Saturday 30/10/2021, Long Eaton

By Glenn Savage, Men's Masters Team Manager

After an unprecedented 18 months or so that have impacted on the lives of so many in ways we could never have imagined, and deprived us of so much that we take for granted; recent weeks have seen a welcome return to the calendar for one of the oldest and purest forms of racing, our beloved cross country.

West Park in Long Eaton again played host to the annual British Masters Cross Country Relays with the cream of the country’s veteran runners proving that age is no barrier.

The fast, flat 3K course threatened to be slightly heavier going than usual when Saturday morning greeted us with torrential rain. However, this cleared by the afternoon and we were treated to a glorious sun-kissed autumnal day, if not a little blustery.

As all the ladies’ age groups toed the line together for the first set of races, Sale Harriers had two teams ready to challenge in their respective categories.  First of all we had high hopes for our W35 team. Louise Whittaker got the team off to exactly the kind of start needed, finishing 3rd on the 1st leg in a fantastic 11:31, which turned out to be the 7th quickest of the day.  The challenge now was to maintain this start and not succumb to the pressure from the chasing pack and Emma Finney did not disappoint.  A fine 12:35 kept us in a medal position going into the final stage.  Harriet Hamilton ran a superb 12:05, but was chased down by Charnwood’s Juliet Potter running the day’s fastest leg.  Agonisingly close to a podium position, it was nevertheless an excellent performance from the team.

Our W45 team had no idea upon arrival of the drama that was about to unfold.  Whilst warming up, our 2nd leg runner Carla Ousey had the misfortune of twisting her ankle.  Carla would no doubt have battled on gamely, such is her spirit and fortitude, but having an able deputy on hand in the shape of team manager Anne Chinoy made the substitution an easy choice.

It is quite common for many teams to put their stronger runners on the first leg to get off to the best possible start, so Julia Reynolds had some stiff competition to contend with.  She met the challenge head on and put in a great effort, running 14:48.  Anne then gained 6 places with an excellent 12:35 - 2nd fastest V45 in leg 2 and 8th fastest V45 of the day; a remarkable effort given the limited time she had to prepare.  It was left to Caroline Kinghorn, dropping down from her own W55 category, to anchor the trio to a very creditable 7th place with her 14:57 effort.  Caroline has become a great asset to our ladies teams, and it is hoped that with other runners available in the W55 age group we could definitely challenge for medals.

It is worth mentioning that Anne, Julia and Caroline had all completed the London Marathon at the beginning of the month so may have not yet fully recovered, which makes their performances seem even more impressive.

At the start of the week, it was hoped that we could have teams competing in three different age categories of the men’s races.  However, some late withdrawals meant us having to rely solely on our M35s to fly the flag for Sale, and the quintet on duty certainly didn’t let anybody down, cheered on by watching team manager Glenn Savage and club legend Brian Goulden.

Chris Standidge was our 1st leg runner, and the decision to start with him paid off as he ran a brilliant 10:24 to take the team into 8th place.  Tom Stephenson was up next and he ran a superb 11:02 to keep the team in a strong position.  The 3rd leg saw Andrew Curvis, a relative newcomer to the club (and the sport), gain 3 places with his fine 11:06 to move us back into the top 10.  Jon Smalley, another recovering from a recent marathon PB in Manchester, battled to a strong 11:26.  Aaron Steele was the man trusted in bringing the team home and he produced a great performance (11:47) to secure an excellent 11th place.  The standard of runners on show from all corners of the UK means that this is a fantastic team performance, and it was great to see the enthusiasm of these lads.  It bodes well for future championship events, where medals must be a distinct possibility.

As always, this event offered a great friendly atmosphere though the competition was fierce.  A thoroughly enjoyable day and great performances from all three of our teams.

By Andy Dennison

Due to the global pandemic the last couple of years have been a challenge for everyone, but our primary section has bounced back with gusto with much to celebrate. In an evening filled with laughter and celebration the primary section gathered for their annual awards evening. Below is a note of some of our special people who deserve an extra special pat on the back. I would like to mention everyone but you all know who you are and we salute you.

 Coach Appreciation Award Winner

Pete Horsfall

Pete joined our club as a parent in 2018 and soon became a keen volunteer running out with the Blue Group. He then decided to take the next step and took his Assistant Coach Badge and this year has become a fully qualified Athletics Coach which has been invaluable as we’ve returned to training.

 Young Helper Award Winners

Tiggy Faloon & Kelci Dennison

Tiggy has represented the club at competition, whilst at the same time volunteering over the past few years to coach our younger athletes. She has recently left us to study Geography at Hull university but returned to join us for presentation evening.

Kelci has volunteered at the Primary Section for the past 3 years including coaching with the Blue group, working in the tuck shop, painting the clubhouse, posting thousands leaflets and making literally hundreds of teas and coffees for the rest of the team.

