Alex’s Newspaper Report.

Andrew Harling braves the Mini Beast from the East along Bispham cliff top in 2018

It is becoming a busy month for Wesham members, with the West Highland Way Virtual Challenge covering the 96-mile route from Milngavie in north east Glasgow to Fort William, the monthly handicap that took place last week, and also a weekly bingo card challenge that commenced on 8th March with three items on the card to be completed each week to include a faster paced run to prepare for a return to competition in the summer. The activities last week were a 5k tempo run, 45 minutes running, and a 10k distance. Fifteen members made an entry, where Dave Young clocked 28:04 for his 5km, ran 5 miles in 45 minutes, and 56:55 for his 10k. Martin Bates recorded 27:05; 4.23 miles; and 53:07 for his 10k. John Burns ran 24:11 for 5km; 5.59 miles; and 50:12 for 10k. Michele Tickle recorded 26:58; 5.29 miles; and 53:03 10k. Robert Danson had 27:23 for 5k; 46:43 for his 45 minutes; and 57:17 for 10k. other not completing all three squares were Stephen Twist (4.8 miles in 45 minutes and 55:44 for 10k); Sue Hopcroft 38:34 5km and 2.94 miles in 45; Martin Bates a second card with 27:04 for 5k and 53:03 for 10k; Dawn Biggs 30:11 5k and 4.13 miles in 45 minutes; Pauline Eccleston 4.75 miles in 45 and 59:52 10k; Alek Walker a 46:06 10k; Troy Watson and Karen Cooke both 26:22 for 5km. the bingo challenge continues for the next two weeks (March 15th and 22nd).

Wesham are now planning for a return of training nights from 29th March if government announcements at that time permit. Members will have to pre-book attendance as they did last summer and there will be strict rules in terms of duration of assembly and the size of running groups. It is hoped that the Wednesday evening structured training will recommence a couple of weeks later, all details will be communicated to members. Newcomers will be welcome, and they should contact the club first through the website for advice and guidance.

The second continuing challenge for Wesham members for March, and the bingo entries could be taken from the daily efforts in this second effort, was the West Highland Way Virtual Challenge. 39 members were now ploughing along the mountainous route through some of the most stunning Scottish scenery with loch and moor much the contrasting surroundings. Nigel Shepherd, having made it to Fort William in the first seven days started the return at a slightly more sedate pace, covering 54.38 miles to take him back to the start of Stage 4 and a bothy in Inverarnan. Steve Myerscough was 7.5 miles behind after another week of 69.26 miles and coming past the Falls of Falloch coming down the sheltered valley from Crianlarich. Michelle Tickle had made it to Fort William on the 11th (Thursday), stayed overnight and set off back on Friday to reach close to the start of Stage 6 descending down to Loch Tulla from Rannoch Moor. Martin Bates was approaching the final descent at 91.78 miles coming down the side of Glen Nevis and the relatively sheltered forested valley. Close behind in sight Tom Crabtree had completed 91.47 miles and contemplating the Glen Nevis Youth Hostel across the valley, while Martin Allison was 11 miles behind ascending the great pass of Lairigmor out of Kinlochleven. Sue Hopcroft was three miles out of Kinlochleven near the end of Stage 7 with 78.68 miles on the clock with James Green at 70.66 miles out on the moor having just passed the Glencoe Mountain resort. Paul Eccles was two miles back in Glencoe after 68.57 with Rob Danson just detached at 68.42 miles. Mark Renshall had paused on Wednesday to pitch up and admire the beauty of Rannoch Moor for the rest of the week. Sue Coulthurst and Helen Lawrenson were half a mile apart at 62.94 and 62.38 miles at Inveroran right in the heart of the moorland, with Peter Rooney approaching from 61.43 miles. Kerry Eccles had made great progress nearing the end of Stage 6 to Inveroran as well, with Liz Beth at 59.15 miles, Dave Young 58.47 miles, Tanya Shaw (57.81), Anne Berry (56.85), Tony Leach (54.88), and John Burns at 51.45 miles. Members had run 1146.88 miles this week, and 2506.26 miles over the 14 days of the challenge so far, a tremendous achievement in a virtual environment.

