Horwich RMI Harriers were very well represented this year at the FRA relays turning out teams in all three championship categories. The course featured some classic fell racing terrain, with a combination of fast trails, steep ups and downs, as well as arduous bog trotting.
The senior men’s team had a great run to finish 12th in what was a very competitive field. Gareth Booth got the team off to a fantastic start before handing over to our international pairing of Gary Priestley and James Kevan. Gary and James had one of the runs of the day, 4th fastest for the leg on the day against elite opposition, and coming into the change over in 7th overall. The navigation was next, with Alastair Murray and Martyn Bell stepping up for what can be a make or break leg. After briefly moving into 6th position, Martyn and Alastair had a steady performance, despite falling into many bogs, and handed over to Dave Milliken in 11th for the final leg up Great Whernside. With the standard again very high on the final leg, Dave had an excellent run to bring the team back in 12th position.
The ladies got off to a flying start from Rachael Thompson bringing the team home in 4th place. Lindsay Brindle and Debbie Campbell were on leg 2 and were 7th fastest ladies team. Rachel Metcalfe and Geraldine Walkington successfully navigated their way around leg 3 and April Stevenson maintained position to bring the team home in an excellent 11th place.
The vets got off to a great start with Graham Schofield returning to some good form to hand over in 36th to Mick Green and Dave Jackson for leg 2. Mick and Dave set a fast time to move the vets up, and hand over to Mark Seddon and Phil Dewhurst for the navigation. Albert Sunter took the glory leg to bring the vets home in 46th overall, and 13th place in the V40 championship.
These results, coming at the end of a year when some said Horwich was finished as a fell club, show that we can still compete with the best at national events, and provide encouragement for the future. Three teams achieving 12th, 11th and 13th in their respective championships is a pretty good start.
Well done to all involved.