The final weekend of November was a busy one for those in the red and black of Horwich Harriers as road, fell and cross country converged to create an action-packed weekend.

Kicking off the running on the Saturday was the British Athletics Cross Challenge at Sefton Park, Liverpool.

It is a staple of the cross-country calendar and a strong Horwich squad attended the fixture, which is also a round of the Red Rose League, rubbing shoulders with athletes from all over the UK.

Once again, the juniors led the way with a raft of fine individual performances.

In the under-13 girls, Kitty Crossland was right up there, coming 18th out of 130 and finishing less than a minute outside the podium in a highly-competitive race.

Charlie Cowburn flew the Horwich flag solo in the U13 boys, finishing the 3k course in a time of 12mins 24secs.

In the senior women’s race, Alison Mort and Helen Macdonald were once again nip and tuck, with the latter just coming out on top, running the 8.1km course in 39:19 to Mort’s 39:41.

Macdonald snuck into the top 10 V40 women and wisely thought better of wearing her Man City hat and scarf on the day they played Liverpool in the Premier League.

Both ladies said they enjoyed the course over the most recent MACCL fixture, with more firm, runnable sections making it feel like less of a slog.

Five Harriers turned out for the senior men’s race, with Jonathan Bruton making his first appearance of the season and leading the team home.

Also on Saturday, birthday girl Suzanne Budgett celebrated her big day in style, arriving back in Beck Side first WV60 (!:19:08) in the Kirkby Moor fell race on a frosty, but sunny day - perfect winter fell-running conditions, especially on an unflagged 10.5km course where the often murky November clag can make navigation a chore.

In Wilmslow on Sunday, four Horwich Harriers attended the popular Festive 10k.

Gareth Webb was ecstatic to go under the 40-minute barrier for the first time as a MV65 runner, clocking 39:37 on a crisp morning in Cheshire. It was good enough to place him second MV65 out of 63 and 397th out of a total 4,371 finishers.

Motorsports buff Richard O’Reilly chose the undulating Oulton Park 10k over Wilmslow, and his showing was as dominant as a Verstappen victory. He prevailed in his MV55 category by nearly 10 minutes, with his time of 41:10 good enough for 13th overall.

On the same day, Horwich fielded two teams in the popular Lee Mills Fell relays at Stubbylee Hall, Bacup.

Fell captain Dan Gilbert was once again crucial in marshalling the troops, with a women’s team entered for the first time in years.

Macdonald and Mort ran their second race of the weekend, Isaline Kneale stepped in for an injured Janet Rashleigh and Steph McKee made her fell debut a day after placing second female at Worden Parkrun.

It was an auspicious start, with McKee running the fastest leg (1:13:10) of the quartet over the 10.7km course.

For the men, new dad Matt Fawthrop started very well despite a lack of sleep the night before, handing over to Sam Fairhurst in 11th place. Fairhurst found a defrosted bog during his leg, sinking up to his chest in chilly gloop.

Next was Dan Gilbert, who ran very strongly and placed fifth on his leg, setting up Julian Goudge to run the team’s fastest time (by a solitary second - 53:01) and bring the Harriers home fourth overall. When quizzed about how he found the race, Goudge replied: “Nobody overtook me, I stayed on my feet, I didn’t require medical attention. Living my best life.”

Friday night saw the fell runners shed their vests and dust off their smart casual for the Run the Moors Grand Prix awards night.

It was all smiles for the Harriers in attendance as they scooped several awards.

Alison Mort was second-placed LV40, competing in nine of the possible 11 races and being rewarded for her dedication.

It was the start of a Harriers-centric weekend for Mort, who raced on Saturday and Sunday.

Dan Gilbert scooped a fine win in the MV45 section, scoring a maximum of 50 points in each of his six races, while Horwich had the top two spots in the MV60, with Gary Chadderton beating Doug Fleming into second place by a mere two points.

Run the Moors is a popular series, with a varied selection of mostly local races running over the course of spring, summer, and autumn.

This makes it an ideal introduction to fell running and for that reason, Horwich will be looking to field a strong team once again next season.