Alex’s Newspaper Report.

Rob Danson man of 2015 for Wesham, Lancashire Championships

Wesham members rounded off the pre-festive period with the completion of the members’ 12 Days of Christmas Challenge. With 49 members taking part each recording 12 runs at all the distances from 1 to 12 miles or kilometres, and 9 members completing 24 runs for both miles and kilometres there was a lot of results collation to be done. 18 members completed the 12 runs at all distances in kilometres with a further seven not recording all the runs. The miles challenge was more popular with 23 members completing all distances and a further six not managing all runs. Those running all twelve distances totalled 78 miles or kilometres; four members completed all runs in both kilometres and miles, totalling 126.44 miles (203.51 kilometres). The results so far available do not have all the times recorded, but the fastest so far recorded are in the kilometre ranks, Lee Barlow with the devilish total time of 6:06:06; John Burns with 6:12:16; Michelle Tickle as first woman with 7:37:03; Julie Paton in 8:03:36; and Nigel Shepherd at 8:16:58. Kerry Eccles had the month of her life, filling all 24 days of Christmas with a tremendous double, completing the 78km in 8:38:28 and the 78 miles in 12:44:07. She had a great time buddying up with some of the other ladies also doing the challenge to make some of the miles feel easier. Lee Barlow also topped the table so far recorded in miles, with 9:54:12 for the 78 miles, giving an overall total for the 126.44 miles of 16:00:18. Kerry’s combined time was 21:22:34. Second in the table so far in miles was Alek Walker, accumulating 10:04:11 for the 78 miles. Carl Groome clocked up 10:07:21 in miles but had to abandon his attempt at the kilometres as his repaired ankle would not hold up to the demand. Sharon Cooper was the leading lady followed by Vron Walker who totalled 12:30:07. Maureen Danson ran 12:34:33 over the 78 miles. Anne Berry ran 12:58:34; Lucy Neighbour 13:03:30; Dawn Biggs 13:28:36; Sharlan Butcher 13:31:47; Emma Wright 13:50:48; and Dave Young 12:27:40. Mark Renshall, Neil Gregson, Peter Rooney, Tony Leach, Robert Danson, Chris Haines, Pauline Eccleston and Debbie Myerscough also completed the challenge in miles, times not yet known, and James Birchall, Julie Rooney, Kay Twist, Peter Cooke, Phil Leaver, Steve Twist and Vicky Gore finished the kilometre challenge. The two Stevens Myerscough and Gore ran the 24 days of miles and kilometres. Liz Sharrocks ran the kilometres in 1:26:47; Tanya Barlow 1:27:47; and Alex Rowe walked the 78 kilometres despite a heart problem in 2:03:15. The lucky winners of Wesham Goody bags were Sharon Cooper and Dave Young. Additionally, the club were gifted two running vests or tee shirts by Trinity Hospice as an acknowledgement of the support that many Wesham members have shown to the Hospice. A separate raffle was held, and the winners were Vron Walker and Steven Gore. Thanks go to Trinity for this truly kind gesture to Wesham Road Runners. Members now await the announcement of a new Wesham challenge planned for January to kick start 2021 and blow way those New Year blues!

Despite low counts the Fylde has now been elevated to the new Tier 4 level of alert for the coronavirus pandemic It is not permissible to travel to any other regions and England Athletics guidance will not allow senior competition to take place. Training is now restricted to pairs and socialising between households is not permitted, restricting any club training sessions. Clubs and organisations are planning their events timetables for 2021 but certainly any athletics in the first half of the year is very tentative yet but there is hope for some return to competition. In the meantime, there will be virtual racing and challenges, with participants posting their results from various GPS devices. The virtual racing incentive may well introduce a new thinking to some traditional athletics events, with the possibility of single competitions split into regional heats to reduce travel and increase participation, with perhaps invitation finals in a central location. Certainly video conferencing has revolutionised committee meetings, demonstrating cost and time efficiencies with meetings with attendees at home rather than in a distant location, and convenience of shorter more frequent seminars to progress new ideas and expediate change.

