Helen Carter

With the men looking to secure a hat-trick of victories and the women in the hunt to retain their title, we knew we would have an epic weekend on our hands.

Welsh Castles Relay 2019, you did not disappoint! Here’s how it all unfolded…

Day One: Saturday 8th June

Having led the race out last year as defending champions, we were asked to do the same only this time with the international team Freedom of Movement, Palestine. We opted to run behind them around the castle and it was a powerful experience to run behind their flags. 

Last year’s glorious sunshine was a distant memory as the rain coats and umbrellas were out in force on Saturday. Richard Edwards and Julia Reynolds bravely led the SHM charge on Leg One. With the men boasting a strong contingent across the board, the women were looking to fight to match their victory from last year. The sheer determination on Julia’s face as she came across the line set the tone for the day – the ladies had turned up to defend!

Leg Two saw a strong finish from Sam Aspinwall to beat Chorlton by 10 seconds, securing the men’s first yellow jersey of the day. Rachel Rozhdestvenskaya ran an impressive 5 minutes quicker than her 2018 performance and finished second to Serpentine by 18 seconds. She gave a truly brilliant performance and will be hunting that yellow jersey next year! Phil Robertson repeated his Leg 3 2018 victory, this time with a staggering 1 minute 26 seconds over second place. Helen Armitage tackled the mountain for the women’s team with a strong run for 4th Lady.

Legs 4 and 5 were tackled by the Cordingley sisters, Victoria and Beatrice. It was wonderful to have Victoria back in the team and she powered her way along the coast with an ecstatic smile – no mean feat in that weather! Beatrice ran hard to finish as second in the Ladies Category and the women’s team was starting to gather momentum. Ben McIntyre added to the SHM yellow jersey collection with second place and first vet on Leg 4; Nick Tynan had a confident run on Leg 5 for a strong second place.

Leg 6 saw Rob Fairbanks make his WCR debut with a brilliant fourth place, whilst Jane Thomas in the women’s race epitomised the camaraderie of the weekend by running with a huge grin and high fiving as she went past the pub! Leg 7 appears to be a hideous hill! Not to be deterred, Nathan Harrison and Hayley Ashby powered up…and down… with Nathan extending the men’s lead, winning by 1 minute and 37 seconds from White Rock Runners. In doing so he set a course record by over a minute – brilliant work Nathan! Hayley battled to third place and will be back to grab that yellow jersey next year – we could see it in her eyes!

Leg 8 is a gruelling leg and used to be a mountain stage. Up stepped Ken Hunt and Clare McCarron. Ken ran a great race to finish in second place and Clare smashed 10 minutes off her previous attempt at this leg in 2015 to finish 8 seconds behind first place. Brilliant running! Leg 9 saw Pete O’Neill race hard to finish in 5th place and Sinead Ferguson put in an astonishing shift, displaying absolute grit and determination to finish the race despite taking a nasty fall and running with blood pouring down her leg for the last few miles.

Leg 10 is a very hard half marathon over the hills from Llanfair Caereinion to Newtown. Callum Rowlinson finished a brilliant second and Harriet Hamilton stepped up strongly to tackle this hard distance for the women. Overnight the men had a comfortable lead over their nearest rivals, Aberdare Valley AAC, of 11 minutes and 34 seconds. The women lay in 4th place, only 17 seconds behind Ealing Eagles, 2 minutes behind Serpentine and 11 minutes behind Les Croups…all was to play for the next day and those women left to run were set to battle till Cardiff. They weren’t giving up without a fight!

