HORWICH'S Neil Holding returned to form with a great run at the Hunter's 10k road race in Preston.

He finished in an impressive sixth place and he was also first MV55 home by four seconds from seventh-placed Dave Ramsay of Bentham Beagles.

Nick Kelly, in 17th place, was also in improved form and was the first MV50 home.

Meanwhile, in Lytham St Anne’s, Geoff Leech’s dedicated training with the club’s runners group showed as he returned a fine 75mins time for the 10-mile road race.

The good results continued for Harriers when Isabella Merritt showed track prowess with a fine bronze in the under-15 400m at the Sheffield Indoor Open meeting, where Alyssia Jackson also put in strong performances.

On the fells it was the third round of the Kendal Winter League at Whitestone where the 2017 MV60 series champion, Graham Schofield, having missed the last round, made a strong statement of intent with a time that was nearly eight minutes faster than the second-placed MV60, club mate David Barnes.

The impressive grounds of Harewood House, near Leeds, was the setting for the Northern Athletics cross country championship and 10 of the club’s athletes made the trip with club chairman Peter Ramsdale to the venue that will host the national championships next year.

For the girls, Eva Baldwin had the standout performance at u13s, while for the boys, Robert Seddon turned in a typically solid performance at u15s. For the men Alastair Murray was the leading runner.

At SportCity it was the county finals of the Sportshall competition where, despite medal placings proving elusive, coach Gemma Stokes was pleased with the excellent team spirit.

The girls' relay team took a bronze and Harrison Stokes got a silver in the speed bounce.

Some had taken part in the cross country the day before and Aleks Clayden had, that morning, finished first at the Queens Park junior parkrun in Bolton.

In parkrun, it was a one-two at Cuerden Valley where Richard Howarth’s now customary first position was challenged by Gareth Booth, who finished 20 seconds behind.

One of the club’s juniors, Isaac Simmonite, also recorded a smart sub-21 minute eighth place on the hilly parkrun course. Lewis Wilkes followed up his cross country win at Leigh last week with third at Bolton parkrun, while four Harriers were also-rans at Sale Water parkrun but enjoyed their first visits to a new venue.

It was the club's annual prediction race last Sunday, organised by Tony Hesketh, and fun was had by all.

Even though most went the wrong way, meaning all predictions were off, it finished with smiling faces and hot chocolate in the Rivington tea rooms.

Horwich RMI Harriers results: Northern Athletics cross country championships (Leeds) – senior men – 140th Alastair Murray 46:46, 189th Simon Pymm 48:06, 369th Chris Essex-Crosby 52:56; under-13s girls – 70th Eva Baldwin 12:57, 113th Emma Bradley 13:56, 199th Charlotte Wilkinson 15:03; u13s boys – 177th Ethan Isaacs 13:23; u15s boys – 50th Robert Seddon 15:26, 95th Thomas Massey 16:02, 96th Lucas Milliken 16:03.

Lytham St Anne’s 10-mile road race – 87th Geoff Leech 1:15:04.

Hunter's 10k road race (Preston) – 6th Neil Holding 37:44, 17th Nick Kelly 39:59, 80th Sandra Kelly 46:09.

Whitestone fell race (near Newby Bridge) – 34th Graham Schofield 40:38, 75th David Barnes 48:15.