Daniel Shaw again topped the Wesham members Strava training leader-board last week with a mileage of 67.3 completed in 8:16:38. Ugis Datavs making the most of his vacation from the central Lancashire University clocked up 60.2 miles in 7:26:30, and Simon Denye leapt up to third position with 51.3 miles in 6:17:03. Mark Holton recorded 49.1 miles including another marathon distance with a total running time of 6:18:04, with Robert Danson Snr running 43.4 miles in 6:54:28 for fifth place. Steve Myerscough had 42.1 miles in 5:55:03; Mark Renshall 41.2 over 5:52:57; Lee Barlow 39.6 miles in 4:44:28; and Kerry Eccles topped the women’s list and placed 9th overall with 38.8 miles in 6:45:28. Sue Coulthurst was second woman and 10th overall with 38.6 miles in 6:18:17. James Green came in 11th overall with 36.6 miles in 4:21:41 and Alek Walker 12th with 4:57:08 over 35.8 miles. Helen Lawrenson was third woman over 31.7 miles in 4:37:54; Lynn Brown fourth with 30.3 miles over 7:58:44; and Tanya Shaw marked up 23.2 miles in 3:20:18. Matty Holton was Monarch of the Mountains this week with a massive 6854ft climbed over 35 miles in 4:45:15. Tony Leach was second with 3433ft elevation gain over 27.3 miles in 3:34:46. Daniel Shaw came up third with 2313ft; Helen Lawrenson was fourth and leading woman having climbed 1936ft over her 31.7 miles. Simon Denye was fifth with 1877ft, and Robert Danson sixth with 1311ft. Lynn Brown was second woman with 1018ft elevation gain; Sue Coulthurst third with 1001ft; Michelle Tickle fourth on 885ft over 20.4 miles completed in 3:13:48; and Kerry Eccles had 846ft uphill over her 38.8 miles. The fastest average pace went back to Garry Barnett on 6:31 per mile as he notched up 7.1 miles in 46:16. Steve Swarbrick was second fastest with 6:48 pace per mile for his 17.3 miles in 1:57:38, and Neil Gregson was third with 6:49 pace over 26.4 miles run in 2:59:58. Andrew Harling was fourth with 6:51 across 16.6 miles in 1:53:43, and Rob Danson clocked 6:58 for 34.2 miles in 3:58:16. Fastest woman was Tara Fisher in 8:25 pace over 3 miles in 25:15. Tanya Shaw was second at 8:38 per mile over 23.2 miles and Helen Lawrenson third at 8:46 pace, and Kay Twist fourth with 9:11 per mile over 6.2 miles in 56:56. Vron Walker had fifth fastest time with 9:17 for 11 miles in 1:42:07. Longest individual runs went to Mark Holton with a marathon 26.2; Ugis Datavs with 21.6 miles; Paul Carter 13.3 with a weekly total of 19.5 in 3:51:04; Daniel Shaw 13.2 miles; Simon Denye 13.1; Vron Walker 11 miles; Sue Coulthurst 11 miles; Antionette Holton 11 miles with her only run of the week; Helen Lawrenson 10 miles; and Julie Paton 7.4 miles within a weekly total of 20.5 miles in 3:36:37.