 Volunteer Award Winner

Ashlea Walsh

Ashlea has been an invaluable member of our team over the past couple of years. She has not only been coaching with the Purple group, but, as life had to change in response to Covid, she has taken care of all our online bookings, payment systems, Facebook page and responds to dozens of emails each week. It is difficult to imagine how the Primary Section would have functioned at all over the past year without her.

 Guest of Honour

Lisa Fletcher

We wanted to recognise Lisa’s contribution, particularly during the pandemic when she was persuaded to come out of retirement to be our Covid officer. Lisa provided us with much needed advice whilst we tried to follow what was often very unclear government guidance.

Our guest presenters were two Sale Harriers athletes, Success Eduan and Annabel Amadin.

Despite being only 16, Success recently competed in the European Athletics U20 Championships. She came away with a bronze medal in the 200m in an amazing time of 23.16 seconds.

Annabel joined Sale Harriers in 2018 and was introduced to the late-Brian Spriggs who coached her in Discus and Shot Put. Since 2020, Annabel has focussed on Shot Put and progressed to become the Northern U17 Champion and English Schools champion. Annabel is currently ranked second in the Nationally for under 17s, despite being only 15 years old.

At last, October 2021 saw the return of the big city marathons. Many Sale Harriers took part in the London and Manchester Marathons. Anyone who has trained for a marathon will know, it is quite a journey - both on the day itself and in the many months of training leading up to the big event. So, rather than feature a long list of names and finish times I have asked members to write a few lines outlining their marathon story. >>Read full report here

2021 Marathon Report

A tale of Success

As has become usual there were Sale athletes competing in the England International at Sport City and a couple who were brought up through their formative years who recently moved on. For all athletes and coaches this year has again been challenging. Not only has there been a disparity in opportunity depending on the area in which you live, but even at times within some clubs covid restrictions have impacted on plans. Stress levels have been higher than normal. Despite this those who made it to this event were treated to a well organised event with some good, close competition in some events. As in 2019 the weather was not kind.

Two women in particular impressed; one a youngster just moving into senior Athletics with great promise, the other a well-established jumper who is at the top of her event. The aptly named Success Eduan (Anita Richardson) is still only an U17.She competed for GB Juniors in Senior Women's events. The first was a no score 100m in which she came 1st in 11.84.In her preferred event, the 200m she came second in 23.75 which is a UK U20 European standard time and is not far off the times she ran at the European U20 championships in Tallin in July. Her final race was as anchor leg of the 4 x 100 relay in which the team was second. A successful day.

Abigail Irozoru (Aston Moore) has a pb of 6.86 from two years ago when she won the British championships. Recently returned from Tokyo she produced a consistent series of jumps in a close contest ending as winner with a leap of 6.45. Abigail has competed for the club since 2005 when she was a young athlete.

Andy Robertson is another athlete who has served the club well since early secondary school days. He spent seven years with John Smith who took him from U13 to U23 achieving regular success. He captained the England Athletics team and was third in the 100m in 10.56.

Shauna Thompson (Bob Gaisie) was once a top sprinter and competed in the City Games against the top women sprinters of the day back in 2008 when she won the 100/200 double at the Youth Commonwealth Games. She had a very difficult couple of years with injury returned for a year then didn't compete in anything for six years until she re-invented herself as a thrower. For the last three years she has improved her shot pb. A tale of success, disappointment, but most of all, resilience and determination.

Sophie Ashurst (Andy Ashurst) is another young athlete with tremendous talent and potential with a pb of 4.21 she tops the U20 ranking in Pole Vault with a performance that is within the World Junior standard. On a cold drizzly day not ideal for vaulting she cleared 3.87 to come third.

Sean Okome (Keith Hunter) has springs in his heels. Formerly a High Jumper with Jack Frost he now competes in Triple Jump. His jump of 15.47 gained him third place for the NAL team. Melissa Booth (Keith Hunter) currently is second in the National rankings for Triple Jump. Nicholas Walsh has represented the club well in the NAL matches. He ran in a no score 100m event and clocked 10.64 to win his event.

Sale athletes should be congratulated for their perseverance in what has remained a difficult time this year. I hope everyone will appreciate their coaches though and all the other hard working coaches who have tried their utmost to keep their athletes going in all age groups. Some of these senior elite athletes started out with the club. Sometimes they change coaches, sometimes for various reasons they drop out or move away. Coaches invest so much time to their athletes with such dedication. Those mentioned above will be a small percentage of athletes and coaches who have been with the club for some time. You all have my utmost respect in your pursuit of excellence.

Dave Greenwood


In a year with limited competition especially for our younger Athletes, u13 Sale hurdler Liam O’Brien, in only his second hurdle race, set a new club record of 12.6s for the 75m hurdles at the Wirral open meeting on Wednesday evening.
Well done to Liam and his coach David Lowe.