Sale Harriers is a diverse club with many aspects of Athletics performed and practiced at different levels.

As we await the impending easing of restrictions to our liberty that has been essential to protect us, it may be worth reflecting on how the war generation managed to keep the home fires burning and also the traditions of the sport. During our own war which we are still fighting against an unseen enemy, there have been efforts to keep going with seen and unseen involvement. It is in the elite sports category that participation has been allowed.

The fragility of our existence is juxtaposed by our resilience. This is exemplified by no better than Chris Thompson in the Marathon trials at Kew Gardens, live on you tube one Friday morning. My reason for tuning in was to see a further leg of the journey made by Sale athlete Nigel Martin who has developed over the last few years thanks to Norman Poole and his group at Wythenshawe. I didn't see much of Nigel sadly but the unbridled joy of Thompson extended to many others who witnessed the 39 year old putting years of injuries behind him to win. I'm sure similar joy will be witnessed when everyone else eventually gets back to competitions. They were of course privileged as elite athletes who have been able to take part in scaled down competitions. Whilst many look on enviously, unaware of the extent of sacrifice that earned this opportunity, they too benefited from seeing the essence of competition has not been diminished and shared in the joyous moment when training pays off and we do our best.

 I for one am in awe of the steadfast determination some Sale members have shown throughout this strange time. At all levels there have been partnerships that have been inventive and committed. It is easier to document the elite athletes because they can compete. Maybe it could be a subject of another article if people sent in how they have kept training especially if they have been inventive, no matter what their level.

 One elite partnership has been coach Vicente Modahl and athlete Aimee Pratt. Vicente organised an invitational meet at Sport City which had limited numbers but gave his athlete a chance to compete against some of the best. Aimee had already become British Champion Steeplechaser in September at the delayed British Championships, whilst at the same meet contesting the 800m. It's a shame her success and that of others had rather limited celebrations.

At the same meet, young potential Cesca Brint and Megan Davies got valuable experience in the 1500m in a quality field as did Jonah Efoloku who came fourth in the 200m. These athletes all started very young at Sale. Chris Baker contested the High Jump and Rosie Semenytsh the Javelin, whilst another young talent Sophie Ashurst was in the Pole Vault coming 3rd in her first British Champs. (how did she train for that when Sport City was shut?) Reynold Banigo became British Champion in the Long Jump, another fine performance. There were great hopes for quality Long Jumper Abigail Irozuru who had the same pb as Jasmine Sawyers but the Stoke athlete prevailed in a close contest which she also did in the European Indoors in Poland by only 4cms.

Loyal and successful Discus thrower Kirsty Law has had to adapt her training like many others, turning her garden and car parking space into a High Performance centre. Throwing events only get limited attention at best, and the likes of Kirsty deserve more. It’s hard for throwers, as when Athletics facilities are shut they can hardly adapt by going to the nearest field for fear of taking out dogs and their owners. They need a big area to throw. Kirsty became British Champion with a pb and huge throw of 57.95m, so however she adapted it worked. Follow her at @kirstylawdiscus

Finally another club stalwart who has been a Sale athlete since school, sprinter Andy Robertson, not only has he represented club and country, but he is the sort of guy who will turn up to give out medals at the Primary section awards night too. Andy went to the European Championships in Poland and won his 60m heats and Semis but couldn't repeat his best time in the Final. He was just outside the medals in fourth. Had he repeated his earlier 6.59 he would have won Silver.

Me? I'm just an observer with no more right than anyone else to write this but having the inclination. I have managed to continue on my own, hiding away from observations, a little embarrassed at my meagre efforts, but glad I am still healthy enough to run. It's also kept me sane - well as sane as I'll ever be.



Haydn Hedydd Davies leading after 3 laps in 1964 AAA 3000m


My time with Sale Harriers Manchester 1971-73

In 1971 we moved from Edgware in London to Hartford in Cheshire. We were there for two years. In that period, I was a lecturer in Inorganic Chemistry at Mid Cheshire College of Further Education at Hartford (2 miles from Northwich). Eiddwen my wife was a lecturer at Crewe College of Education. We were both members of Northwich Welsh Society

I joined my third English athletics club Sale Harriers which was on the Wythenshawe side of Manchester. Sale Harriers, just like my previous clubs Birchfield Harriers and Thames Valley Harriers was an outstanding club and competed in top class cross country, road races, road relays and athletics competitions. When I was in London, I was appointed a Southern Counties Staff Coach for the steeplechase event. I was also appointed as the Northern Counties Staff Coach for the steeplechase when I moved to Hartford.

Living in the North was a little different to my time in the Midlands and the South. Fell and mountain running was very popular in the North and I competed for Sale Harriers in the Three Peaks race and Chevy Chase race. I was good at running up hill but very poor coming down as I was up against mountain running specialists who could fly downhill as if they were mountain goats. When I came back to Carmarthen in 1979, I did find my Northern mountain running experience some help as in 1980 I won the Sarn Helen sixteen and half mile race, Ras Beca and was first veteran in the Snowdon race.

In 1975 when we were on holiday in America, I competed in the Pikes Peak marathon race. This race stated at 7am in the morning in Colorado Springs at a height 6,800ft and then up all the way to the summit at 14,010ft. The first part of the run was through the forest and then on to the bare rock at 10,000ft. The day before the race I had travelled from New York to Colorado Springs and therefore had no time to acclimatize.

After a slow start I steadily ran through the field to arrive at the summit in seventh place. It was difficult running back down and my lack of downhill running experience showed as I was passed by several runners to finish in 21st place in 4 .19 hours. It was one of my hardest races and certainly was an experience. I suffered afterwards from a sunburned neck and shoulders.

