ALMOST 500 runners braved the mud, fog and drizzle to contest the Cheshire Cross Country Championships at Birchwood Forest Park on Saturday - with Warrington enjoying great success.

The senior men's and women's races were won by athletes hailing from Warrington, while there was success for the town's five clubs too in a prestigious event hosted by Spectrum Striders at Birchwood Forest Park.

Warrington Guardian:

The start of the senior women's race. Picture by Mick Charman

Warrington Athletics Club's Lauren Ferris won the under 17s women's title, steering her team to gold-medal joy too.

And Warrington's Sam Evans, running for Vale Royal, shot to first place in the under 15s boys' race.

Spectrum Striders, Warrington Running Club, Warrington Road Runners and Lymm Runners all had reasons to be cheerful but the major honours were taken by competitors who started their careers with Warrington Athletics Club.

Daniel Cliffe, now representing Liverpool Harriers AC, had a 49 second advantage over Cameron Field from the same club to take the men's title.

Warrington Guardian:

Daniel Cliffe on his way to glory. Picture by Mick Charman

In the ladies race Heather Timmins, originally from Great Sankey and now representing Thames Valley Harriers, had a margin of 29 seconds over Sarah Murphy from Vale Royal AC.

Warrington Guardian:

Heather Timmins battles through the pits area of the Birchwood course. Picture by Mick Charman

There were lots of local highlights as Cheshire Amateur Athletics Association chose Birchwood Forest Park to stage the championships for the fourth time in 10 years.

To qualify, runners needed to either to have been born within the county or currently live in Cheshire.

And in addition they had to be a member of a running club which is affiliated to the national AAA.

A dozen races were held, starting with the under 11s and finishing with the seniors.

For Warrington AC the highlight came at under 17s women's level.

Ferris came home in first place in 17mins 10secs, Lauren Goddard was fifth, two places ahead of Chloe Mason, with Amy Nuttall finishing 12 to help the team to glory.

Warrington Guardian:

Lauren Ferris, back, with her brother and sister Aaron and Eva who also contested the Cheshire Cross Country Championships on Saturday. Picture by Mike Parsons

There were more team medals to celebrate as well though.

For the men’s under 17s, Jack Stubbings came third, Sam Rostron fifth and Luke Gamble in sixth to finish in second place overall. Jack Wadsworth was 15th.

In the under 15s boys’ race, Joseph Buckley was second, Jordan Jones was third, Isaaq Attullah seventh, Joe Roberts 15th and Joel Harrison 16th to take first place overall.

The under 15s girls came third, with India Hayes finishing eighth, two places ahead of Siobhan Gregory, with Lucy Baxter and Olivia Doodson 13th and 14th respectively. Emily Jackson was 20th and Natalie Chamun was 22nd.

Warrington Guardian:

There was also a third place finish for the under 13s girls, with Orla Gregory finishing a creditable fifth, Eva Ferris 11th, Maisie Bell 16th. Isobel Houghton came home in 19th place, Hannah McClorey 24th and Nicole Eastburn 32nd.

Warrington's Rebecca Nixon was fourth as she helped her Vale Royal team to the gold medal.

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In the under 13s boys’ race, Rhys Hopkins was 21st, Reece Connell 26th, and Gareth McClorey finished 32nd, to take eighth place overall.

Warrington Guardian:

For the under 11s boys, Erik Marshall was second, Zak Chamun third, Marcus Trevithick 15th, Jacob Pryor 21st, Jacob Arkell 24th and Aaron Ferris 29th, to guide their team to the silver medal place.

Warrington Guardian:

And, in the under 11s girls’ race, Molly Wormald was eighth, Amelia Smithers 14th, Lucie Davies 17th, Emily Entwistle 19th, Harriet Bell 30th and Ella Mercer 34th. The A team finished in sixth place, and the B team eighth.

Warrington Guardian:

Later in the day’s events, Jasmin Dobson was eighth in the under 20s women's race, while Steve Burthem was fifth in the V55 race.

In both senior races, all Warrington clubs were represented and for the ladies Claire Andrew of Spectrum Striders was the leading runner in 16th place.

She was followed by Bobbie Lomax of Warrington RC in 20th, Tracy Entwistle of Warrington RR 25th, Ellen Broad of Spectrum 29th, Karon Forster Spectrum 37th , who also was gained 2nd place in the Over 55 category. Next was Jane Lowe, Spectrum in 41st, Louise Casey Warrington RC 43rd and Georgina Walker, Lymm Runners 47th all making a top 50 finish.

Special mention should go to Steph Charman, who, after a serious illness, gained the gold medal in the women's over 65s category for Spectrum Striders.

Warrington Guardian:

Stephanie Charman on her way to a gold medal

Her clubmate Ellen Broad, who is in her first year of running and in her very first cross country race managed an excellent 29th place.

Lymm Runners members Lisa Fothergill, Carolyn Smith, Yasmin Hussain, Chrissie Knight were 67th, 69th, 71st and 72nd respectively, while Spectrum's Stephanie Charman was 73rd.

In the women's team event Spectrum Striders finished seventh, with Lymm Runners A and B teams gaining 16th and 18th place.

Best local senior men runners, with top 50 finishes, were Karl Steinegger (Spectrum) in 11th, Tom Greaves (Warrington RR) 16th, Chris Millington (Spectrum) 20th, Jack Antrobus (Warrington RC) 24th, Daniel Peers (Spectrum) 27th, Alexander Lewis (Warrington RC) 28th, Stuart Berry (Lymm Runners) 39th and Jerry Coll (Warrington RR) 45th.

They were followed home by Nigel Paul Taylor (Warrington RC) 53rd, Kye Byrne (Warrington RC) 59th, Phil Rowe (Lymm Runners) 60th, Perry Moore (Warrington RR) 61st, Paul Corless (Warrington RC) 72nd, Phil Lomas (Warrington RC) 82nd, Colin Gill (Lymm Runners) 85th, Jim Dawson (Lymm Runners) 90th, Peter Lloyd (Lymm Runners) 91st, Luke Potts (Warrington RR) 97th, Kevin Gillibrand (Warrington RR) 107th, Jamie Bradbury (Lymm Runners) 112th, Michael Smith (Lymm Runners) 115th, Julian Spencer (Spectrum Striders) 116th, Kenny Forster (Spectrum Striders) 117th, Graham Driver (Spectrum Striders) 118th, Sean Farrelly (Warrington RR) 127th, Ian Seabury (Warrington RR) 135th and Peter Burton (Lymm Runners) 142nd.

In the men's team event Warrington RC were sixth, Spectrum Striders 11th, Warrington RR 13th and Lymm Runners 14th.