Two Bury athletes represented Greater Manchester in the English Schools Cross Country Championships hosted at a very muddy Temple Newsam Park in Leeds. Oliver Makinson, running in the senior boys’ race, performed very well to take 48th place and finish as Greater Manchester’s second counter in a time of 24.28. This excellent performance demonstrates the impact of Oliver’s dedication to his training schedule. In the intermediate boys race, Stefan Kalambouka demonstrated his continuing improvement as an athlete in taking 250th place in a very high quality field. Mention should also be made of Freya Potts who was selected for the Greater Manchester squad, but as a non-travelling reserve.

The Parkrun at Heaton Park on Saturday morning saw a practical invasion from Bury AC runners as the event counted towards the seniors’ Grand Prix series. Seven Bury athletes filled places in the top fifteen finishers. Jim Ardin just lost out in a sprint finish to win the race, but was pleased with his new personal best of 16.57 to take second place. Patrick Babb, in third and men’s captain Byron Edwards in fourth also recorded new best times for the course of 17.12 and 17.18 respectively.

Ben Jones took eighth place (17.52) with Josh Birmingham tenth (18.18 pb), Paul Johnson eleventh (18.45) and Giles Bennett fourteenth (19.09). Matt Grice was next finisher (19.38), followed by young Jack Smith (new pb of 20.05) and then Katie Geelan (second woman finisher in 20.25). Anthony Hallahan set a new best of 20.32, followed closely by Chris Burrow (20.42) and Andy Worthington (20.51).

Coach Dave Cole made a welcome return to competition completing the course in 21.39, followed by women’s captain Lizzi Cheshire (22.16). The other Bury finishers were Colin Smith (23.04), Victoria O’Brien (23.51), Susan Wheeldon (24.08 pb), Ed Hitchin (24.29 and first MV70), Dave Flood (25.07), Brianne Turner (25.37), Pam Hitchin (26.18), Dave Carroll (27.27) and Nicola Brown (30.42). Jim Ardin currently leads the men’s Grand Prix standings and Katie Geelan the women’s.

On Sunday three Bury athletes competed at the Sale Indoor meeting at Sportcity. Under 15 Jerel Livingston set a new personal best of 7.65 in finishing runner up in his 60m sprint race. He followed that with a 3rd place in the long jump, competing against senior athletes, with a furthest jump of 5.95m. Jerel is currently ranked 5th in the UK in his age group for the long jump event.

Jena and Erin at Sportcity

Jena Dickinson and Erin Garroch were also rewarded with personal bests in their events in the under 15 competitions. Jena set new bests in the 60m (8.65), long jump (4.22) and shot (7.11). Erin, taking part in the same events set new bests in the long jump (3.62) and shot (5.89) and was only 6/100s off a best in the 60 with 9.58.