There was a special event last week that added a definite spice as the athletics world starts to emerge from the lockdown. This was a Virtual Manchester to Blackpool Relay organised as an offshoot of the David Wood Inter-Club Grand Prix between the clubs of Blackpool, Chorley, Lytham, Preston, Red Rose, Thornton and Wesham. In total there were 31 teams from the seven clubs, with each runner recording the same distance of the original relay’s 10 stages over a course of their choosing. The relay started in the 1930s, broke during the war, and was resurrected in various decades, finishing its historic run in the 1990s when road traffic became too busy. Staged on a Sunday morning and starting at Heaton Park in Manchester at 7am, it finished at the Sandcastle, later truncated back to Squires Gate, at around midday. The cumulative result was very close with Blackpool just pipping Wesham by 4 seconds. Lytham were third with 6:03:17. Helen Lawrenson took the first 4.7 miles from Heaton Park to Clifton in 35:12. Steve Myerscough ran the next 4.7 miles to Bolton in 30:09, with Neil Gregson talking the next 5.5 miles to Horwich in 34:19. Garry Barnett then ran the 5.2 miles to Yarrow Bridge in 31:19, with Mark Belfield completing the next 6.1-mile stage through Chorley to Leyland in 38:00; Alek Walker 6.4 to Much Hoole in 41:50; Lee Barlow 38:57 for 6.6 to Preston Docks through Penwortham; David Taylor 6.7 miles to Warton in 38:00; Tom Crabtree 32:15 for 5.3 miles to Granny’s Bay; and Nigel Shepherd 27:52 for the 4.2 to Squires Gate, giving a total time of 5:47:53. The Masters Men were 6th (16th overall) in 7:51:10, with Dave Young 41:03; Finlay McCalman 44:09; Mick Edge 40:47; Peter Rooney 43:04; Ryan Azzopardi 48:49; Paul Eccles 47:01; Tony Leach 51:46; Lee Nixon 1:10:00 (cut-off time); Alan Hudson 40:47; and Peter Cooke 43:54. The Open team were 2nd with 7:57:19, with Sharlan Butcher 43:29; Stuart Topping 32:59; Carmel Sullivan 39:41; Tara Fisher 36:13; Kirsty Holland 57:59; Pauline Eccleston 1:03:31; Kerry Eccles 1:00:56; Sharon Cooper 56:52; Sean Murray 45:58; and Julie Paton 39:41.
There was some movement in last week’s Strava training leader-board for Wesham club members, with Steve Myerscough notching up the highest mileage with 55.4 miles in a time of 7:07:41 at an average pace of 7:17:40. Daniel Shaw was second with 54 miles in 7:55:10, and Lee Barlow put in the effort with 51.7 miles run in 6:13:58. Fourth on the ranking was mark Holton with 50.5 miles in 7:06:43, and Helen Lawrenson was fifth and first woman with 45.9 miles helped out by a long group run around Anglesarke on Sunday morning clocking up 9:03:09. Dave Young M70 supremo ran 43.3 miles in 7:10:07, and Mark Belfield 40.3 miles in 4:42:06. M70 Alan Hudson was deep in training with 36.1 miles in 5:07:27 at an average 8:31 pace per mile. In the women’s leader-board Tanya Shaw was second with 29 miles run in 4:03:07 at an average pace of 8:23. Angela Colby was third with 27.2 miles in 5:25:30; Kerry Eccles 22.9 miles in 3:50:55, and Elizabeth Johnson 16.3 miles in 2;27:47 at 9:04 pace. Daniel Shaw was the King of the Mountains this week with 7927ft of climb over his 54 miles, with Helen Lawrenson the Queen of the Mountains with 4327ft uphill. Second was Steve Swarbrick with 6505ft over 33.2 miles in a time of 5:40:51, and Troy Watson came in at third with 6011ft over 24.8 miles in a time of 7:07:48. Angela Colby was second woman with 2989ft in tandem with Chaz, and Suzanne Leonard was third with 571ft over 13.4 miles completed in 1:53:00 at a swift 8:26 pace. Garry Barnett had the fastest turn of speed this week with an average pace of 6:23 per mile over 21.2 miles (2:15:20), with Steven Gore second at 6:40 pace, 11.3 miles in 1:15:20. Rob Danson was third ranked with 6:40 pace over 31.8 miles in 3:36:46. Tara Fisher was the fleetest woman with 7:32 pace over 14.4 miles in 1:48:29, with Tanya Shaw second with her aforementioned 8:23 over 29 miles. Suzanne Leonard was third ranked, and Lizzie Nield fourth with 8:43 pace for 10.4 miles in 1:30:39.
