Alex’s Newspaper Report.

Alan Hudson in the Air Products 10k in early May 2009

Wesham members are now well geared up to virtual racing to be included as part of their daily exercise activity, and this week’s challenge was at 10km, with each runner choosing their own course but recording their evidence on an electronic device and submitting the log for inclusion. Fastest at the 6.2-mile distance was Rob Danson with an excellent solo 33:37 as he takes up the motivation in these distanced times. Chris Hastwell was a worthy opponent with 38:03 followed by Mark Holton with 38:15. Lee Barlow was 4th in 38:39 and Nigel Shepherd 5th in 44:11. Sue Coulthurst had the fastest ladies time with 46:13 followed by Suzanne Leonard 2nd in 47:28 and Antionette Holton 3rd with 53:13. Rob Wallace was 7th in 46:48; Stuart Topping 9th in 49:37; James Danson 50:23 (10th); Sean Murray 51:52 (11th); Peter Rooney 12th in 52:38; Ryan Azzopardi 14th in 53:27; Maureen Danson 4th woman in 54:23; Kerry Eccles 5th with 54:59; Vron Walker 56:55; Chas Colby 18th in 56:57; Tanya Shaw 57:23; Ben Wrigley 57:39; Dawn Biggs 57:54; Andrew Moore 59:05; Liz Sharrocks 62:00; Julie Rooney 64:00; Peter Cooke 66:00; Sally Deacon 66:00; Nicola Carter 80:00; and James and Leah Birchall both 88:00 (1:28:00) for a steady social outing.

As an additional activity the club staged a timed mile, ever a good distance to test oneself over. Mark Holton achieved the fastest clocking, with 5:43. Neil Gregson ran 5:44 with his second attempt, with Sue Coulthurst the fastest woman in 6:37. Stuart Topping was just one second behind in 6:38, with Helen Lawrenson second woman in 6:41            . Ryan Azzopardi was 6th with 6:49 (second attempt); Colin Smy was next with 6:53; Kirsty Holland 3rd woman with her second attempt (7:01) with Robert Danson 9th overall in 7:08. Maureen Danson 3rd woman in 7:32; Sharon Cooper 4th with 7:34; and Troy Watson clocking 7:51 in 13th place overall and Andrew Moore 7:55 at his second go. Pauline Eccleston was 5th woman in 7:59 and Dawn Biggs 6th with 8:02. Dave Young was 17th with 8:04; Clare Belfield next with 8:22; then Freddy Hastwell with 8:49; Kerry Eccles 8th woman with 9:00; Julie Rooney 9th in 9:05; Peter Cooke 9:39; and then Keith and Marian Rhead out of retirement with 15:11 each.           

It was a busy week, with the first of the Wesham monthly Summer handicaps, usually run round a hilly 4.9 circuit around Treales from Dowbridge on the edge of Kirkham. There are 4 events in the Summer Series with a final in August, followed by 7 Winter Handicaps round a town 2-lapper of 4 miles. The 2020 handicap has now gone virtual for the first time, with a 4.9 route of each member’s choice. The handicap finish positions saw Kerry Eccles first in 46:47, with Veronica Walker 2nd with 47:07, and Helen Lawrenson 3rd in 47:18. James Birchall 4th 47:28; Suzanne Leonard 5th 47:28; Liz Shorrocks 6th 47:31; Maureen Danson 47:45; Keith Wilding 47:47; Stuart Topping 47:53; and Chris Hastwell 10th with 48:06. On the Net Time ranking Chris Hastwell topped the field with his 29:06, followed by Alek Walker with 30:11; Jason Parkinson 33:11: Neil Whipp 34:39; Lee Barlow 36:07; Rob Wallace 36:10; Helen Lawrenson 36:18; Stuart Topping 36:53; Suzanne Leonard 37:28; Peter Rooney 39:48; Maureen Danson 40:45; Andrew Moore 41:17; Nigel Shepherd 41:41; Robert Danson 42:06; Veronica Walker 42:07; James Birchall 42:28; Keith Wilding 42:47; Tanya Shaw 43:07; and Kay Twist 43:19. There were 39 virtual runners in all with the full results on the Wesham website.

