Alex’s Newspaper Report.

Men’s 12-Stage relay team in Sefton Park in 2015

Wesham’s leader-board on the running and cycling app Strava shows Simon Denye is taking things seriously and getting out there for some safe training, topping last week’s chart with 86.2km in 6:22:25. Nigel Shepherd was second with 66.1km but topped the time rankings with 6:42:52. Nigel also took the hilliest courses with 1073m of ascent. Mark Belfield was 3rd with 64.6km running. In the women’s ranks Liz Sharrocks was top with 44.9km with Sue Coulthurst 2nd with 39.9km. Sally Deacon was close behind with 38.5km. There are now 67 members in this version of the leader-board, with a second group having 17 runners completing times last week. Lee Barlow topped this list with 64.3km; Rob Danson 63.2km and Rob Wallace 51.0km. Sue Coulthurst’s 39.9km topped the women’s list again, with Sally Deacon 2nd (38.5km) and Kelly Irwin taking 3rd with 36.6km. Kelly took the longest time with 4:55:38 and Alek Walker 2nd in 4:55:27 with Lee Barlow 3rd in 4:43:21. Kellie also had the highest elevation with a whopping 1,498m of climb to Danson’s 330m and Paul Eccles 309m.

Wesham ran their first virtual 5k last week, this is where an event is logged online and runners can record their times have run in safe isolation or suitably distanced. Chris Hastwell posted the fastest time in 18:08 for a quality performance, with Alek Walker ranking 2nd with 18:42. Mark Holton took 3rd place and top M40 with 18:57. Sharon Cooper took the women’s fastest time and leading W45 with 24:49 while Antoinette Holton was 2nd and leading W35 with 25:48. Tanya Shaw placed 3rd in 25:59 and 2nd W35. Maureen Danson came in 4th and leading W50 with 26:18; Emma wright 1st W40 and 5th in 28:00; Hev Buckel 2nd W45 and 5th with 28:04; Liz Sharrocks making 28:41 for 6th; Claire Belfield 3rd W35 and 7th in 28:53; Sharlan Butcher 8th in 29:19, 3rd W45; Louise Lord 29:37; Kerry Eccles 1st W55 and 10th with 30:45; Julie Rooney 31:22; Sally Deacon 2nd W50 and 12th in 33:01; and Leah Birchall 41:30. Garry Barnett was leading M50 with 19:34; Lee Barlow clocked 19:46 in 5th place and Tom Crabtree close behind with 19:58. Jason Parkinson took the M55 slot with 20:49 with Mark Belfield 8th in 21:15. Steve Waterhouse was 9th and 2nd M50 in 21:40 with Paul Lancashire taking 10th slot in 21:45. Stuart Clayton was 3rd M50 and 11th in 22:03 with Stuart Topping 2nd M45 and 12th in 22:19. Rob Wallace stooped the clock at 22:57 for 13th place; Peter Rooney was 1st M60 in 24:15 with 14th; Robert Danson 24:18; Dave Young 1st M70 and 16th with 26:56; Colin Smy returned 27:07 for 17th; James Birchall 28:09; Troy Watson returning to the fold with 28:43; Andrew Moore 2nd M55 with 28:48; Martin Allison 30:35 for 3rd M35; and Martyn Taylor the leading M65 in 30:51.  There will be more action this week with a 5-mile challenge.

The virtual; running concept is now being picked up by charities, who will charge for their events but will award medals and other goodies for those entrants posting solo performances. Virtualrunner are promoting a virtual race subject to approval which aims to raise money for the NHS key workers, who were celebrated at the weekend with a national round of applause at garden gates and windows across the nation. For more information visit their website.

Similarly Northern Athletics who promote athletics competition in the North of England region are proposing a Mindful March in the wake of the cancellation of their 12- and 6-Stage Road Relays and track 10,000m championships. Witnessing the Strava challenges and athletes throwing shot and performing sprints in their gardens they are currently exploring the possibilities to keep their members engaged. Watch the Northern Athletics website for further news.

Further sad news this week of the passing of Pete Mulholland the first athletics victim I have heard of to the COVID-19 virus, a former athlete better known as a long-time journalist who was involved with the excellent British Runner in the 1990s and later went on to edit Masters Athletics, an independent magazine that ended up being incorporated into Today’s Runner with a total run of only around 18 months. Aged 80 he had kidney failure and had recently fallen and broken his hip.

