Alex’s Newspaper Report.

The club group picture before the Wesham Inter Club Grand Prix race in 20

This week Wesham have been able to resume some club night activities on a Monday evening due to easing of the lockdown guidelines and met at the refurbished Kirkham and Wesham Cricket Club for the first time since March. This is in addition to the training and coaching sessions on a Wednesday evening that resumed a few weeks ago. Members met outside on the cricket field and had limited access to the indoor facilities. Attendance must be pre-booked via the club website; unlimited numbers can meet, suitably distanced outside, but for the training run the runners split into groups of no more than six and set off in separate heats on different routes. Fortunately, the earlier wet weather abated, and it was a fine evening, with members able to socialise outside later with managed access to the bar indoors. A good evening was enjoyed by all and it was most welcoming to be able to resume some club activity.

In last week’s training leader-board Stuart Clayton has shot to the top with a whopping 84.4 miles, completed in 12:15:15 across ten runs with an average pace of 8:42. Mark Holton was second with 60.7 miles in 8:50:07 at 8:44 pace. Angela and Chaz Colby were third together with a shared 54.6 miles with slightly varying times of 9:47:38 and 9:44:32 and average paces of 10:46 and 10:42. David Taylor was fourth with 52.3 miles in 6:14:49, 7:10 pace, and Simon Denye fifth with 47.7 miles in 5:49:00 at 7:19 pace. Second in the women’s leader-board was Helen Lawrenson with 38.9 miles in 5:34:32 at a swift 8:36 pace. Tanya Shaw was third with 30.2 miles run in 4:17:32 (8:32 pace), and Kerry Eccles 24.9 miles, timed at 4:43:27. Steve Swarbrick was last week’s King of the Mountains with 4629ft climbed over 37.1 miles, taking 5:06:42. Daniel Shaw was second with 3481ft of ascent in 37.4 miles in 4:58:35, with Angela Colby coming in third with 3238ft. with a slight variation on the GPS Chaz recorded only 2989ft although the pair must have run exactly the same routes. Neil Whipp placed fourth with 3088ft, 19.9 miles in 3:08:43, and Stuart Clayton had 1962ft over his 84.4 miles. Helen Lawrenson was second Queen of the Mountains behind Angela Colby with 1224ft, and Kerry Eccles third with 936ft. Jayne Tomlinson had 639ft over 17.6 miles in 2:58:21, and Liz Sharrocks 604ft for 17.4 miles in 2:49:22. Speediest of the week was Garry Barnett with 6:25 per mile for 14.6 miles (1:33:41); David Taylor at 7:10 pace for his 52.3 miles with Stuart Topping also at 7:10 pace for a 10k in 43:43. Andrew Harling was running at 7:16 pace over 20.5 miles in 2:28:58, and Lee Barlow equal with Simon Denye on 7:19 with 35.3 miles clocked in 4:18:17. Tara Fisher was the fastest woman at 7:37 pace, 16 miles in 2:01:52; Lizzie Nield 7:57 pace for 9.3 miles (1:13:56), and Sue Coulthurst at 8:02 pace over 19.8 miles in 2:39:04. Suzanne Leonard was at 8:28 pace for 7.9 miles, clocking 1:06:53, and Helen Lawrenson was next with her 8:36 turn of speed.