With all the West Highland Way action mileage was up on the Wesham members Strava training log, with members clocking up 1744.1 miles between them with a cumulative time of 6 days 12 hours and 29 minutes. Steve Myerscough topped the leader-board again with 69.3 miles in a cumulative time of 9:45:20. Daniel Shaw was again second over 64.6 miles completed in 8:06:20, with ultra-distance runner Ugis Datavs third half a mile behind on 64 miles in 8:02:52. On the women’s leader-board Tess Robinson topped the list again with 34.9 miles run in 4:17:41 with Michelle Tickle second at 34.6 miles in 5:07:22. Helen Lawrenson was third with 32.6 miles in 5:08:37; Sue Coulthurst fourth on 31.4 miles (5:03:01); and Helen Dutton fifth with 31.1 miles in 5:16:11. New member Helen Greenhalgh ran 30.4 miles in 5:12:37. Rob Danson continues his focus of getting back in shape with another 60 mile week completed in 6:29:00, followed by Mark Belfield on 50 miles in 6:10:50. Tom Crabtree was sixth with 46.1 miles in 5:45:45; Martin Bates coming in seventh with 41.7 miles on the West Highland Way in 6:51:26; Neil Gregson eighth on 41.2 miles in 5:06:56; Simon Denye ninth at 39.9 miles (5:08:34); and Andrew Harling tenth (39.6 miles in 4:47:46). Looking at elevation gain over the week’s training Daniel Shaw was Monarch of the Mountains with 3937ft climbed, with Helen Lawrenson second and top woman on 2300ft. Paul Eccles was third with 2129ft climbed over 27.5 miles in 4:14:23. Neil Gregson was fourth with 1841ft; Rob Danson fifth at 1577ft and Simon Denye sixth with 1565ft. Michelle Tickle was second woman climbing 1367ft; Sue Coulthurst third with 1115ft uphill; Helen Greenhalgh recording 758ft for fourth and Tanya Shaw fifth with 656ft over 29.5 miles in 4:18:37. On average pace Rob Danson put in the most effort at 6:29 per mile, with Tess Robinson speediest woman with 7:23. Garry Barnett was second fastest male at 6:51 per mile over 33.8 miles in 3:51:32, and James Green third at 6:54 over 37.6 miles in 4:19:26. Chris Haines ranked fourth with 7:15 pace over 4.3 miles in 31:10, and Lee Barlow was fifth also at 7:15 pace over 20.8 miles in 2:30:48. Emma Lund was second-fastest woman of the week with 8:03 per mile over 5 miles in 40:15, with Suzanne Leonard third at 8:28 pace for 11.2 miles in 1:34:50. Tanya Shaw was fourth with 8:46 pace; and Michelle Tickle fifth with 8:53 per mile.