This week 15 years ago last week Wesham had a glorious celebration, qualifying in the Northern Men’s 12-Stage Road Relays for the English National Relay to be held 3 weeks later. The Wesham men fielded 2 teams, with the result for the ‘A’ team a combined time of 4:11:58, with the individual results : 1. Steve Littler (22) 27:11, 2. Les Cornwall (23) 16:20, 3. Paul Dunkerley (31) 17:57, 3. Alex Rowe (27) 28:21, 4. Peter Cruse (28) 17:33, 6. Alan Hudson (29) 17:57, 7. Charlie Pass (26) 27:28, 8. David Waywell (26) 17:23, 9. Derek Buckley (25) 17:34, 10. Gary Pendlebury (24) 28:56, 11. George Kennedy (23) 18:05, 12. Lee Barlow (23) 17:13. The ‘B’ team clocked 4:59:15 with : 1. John Bertenshaw (55) 32:37, 2. Karl Lee (53) 18:07, 3. Peter Gleaves (53) 19:36, 4. David Johnson (54) 33:29, 5. Peter Bartlett (56) 26:00, 6. Mark Midgley (54) 19:07, 7. Martin Bates (54) 36:41, 8. Alan Taylor (54) 21:51, 9. Paul Carter (53) 20:40, 10. Trevor Raynor (53) 32:22, 11. Dale Wallis (53) 18:20, 12. Jon Lawson (51) 20:25. On Sunday Dave Preston tackled the hilly Oldham Half Marathon in 1:42:16 and Dave Waywell and Kath Hoyer were in Yorkshire for the off-road Baildon Boundary Half Marathon, Dave returning 1:29:41 to claim 1st M60 (15th overall) and Kath 2:03:52 (231st).

Going back to March 1991 Wesham reported that Brian Hall had completed the Special Olympics Half Marathon, finishing 16th for Wesham in 74:54, with Dave Walker 20th in 75:53 and an R Scarborough 102nd in 87:59 amongst other members. Norman Pascoe, Colin Rushton and Keith Gresty had run the Fiendsdale Fell Race in Bowland and the Black Coombe Fell Race the week before, and Brian Hall had lead the way for the Wesham men’s team in the Mid Lancs Cross Country League at Lancaster University finishing 45th in 37:32 for the 6 miles, with Dave Waywell 74th in 39:01 and Dave Walker 90th with 40:09 heading a team of 15 Wesham men featuring Martin Bates (181st) and Peter Earnshaw 205th. The women’s team featured Janet Eaton (38th), Ann Pett (40th); Cath Munroe (52nd) Pat Swarbrick (60th); Carol Moreton (62nd) and Marian Rhead (63rd).

In March 1999 21 years ago Keith Wilding finished 14th in the historic Coniston 14 race, clocking 1:19:13 for 2nd M40, with Gary Pendlebury 36th in 1:24:16, and Peter Aldersley 59th in 1:26:31. 14 Wesham members ran with the men’s team 2nd behind Liverpool Harriers. There was a Festival of Running at Blackpool’s Pontins holiday camp, with a beach race on the Saturday followed by a 10k at Salwick and later a canal race. Alex Rowe had run the British Veterans Cross Country Championship in Norwich, finishing 4th M40 in 35:39 and 6th overall, earning him an England vest for the British & Irish International in Bideford in the autumn.

Five years ago, Wesham had another great day out at the Northern Athletics 12- and 6-Stage Road Relays in Liverpool’s Sefton Park in glorious spring sunshine. In the Wesham Men’s ‘A’ team were Rob Danson 24:26; David Taylor 28:35; James Mulvaney 27:23; and Steve Myerscough 30:04 on the long stages; and Stuart Topping 16:03; Jason Blagden 15:58; Paul Hetherington 15:41; Garry Barnett 14:57; Peter Gibson 15:15; Mick Edge 15:44; Roger Leadbeater 19:00 and Elliott Costello 15:55; 52nd in 3:59:01. The ‘B’ team (65th with 4:41:48) comprised Alan Glasgow 33:38; Graham Vickers 18:55; Russell Mabbett 35:33; George Kennedy 16:04; Chris Moss 33:10; Phil Leaver 17:22; John Bertenshaw 31:57; Alan Taylor 18:53; Peter Bartlett 18:36; Brian Jones 17:57; Peter Cooke 19:21; Paul Carter 20:22. The Wesham women (24th in 2: 10:50) were Catherine Carrdus 29:12; Helen Lawrenson 32:58; Tracey Hulme 17:21; Carmel Sullivan 15:31; Lisa Minns 19:17 and Sue Coulthurst 16:31.