Runcorn defies rain to host successful Autumn Head

On Saturday 4th October, crews prepared in the pouring rain to take part in the morning division of the Runcorn Autumn Head. Although the leaden skies looked unrelenting, by the time the first boats were making their way to the finish line at Sutton Weaver, the rain had stopped and the supporters gathered along the river were waiting in anticipation to cheer their club crews. 

The divisions were raced over two distances. The short course of 2,250m was competed by WJ14 coxed quads and J14 doubles and singles in the morning. These were hard fought races with wins for Hollingworth Lake, Warrington and Northwich. The wide course gave enough room for two or three boat overtaking opportunities – which were taken several times.

The morning long course of 4,500m was completed in the fastest time of 18:08 by a J18 eight from The Grange School. The first nine category wins were by eight different clubs, reflecting the wide range of clubs represented, many from schools. The biggest division was the J16 singles with 8 entrants won by Warrington RC (Lee) in a time of 21:55. This was an impressive time, just 7 seconds behind the J17 singles winner.  

In an afternoon of blue skies and sunshine, the second division short course was competed by J14 coxed quads and WJ14 doubles and singles won by Warrington, Hollingworth Lake and Runcorn. There were also three adaptive rowers from Runcorn RC who put in excellent performances with the Novice Double completing in 9:54, the second fastest time on the course.

The afternoon long course again saw a great diversity of competitors from clubs near and far. The home club, Runcorn, had five wins, the most in the division, but the category wins for the afternoon were shared amongst an impressive 14 different clubs. The closest race of the afternoon was the J17 coxed quads, won in 21:07 by Kings School, with Grange School crossing the finish just 5 seconds behind.

The day was well organised and a tribute to the many helpers from Runcorn who kept everything flowing throughout the two sessions. A big turnout of both seniors and juniors from a wide variety of clubs produced an exciting day of racing in what, for many, was the first Head Race of the season.      

Results can be found at

Article by Andrew Lowe
Photos by Andrew Archbold