A veritable army of Horwich Harriers fell runners marched into West Yorkshire for the Todmorden Harriers’ Flower Scar Fell Race last weekend.

Described by race organisers as “a gem of a race with steep climbs, rough moor and fast paths, typifying all that’s best about South Pennines” its circuitous route around Flower Scar Hill covering 8.3 miles and 2,165 feet of ascent that competitors must successfully navigate via six-check points.

This year’s event was pushed back from its usual February slot to accommodate the race calendar and be a counter in the English Fell Running Championship. Being a counter competition, the field was packed with high-calibre athletes.

Leading Harrier runners were Luke Foley, Killian Mooney and Nick Leigh. Foley was an excellent 17th overall in 1hr 4mins 13secs - mere minutes behind the new course record winner, while Mooney finished 25th in 1:05:40 closely followed by Nick Leigh (28th) in 1:06:23 as first Vet 45. Both Foley and Leigh are in training for the Three Peaks race and Flower Scar will not doubt stand them in good stead.

Avid hill runner, Julian Goudge, placed an excellent 83rd as second Vet 50 in 1:13:41, rear-guarded by James Titmuss (115th, 1:16:29) and Matt Fawthrop (127th, 1:17:14). David Milliken completed the course 165th in 1:22:58, securing a top-10 finish in the Vet 55 category, with Mark Walsh (178th, 1:24:22) and Chris Charnley (306th, 1:45:26) rounding off the Harriers contingent.

Closer to home the “friendly 9km trail around lakes and through woods” around Abbey Village, the Roddlesworth Roller produced an extraordinary set of results for the Harriers with numerous wins in multiple age and gender categories.

Nick Kelly finished 11th as first Vet 55 in 38:54; Lindsay Brindle 15th in 39:43 as both first lady and first lady Vet 40. Sean McMyler 22nd in 42:06 (first Vet 60), Kevin Newall, 26th as second vet (43:30), Doug Fleming in 34th as second Vet 60 (43:50) and Graham Scofield 35th - first Vet 65 (44:00).

Not to be outdone by hubby, Sandra Kelly was 40th and first Vet lady 55 in 44:57. Katherine Newall was 76th and fourth in the highly-competitive Vet 45 category, in 50:40.

Away from the muddy hills, road running specialist Sam Walsh was in Wigan and claimed a podium prize, finishing third with a super time of 1:14:47 in the half-marathon event.

Suzanne Budgett has singlehandedly been flying the Harriers flag in the Kendal Winter League races and, despite a myriad of injuries, accidents and niggles, took on the testing wet and muddy five-mile Helm course to secure her female vet 60 category position. Finishing 16th female in a time of 56:34, it was mission accomplished with one race in hand.

At the English Schools’ Cross Country Championship, at Pontefract, Charlotte Wilkinson was a superb second counter in a time of 17:31.

In parkrun, Richard O’Reilly continued his rehabilitation at Newcastle’s Town Moor, finishing sixth overall on an age-graded basis from a massive field of 597 runners in a time of 20:04.

At Pennington Flash, Sophie Orrell claimed a PB completing the undulating course in 31st and fourth in age category, with 25:02.

Jason Middleton completed his 121st parkrun at Bolton, finishing 89th in 29:43, while continuing his fine form, Danny Hope was first at Watergrove in 19:19.

The evergreen and ever-improving Sam Fairhurst was second at a hilly Witton Park in 19:00. and not content with the Roddlesworth Roller, Sandra Kelly also took on Haigh Hall and was second lady vet 55 in 22:49.

Fellow club runner, Lawrence Pennell, was 189th in 45:42, and Rob Jackson took his usual first Vet 55 position, placing ninth overall in 18:34 at his favourite Peel Park.