Fourteen years ago, in 2006 Wesham had good success in the 3rd Cuerden 10k Trail Race in the country park at Bamber Bridge. Previous race winner Steve Myerscough finished 6th this time against a good opposition, running 39:04 on the multi-terrain course and improving on his time in the June race by 2 seconds. Peter Cruse was next in 21st place, running 42:10. Chris Whitlock crossed the line 29th in 44:30, followed by Martin Bates 31st in 45:01 having had a tussle with Graham Vickers, who finished 32nd in 45:20. Nigel Shepherd came in 46th in 49:35. The Wesham ladies won the women’s team category, with Julie Cruse 8th woman, 2nd W40 and 52nd overall in 52:47; Pauline Weller 22nd and 74th overall in 59:50, and Lisa Davenport 24th and 78th overall in 62:59. Conditions were hot and breezy for the Wagon and Horses 10-Mile race in Lancaster on Sunday, where 18 Wesham runners, including 5 ladies, competed over the largely asphalt surfaces along the old railway track towards Glasson Dock. A late adjustment to the course due to some re-surfacing work extended the distance to 10.5 miles despite a relocated start line. Peter Cruse was the first Wesham man, recording a sprightly 64:57 to finish 11th and 2nd M40. Dave Waywell was next in, finishing 1st M60 in 16th position with 66:51. John Bertenshaw battled with Peter Waywell around the course, holding him off for 29th and 4th M50 place in 68:59, with the latter dropping back to 32nd place with 69:50. The Wesham men were the 2nd team behind hosts Lancaster & Morecambe. Tony Robbins claimed 2nd M65 in 116th overall, with a time of 1:25:25. Yvonne Russell and Kath Hoyer led the Wesham women to 2nd team place, again behind Lancaster. Russell finished 10th (104th overall) in 83:43, with Hoyer taking the W45 category in 11th (107th overall) in 84:35. Anne Docherty (W45) came across the finish line in 18th position (138th overall) in 92:35. Julie Murphy (W40) was 23rd (157th overall) in 97:57, and Pauline Weller (W45) finished 25th (161st overall) in 99:29. Steve Myerscough was the only Wesham runner at this month’s Haigh Hall 5-Mile race, completing the undulating course in 29:58 finishing 22nd. Steve is 3rd overall in the 2006 race series. In the Rosemere Cancer 10k from Blackpool’s Stanley Park Arena Chris Whitlock was Wesham’s first scorer, with 41:12 for 24th. Andy Owen ran 43:22 for 32nd place, and Reg Chapman was 4th M55 and 47th overall in 45:32. Conditions were very warm over the parkland course. Paul Gardner finished 79th in 52:36; Mark Wilson was 82nd with 52:54; and John Whiteman was 89th and 3rd M60 in 55:08.
2011, nine years past, Steve Littler was off to a flying start in the Wesham Inter Club race on Monday but had to back off to 5th place, completing the 4.6 miles round Salwick in 23:28. Conditions were damp but warm and the front runners were spared a later downpour. Alex Rowe was pleased to work up to 11th place with a time of 24:49 as 3rd Over 40 and 1st M50. Karl Lee put in a good performance to finish 15th with 25:27, dragging (???) Rob Danson along with him to 25:35. Steve Myerscough, Les Cornwall and Jason Barlow grouped together for 23rd, 24th and 25th in 26:11, 26:14 and 26:20 to complete Wesham’s topflight group in the first 30. Gary de Banke put in a good time with 27:23 for 37th place and 6th M50, and John Collier and Peter Gibson were 41st (8th M50) and 42nd with 27:37 and 27:43 respectively. The Wesham Open team were 3rd with a relatively poor showing in the top 20. The M50 men were 2nd team with Martin Bates 10th and 45th overall in 27:48, and with George Kennedy 24th Over 40 (13th M50 and 49th overall) the Wesham veterans were 3rd team. Helen Lawrenson steamed through for the Wesham ladies finishing 6th and 64th overall in 29:05 with birthday girl Sarah Sherratt joining the W40 ranks 8th and 83rd in 30:10 with fast finishing Emma Lund 5 seconds adrift in 9th place and 84th overall. Joanna Goorney, running cautiously with a hamstring niggle from the Freckleton Half Marathon worked through the field and came in 10th woman and 87th in 30:34 and Carmel Sullivan finished 14th and 105th with 31:36 to secure the Wesham ladies 2nd team place. Alan Hudson finished 1st M60 despite heel pain in 30:45 (92nd overall), and with Peter Bartlett 5th (130th overall in 33:01) and Dave Young 8th (168th in 36:24) the Wesham M60 team were also 2nd. Steve Myerscough is currently sitting 11th in the Horwich Jubilee Series after 2 of the 3 fixtures, after he ran 30:39 around the undulating 5-mile partial double circuit finishing 26th. George Kennedy was 46th in 31:46, and Mick Edge became equal 24th in the series with 86 points running 32:58 for 67th place. Joanna Goorney was 1st W40 and 2nd woman (53rd overall) in 32:15. Chas Colby was 74th with 33:22 and Emma Lund 8th woman and 99th in 35:17. Carmel Sullivan was 10th woman and 3rd W45 in 35:41, Kath Hoyer 2nd W50, 15th woman and 124th with 37:08 Nigel Shepherd 131st with 37:29 (20th M50); and Dave Waywell 138th and 2nd M65 in 37:48 placing himself 43rd and 1st M65 in the series. The Wesham men were 8th team and the women 2nd.