Manchester Area League Match One 14th October Heaton Park.

Steve Green reports ahead of submission to Athletics Weekly 

Ed Shepherd enjoyed a close duel with Vale Royal teammate Aaron Doyle before prevailing by 24 seconds on a sunny yet breezy Autumnal afternoon. Shepherd was at the fore of a phalanx of around a dozen men coming up the first long climb on the first of three large laps.

By lap two the duo had pulled clear with Shepherd utilising his 14.10 5k strength on the woodland areas to pull clear of Doyle. Stockport’s Ed Corden ran splendidly to finish third another 100m in arrears. Karl Darcy, first V40 in 11th led Salford Harriers to a team win. Joshua Wragg was the first U20 to break the tape.

Emily Kearney left no room for debate in a top-quality women’s race and was quickly at the head of affairs on the first of three small laps fighting against a brief heavy rainstorm. The Warriors Pentathlon & AC athlete, who has run 15.39 for 5k, was around 70m clear of Mollie Williams by halfway and made light work of the sweeping downhills and sharp climbs to extend her advantage to 83 seconds by the tape. Sophie Wood held down third place 20 seconds down and led Sale Harriers to a resounding team win.

First U20 in 14th place was Lucy Fairclough of St. Helen’s Sutton, whilst League ever-present Diane McVey of Wilmslow, was the first V40 home. Nia Griffin of Start2Jog had a comfortable victory with a 59 second margin in the U17 girls’ section, ahead of Rosie Philbin of Stockport Harriers, with Sarah Smith of Warriors Pentathlon & AC third.

Finlay Day and namesake Goddard both of Sale Harriers, resisted the efforts of Oberon Kearney, with Day pulling clear by 5 seconds by the tape in the U17 boys’ race. Isla Pastor continued the winning ways for Warriors Pentathlon & AC in the U15 girls’ race, 20 seconds ahead of Oonagh McManus with fellow ‘Warrior’ Holly Coates in third. Trafford’s Pio Aron showed great strength in the latter stages to emerge the victor by six seconds to the good and ahead of Alex Fraser, with Jake Ireland in third.

More success followed in the U13 girls’ event for ‘Warriors’ as Eve and Isobel Beddow pulled clear of Sale Harrier Isobel Soper, with Eve taking the spoils by 7 seconds. Bobby Birkett shone for St Helen’s Sutton, with a 13 second win over N Glascott- Tull of the Warriors outfit, with Liverpool’s Bobby McEvoy third in the boys’ section.

Daisy McVicar of Warriors took the inaugural U11 girls’ race, well clear of Emilia Gandy. Whilst Ethan Statham of Bury (running as a guest), edged Tommy Collard in the boys’ version.