Day Two: Sunday 9th June

Leg 11 is an excruciating 7am start but this did little to deter Dan Kashi who stormed through 10.8 miles of this mountain leg in a jaw-dropping 59.08, gaining another yellow jersey for the men. This is a course record due to the new route this year but it should only stand until Dan’s next run at it in 2020! Anne Chinoy secured vital minutes for the women in her usual strong run on this leg with a 3 minute gain on rivals Les Croupiers. Leg 12 gained Steve McCarron a yellow jersey as first vet runner and second place overall with Wendy Terry debuting for the women, putting in a strong run to gain precious time over Ealing Eagles. Leg 13 saw a debut for Richard Brown in the men’s team who ran a brilliant race to finish in fourth place. Carla ‘Team Stalwart’ Ousey ran really strongly for the women’s team, gaining precious time from Serpentine. Summing up the attitude in the women’s team, Carla had practised her leg whilst on holiday the week before. That’s dedication!

As the women’s race ebbed and flowed between the teams, Luisa Candioli stepped up to defend her Drovers title, which she did with ease clocking 23 seconds faster than 2018! The climb on Leg 14 makes some of us feel nauseous – not so Luisa and Nigel Martin who was taking on the men’s leg for his first attempt at Drovers. Nigel has had a phenomenal season on the track and his run here showed why – he ran an unbelievable 59.14 for the 10.8 miles of uphill slog, taking 3 seconds off the 2014 course record in the process. Well done to our King and Queen of the Mountain! A Double Drovers victory is just superb!

Leg 15 saw another yellow jersey for Tim Kennedy who adds to his collection every year! He won his leg by an impressive 2 minutes and 5 seconds margin. Jenny Fox ran for the women and in intermittent sunshine and driving rain clocked an impressive 7 minutes faster than her time from 2018 – take a bow Dr. Fox! You know Leg 16 is tough when Paul ‘Greeny’ Green refers to it as relentless! He ran brilliantly to secure first vet on the stage and Lydia Briggs stormed into second place for the ladies team.

Leg 17 saw a welcome return to the WCR team for Jenny ‘Clinky’ Clink and, despite needing to take her trainers off at one point to ease her feet, she had a brilliant run to finish fourth lady. Mike Ashby was superb on Leg 17, winning first vet on Leg 17 and adding to the men’s already impressive yellow jersey collection. Olly Gaillemin raced well to finish 6th in the men’s race on Leg 18; Sarah Goulden, who has gone from strength to strength all season, ran a brilliant fourth place.

Leg 19 saw a great run from Mark Fox to finish inside the top 10 in 9th place. Due to some unforeseen circumstances, Helen Carter stepped in to run Leg 19 and gave it some Yorkshire grit for the team! Equally on Leg 20, Tracey Taylor gave it her heart and soul to bring the ladies home in style, leaving everyone in anticipation of the final placings. Gaz Raven drove the width of the country to make it to Cardiff in time to bring the men’s team home to an unprecedented treble victory! He stormed home in an eye-watering  51 minutes and 41 seconds, taking last year’s course record away from our very own Tim Kennedy in the process.

Once again, both teams had performed brilliantly throughout the weekend. The SHM men are an unstoppable force and the women epitomise team spirit and dedication.

Due to some processing errors, the results were not announced in Cardiff.

We know that the men have completed an outstanding treble – hat trick heroes! They have smashed the opposition, winning by 46 minutes and 39 seconds. Unbelievable.

The women are yet to know their overall result but we should definitely be on the podium.
Whatever the outcome for the women’s team, they should be very proud of how they performed this year - they were over 1 hour faster than the previous year!

Whilst the uncertainty of results is frustrating, the manner in which both teams fought so hard and supported each other over the two days is both powerful and emotional. The Sale Harriers WCR family is one we are all proud to be part of!

The club support along the route is simply amazing and we would like to thank everyone who came along. People’s partners and children line the route and it’s lovely to see so many people no matter what the weather – thank you for doing this!

Nigel and Marinda Breddy provided outstanding support, and photographs, over the two days and we are very grateful!

We would like to thank all our supporters and in particular Dave Rodgers, Glenn and Bernie Savage, Lesley Green and Sarah Goulden’s mum (and dog!)  for their unfailing support and assistance in getting people to legs. Frank and Jackie Cordingley, Lynda and Gary Rowlinson, Jan Nicholls and Joe Webb and anyone else who popped up along the way – THANK YOU!

