A large contingent from Bury AC made the trip to Sefton Park in Liverpool to compete at the Red Rose Cross League races that were incorporated into the British Athletics Cross Challenge.

This gave local athletes the opportunity to compete against the very best cross country runners in the country as the event also served as the trials for the forthcoming European Cross Country Championships.

One of the first races of the day was the under-11s race and it saw the best Bury performance. Ethan Statham soon featured at the front of the enormous field of more than 200 young athletes and he was part of a group of four athletes who broke away from the rest.

Wolverhampton’s Seb Palmer made his kick for home on the long finishing straight with Ethan running strongly in second place in 7mins 1sec - just three seconds behind the winner. The run does cement Ethan’s reputation as one of the best distance runners for his age group in the country. Ronan Parker was Bury’s only other representative in the race, taking 191st place in 9:34.

Katherine Wolstenholme had an excellent run in the U11 girls’ race, taking a superb 24th in 8:19. Next Bury finisher was Mylah Collier, in 93rd with 9:11. Sophie Straffon-Finch ran strongly to finish 170th in 10:11. In the U13 girls’ race, Lucy Dent produced one of her best runs over recent months for 37th place in 12:44. Agatha Wragg was Bury’s next finisher in 68th in 13:36. Ella Straffon-Finch ran well to take 88th place with 14:26.

Bury had nine competitors in the senior women’s race with Sinead Taylor running very well to take 121st place overall with 33:04. Next was Abigail Warburton, in 138th with 34:12, followed closely by Caitlyn Johnson (142nd in 34:26) and Alia Braithwaite (144th in 34:26). The tight packing of the four scoring athletes saw Bury take second team behind a strong Blackburn squad. Bury’s other finishers were Harriet Griffiths (174th, 36:52), Fiona Lynch (176th, 36:59), Lizzie Cheshire (256th, 40:38), Afroditi Kalambouka (304th, 43:11) and Sarah Withers (395th, 51;06).

Twelve Bury athletes completed in the senior men’s race. Ben Coop ran well to take 135th in 33:01, with Kieran Savage running brilliantly to take 158th in 33:35. Martin Clark took 191st in 34:39, followed by Luke Harreld, who was 225th in 35:58.

Hot on Luke’s heels was Jack Griffiths in 230th in 36:04. Jordan Harreld was Bury’s sixth counter, taking 303rd place with 38:25. Bury took third team behind Blackburn and Rossendale.

The other Bury finishers were Declan Tattersall (370th, 40:10), Paul Marshall (379th, 40:24), Tim Pockney (423rd, 41:47), Matthew Finch (447th, 42:22), Giles Bennett (479th, 43:10) and Alex Leach (524th, 44:39). The final league fixture takes place at Rossendale.