IN a week of many firsts for Horwich Harriers, the talented Sophie Walton led the way at the Northern Athletics indoor championships in Sheffield where, as reigning England Athletics champion outdoors, she worked her way through two rounds of heats of the under-17 60m sprint to clinch the crown.

In the final she was up against a class field of medallists, including last year’s Scottish champion, and she had to work hard to get through and win in the last couple of strides in a new personal-best time of 7.64secs, ranking her as first in the UK.

She won the u15s' 100m and 200m England titles outdoors at Bedford in August and this is a fine result in stepping up an age group.

There was success, too, at u17s' level, also in Yorkshire, but this time on the fells as Toby Middleton won the age category at the Stanbury Splash race.

He did this after finishing first at the Bolton parkrun the previous day where club colleague Robert Seddon ran him close in second place by two seconds. They both set new personal bests for the parkrun.

The seniors had a grand time too, most notably Julian Goudge, running under the dual registration with Horwich Tri he won the prestigious Petzl Nightrunner race at Rivington for the third year in a row, navigating the tricky terrain of moors and paths above Horwich by torchlight.

Also on the fells, Graham Schofield is making a big bid to regain the MV60 category prize in the Kendal Winter League which he last won in 2017.

This week at Giggleswick he was first in the category and takes an early lead in the series after just two races with at least five more to go.

The senior men put out a strong squad at the latest round of the Manchester Area Cross Country League and achieved their highest-ever team finish of second place behind Sale Harriers Manchester with James Kevan leading the team home with a fine individual second place as well.

He was well backed up, not least by another triathlon specialist, James Scott-Farrington, in 10th place.

This result will ensure a high final placing in this competitive league in the top flight, with ambitions to push on for the title next year.

Horwich’s B team finished 39th in a competition of 63 teams.

The vets team were eighth, which should achieve promotion for them to the vets' top division, too.

For the women, Janet Rashleigh had another great run to win the L55 category.

It was a Saturday of five first places at various parkruns. As well as Toby Middleton at Bolton, there were firsts for Richard Howarth (Cuerden Valley), Andy Ford (Burnley), Nick Leigh (Pennington Flash) and Eva Baldwin as first female at Haigh Woodland, where she was followed in second and third places by Izzy Merritt and Emma Bradley, all members of the Harriers’ junior squad.

At Queens Park junior parkrun, Aleks Clayden and Aidan McKenna were second and third, respectively.

Horwich RMI Harriers results: Northern Athletics Indoor Championships (Sheffield) – under-17 60m sprint – 1st Sophie Walton 7.64s.

Manchester Area Cross Country (Heaton Park) – women – 34th Janet Rashleigh 38:38, 95th Suzanne Budgett 41:58; men – 2nd James Kevan 33:30, 10th James Scott-Farrington 34:31, 24th Ian Conroy 35:48, 46th Jonathan Bruton 37:04, 47th Alastair Murray 37:10, 49th Michael Chadderton 37:16, 100th David Jackson 39:15, 107th Mark Walsh 39:34, 148th Dan Gilbert 40:27, 336th Gary Chadderton 46:19, 341st Doug Fleming 46:36, 414th Lawrence Pinnell 51:16;

Ashurst Beacon fell race – 54th Tony Hesketh;

Stanbury Splash fell race – 50th Nick Kelly 58:18;

Petzl Rivington Nightrunner – 1st Julian Goudge 46:06, 32nd Simon Vaughan 59:22, 88th Paul Sykes 1:05:50, 231st Julie Williamson 1:18:48;

Garstang 10k road race – 24th Sean McMyler 39:52, 41st Maria Lowe 41:42, 105th Neil Wilkes 46:34, 112th Geoff Leech 47:03;

Giggleswick fell race – 42nd Graham Schofield 29:52, 100th David Barnes 33:06.