One person deserves a special mention for playing the long support game from his house in Sale: Richard Ousey, please take this as your official invitation to travel with us next year as social media entertainer / data tracker! We need you!

And finally…Chris Donnelly and Richard Edwards. You two are simply amazing. The effort that goes in behind the scenes is unbelievable and we all appreciate your hard work. Thank you, from all the SHM runners.

Here’s to 2020 and another adventure through the hills!

Welsh Castles 2019

YDL UPPER – Sport City 26th May 2019.

Dave Greenwood.

How keen are you ?

 When faced with a Bank Holiday weekend slap bang in exam revision time there is a dilemma not faced by other age groups. When the morning dawns cold, blustery with that fine drizzle that permeates everything, soaking you to the skin it’s tempting to have a duvet day.

Every person who turned out today should be congratulated for being there filling a space and earning at least a point for the club. There was such a diverse collection of people too; ranging from a Millfield School boarder, to those from Inner city Manchester. All count the same- a point or more for the club. Together this team came to turn second place in the last match to first today by a ninety point margin. That’s a brilliant improvement.

Sale Harriers are lucky to have such dedicated and knowledgeable coaches but they can only work with what is in front of them. Today they had plenty to work with. I see them work on a group who then grow up move to University or find juggling demanding jobs too much and they’re replaced by another bunch and the coach starts again. In praise of them all this alliance involves passion and commitment, rather like turning out today. This victory is for the coaches as well as the athletes.

The day didn’t start too well with the gloomy weather matched by Preston opening a forty point lead. Were they going to win again? As the events rolled on with less spaces unfilled we climbed the points table and bridged the gap. The less noticed throwers plugged away with wins for Emma Lowe in Hammer B with a 3rd for Hannah Blood in a contest where three threw well over 50m. Mia Gibbons, an ever loyal club athlete took victory in the B javelin. Nathan Booth won u20 Hammer. Ella Wilson had a good day winning Long Jump, High Jump B, and coming second in the Javelin. Scarlett Whittaker having won the B Hurdles also took the Shot B.

At the other end of the stadium Matt Cullen’s Pole vaulters won their duels, in less than ideal conditions for flying almost four metres. Sophie Ashurst didn’t panic after some early hiccups and got herself an outdoor p.b. of 3.90m. She was backed up by Amy Haslam in 2nd and Lucie Wolfenden winning the U20B with Brook Whyatt winning the U17B. Arron Thomas and Jacob Thompson took both U17 High Jump victories to complete a good day in the field.

The sprinters got to work. Head up, tall, drive, encouraged the voice of coach. The green marker pen of team manager Sarah worked overtime adjusting between calls to check if people were on their way.’ I don’t like the mess – I like it neat.’ Dave encouraged and explained with half a mind on tomorrow and the task of compiling a Northern league team. At this point the writer decides to help with an attempt at a report as he’s spinning plates. I don’t know everyone well enough to know who has excelled themselves but I recognise many from my last YDL Upper two years ago and some who I last saw as boys and girls in the lower age group. How they’ve matured in every way.

Wins for Williamson-Taylor in u20 100B and Shonibare Rukayatu 100/200 and Regan walker in the 200, were matched by Marcus Mclean 100/200 and Ben Basten 100b in the u17 age group. In the U17 women’s Praise Owoeye  took 100/200 double with Oyinkonsola Dare winning the 100B. The Hammer cage was by now occupied by the same throwers this time doing Discus which didn’t seem to be anyone’s specialism but they were giving it their best.

The 400 and 300 on the track is said to be one of the toughest events in the sport. Too exhausting for the sprinters to keep the pace going but not long enough for the distance runners. We’ve had some real talent in this event over the years. This was continued by Thomas Baines and Rory Keen who also won the 400H. Mia Gibbons won the 400B and Jotham Benabeni won the U17 400.