The year end in 2008 saw the Dave Clarke 5-mile race from the Salt Ayre track on Sunday was the major race last weekend in the Lancashire area, as everyone was recovering from Christmas and the New Year and preparing to return to work. Lee Barlow had a fine run to finish 5th with 29:43 in the riverside out-and-back course, featuring a fair length of gravel path and a loop on the Heysham road and back past the Golden Ball. The course was generally agreed to be slightly over-distance, as times were slower despite the high placings. There were no veteran categories, but Graham Cunliffe was undoubtedly the first Over-50, as he came in 7th with 30:23. Simon Eaton was the next Wesham finisher, clocking 31:42 for 15th place. Reg Chapman opened his year of running with 39:44 for 43rd place with a good M60 run, and M70 Dougie Brown was very close behind with 39:58 in 46th position. John Whiteman came in 68th with 52:01. Despite the high placings, on a 3-man count the Wesham team were 2nd behind Blackburn Harriers who had a 1-2-3 finish, and 3rd behind Lancaster and Clayton on a 4-man score. In the Sands New Year Chase on Sunday from the Graythwaite Manor Hotel in Grange-over-Sands, a tough new race organised by Allinthwaite & District RC over a challenging hilly 6-mile course, Chris Whitlock finished an excellent 12th with 44:47. Dave Preston found the going tough but came in 16th with 48:35. Nigel Shepherd made up the team, running 48:35 for 24th position. On a 3-man team score, the Wesham men won ahead of Kendal and Allinthwaite. Paul Muller won the race in 36:03, which illustrates the toughness of the highly scenic course. Four Wesham runners braved freezing conditions in the Penistone Country Park on New Year’s Eve to see 2008 out in the Auld Lang Syne 6.5 mile race with 900’ of climb to earn a pint of Daleside Old Leg Over real ale at the finish. Richard Crompton was the first Wesham finisher, running 60:28 with icicles in his hair to come in 323rd in this popular race. John Rudd was next in, with 62:15 to place 365th. John Sharples was 384th in 63:02, and Kath Hoyer was 69th woman, 458th overall with 67:49. There was a record turnout of 557 runners. In the Joe Salt New Year’s Day Awakener race, a multi-terrain venture over 4.2 miles of multi-terrain tracks around the Cowm Reservoir at Whitworth, three Wesham runners saw in 2009 with a run. Dave Waywell regained his M60 crown with a solid run to finish 26th overall in 29:08. Chris Whitlock had a fine run close behind, with 29:48 to come in 7th M40 and 31st overall. Kath Hoyer was on good form, clocking 34:23 to finish 8th woman, 2nd W45 and 55th overall. Kath Hoyer won the 5k race at the Northern Veterans Monthly Run on a cross country course at the Smithills Country Park north of Bolton. She ran 22:18 in the shorter race as she was recovering from the flu that had plagued her like so many others over the festive period. Martin Bates was 83rd in the Wansfell Fell Race over the festive period, running 32:26 to finish 18th M50; such was the standard of the veterans’ field. Peter Cruse finished 94th in 33:48 for the 3.5 miles with 1500’ ascent.

Back at the beginning of 2016 the subject closest on most people’s minds over the Christmas week had been the appalling flooding across the west and north of Britain and the local athletics for Fylde athletes was inevitably affected by the persistent and torrential rains. The Ribble Valley 10k set to be the local event of the week sadly had to be cancelled 24 hours in advance as the course was flooded in seven places and the waters were rising. The Boxing Day 10k did go ahead in Leyland although the lower reaches of Worden Park were under water, but spirits were high and competitors were rewarded with a truly intrepid experience. The pace was competitive however with 22 runners inside 40 minutes and the winning time 33:14 by Luke Betts. Chris Moss was Wesham’s first finisher in 66th place with a time of 47:01 and Ben Wrigley was 82nd in 48:41. In the Preston parkrun on Saturday morning John Bertenshaw ran a good 20:45 for an M55 76.63% fortunately not affected by floods although the nearby Ribble was very swollen and subject to a yellow warning. At the Lytham Hall parkrun the drive was flooded but passable although the levels rose significantly for the exit two hours later. Dave Young clocked 25:23 for an M65 67.96% in his debut at the event. Steven Gore was tail marker with two walkers and his time was 1:01:13 in constant heavy rain. Looking back at the year 2015 was all about Rob Danson for Wesham and he was awarded so at the annual presentation in November having won the club 10k race that morning. He won at least 15 races during the year and rounded off with his two fastest 10k times in the Leeds Abbey Dash and Wesham 10k with 32:33 and 32:34, respectively. He ran for Lancashire in the prestigious Inter Counties Cross Country and was the highlight of the London Marathon, visible for much of the second half of the race running with Paula Radcliffe and famously joined hands with her down the Mall to the finish, a finale to her running career and a new personal best for him. He won the Palma Half Marathon and improved his time across 5 runs at the distance to 70:29. He won the local Inter Club series overall with 6 straight wins continuing his dominance from 2014. It was a good year for Wesham all round with many new faces at the club and successful trips to Grasmere for the Gallop, yielding the 17km race winner (M55 Alex Rowe); a large group trip to Palma for the Half Marathon, and a team of six to compete for the British Masters in the European Masters Non-Stadia Championships in Italy. The club had the second largest turnout at the Witton Trail Relays with some 15 teams entered and had four teams in the Northern Athletics Road Relays. With runners on the track in the Lancashire Championships and on the fells in the Inter Club series and a growing squad in cross country the club is growing and taking on new challenges.