Northern Athletics 12 & 6 Stage & Young Athletes 5k – Report by Ken Smith

Date:       Saturday 23rd March 2024

Location:  Wythenshawe Park Manchester

Saturday morning was cold, wet and windy as I had a clear drive round the M60 to Wythenshawe Park. Things were a little different for those traveling from the east side of the country. A phone call at 6.40 by the referee confirmed that the M62 was closed and he was being diverted via Woodhead.

The referee at least had plenty of time, no such luck for those athletes and supporters following behind. Bingley’s Olympic triathlon star, and first leg runner, Jonathon Brownlee had not moved in 47 minutes. The Tyne Bridge coach had to have a 45 minute driver’s rest period, and so it went on, throughout the morning.  Another concern being the arrival of the medals from Leeds. This slightly delayed the Under 15 age group presentation. Fortunately everyone arrived in time, and later that day the motorway was open for those heading home eastwards.

Under 15 5k

David Brown started the 50 under 15 boys on time and even before they left the track two Trafford athletes were at the front of the field. These 2 Pio Aran and Finlay Dobson Emmas remained at the front throughout with Jacob Palmer Skyrac finishing in 3rd place. The team race was dominated not surprisingly by Trafford, much to the delight of Neil Canham. 6 athletes in the top 11, 3 teams finishing 1st  2nd and 6th showed the strength of the Manchester club in this age group. They were outstanding, Blackburn finished 2nd team and Warriors Pentathlon 3rd.

Under 15 Girls.

They had the most dreadful of starts. As the 26 girls lined up ready to start the wind picked up and it started a very heavy shower. Fortunately David Brown got them away quickly, but as they went round the first corner they turned into that wind.

The shower was quickly over but the athletes were already soaked as they wound round the flat 5k circuit. First to show upon returning to the track was   the Liverpool Harrier Rebecca Murphy, with Penelope Boyle, Leven Valley, not far behind, but she had Rotherham’s Grace Igoe just behind her. Sale’s Imogen Hill was 4th but surprisingly Sale had only 2 athletes in the race. The team winners were Blackburn with Holmfirth taking the silver.

Under 17 Men

44 athletes were started slightly later than programmed, but they quickly moved round the track and out of the gates, with the black vest of Rotherham prominent at the front. Upon return that lead by the Rotherham athlete remained but the battle for 2nd and 3rd was very close. Johnson Hughes won for Rotherham, but the next two places were tied on time but the line judge gave it to St Helens Sutton athlete Liam Johnson, ahead of Sale’s Finlay Day.

Team results has host club Sale first then Wirral, followed by Trafford.

Under 17 Women.

Some of the best Under 17 Women in the North were lined up at this the last of the Young Athletes 5k races. Warriors Pentathlon were strongly represented, with Leven Valley the only other club with a team involvement.

Conditions remained cold but at least dry for this race. A group of 4 athletes   were together as they departed from the track, but upon their return they were well spread out. Georgia Bell, Leven Valley, had a lead of almost 30 seconds as was never going to be caught. Behind her was the first of the winning Warriors Pentathlon team, Megumi Hoshiko, with Lottie Langan , City of York, 10 seconds further back. This remained the finishing order at the line with Leven Valley taking the silver team medal.

Senior Women 6 stage.

The women’s relay consisted of 4 short stages, 4.5K, and 2 long stages, 8.0k.

One unusual feature of the race was that, despite the motorway closure, all 50 of the women’s team envelopes were collected as were all 60 for the men.

So 50 women started off with 300 M on the track before exiting for the 8.0k long stage. Upon return it was another 300m on the track before handing over for a short stage of 4.5K.

Sale as host club, might not have been dominant in the Young Athletes 5K races but they certainly did in this event. Sophie Wood brought then back first and after that 2 nd was their lowest position. They went 1st, 2nd, 2nd, 1st, 2nd, 1st, with Lucy Armitage snatching fastest short time 15.10, from Georgia Malir on that last lap. If anyone was wondering why Lucy was not at presentation, she had gone out to help marshal on the course.