The announcer revealed we had taken the lead. I found myself willing any vest to be in front of the blue of Preston if it was not Sale. The North Wales composite team were putting in a good performance on the track and seemed a much better team than when I last saw them and Liverpool seem to have gone a bit the other way since they dominated a decade or more ago when KJT  was a youngster. It reminds us of how high the standard is at these events and the effort it takes from many people to maintain positions year on year.

 A clash with the elite BMC event the night before meant a number of very good middle distance runners were not available but there were still some good performances as Shaun Gee won the 800 matched by Aidan Lynch in the U17. Multi eventer Shayon Fryer-Francis won the u20 Long Jump by a centimetre! She went on to win the U17 80m Hurdles with Scarlett Whittaker winning the B race and also won the Shot. The effervescent DJ Pedro won the 100H had a hand in the 4x100 victory and scored points in the Javelin. Emmanuel Johnson won the 100H B race.

Over ‘the Barriers’ a tremendous show of courage from our athletes saw four out of six girls in the steeplechase. Beth Thornton dug deep having competed the night before, just edging out Alice Stiles who is new to the event, both girls ran very well. Despite taking a ducking Millie Chambers took maximum  points in the SC 1500 B with Jasmine Stockton coming second in the A race. Valuable points were also gained in the men’s Steeplechase by Ben Dargan who won the B  and Alex James third in the A but beat the Preston athlete.

Finally the event always finishes with relays.

We won both men’s U20 Relays and both women’s runners up.

We won both men’s U17 relays and the Women’s 4 x 100.

What did I learn from this event?

Athletics is still exciting with some high levels of skill at this level.

Coaches and their relationships with athletes are like Gold dust!

Commitment is key, not just on the day but for improvement.

Mental toughness to come back after injury or disappointment is a great life skill.

A lot goes on behind the scenes we don’t always see.

Beating your nearest rivals, even to come third over fourth wins competitions. Filling as many berths as possible brings victory closer.

Personal improvement helps the team.

Sale as a club have a lot of good people involved.

Everyone is important!


YDL (Lower) MATCH 2


Peter Shaw

 Tia Grover

The club’s U13 & U15 league team are a step closer to winning the NW Premier title after a 70 point victory over Preston in a match at Liverpool in which the quality of performance from all seven clubs was exceptionally high.

Our vaulters and jumpers were in great form with victories from MORGAN WHITE (PV &HJ), RUARI Mc DONALD (PV), SHONA WILKINSON (PV), BASIL ZOLA (LJ & runner up in HJ), LEONARDO SCOTT (LJ), THEA BROWN (HJ & runner up in LJ) and TIA GROVER (HJ).

Success Eduan U15G 200m

SUCCESS EDUAN was our star of the match with another sprint double and then running an incredible last leg of the sprint relay to overtake Preston. Other sprints and hurdles victories came from NATACHI  NWOSU, SETIRA REID, HOLLY GARNER, LILY EDSON and THEA BROWN whilst HERMIONE MASON ran a Grade 1 performance to finish 2nd in her hurdles race.

Our throwers had a great day with victories from MACKENA BRADSHAW, ANNABEL AMADIN, JASMINE RICHARDSON, ELLA GILLESPIE and LAILA HERSTEL whilst MIA WALKER and LILY OLDALE were runners up. Multi-eventers are like gold-dust and our own golden girl ELLISE FRYER-FRANCIS competed in four events, winning one and finishing runner-up in the other three.

Our middle distance runners were in great form with many running PB’s in races featuring top class opposition. Victories came from WILL PARKER, JOSH COLQUHOUN-LYNN, OLIVIA NOLAN, IZZY BURKE, FREDDIE MEREDITH, MATTHEW GARDNER and IZZY APPLEBY. Other athletes who recorded PB’s were OLIVIA BROWN. JAMES KNOCKTON, JACK SPARK,  JASMINE REED, LIBBY HILL, EVA KARALIUS, FINLAY GODDARD and twins AVA & SARA CLOUGH.

