Alex’s Newspaper Report.

There’s a big climb out of Avenham Park in the Run Preston 10k!

With Blackpool joining the rest of Lancashire in pandemic lockdown the possibility of activity in the field of athletics faded again against renewed hopes that things might pick up and tentative plans to restart parkrun now scrapped probably until the new year. Revised guidelines for cross country and road and trail events was issued last week, but there are serious challenges for local cross-country leagues that would just be getting started next month. Many venues are out-of-bounds to large gatherings, and the guidance stipulates that the general public must be kept out of the boundaries of sporting events, very difficult for cross country with courses winding all over a parkland venue. Similarly the gathering of athletes and their supporters must be minimalised and managed, with health declarations necessary and full contact tracing. Mass starts to races are technically acceptable with a time limit, as much spacing as possible, and low numbers. Further to this, finishers must disperse immediately and transport to and from venues should be undertaken individually and not in groups. This all makes for too much effort by already hard-working volunteers and reduces the sociability and enjoyment of such events for all. While fully understandable, it has produced a new wave of cancellation of plans and any return to realistic competition.

Amid all this doom and gloom the scaled down London Marathon should be a good spectacle this weekend with a small elite field competing over multiple laps of St James’s Park. This will be a “biosecure” venue with no general public allowed to spectate. There will be a huge global audience watching the coverage and 40,000 runners are expected to complete their own virtual run for the event, results to be submitted individually and compiled by the organisers.

Wesham continue this week with their monthly handicap this Sunday over the summer course through Treales from Dowbridge. All runners will be socially distanced as it is run in handicap order, but allowance made to avoid everyone finishing together. There will be no loitering at the finish and there is a virtual option with members allowed to submit results from their own runs although over the set course.  There will also be a reintroduction of a 5k virtual challenge next week to compensate from the general withdrawal again from organised third-party competition. Results next week!

Daniel Shaw returned to the top of the Wesham Strava training leader-board last week with 57.1 miles in 6 runs totalling a time 0f 7:08:04 with his longest distance a half marathon. He just edged out Steve Myerscough by 1.8 miles as the latter rang up 55.3 miles in 8:03:19 in seven runs, his longest being 9 miles. Rob Danson returned to action with 48.1 miles for third place in 5:30:17 similarly over seven runs. Simon Denye did not ease off the gas with 43.2 miles on six runs in 5:19:41. Ugis Datavs worked in a marathon to total up 41.3 miles across six runs in 4:37:24, this was to compensate as a replacement for the cancelled Blackpool Festival of running although he did not record a virtual result. Mark Renshall marked up 40.1 miles with one run at 15 miles, with a total running time for the week of 5:58:54. On the women’s leader-board Tanya Shaw had a head start with a half marathon run and she clocked up 30.1 miles in total in 4:23:23. Debbie Myerscough ran 29.1 miles in 5:28:50 in four runs, and Kerry Eccles recorded 24.9 miles in a time of 4:38:53. Angela Colby ran 23.9 miles in 4:31:16 and Helen Lawrenson 23.4 miles in 3:22:01 with five medium length runs with the longest at 8 miles. On the mountain leader-board Nigel Shepherd climbed the highest with 3277ft over 30.3 miles in 5:43:54. Steve Myerscough was second with 2795ft uphill, and James Green third with 2054ft over 33.7 miles in a time of 3:50:17. Daniel Shaw totalled 1821ft with his 57.1 miles. Angela Colby was the leading woman with 1739 in tandem with Chaz who was also fifth male as they both completed 24 miles. Helen Lawrenson was second with 1283ft and Michelle Tickle came in third with 955ft over 20.5 miles run in 3:09:38. Liz Sharrocks made 686ft over 21.3 miles run in 3:39:45 followed by sue Coulthurst with 661ft over 21.9 miles completed in 3:17:50. Fastest average pace last week went to Garry Barnett with 6:40 pace over 32.2 miles completed in 3:34:40, with next fastest Ugis Datavs in 6:43 pace good work or his marathon effort. James Green was third with 6:50; Rob Danson fourth with 6:52 and Andrew Harling fifth at 6:58 pace over 29.3 miles with six runs in 3:24:07. Suzanne Leonard was fastest paced woman again with 8:13 pace over 4.4 miles in 36:09 on just a single run. Helen Lawrenson was second fastest with 8:38 pace, and Kay Twist third with 8:44 over 10 miles in 1:27:20. Tanya Shaw averaged 8:45 pace over her 30.1 miles, and Sue Coulthurst was fifth with 9:02 pace.