Of course it was Leeds City that were battling with Sale throughout the event. Put simply when Sale were not at the front then Leeds were. Sale won by 11 seconds in an overall time of 1 hour 57 minutes 12 seconds. Leeds City 1 hour 57 minutes 23 seconds. Third place was even more consistent with Vale Royal in 3rd spot throughout the race, with a time of 2.00 26.

4th spot was always a battle between Liverpool and Salford, with Liverpool gaining 4th spot on leg 5 and retaining it on the final stage.

The B Team winners were Leeds City in 13th position whilst the fastest long stage was Holly Weedall 26.51, just 3 seconds faster than Sales 1st leg runner Sophie Wood. and fastest short leg Lucy Armitage 15.10, 12 seconds ahead of Leeds City’s team manager Georgia Malir.

Medals were presented by Dave Allen President of Northern Athletics.

Senior Men 12 Stage.

The format of this event is 4 long stages, 1,3,5,7, each 8.0 K and 8 short stages each 4.5K.

Leeds City are like a smooth running machine at road relays under team manager Mike Burrett.  Only out of the top 2 positions twice during the race, they went past the red vest of Salford on leg 10, and were never headed after that. Tactically the team plan worked well although Salford gave them scare on that last stage to narrow that winning gap to just 49 seconds.

Salford had Harry Wakefield doing the shortest fastest leg, 13.16, on the 2nd leg and pulling back 5 places.

After that  Salford  were never out of the top two, and headed the field for 4 stages, but you just knew the Leeds plan would prevail.

As with the women, the team in 3rd spot at the finish had mainly been in 3rd spot throughout the race. This time it was Morpeth. 3rd in the last 6 stages  they finished 30 seconds behind Salford and over 90 seconds ahead of Liverpool. Liverpool were inspired by Jonny Mellor who ran the fastest long leg of the day on stage 3, pulling Liverpool up 6 places with his  time of 22.50.

Salford men also won the “B“ team medals with 10th place

Medals again presented by Northern Athletics President Dave Allen.


Under 15 Boys

1 Pio Aron                                Trafford            15:48

2 Finlay Dobson Emmas         Trafford             16:07

3 Jacob Palmer                       Skyrac               16:10

4 Alfie Cook                            Gateshead         16:13


1 Trafford    11 points   2 Blackburn 36  points  3 Warriers Pentathlon 79 points

First B team Trafford 30 points

Under 15 Girls

1 Rebecca Murphy Liverpool Harriers           17:30

2 Penelope Boyle    Leven Valley                  17:43

3 Grace Igoe      Rotherham Harriers            17:47

4 Imogen Hill      Sale                                    18:01


1 Blackburn  43 points    Holmfirth 61 points

Under 17 Men.

1 Jonson Hughes     Rotherham Harriers        15:35

2 Liam Johnson        St Helens Sutton             15:40

3 Finlay Day              Sale                                 15:40


1 Sale 27 points    2 Wirral 52 points      3 Trafford 58 points

Under 17 Women.

1 Georgia Bell           Leven Valley                  17:37

2 Megumi Hoshiko   Warriors Pentathlon       18:00

3 Lottie Langan         City of York                     18.13


1 Warrors Pentathlon 19 points 2   Leven Valley 25 points

Senior Women.

1   Sale Harriers   1hour 57 minutes 12 seconds

2  Leeds City     1 hour 57 minutes 23 seconds

3  Vale Royal   2 hours  0  minutes 26 seconds

4 Liverpool Harriers   2 hours 3 minutes 1 second.

Fastest long Leg of the day     Holly Weedall Vale Royal   26:51

Fastest short leg of the day      Lucy Armitage   Sale   15:10

Senior Men

1 Leeds City               3 hours 24 minutes 46 seconds

2 Salford Harriers      3 hours 25 minutes 35 seconds

3 Morpeth Harriers    3 hours 26 mins 05 seconds

4 Liverpool Harriers    3 hours 27 minutes 38 seconds

Fastest Long Leg of the day   Jonathon Mellor Liverpool Harriers   22:50

Fastest short leg of the day   Harry Wakefield Salford Harriers  13:16


Mick Hall’s event photos can be found HERE

Photos of medal winners courtesy of Eileen Ingham