There are now 76 members of Wesham’s Strava leader-board, the virtual running heart of the club at the moment. In the middle of the board Alice Deacon achieved 26.1km distance with just 2 runs in 2:57:55, Claire Belfield 25.6km 5 runs in 3:00:29; Suzanne Leonard 25.4km over 3 runs in 1:59:23; Dave Britton 25.2km (3 runs) in 2:01:48; and Julie Rooney 4 runs totalling 24.8km in 2:39:08.  Top of the leader-board again was Rob Danson rejuvenated after much of the last year struggling with injury now covering 105.2 km in a time of 7:00:08 covering 616m of elevation. Simon Denye again second with 85.5km run in 6:24:25 with 399m of climb, and Mark Holton 3rd with 80.9km and a time of 6:58:29, with 118m of uphill. Nigel Shepherd came in 4th with a distance of 80.4km and time 8:34:35, with 591m climb, and Lee Barlow ran 74.3km in 5:23:12 with 272m elevation. Third highest climber this week behind Danson and Shepherd was Chris Hastwell with 516m elevation, with Paul Eccles 4th with 490m (58.9km in 5:19:02), and Denye 5th. Sue Coulthurst topped the Queen of the mountain with 305m (68.3km in 5:35:49), with Liz Sharrocks 2nd with 276m (40km in 4:12:40), and Helen Lawrenson 3rd with 239m (47km in 4:04:24). The top women were Coulthurst followed by Lawrenson and Kerry Eccles 3rd with 40.4km in 6 runs giving 4:06:24 over 176m climbing.

Committee meetings and planning for the future are keeping the world of athletics live, and this week in response to the cancellation of most mass participation events for the next three months that is set to cost the UK’s charities 4 billion pounds the organisers of the London Marathon have launched the 2.6 challenge, a virtual event to take place between the 26th April (the date of the postponed marathon) and 30th April for individuals to undertake their own challenge with a 2.6 theme and either donate £26 or fundraise an amount in an attempt to recoup some of the lost funds. The 2.6 challenge can be any effort within the home or socially distanced outdoors, along any theme akin to Captain Tom’s 100 lengths of his garden, that is probably set to top £12 million and more by this weekend. Previous participants in many of the UK’s mass participation events are likely to receive a communication this week giving details of the event and the website for further material and information.

The Wesham club have now hosted four live sessions on Facebook each Friday, and are now incorporating an interview slot; “Five Minutes with… ” a club member. In addition the Wednesday night virtual training and fitness sessions are gaining in popularity and there are occasional social meeting via a videoconference. All these measures are keeping the club together, maintaining contact, fostering social interaction, and at the same time keeping an eye on any vulnerable members.

This week last year had just seen the opening of the 2019 Inter Club Grand Prix series in Stanley Park in Blackpool, where the Wesham men finished first team with Rob Danson in pole position running 20:02 for a 19 second lead over the 4 miles having stated off in heavy rain. Steve Littler was 4th in 20:56 and 1st Over-40 and backed up with a very strong team: Steve Swarbrick 10th in 21:52. David Taylor 19th (22:30); Ugis Datavs 20th (22:39); Steve Abbott 22nd (22:52); Simon Denye 26th (23:00); Lee Barlow 28th (23:15); Paul Gregory 32nd (23:19); and Tom Crabtree 37th (23:32). The Wesham women were a disappointing 4th with Helen Lawrenson 14th (27:30); Carmel Sullivan 19th (28:00); Anne Mayers-Smith 25th (29:08); Kath Hoyer 29th (29:56); and Alice Deacon 31st (30:11). In the Manchester Marathon James Mulvany was 182nd in 2:48:26; Mark Belfield 1567th in 3:18:12; Neil Gregson 2496th in 3:34:07; Steven Gore pacing Elliot Costello to 3:46:46 and 2547th place; Paul Lancashire 2875th in 3:29:26; Rob Wallace 4:01:03 ( 4504th; Thomas Farquar 4:01:52 (4574th); 6036th in 4:17:51; and Lee Mangan a chip time of 4:55:36 (gun time 5:28:04) for 11171st place.