In 2009 the Wesham men had one team in the Northern Athletics 6-Stage Road Relays on a beautiful autumnal afternoon on the architecturally rich Headingly campus of the Leeds Metropolitan University. Amongst hot competition on the first stage, Charlie Pass mixed it with the fast lads and ran a very good two-lap 5.5km time of 18:33 to place 25th. On Stage 2 Alex Rowe had not gone 800m before he had lost 4 places, and he dropped a further 9 positions before finding his slot towards the end of the second loop, finishing back on the athletics track 20:06 later in 38th place. Steve Myerscough took over on Stage 3, and kept the momentum going with a good double circuit to place the team 44th with an intermediate 21:17. Mark Midgley, with the Berlin marathon nearly out of his legs, ran Stage 4 and clocked 23:09 for 55th place. Lee Barlow captained Stage 5 and recorded a fine 20:54 to bring the team in 52nd. Dave Young took on the anchor leg and ran 29:55 to place the team 69th with a cumulative time of 2:13:54. 84 teams had started, and 77 closed in at the finish. The Run Preston races on Sunday through the city centre proved to be very popular, and that was where the Wesham contingent were. In the opening 5km race, Chris Whitlock was first home in 20:21 for 23rd place. Carmel Sullivan won the women’s race outright, also placing 1st W40 and 37th overall in 21:28. Michaela Dempsey was 4th woman and 2nd W40 in 22:02, 44th in the race. Sarah Sherratt was 5th woman and 1st W35 in 22:08. Dave Jones won the M60 age category in 26:48, 126th, and George Flanagan was 2nd M60 with 28:26 in 160th place. In the ensuing Run Preston 10km race Barry Norman showed a clean pair of heels with a fine 34:37 for 7th place over the challenging undulating and twisting course though Avenham Park. Jason Barlow is on song and he came in 10th with 34:52. Joe Hodkinson continued his run of good form with 36:27 for 15th place, and Lee Barlow followed up his run in the previous day’s Northern 6-Stage with 37:36 for 19th place. The Wesham men placed 2nd team behind Preston. Brian Yates returned to action after his run in the Fleetwood Marathon with 38:03 for 25th place, and Simon Eaton had recovered from the previous week’s 40-miler to fly round in 38:43 for 32nd place. Mick Edge recorded a new personal best with 39:05 in 34th place, and Dave Waywell won the M65 category with 40:12 in 49th. Chris Whitlock re-visited the course for his second run of the day with 40:13 for 50th position. Michaela Dempsey headed the Wesham women with her second run, 5th woman and 1st W40 in 42:52, a fine effort. Sarah Sherratt was 7th woman and 1st W35 again, with 44:04. Kath Hoyer made up the Wesham women’s team, placing 10th and 2nd W45 in 46:01 to give the women 2nd team place behind Blackpool. Nigel Shepherd ran 44:32 for 128th; Graham Vickers 46:26 for 157th; Paul Carter had another great run in 158th with 46:34; Alan Taylor was 174th in 47:07; Stephen Wilkinson 209th in 48:26; George Flanagan 274th with 50:51; and John Howorth 374th with 55:10. The Northern Veterans staged their Track and Field Championships at Hyndburn on Sunday, and Alex Rowe took M50 gold in the 1500m, 5000m and 800m. He lead out a fast pace in the 1500m, finishing 4th behind an M40, M45 and an M35 in 4:40.3. Later in the afternoon he took on the 5000m and lead from the gun to finish in 17:01.1. Soon afterwards the 800m proved a step too far, and he finished 4th behind three M45s in 2:28.4. In the Thieveley Pike Fell Race on Saturday on a steep course over 4.25 miles with 1300ft climb Wesham staged their penultimate competition in their 2009 Fell Championship series. Nigel Shepherd was 67th with 47:41; Kath Hoyer 10th woman, 2nd W45 and 72nd in 48:44; John Sharples was 80th in 50:18; Bernadette Dickinson was 5th W45, 15th woman and 88th overall in 51:38; Jenny Salt 18th woman in 52:58; and Julie Cruse 20th woman in 56:11. Dave Preston finished 4th M55 and 114th in the Swinton Half Marathon on Sunday on a challenging course in warm temperatures, coming in 114th overall. There were 247 runners in this popular event. John Bertenshaw finished 2nd M50 in the final Lancaster 5km series race, just holding off unattached Garry Richards by 4 seconds to record a useful 18:54. The leading M50 won the race in 16:09, George Thompson from Border Harriers. Alan Taylor finished 41st in 21:53, and Tracey Hulme was 48th in 23:02, 1st W45 and 8th woman. Sue Jones was 67th with 31:59, 20th woman.

Three years ago, in 2017 Rob Danson ran a big new personal best in the Berlin Marathon to break the 2:30 margin. With 2:28:37 he took 8:21 off his previous best from the 2015 London Marathon. He finished 89th in the German capital with a good even time split with a marginal slowing in the 5k leading up to the 40k mark. Carmel Sullivan finished 12th W50 with a time of 3:17:35 having taken 3:43 to cross the start line, with her best performance since 2010 with her personal best at 3:11:17. She was 295th woman, overall position not given. There were four Wesham runners in the Nottingham Robin Hood Half Marathon on Sunday. David Taylor was 67th in 1:25:43, with Garry Barnett 89th and 1st M50 in 1:27:16. Nicola Unsworth was 9th W45 and 596th overall in 1:44:37 with her chip time at 1:42:33 (645th). Vicky Gore having tripped and hurt her foot at 7 miles soldiered on and finished 2862nd in 2:17:06, with a chip time of 2:13:14 (3515th). The relative slow times were due to the hilly and twisty nature of the course, but the weather conditions were very favourable. Helen Lawrenson was 1st W45 in the Run Preston 10k on Sunday with a time of 42:18, 75th overall and 4th woman with an excellent run. Ryan Azzopardi was 211th with 48:05 and Robert Brown was 339th in 52:25, 7th M60. Ben Wrigley finished 342nd in 52:29; Dave Marsland was 465th in 55:59; Paul Carter 475th in 56:13; Julie Rooney 817th with 1:04:31; Caz Wadsworth 853rd in 1:05:27; Lynn Brown 951st with 1:09:39; and Michael Kearney 1175th in 1:39:21. Elliot Costello ran the 5km and finished 29th in 23:38 having been directed off course at one point, with Jonathan Sanderson 54th in 24:47. Elizabeth Johnson finished 89th with 27:35 and Paul Carter who went on to run both the 2k and 10k races 176th in 31:54. Stuart Topping ran the Southport 10k and he finished 168th in 49:05 (48:54 chip time). Kath Hoyer was 7th woman and 1st W55 in the Stainland Trail Race near Halifax with a time of 1:03:21 over a challenging 10k multi terrain course through woodland and country lanes. Dave Waywell was 1st M70 and 93rd overall in 1:11:57.