Alex’s Newspaper Report.

Wesham’s hot talent for the future, Tobias Danson with proud mum and dad

Wesham members welcomed a new arrival this week with the birth of Tobias Robert Peter to star runner Rob Danson and partner Helena in the early hours of Sunday 19th April, weighing a princely 9lb 3oz. Rob and Helena convey a special thankyou to Wesham member Antionette Holton who was the midwife in the theatre at the birth in a very special club team-up.

Last week the Wesham Strava leader-board saw 78 members training outdoors, with several only managing one or two runs with other priorities. Seam Murray had one run of 4km (21:32), as did Elliot Costello with 4.8km (34:58), Alice Deacon 5.1km (31:22) and Jim Solan 5.9k (28:43). At the head of the leader-board Simon Denye continues to steam ahead topping the ranks with 107.1km completed in 7:56:49. Helen Lawrenson had a great week for top woman and 2nd on the board with 90.6km in 8:46:55. Paul Lancashire was third with 88.7km in 7:01:19. Carl Groome had the longest running time with 10:07:23 for 58.5km as he continues to recover from his foot operation. Helen Lawrenson topped the mountain leader-board with 584m with Chris Hastwell 2nd with 511m and Neil Gregson 3rd with 494m. Rob Danson topped his week of 64km in 4:16:00 with 5th highest 426m with the birth of son Tobias; and what a week! Denye was 4th on the mountains with 477m. In the women’s leader-board Sue Coulthurst was 2nd with 42.8km 3:27:35 over 191m of climb with Kerry Eccles 3rd covering 40.9km in 4:18:21 over 163m elevation. Suzanne Leonard was close behind with 39.3km run in 3:08:52 but with 184m climbing.

Recalling this week the past exploits of Wesham members in the Seven Sisters Marathon starting and finishing in Eastbourne on the South Coast, where founder member Mike Baldwin was joined by Peter and Marie Wyld, Gordon Durber, Cath and Ken Munroe for several years in the 1990s, and Marian and Keith Rhead in 1993. Staged at the end of the holiday season towards the end of October the guest houses stayed open for an extra week and it was here that the Wesham group met up with Graham Cunliffe, an ultra-runner extreme having frequently run the London to Brighton then a member of Clayton-le-Moors and now with Wesham. Graham still ranks 34th with his 1991 time of 2 hrs 59 mins although that includes 3 athletes with multiple times. Also in that list of sub 3-hour runs Lytham’s Stephen Moore ranks 10th with 2 hrs 53 mins and Stockport’s friend of Wesham Eric Williams is 13th in 2 hrs 55 mins. It was possible to run a triple marathon with Snowdonia on Saturday and Dublin on the Monday sandwiching the Seven Sisters.

England Athletics have announced this week their support for virtual racing with a new partnership with OpenTrack, a competition management system that has been under development with the British Masters Athletic Federation for the past five years. The new OpenTrack has now been made free for all athletics clubs and RunTogether groups to manage virtual competitions and challenges. Events will not happen at a specific date and time at one location, as this will contravene the government social distancing guidelines, but will have a specified distance or goal, athletes can chose their own route, and the effort can be spread over a competition “window” giving a time period to complete. BMAF have reacted immediately after a week of fierce debate with a proposed virtual British Masters Road Relays on 16th May to replace the physical event that would have taken place in Sutton Park. OpenTrack were quick off the mark three weeks ago with their virtual Men’s English 12-Stage and Women’s 6-Stage road relays, which saw 5,500 athletes taking part. Scottish Athletics took up the baton a week later with their own virtual road relays, but UKA and EA have been slow to react to the eager uptake of virtual events by their member community. British race walking, a competitive athletic discipline sadly in decline in the UK, especially in the masters age categories due to stringent competition rules, have been quick to embrace virtual events and currently lead the way, ironing out the initial fears of problems with medical and financial protection.

It would have been the London Marathon this Sunday, so instead the Save the UK Charities 2.6 challenge gets underway on the 26th to 30th April. All details can be found on the event website twopointsixchallenge.co.uk.

Nine years ago in 2011 it was Easter and Good Friday gave Lee Barlow a great challenge as he ran the Salford 10k with an early start, posting 37:35 for 66th place in a field of 558. He then managed to weave through the bank holiday traffic up to Caldervale to view the hilly 10-mile road race, where Jason Barlow and Alex Rowe stretched out marathon-weary legs after an over-exuberant start on the deceiving downhill to come in 3rd and 5th in 64:02 and 65:18 (1st M50 and 2nd M40 respectively). Alan Hudson was 10th and 1st M60 in 70:42; Mark Midgley 26th with 71:11; John Bertenshaw 30th in 71:51; Graham Vickers 37th with 73:39; George Kennedy 45th with 75:05. Emma Lund was 5th woman and 46th in 75:06; Sarah Sherratt 6th woman and 2nd W35 in 75:26. Angela Colby was 82nd in 1:20:32; Kath Hoyer 2nd W50, 21st woman and 120th in 1:26:20; Sue Jones 202nd 1:52:12; Ruth Turner 204th 1:52:59. Martin Bates 56th in 76:31; Darren Morris 57th in 76:34; Charles Colby 61st (76:56); Nigel Shepherd 77th (1:20:08); Shaun Turner 105th (1:24:24); Peter Bartlett 111th (1:25:07); Alistair Morris 116th 1:25:47; Chris Moss 127th 1:27:17; John Howorth 136th 1:28:34; Dave Preston 150th 1:32:05; Finlay McCalman 158th 1:33:28; Peter Cooke 167th 1:36:13; and Paul Carter 188th 1:43:01. Also running in the Salford 10k was Gary Pendlebury then in the Harriers team who finished 1st M55 with an excellent 36:41 a minute clear of Stan Owen as he prepares for the European Veterans Championships in France in two weeks. Also getting ready for this event was Trevor Rayner who clocked 39:32 for 108th place. Elsewhere Charlie Pass completed the Anniversary Waltz fell race (11.5 miles, 3600ft ascent), and the Wray Scarecrow 10k took place with Mark Midgley 12th (41:09); Graham Vickers 23rd (43:02); Sarah Sherratt 6th woman and 28th (45:05); Alan Taylor 35th (47:27); Dave Waywell 37th (47:49); with Kath Hoyer 10th woman (49:27); George Flanagan 65th (53:36). The Wesham men were the winning team edging out Red Rose by 2 ½ minutes.