Eleven years ago in 2009 again it was Inter Club action, with the opening fixture again in Blackpool’s Stanley Park where Wesham had 43 members running with 12 women. Charlie Pass lead the way for Wesham finishing 6th in 21:04 for the 2-lap 4-mile course less than a minute behind the winner. Barry Norman and Alex Rowe provided the immediate backup as they came in neck and neck both being given the time 22:14 in 12th and 13th places, Rowe taking 1st M50. Steve Myerscough had a good run to record 22:47 in 19th place, and Jason Barlow had in 22:58. Wesham then packed in well, with Peter Waywell 22nd with 23:04;Kalr Lee 27th in 23:23; Trevor Rayner with a really good effort 29th in 23:31; Alan Hudson 1st M55 and 31st in 23:41; Peter Cruse and Graham Cunliffe 34th and 35th with 24:14 and 24:16. The men’s team finished 2nd behind Preston. The Wesham women performed exceptionally well, setting the season off to a great start with 2nd team place behind Blackpool. Switching around their usual finishing order, Joanna Goorney was nonetheless the leader, with 26:19 for 10th place. Kath Hoyer had a great run to finish 15th in 27:34, leading a pack with Michaela Dempsey 16th in 27:57, Carmel Sullivan 17th in 27:58 and Sarah Sherratt 18th with 28:13.

Back in 1996, 24 years ago, the Inter Club Grand Prix had its first fixture of the year hosted by Red Rose through Worden Park and loop of the lanes around Runshaw. Alex Rowe finished in 7th for the 4 mile circuit; Martin Bates 36th in 23:10; Phil Leaver (M40) 46th in 23:23; Tony Howard 58th with 24:30; Phil Metcalfe 60th in 24:49; Geoff Everall (M60) 75th in 25:00; Ian Rawcliffe (M45) 79th with 25:17; Peter Waterman 94th in 26:15; Martin Bott (M45) 101st with 26:41; Dave Young (M45) 102nd in 26:41. A steady start produced a large group at the front for the first mile, where the pace soon hotted up, with a group of 8 breaking away in the second mile, completed in 9:30. Preston’s Steve Hallas and Jason Parker, with North Fylde’s Phil Leybourne and Carl King held together and opened up a gap in the third mile. Hallas, having led the pack for most of the way was overhauled by Leybourne on the final ascent up to the Worden Park gates, and Parker dropped to 5th, running exceptionally well following his recent 15:25 5,000m outing, leaving King in 3rd place. Alex Rowe, having gained 5th place, dropped to 7th in the final half mile on the hills. Martin Bates ran well in 36th place, in his lead up to the London Marathon, and newcomers Tony Howard and Martin Bott proved their worth with the Wesham team. John Whiteman generously ran the course with Bernard Yarwood (M60), who is returning to action. At the weekend Wesham’s Ian Rawcliffe and North Fylde’s Dave Noble took part in the Fuzz Run, a 130-mile relay from Chapel Cross near Dumfries to Springfields at Lea Town of the outskirts of Preston. It was a two-team effort to raise over £1,000 for Derian House Children’s Hospice and cancer research. This was a combined cycle and running relay, with Ian peddling 17 miles and Dave 19. Closer to home they hit the tow path of the Lancaster canal, Ian ran two stages of 7 and 4 miles, and Dave 6 miles, and the pair ran the glory leg 2 miles to Springfields to complete 11 hrs 43 mins of team action, 17 minutes ahead of the Chapel Cross team.