LEIGH Harriers made a good start to the cross country season at Leigh Sports Village on Saturday as the Harriers hosted the first Red Rose Cross Country League match winning four races and two team races.

Over 700 athletes competed in eight races with runners from eight to 70 year olds running distances from 2km to 10 km.

The Leigh senior ladies were outstanding with Laura Riches winning the senior women’s 5km race; leading from the gun she recorded a winning time of 19:44 leading the team of Olivia Stones 3rd 20:30 and Courtney Donald 10th 22:53 to first team place.

Good supporting runs came from Brenda Wane 65th 27:44, Susanne Smith 70th 28:22, Marjorie Leigh 85th and second O65 in the race 29:51, Caroline Corless-Carter 88th 30:15 and Dianne Denney 120th 36:38.

Fifteen year old Keely Hodgkinson running in the U17 Ladies race over 5km was never headed, running a well judged race to finish well clear of the field in a time of 20:14. The U17 ladies also took the team prize with Eve Williams in 4th place 23:38, Ciara Treanor running her best race over the country won 6th place 24:43 and Joanna Smith in 15th 26:57 place completing the winning team.

In the under 13 girls races over 2.5km, Melissa Ince started the season with a well earned win against some top opposition, racing round in a time of 10:52 winning her first race of the season.

Megan Short was sixth in 11:17 with Lily Edwards giving good support 14th 11:37 winning second team place. Good performances in the race saw Kiera Donaldson 12:09 31st, Grace Craddock 34th 12:13, Olivia Galvin 40th 12:46, Eva Murphy 44th 12:56, Chloe Abbott 58th 13:40 and Elizabeth Sharrock 13:49.

Josh Swift running in the U13 boys 2.5 km race finished a very well earned second place showing lots of potential and recording a time of 10:15; Callum Charleson also running well was 6th 10:48, Dillon Walton 26th 11:42, Dan Senior 28th 11:47 and Louis McPherson 38th 12:10.

The senior men’s race run over a 3 lap course attracted more than 200 runners. Neil Pendlebury was first in for Leigh in fourth, Dave Smith in fifth winning the O/40 race 37:05, Rob Thorpe 11th 38:03, Phil Williams 14th 38:57, Alistair Goulding 32nd 41:18, John Indricks 74th 45:07, Mark Gornall 86th 45:58, Andy Howarth 112th 48:28, Duncan McCarrick 123rd 49:55 and Andy Brewer 145th 52:24 completing the team finishing in third.

Both under 11 boys and girls won team prizes; Ethan Davies 3rd in the 2km Boys race finished in 7:35 with Sam Barlow hot on his heels 8th 7:54, William Cooper 13th 8:10, Eddie Sanderson 15th 8:13, Edward Short 19th 8:19, Cillian Clarke 34th 9:13, Aaron Fredrickson 81st 10:16 and Alex Reason 85th 10:46, the team winning 2nd place. The U11 girls team won 3rd team prize with Olivia Southwell running a fantastic race for 8th place 8:48, Gracie Patrick 13th 9:01, Jessica Hodgkinson 17th 9:09, Jasmine Barlow 30th 9:33, Nina Renda 31 st 9:33, Freya Cash 33rd 9:34, Gracie Galvin 39th 9:44, Katie Watson 47th 9:58 and Annabelle Turner 81st 11:45.

The Girls U15 team also won 2nd team prize, Katie Morley just out-sprinting Rebecca Pollitt in 5th and 6th places respectively both recording times of 15:22; Jessica Barlow crossed the line in 20th place in a time of 16:51, Charlotte Kilgallon 28th 17:23, Megan Ridge 39th 19:34 and Annabelle Sharrock 40th 19:44.

Kristian Wade returned to form in the under 17 men’s race over 5km winning third place in 19:44, Joseph Wane 6th 20:10, Nathan Myers 11th 21:26 and the team winning 2nd place. In the under 20 ladies 5km race Olivia Stones won 2nd place with Maria McPolin 5th in 24:23.

The boys U15 race of 3km saw Josef Short 15th 14:06 just out-sprinting Owen Reason to the line also in 14:06; Joel Denton finished in 28th 14:44, Shea Mellor 30th 14:47, Sam Wade 33rd 15:01, Benjamin Ayres 35th 15:12 and Josh White 37th 15:34. The team finished in 6th place.