it every summer - so the club is especially proud three Harriers were successful this year.