Twenty-three years ago in 1997 there had been a regular squad in the Tour of Tameside for several years and this year four members contested the 6-stage 52 mile double marathon, a multi-terrain challenge dreamed up by Ron Hill in 1980. The Wesham team had one of their most successful years finishing 8th out of a good quality 25 teams. Following the intense heat of the opening 11-mile stage on Sunday where most took the going easy the week cooled down and turned to rain at times meaning that performances could speed up. Despite the rain Friday’s cross-country race was bone dry although the final stage on Saturday along canal banks was awash. Ian Cosh narrowly missed out on his target of a sub 6-hour tour, clocking 79:21 for the 11-miler (142nd); 44:36 for the 6-mile hill race over Hobson’s Moor (135th); 46:26 for the 7-mile road on Tuesday (143rd); 88:09 for Thursday’s half marathon (145th); 42:59 on the 6.2 mile cross country (114th); and 60:04 on the 9-mile canal race (124th), giving him 6:01:35 and 135th place overall. Trevor Rayner had his best Tour ever, with 75:10 (95th); 44:12 (122nd); 44:52 (103rd); 84:39 taking 2 minutes off his all-time best half marathon time (94th); 41:06 (72nd); and 58:03 (89th) to give him 93rd overall in 5:48:02. The competition between Trevor and Martin Bates was intense over the week, as Trevor opened a 4-minute lead over Martin at the start of the Tour. However, Martin, while short of his best was in good form and gradually pulled back before taking the lead in the half marathon. His results were 79:12 (139th); 42:00 (74th); 44:00 (81st); 83:35 (84th); 41:19 (78th); and 55:55 (fittingly 55th!), giving him 84th place in 5:46:01. Team captain Alex Rowe had a poor start over the opening 11-mile stage 3 minutes down on his previous best with 64:06 for 16th place, starting the Tour 2nd M40 and third veteran overall. However he improved on each successive stage, with 37:00 for the 6-mile hill run (16th); 38:30 for the 7-mile Hyde run (14th); 73:07 for the half marathon (15th); 36:23 in the 6.2 mile cross country (14th); and 49:43 on the 9-mile canal race, giving him 4:58:49 for 16th place overall. There was a furious battle for the leading vets as Rowe won two stages and was 2nd on the cross country but he could not elevate himself from 2nd M40 and 3rd overall, although the greatest prize was the sub 5-hour clocking at the 4th attempt. There was a great camaraderie over the week with the same runners each day and the excitement of the results from the previous day. It was blisteringly hot the following week for the 15th Lowther Run from the Lowther Country Fair. Despite leading for the first 7 miles up over the fell Alex Rowe could not make it a hattrick of wins and he dropped to 2nd and then collapsed at 11 miles with the heat, staggering to the finish in 27th place (1:37:39). Paul Dodd was Wesham’s first finisher, 14th in 1:29:53, with Alan Glasgow (M40) 17th in 1:30:50. Trevor Rayner was 19th in 1:31:18; Nick Pawson 22nd with 1:32:38; Phil Metcalfe 24th in 1:33:34; Martin Bates (M40) 37th in 1:40:16; Robert Hirst (M40) 57th (1:47:16); Andy Pawson 72nd (1:55:36); Keith Gresty (M50) 77th (1:57:25); Les Ward (M50) 93rd in 2:12:05; and Peter Earnshaw (M50) 95th in 2:15:04.

This week in 2010 Joanna Goorney was the first Wesham finisher in the 3rd Horwich Jubilee 5-mile race in this year’s series, winning the women’s race by 20 seconds in 31:54, 1st W40 and 33rd overall. Gary Moore was Wesham’s leading man in 45th place with his time 32:45, 7th M50. Carmel Sullivan was 4th woman and 2nd W40 in 33:12, 53rd overall. Dave Waywell was 1st M65 and 70th with 34:25, and Michaela Dempsey sealed the ladies’ team with 34:44 for 9th woman, 5th W40 and 72nd overall. Charles Colby was 74th with 35:02; John Rudd back to fitness in 78th with 35:21; Dave Preston 98th and 5th M55 in 37:38. Kath Hoyer finished 2nd W50, 16th woman and 103rd in 38:21. Dave Young was 120th and 3rd M60 in 40:32; Kerry Eccles 29th woman and 7th W45 in 42:51, 132nd and Peter Cooke 142nd with 45:19. The men were 8th team but the women won the ladies team. Carmel Sullivan is leading the women’s’ series overall and Michaela Dempsey is 3rd. Jason Barlow was 4th in the Lancaster 10k on Wednesday evening clocking 36:04 just 2 minutes behind the race winner over the undulating town and rural route, 1st M40 and second veteran overall. Graham Cunliffe returned to local racing with 41:35 for 23rd place and 2nd M50 behind Graham Moffett from Howgill Harriers. Michaela Dempsey finished 6th woman and 39th overall in 42:29 at the Leigh Sports Village Legacy 10k, a popular new race with over 500 runners but there was some confusion with the results afterwards. Karl Lee finished 3rd in the Preston Riversway 5k, running 17:11. Mark Belfield put in a very good performance with 18:08 for 10th place, and 12th was Gary de Banke with 18:15. Nigel Shepherd came in 22nd and 3rd M50 with 19:55 as he turns on the speed. Alan Taylor was 32nd in 21:07; Jonathan Lawson 33rd in 21:39; Helen Lawrenson 1st W40 and 5th woman, 36th overall with 21:49; and John Howorth 67th and 5th M55 in 25:08. Dave Waywell took on the challenging Pudsey Multi-terrain 10k in Leeds on Sunday, clocking 46:35 for 49th place and 1st M65, beating all the M60s and all but one of the M50s. Kath Hoyer was 2nd W50 and 26th woman in 155th place with 54:17. Peter Gleaves was 6th in the 800m in 2:31.6 at the Mid Lancs Track & Field League meeting at Hyndburn on Saturday in cloudy and blustery conditions. In the 1500m he was out-sprinted by Nigel Shepherd in his debut on the track, with the pair belting down the home straight to record 5:20.8 and 5:21.6 finishing 6th and 7th in the Senior Men’s race against far younger athletes. Gleaves had to pull out of the 3000m after 5 laps with a pulled hip. Joanna Goorney won the Senior Women’s 800m heat with a fine 2:34.1 and went on to win the 1500m in 5:18.9. She finished 5th in the long jump with 3.81, 2nd in Division 2.

