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It was a double bubble of mud and grass this week for Burnden’s Cross Country Team as, for the first time, the Red Rose and South East Lancs leagues joined together to participate in the same race held in Rossendale.

Twelve hardy runners turned out to participate and fly the black stripe and both the men’s and ladies’ teams picked up points and both finished in 6th overall position.

Here are the results of how the runners performed individually and Vet Crowns a-plenty found a new home at Burnden for both teams.

Individual Ladies –

Lyndsay Darbyshire – 3rd V55, Kathryn Baron – 6th V55, Gwen Kinloch – 3rd V60, Anne Ferguson – 1st V65.

Individual Gentlemen –

Paul Duke – 8th V45, Steve Nolan – 2nd V60, Stephen Horsman – 5th V60, Dave Smith – 7th V60, Gareth Doherty - 10th V45

Captain Paul Duke has passed on some wonderful comments from the Burnden team and Ged Turner has even written a poem to commemorate the day!

“Tough first lap but loved it – it had everything – deep mud, tough up and slippy downhills, even the weather couldn’t stop you from smiling!”
“Absolute mud-fest! Great fun and loved every minute. Finished in 50:55. Took me 60:55 to clean the bath after I got out. Loved the race. Very cold beforehand and I have never worn so many clothes in a cross country race!”

Ged’s Poem
“Saturday afternoon under Rosse’s slate grim skies,
Die-hards gather under canvas.
Side-on sleet for the start of the chase,
Mustn’t let another vest pass.
Lung-bursting slides up clag-bound inclines,
Joyful descents through the Marl,
Picking a flatline over ice-bound tread,
Fling out arms ‘fore a fall.
Absorb support from red-limbed youth,
Gasp out thanks to the marshal.
Thrill through the Lovers-arms finish,
Home, satisfied, coffee and cake partial.”

There is one race remaining, on 17th February, which will conclude the South East Lancs League for the season.

The Essar Four Villages Half Marathon takes runners on a tough, undulating course around the rural roads of Helsby in Cheshire. Organised by Helsby Running Club, 2024 marked the 40th anniversary of the race and two Burndeners were there to wish it a happy birthday.

Andy Dunleavy, Coach and Chair of Burnden, put in a sterling performance as he finished as 3rd V65 of a field of 40 in 1:34:44. This impressive time put Andy into second position in his Masters Vet Category within the qualifying time and gives him the honour of again wearing the prestigious England Vest for Masters at the Great Manchester Run in May 2024.

Marcus Chester, Coach of Burnden, also put in a super performance – proving that his Wednesday Track Marathon Coaching sessions are working a treat. Marcus finished the 13.1 miles in 1:44:06.


Must be a record this week surely! With tons of parkruns cancelled because of ice, snow and wandering penguins causing havoc, Heaton Park welcomed an overwhelming 1010 runners!

Suleman Badat was the first Burndener to cross the very busy line – in 19:55 and 11th overall position. Michael Kermode was next in 22:16 followed by Tom Stratton in 23:28, Adrian Ashburn in 24:52, Derek Case in 27:43, Gayle Gerrard in 29:48 and Katherine Baines in 35:27.


Hackney Marshes (464 runners) – Simon Marland – 24:11, Sue Marland – 33:11

Brueton (744 runners) – Emma Walker – 30:15

Delamere (599 runners) – Steven Walsh – 25:49

Tokoinranta, Helsinki (27 runners) – Gareth Lowe – 25:41 (7th position), Jenni Partington – 31:44 (3rd lady)

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