A feature of the match was the tremendous performances from athletes from our Primary section. Well done to LILY OLDALE, JAMES O’BRIEN, JOE SPARK, NANCY PICKLES, FINDLAY GODDARD, TOM HOBSON, HOLLY NOLAN, EVA KAURALIUS and MAX CUNNINGHAM.

Both our 4 x 300m relay teams finished runners up in fast times. Well done to HERMIONE MASON, OLIVIA BROWN, ELISE FRYER-FRANCIS, WILL STANWAY,  LUKE CHINOY, FAVOUR JOSEPH, WILL PARKER and SAMMY BREINGAN. Sammy was a real hero competing in four sprints/relays.

Thanks to the team managers Sinead Roche and Sarah James and all the other helpers and officials. Thanks to Carl Worthington for his expertise behind the lens.

Peter Shaw

The club’s U13 & U15 team have won the Northern Premier title ten times in twelve years. In the first match of the season on home ground of Sportcity, we won the match beating reigning champions Preston by over 60 points. The highlight was THEA BROWN who won three U13 girl’s events. Last Monday  at Trafford Thea broke her own club high jump record with a jump of 1.55m which ranks her No.1 in the country whilst her 75m hurdle time ranks her 2nd in the UK. The man of the hour was WILL PARKER who ran three tough races all within one hour and still managed a big PB over 1500m.

Our pole vaulters made a massive contribution to the overall points total by winning all four pole vault events. Well done to MORGAN WHITE, SHONA WILKINSON, RUARI Mc DONALD and ELLIE WOLFENDEN. Morgan was also runner up in hurdles and high jump events. 

Our Harrier tradition was upheld in middle distance events with wins from twins EVAN and ETHAN SAV AGE, WILL STANWAY, JAMES KNOCKTON, TAYLOR EDWARDS, IZZY BURKE, JASMINE REED, FREDDIE MEREDITH, SARA CLOUGH, IZZY APPLEBY, ELLIE GILDART and EVA KARALIUS. FREDDIE MEREDITH currently ranks No.1 in the UK and won his U13 800m race by ten seconds.  OSCAR SCHOFIELD, who recently finished runner up in the GB Biathlon Championships ran a Grade 1 performance to finish runner-up in the U13 1500m and is to be congratulated on his selection to the GB Biathlon team.

Our sprinters and hurdlers performed well with victories from SUCCESS EDUAN (2 wins), NWOSU NATACHI (2 wins), HOLLY GARNER (2 wins)THEA BROWN and HERMIONE MASON who also teamed up with NIAMH BOYD, ELLISE FRYER-FRANCIS and FAVOUR JOSEPH to win the long relay. Newcomer SETIRA REID finished runner up in the girl’s 75m whilst on Monday she ran a time which ranked her No 1 in the UK for 150m.

Our high and long jumpers performed well with victories from THEA BROWN (2 wins), BASIL ZOLA (who competed with great success in four events) and ELISE FRYER-FRANCIS who is a multi-eventer who competed in four events winning three of them.


This match was the first of three that will decide the NW title and then we go onto the Northern final at Preston on Saturday July 20th. Keep this date free because we need the strongest possible team then.

Massive thanks to our officials whose efforts added a massive 56 points to our total and to team managers CARL WORTHINGTON (Girls) and SINEAD ROACH (Boys).

Thanks too to Carl Worthington and Dave Greenwood for the photos in the gallery. See more at Darkstar Photos.

