Alex’s newspaper Report.

Nice, totally irrelevant photo from 2011, Warton Fell Race, with Alistair Morris on rig

Next week’s Wesham virtual challenge is a 10k run, with the additional challenge of running past or up or down a set of roads where the first letter of the road name makes up the word “Wesham”. Last week the distance was 7 miles and David Taylor had the fastest time with 44:36 over a course out from Preston through Lea Town and a loop round Newton before a return home. Lee Barlow was second in 50:56 with a point-to-point winding through Stanley Park, across into the Victoria Hospital perimeter and then into the De Vere with a finish at the far end of Marton Mere. Suzanne Leonard was 3rd and first woman in 55:17 out-and-back from Anchorsholme along the Lower Promenade to the Blackpool Sea Life Centre and back. Stuart Topping ran 55:38; Rob Wallace 56:28: Peter Rooney M60 59:51; Vron Walker 59:56; Alek Walker M35 60:04; Robert Danson M50 60:32; Tanya Shaw W35 60:54; Dave Young M70 63:18; Colin Smy 65:46; Dawn Biggs W45 67:29; Claire Axcel 68:58; Liz Sharrocks W35 69:39; Andy Moore M55 69:58; Sharlan Butcher 72:45; Liz Johnson 72:53; Sally Deacon W50 73:10; James Birchall 75:03; Julie Rooney W45 75:39; Kerry Eccles W55 77:17; Peter Cooke M60 78:21; and Carl Groome M45 on one leg with 112:17.

Last week also ran a virtual 5km challenge interleaving into the Wesham monthly handicap, with David Taylor again first with 17:43. Lee Barlow M45 ran 18:10; with Steven Gore M35 18:44; Suzanne Leonard W45 22:32; Robert Danson M50 22:43; Rob Wallace 23:56; Peter Rooney M60 25:34; Andy Moore M55 26:37; Kirsty Holland W35 26:42; Dave Young M70 26:45; James Birchall 26:57; Dawn Biggs 27:37; Clare Belfield W35 28:11; Sharlan Butcher 28:40; Pauline Eccleston W50 28:43; Emma Brook 28:57; Steve Twist M50 29:15; Colin Smy 29:35; Martin Allison 29:43; Liz Sharrocks 29:45; Julie Rooney W45 30:24; Sally Deacon W50 31:14; Peter Cooke M60 34:12; Michael Barnes 35:42; and Leah Birchall 37:02.

This week’s Wesham Strava leader-board was headed by Mark Holton who put in a top 115.9 km completed in a time of 10:47:17, an average of 5:35 per km. Simon Denye was 2nd with 95.1km and a time of 7:11:47 and the top speed of 4:32 / km. David Taylor came in 3rd with 94.8km in 6:57:27, average 4:24 / km. Helen Lawrenson returned to the top woman with 45.3km in 3:50:16, average 5:05/km. Sally Deacon was 2nd with 40.6km at an average 6:30 per km giving her a run time of 4:23:54, and Tanya Shaw 3rd with in 3:38:01. Kerry Eccles was very close behind with 38.9km run in 4:02:29. Chris Hastwell took King of the Mountains with 498m of ascent (70.2 km at 4:27 pace; total time 5:12:23); proud new dad Rob Danson 2nd with 493m climb (82.6 km at 3:54 for 5:22:08); and David Taylor 3rd with 440m uphill. Helen Lawrenson again topped the women’s table of elevation with 251m followed by Liz Sharrocks with 234m (38.5 km, 6:05 pace for 3:54:13), and Sally Deacon with 182m. Just behind this week’s leaders Lee Barlow ran 87km in 6:24:15; Tom Farquhar completed 86.5km in 6:10:56; Rob Wallace 62.5km (5:15:38); and Garry Barnett 58.8km (4:12:50 at 4:18 / km). Suzanne Leonard ran 32.2km in 2:36:42 at an average 4:52/km; and Elizabeth Johnson 31.7km in 3:15:29.

The British Masters Virtual Open Road Relays are now arranged for 14th to 20th June over a 5km circuit to coincide with the date of the cancelled 5km Road Championship which would have taken place again in Horwich Town centre. The Virtual Road Relay is imagined on the traditional venue in Sutton Park north of Birmingham, which would have taken place this year on 16th May. Teams are invited to enter by individual athletes using the OpenTrack system at data.opentrack.run. There is no entry fee but entrants can leave a voluntary charitable contribution to the Macmillan Nurses. Teams will be 6-stage for M35-44; 4-stage for M45-54, and 3-stage for all teams M55+, M65+ and M75+ and all the women’s age categories W35, W45, W55 and W65. The recent ERRA Virtual 12-Stage accepted well over 5000 entries over and above its usual 1000 so this new event should go the same way. Athletes will enter their own result into OpenTrack with a Strava or Garmin URL reference or equivalent, and the relay will unfold in virtual time as each result is entered with the leader-board constantly changing as a new stage is completed. Further masters’ virtual events are sure to follow.