Three years ago in 2017 it was again a late Easter and the weekend offered the variety of the Salford 10k and Caldervale 10 again with the Valiants Half Marathon and Air Products 10k on Easter Sunday. Rob Danson screeched round the Manchester course to a new personal best time of 31:01 just missing an outright win by 12 seconds. David Taylor was 63rd in 35:35 and Lee Barlow was 90th in 37:00. Helen Lawrenson was 29th woman in 42:00. Paul Gregory was first Wesham member on the Bowland hills in 64:43 (6th), with Steve Myerscough 11th (68:19); Jason Blagden 28th (73:27); Jen Salt 18th woman and 77th (1:23:40); Chris Moss 110th (1:32:08); Diane Blagden 44th and 129th (1:38:38); John Howorth 133rd (1:39:15). The Valiants race with many Wesham members officiating saw David Taylor 3rd on the Over-Wyre course in 1:19:51; Steve Myerscough 9th (1:25:06); Paul Gregory 11th (1:25:52); Alan Hudson 1st M65 (27th 1:35:09) Michael Rawcliffe 43rd (1:43:38); Sean Murray 47th (1:44:35); Debbie Myerscough 22nd woman (76th 1:56:15); Paul Carter 94th (2:11:57). Kath Hoyer was 3rd W55 in Crewe in the 10k (27th woman; 155th in 46:55), with Dave Waywell 5th M70 (257th in 55:14).

The Wesham Trail Championship had commenced, and the Curlys Trail 5k in Horwich on Wednesday evening saw Steve Myerscough finish 10th in 20:51, with Steven Gore pictured above 13th in 21:19. Martin Bates was 36th (24:18); Paul Eccles 57th (27:25); Graham Brook 61st (28:02); Vicky Gore 22nd woman and 75th (29:26); Pauline Eccleston (30:16); Debbie Myerscough (30:42); Caz Wadsworth (31:45); Nicola Ball (32:49); and Clive Berry (33:57).

15 years ago in 2005 was a tremendous week with the Wesham men qualified for the second year running for the English 12-Stage Road Relays but competing for the first time, finishing 46th out of the 53 teams competing. They had qualified in the Northern event in Heaton Park Manchester and travelled to Birmingham’s Sutton Park for the National over 6 long stages of 5.38 miles and 6 short legs of 2.995 miles. Result:  Alex Rowe 29:36 (49th); Mark Midgley 19:22 (57th); Ian Sharples 32:10 (58th); Les Cornwall 16:21 (53rd); Charlie Pass 29:30 (49th); Graham Vickers 19:44, Lee Barlow 31:45, Russell Mabbett 18:44; Barry Peatfield 32:40 (all 49th); John Collier 18:05 and Peter Cruse 31:49 (48th); and Paul Dunkerley 18:00 (46th), a cumulative time of 4:57:46.

Steve Littler won the Wray Scarecrow 10k in 34:08, and then the Garstang Gallop in 34:21. Other Wray results: Dave Waywell 38:09 (7th); Martin Bates 41:20 (20th); Kath Hoyer 46:01 (4th woman, 2nd Over-40). Other Wesham results from the Garstang gallop: 6.Peter Cruse M40 37:46; 10.Dave Waywell M60 38:31; 12.Lee Barlow 39:07; 16.George Kennedy M45 39:49; 25.Martin Bates M45 41:54; 29.Graham Ingham 42:43; 49.Paul Gardner M40 45:21; 59.Kath Hoyer W45 46:42; 66.Reg Chapman M55 48:13; 68.Stephen Wilkinson M50 48:42; 77.Tony Robbins M65 50:02; 88.Mark Wilson M50 51:41; 90.Nigel Shepherd M45 51:58; 102.Ken Munro M60 52:55; 103.George Flanagan M55 53:04; 107.Jenny Thomson W55 54:40; 115.Pat Swarbrick W45 55:47; 133.Pauline Mills W55 58:13; 136.John Howorth M50 58:40; 138.Marie Wyld W55 58:58; and 139.Ian Rawcliffe M55 59:24. In the Rothwell 10k: John Bertenshaw 67th (37:33 PB); Karl Lee 83rd (38:26). Roy Pickles was 42nd in the Croxteth Park 10km (39:52). In the St George’s Day 10k Great Langdale Wesham were 2nd Men’s team: 20th – Richard Davies M45 41.30; 37th – Dave Preston M50 44.08; 62nd – Dougie Brown M65 46.23; 65th – Derek Goodenough M60 46.28; 85th – Tony Robbins M65 47.58, 125th – Peter Bartlett M55 50.20, 223rd – John Whiteman M60 57.29.