Sale Harriers like Birchfield and Thames Valley Harriers took part in events throughout the year. In the winter I competed in all the Manchester and District League cross country races, the Midlands cross country championships and the English National cross country championships. I competed also in the Welsh cross country championships and for West Wales in the UK inter county cross championships.

Sale Harriers also was a very organized club run by dedicated and enthusiastic volunteers. On two occasions the Club organized two attempts at breaking the 24 hour 10 man world relay track record. The attempt started at 12 noon on the Saturday and finish at 12 noon on the Sunday. On the first attempt we went off a bit too fast averaging 4.40 each for the first few miles. We only had about 50 minutes rest between each run and every one of us had to run about 20 + fast miles in 24 hours. The period between midnight and six am in the morning was tough going. The pace dropped considerably, and it was difficult to run 5.10 miles. This is when club team spirit helped, and we all felt better at day break. If my memory is correct, we came very close to breaking the world record at our second attempt.

Again, a tremendous example of team organization and team work            

When I was with Thames Valley Harriers in London, we took part in a similar team event. This time it was a 100 x 1 mile race. I can remember the Valley having a strong team out with several British international distance runners in the team. Another fine example of club comradeship which is what club athletics should be. Also, an example of close team spirit was the numerous road relay events we took part each spring. The two big ones were the Manchester to Blackpool Road Relay and the National London to Brighton Road Relay. Both races were 12 stage events. The first six teams in the Northern Manchester to Blackpool relay race qualified to compete in the National London to Brighton Road Relay.

On two occasions I was on the opening stage out of Manchester. The 12th stage was the 7 mile run to the finish at Blackpool Tower. The whole team would stay the night in Blackpool. There would be tremendous competition amongst the team members for places in these relay teams.  I had the honour of making all these teams. We travelled down to London on the Saturday with the race starting the following day from Westminster. On one occasion I was second fastest on the second stage. The team coaches would all follow the race dropping runners off at the appropriate take over point. It was a great spectacle and a wonderful experience with a total of 20 club teams, (6 from the South, 6 from the Midlands, 6 from the North and two from Scotland) battling it out to reach the finish line at Brighton.

Sadly, increasing road traffic and on the advice of the police these classic road relay races came to an end and the qualifying Area road and the National event were transferred to closed road venues. I remember in 1973 running the first stage for Sale Harriers in the National Road relay final in Sutton Park Birmingham and then running again for Sale the following day in the 22 mile Three Peaks race and helping Sale to finish second in the team race.

We trained hard and we raced hard. I would every day go out early for a run in the morning and after college work in the evening. Long runs were done in the beautiful Delamare Forest which was nearby. The summer time was also a period competing for Sale Harriers in the British Athletics League matches and Welsh Championships and road races.

I was only two years with Sale Harriers, but it was an experience not to be missed. It was a great club to be a member of. It was a very well organized Club with great spirit on and off the track. Excellent Club Dinners organized by volunteers. I was a proud winner of a few of their club championships and extremely grateful for the help and support I had from the Robertshaws. In 1973 I moved back to London when I was appointed an assistant education officer with the London of Hillingdon (Boris Johnson’s constituency now)

Sale Harriers gave me a beautifully engraved stop watch on my departure.

It reminds me of my two happy years with the Club.

Hedydd Davies

26 February 2021

More Information below:-


It is with great sadness that I report the death of a much respected former coach and volunteer Barry Wilkinson due to Covid 19 complications.

Barry assisted Eric Hughes for some years in team management and also assisted in coaching sessions at Wythenshawe Park. He eased off these duties when he developed a lung infection which troubled him for some considerable time.

Barry's daughters, Michelle and Lynne, competed for the Club for many years and Michelle was GB U20 international.

Our deepest condolences go out to his family, friends and associates.


Harriers Photo 15 Mar21

Barry with Eric Hughes and the European womens team. (Eric is the one next to Harriet the elephant).


Be aware that Sale Harriers is very cautious and will not endorse any activity that falls outside of the latest guidelines.

Please continue to socially distance from fellow athletes and the public at large, please do not congregate in groups at any time, larger than that allowed by England Athletics and the government. Wash your hands when changing locations and do not shake hands or hug your friends even though you may not have seen them for some time. Masks to be worm when inside our facilities.

Watch out for updates on our facilities and access to train.

Tatton 10k 11th October 2020

It was a beautiful morning and fantastic racing at the Tatton 10k, with PBs all over the place.

Stellar performance from Laura Barber, 2nd Lady and smashing her PB by going well under 40 minutes (39:23).

In the men’s race there was a cracking battle between Conor Donaghy (36:19) and Phil Richardson (36:31). Conor pulled away with 1k to go but both got superb PBs.

Matt Spragg was next home but just beaten on chip time by another strong run from Rob Fairbanks.

Impressive runs also from Simon Jackson and Jon Smalley, who deservedly broke the 40-minute barrier for the first time.

Zoe Gmerek (41:47) had a super run and was second V45. Katherine Barker was 3rd Sale Lady, before a great PB from Caroline Wheeler (48:24), and then Caroline Kinghorn.

Thanks to Brian Goulden and Lee Kaufman for their support on the course. Great to see so many Sale Harriers out!


PHIL RICHARDSON      36:32 PB (by six minutes!)
ROB FAIRBANKS          36:58
MATT SPRAGG            37:08 (3rd V45)
SIMON JACKSON         37:55
LAURA BARBER           39:23 (2nd lady)
ZOE GMEREK              41:47 (2md V45)