Four years ago in 2016 there were 294 runners in the Wesham fixture of the Inter-Club Grand Prix series on Monday evening but unfortunately the first 110 took a short cut down Dune Lane and through Salwick Hall Farm much to the surprise of the farmer. It was a very bright evening and the full on sun and the fact that the direction arrows in Harbour Lane at a sharp right hand turn had been tampered with resulted in the lead bike and the runners following the straight line ahead, despite many of those present knowing the correct route. Such is the racing mindset that the brain switches off during an event. Subject to final confirmation the race result was declared null and void, although a good evening was had, and the competition was high quality as usual. Wesham fielded an 8-person mixed team in the second running of the Cotswolds 24-hour Relay last weekend, and completed 32 laps in 24 hours 9 minutes 18 seconds with David Taylor on the glory leg completing 5 laps of the 9.1km multi-terrain circuit in Cirencester Park, a large country estate on the edge of the Cotswolds. His fifth and final lap was his fastest at 35:13, with his slowest run at 6am clocking 38:48. The other team members all completed 4 laps with Alex Rowe the second fastest at 35:39 for his first and best run with his 5am run his slowest at 37:57. Next fastest was John Collier with 41:19; Helen Lawrenson with 43:35; Elliot Costello 43:40; Gemma 46:33; Steve Brown 47:06; and Chris Moss 48:05. Chris pulled his IT band on his second run and courageously fought back on his third run to run a tremendous 53:42 after a few hours well-earned recovery. The weather was kind with very warm sunny conditions and bright moonlit nights, perfect for a continuous run through the night. The team finished 9th overall out of 255 teams and soloists, and 6th in the category of 8-person mixed teams. Having gradually picked up places during the first 8 laps further progress was ruled out as the teams ahead had an extra lap each so were unassailable. The occurrence of the 24-hour relays over the weekend in Gloucestershire and Staffordshire had some impact on the Lancashire Fire Service Relay at Herons Reach in Blackpool around the De Vere, although 24 largely visiting teams took part in this final event as race organiser Dave Waywell retires the event. Fastest team with Wesham runners came in 8th with a combined time of 51:27 for the 15km; “You’re the one for me FATTY!” comprised Steve Myerscough (15:42); Peter Cruse (16:43) and Rick Pinches (19:02). All-Wesham mixed team “Albino Kenyan Running Team” finished 15th with 59:21 (Carmel Sullivan 17:51; Mick Edge 19:11; Dette Dickinson 21:19). “Two Wesham and a Preston – Presham” were 18th in 67:19; Vladimit Wiggins 18:51; Finlay McCalman 21:44; Olga Wiggins 26:44). David Taylor finished 8th in the Lancaster 10k on Wednesday evening, running a good 36:27 for the course from Salt Ayre. Steve Myerscough was 17th in 38:33, 3rd M40. Peter Cruse placed 2nd M50 in 21st place with a time of 39:37. Steven Gore was 26th in 40:17 with Helen Lawrenson 4th woman and 2nd W45 in 46:19, 57th overall. Alan Taylor ran 49:17 for 71st place; there were151 runners overall.