Dave Greenwood

My Sunday consisted of spectating, through a Camera lens as usual and listening to the varied perceptions each individual had about it.
I began on a circuitous journey in search of a vantage point from which to watch the procession of runners go past on their journey to complete the Wilmslow Half Marathon. Nigel Martin was hoping to be at the front and thanks to his diligent training with his experienced coach, Norman Poole, he emerged victorious. Nigel took up running as an adult and married his natural talent to hard work and sensibly listening to his coach. The old proverb says you can lead a horse to water but can't make it drink; in the case of this thoroughbred he drank bucketful’s of wisdom and from pretty average times a few years ago, is now realising what a good runner he has become (13.53 for the Armagh 5k is not too shabby)

Behind him came 4000 of all shapes, sizes, gaits and beliefs. Some looked like injuries waiting to happen whilst others looked comfortable. Some grimaced, some chatted. For some the social occasion was built in, eagerly engaging with anyone supporting from the side. For many it will have been an achievement to get round. For all there will have been health benefits proportionate to the volume and quality of preparation. Trapped waiting for the road to free I became aware of the huge variation in speeds at this event. Forty minutes must have passed by which time I wasn't going to get to the two miles to go point where I might have a second chance.
On to my second destination; Crossford Bridge- the spiritual home of Sale Harriers and venue for the unique Over the Bales race.

There were over 30 Sale Harriers on the journey to finish the Half Marathon. All of them looked fairly comfortable as they passed me at the halfway stage, even if they didn't feel it. The first 23 of them were in the top 20% of race finishers. Forgive me if I've missed anybody or not realised they had a p.b.- I'm sure you'll broadcast it on social networking. Notable successes were Nigel Martin race winner. Anne Chinoy who was first w45, Gareth Raven M40 2nd. Their positions were.

Overall position Name Chip Time Category Category position PB  
1 Nigel Martin 1:05:26 open 1st  by 5 mins  
 7 Nick Barry  1:09:44  open  6th  1:19:19 at the 4 Villages this year  
 8 Gareth Raven  1:10:01  M40  2nd  !:04:28 from 2003  
 26 Sam Aspinwall  1:14:06  open    debut  
 39 Steve McCarron  1:15:44  M40  7th  PB well done  
 77 Rob Fairbanks  1:20:59  M40    PB  
 93 Oli Gailemin  1:22:33  M45    1:17:45  
 115 Simon Jackson  1:23:38  M45    1:21:27  
 147 Pete Shipley  1:25:08  open    PB  
 150 Mark Fox  1:25:15  M40    1:24:18  
 158 Nathan Ball  1:25:29      1:25:06  
 160 Paul Barrett  1:25:33 (nearly V40)    1:24:10  
 176 Alistair Kell  1:26:06  M50    1:26:04  
 192 Mike Ashby  1:26:28  M40    1:17:53  
 237 Lydia Briggs  1:27:52  F  7th  PB  
 272 Steve Gavin  1:29:00  M45    1:25:57  
 275 Anne Chinoy  1:29:02  F45  1st  PB  
 357 Colin Lord  1:32:21  M50  28th    
 380 Gareth Webb  1:33:12  M40    1:30:49  
 445 Harriet Hamilton  1:34:27  F35  9th  PB  
 475 Rob Marsden  1:35:16      PB  
 552 Tim Kennedy  1:37:29      1:13:56  
 718 Sam Forshaw  1:40:18      PB  
 735 Sian Rowley  1:41:18  F40  15th  1:35:12  
 853 Chris Heyes  1:42:43  M40    1:14:03  
 856 Philippa Heyes  1:42:44  F35      
 889 Tim Rainey  1:44:06  M50    1:26:54  
 904 Caroline Kinghorn  1:43:18  F50  8th  PB  
 1307 Damien Van Alderwegen  1:50:02  M45      
 1395 Jenny Fox  1:48:17  F40    1:23:11  
 1396 Wendy Terry  1:48:17  F40    1:26:15  
 1552 Louise Titensor  1:53:54  F40    PB  
 1564 Tegegn Bayissa  1:52:14  M45      
 1578 Caroline Wheeler  1:53:29      PB  
 2069 Eve Gibson  2:04:46      1:44:11  
 2650 Emma Bramwell  2:21:46      1:57:15