23 years ago this week in 1997 some 11 Wesham members took part in the 4 Passes 18-mile fell run and walk in the central Lake District region, an area currently strictly out of bounds to all visitors in these days of lockdown. Among the runners Peter Bartlett (M45) completed the course in 4hs 26mins; Ian Rawcliffe (M45) and Bernadette Dickinson (W35) both completed 4hrs 50mins; and Geoff Nicholls (M45) and Brian Wilkinson (M50). Walkers included Arthur (M40); Pat (W35); Danny (M40) and Sandra (W40) Swarbrick, and Terry and Ann Pett. Low cloud and drizzle all day marred the fine views as the group navigated around the Scafell massif. In the 26-mile Tulketh Trundle Peter and Marie Wyld (M50 and W50), Ken Munro (M50), Les Ward (M60), Gordon Durber (M65) and Barrie Coole (M50) all took part, no times recorded. The 7-mile Garstang Gallop this year saw Keith Wilding take 15th place in 41:18; Dave Waywell (M50) 28th in 43:40; John Bertenshaw (M40) 40th with 46:42; Ian Squire 67th in 49:18; Peter Cooke 94th in 52:24; Billy Beggs (M40) 96th with 52:38; John Howorth (M40) 107th in 53:30; Howard Henshaw (M55) 110th with 53:49; Roy Bailey (M50) 12th in 56:35; and Paul Whiteley (M45) 159th with 63:45. Conditions were perfect as the skies cleared for a glorious late morning sun.

Got a report here on the Wesham Predictor race (28th April) and I make no excuses for the star quality: “28 runners took part in the annual Wesham Predictor race in gale force winds and lashing rain over a 4.95-mile course. 21-year old Tony Howard returned after 6 months with a knee injury to hold off Men’s Captain Alex Rowe in a fierce sprint finish. Alex has just returned to training after a 2-week break following the London Marathon. “I had a run at the club last week which was too long and too fast and brought back all my aches and pains. I was bursting to get back to training, and the problems I have been having with my right leg have not eased, so I’ll try to run it off, and also seek medical advice”. North Fylde’s Dave Noble was burnt off in the sprint, while Keith Wilding showed superb tactic by easing off to the finish to win the predictor with Alan Glasgow, both a mere 4 seconds outside of their prediction. Newcomer U21 David Mills showed excellent potential by tracking the leading four to finish 5th. Three ladies ran, Janice Copeland, Women’s Captain Pat Swarbrick and Brenda Dwyer. Full results on next sheet”.

10 years in 2010 and weather dominated the scene: Martin Bates had to book the late train after his flight to Poland for the Krakow Marathon was cancelled due to the Icelandic volcanic ash cloud, and this might have cost him his run as he finished disappointed with 3:20:33. There was a rare chance to experience the Ashurst Beacon Fell Race in warm conditions on Wednesday evening, as the event had been snowed off back in January. Chris Whitlock finished 43rd in 48:05 (5.9 miles; 950ft climb). Sarah Sherratt was 7th woman in 52:42, and Kath Hoyer (1st W50, 12th woman 54:30). Wray Caton Moor Fell Race (Monday; 6.75 miles / 1100ft); Mick Edge 62nd in 56:50; Martin Bates 70th 57:45; Sarah Sherratt 8th woman 59:35; Michaela Dempsey 10th 60:51; Barry Edwards 102nd 60:58; and Shaun and Ruth Turner 137th and 138th 88:31. Alex Rowe 20th in the Rothwell 10k, 35:13; Karl Lee 86th 39:33; John Bertenshaw 121st 40:56; Helen Lawrenson 36th woman, 45:29. Kerry Eccles delighted with 49:17. Gary Pendlebury built up his preparation for the forthcoming British Masters Road Relays with a win in the Kendal 10k on Wednesday night, running 37:07 on the hilly route south through the villages of Natland and Sedgewick. He won comfortably by 29 seconds. Alan Hudson was the leading Wesham runner in the Dallam Dash 10k, clocking 40:54 on the undulating course in 14th place to win the M60 category. Nigel Shepherd 29th with 43:53, Stephen Wilkinson 52nd 50:02; John Howorth 60th 51:48; and Ken Munro 68th 54:07. It was the season for the Bluebell Trail Race in Halidfax; Mick Edge took it all in his stride and he finished 74th in 85:00 for the 10.3 miles. Dave Waywell was 1st M65 in 86:06; Sarah Sherratt 3rd woman 87:48; Carmel Sullivan 6th woman 90:15; Michaela Dempsey 11th 93:15; Charles Colby 142nd 93:24; Kath Hoyer 18th woman 97:33; Angela Colby 23rd 99:40; and Peter Cooke 249th 106:49.

Just 2 years ago in 2018 it was a quieter week after the London Marathon: A handful of Wesham members travelled to the Brun Valley Trail 10k in Thompson Park in Burnley on Sunday. Steven Gore was the first Wesham finisher in 15th place with a time of 43:49 for the 10km. Kath Hoyer finished 12th woman and 2nd W55 in 52:15, 64th overall. Vicky Gore was 31st woman and 8th W40 in 58:02, in 11th place overall. Dave Waywell came in 1st M70 and 150th overall in 61:30. Anne Berry was 68th woman and 7th W55 in 62:18 for 166th place overall. Rob Danson had qualified for the England Athletics 5km Championship incorporated in the Mid Cheshire Spring 5k in Kingsley on Friday evening with his 14:38 personal best time but unfortunately was unable to take part. The event was top quality with a winning time of 14:07 (men) and 15:38 (women), and 80 runners finishing inside 16 minutes. Paul Gregory finished 4th in the Wray Scarecrow 10k road race in a time of 40:33 over the undulating circular course. Carl Groome was a minute further back in 5th place with 41:31 and claiming 3rd M40. Neil Whipp finished 27th in 46:06. Diane Blagden was 180th in 1:10:54 running with Julie Rooney who finished 181st in 1:10:55. Chris Pike ran the Chester Half Marathon and he finished 2608th in 2:03:29, 309th M40. His chip time was 1:58:51. Vicky and Steven Gore ran the Ripley Supper Run in Lancaster on 4 miles of an undulating course from the school down to the canal and up again. Vicky finished 97th in 33:32 22nd woman and 3rd W40 with Steven 98th in 33:33.