In 2006 fifteen years ago Wesham Road Runners turned internationals as they provided the single largest contingent of any UK club to the Great Britain team in the combined World Masters Indoor and Outdoor Championships last week. With the addition of Preston Harrier Steve Smith and Bolton local Paul Freary Lancashire athletes were to the fore representing Great Britain, bringing home a cache of world medals. The Wesham action kicked off with Alex Rowe in the M45 indoor 3000m, who worked through the field from the back and clocking 9:41.92 to finish 12th and 3rd GB. Trevor Rayner ran in the third heat of the M40 indoor 3000m, running 10:49.15, finishing 8th in his heat, 32nd overall. Steve Smith of Preston Harriers won his 800m indoor heat in 2:05.33, the 4th fastest time, but dramatically fell two metres from the line in the final while in bronze medal position, having been spiked by a Russian competitor who had also fallen two laps previously. He more than made up for this disappointment in the 1500m indoor final, winning comfortably in a superb display of tactics, coming through over the closing laps to clock 4:10.97. Conditions were snowbound for the 8km Cross Country on a flat riverside course. The underfoot conditions worsened through the afternoon as each race turned the snow to powder and it was particularly challenging to gain any grip. Alex Rowe finished 12th in the M45/M50 race, 9th Over-45 and 2nd GB in 30:33.41, winning the M45 team bronze medals with Dickie Wythe and Mike Boyle. John Collier finished 16th M50 in 33:21.81 and just missed out on the team gold medals as he was 4th for Great Britain. Trevor Rayner in the M35/M40 race found himself running alone for much of the way as he finished 39th in 36:00.98, 8th for the GB team who also won gold medals. The skies cleared on a glorious morning for the half marathon along the opposite bank of the river. The flat course was fast, with a 5-mile out-and-back course and a 3-mile loop through docklands and conditions were perfect. Paul Freary was the overall winner in 1:08:20.49, claiming the M35 gold medal a minute clear of the rest of the field. Alex Rowe excelled after a difficult winter with 1:13:06.88 to finish 26th overall and 7th M45, first for GB. Despite a good GB performance, the M45 team finished 4th. Barry Peatfield ran his first half marathon for many years and ran a superb 1:19:26.46 for 7th M55, and 2nd in the GB team who won gold. John Collier was next in with 1:20:34.37 for 12th M50, second counter in the GB gold medal team, and Gary Pendlebury had a superb run following his dislocated ankle injury in January to complete the medal winning team with 1:23:51.40, 18th M50. Trevor Rayner ran excellently in his build up to the London Marathon and just missed out again on the GB M40 team gold medals, finishing 4th GB M40 in 1:22:42.43 in 42nd place. Back home, Karl Lee ran in the Blackpool & Fylde Winter Warmer track session at Stanley Park, placing 2nd in the Senior Men’s 3000m in 10:11.10. George Kennedy ran the Stafford Half marathon and was taken off guard by the hilly course. He ran 1:27:28 to finish 96th overall, 8th M45, in a field of 1230 runners.

Seven years ago in 2014, although the spring marathon season was reaching its crescendo the athletics calendar was quiet with local demand admirably met by the Sweatshop 10 along the St Anne’s and Lytham promenades on Sunday. It was well supported by local athletes and the event hosted both the Lancashire County and Northern Veterans championships as well as the Fire Service national competition being based at the Fire Station on St Andrews Road. The breezy conditions at the start in the North Car Park whipped up into a strong headwind on the return following a loop round the Lytham Windmill and unfortunately the early fine weather turned into a thick driving drizzle but once runners are in full flight a turn in the conditions is not as bad as starting off wet. The overall race winners were both from Wilmslow; Damien Nicholls in 55:35 and Diane McVey (W35) in 1:02:36. Wesham’s women were out in numbers and won the team race ahead of Red Rose Runners. Emma Lund was the first Wesham woman finisher in 1:09:46, 6th woman and 64th overall in the race. Carmel Sullivan was 13th and 3rd W45 in 1:14:06 and Michaela Dempsey back to good form was 19th and 117th with 1:18:16, 4th W45. Kath Hoyer was 2nd W50 and 23rd woman in 1:19:33, finishing 2nd and 1st W50 in the Northern Veterans championships and 130th overall. Sara Ward was 24th woman, 4th W40 and 131st in 1:19:44. Helen Lawrenson was not running at her best to clock 1:21:00 for 29th place, 4th W40 and 142nd overall. Linzi Young was 79th woman and 265th in 1:41:00. Lee Barlow led the Wesham men and he finished 11th in 1:00:35, running the second half of the race in tandem with local ace and leading M55 Paul Muller. Lee was 4th M40 and won the Northern Veterans championships. Lee had the better of Troy Watson outwitting the leading M45 who ran 1:01:30 for 16th place. John Collier was 1st M60 and 35th in 1:04:43 and the Wesham men were 2nd team behind Preston with 97 points to 81, a close match. Jason Barlow was not best form fading after halfway after a tough couple of days working and he was 40th and 6th M45 in 1:05:16. Alan Hudson was 4th M60 now with local challenge and 56th overall in 1:08:51. Phil Leaver was 9th M60 and 97th in 1:14:56 and the Wesham masters won the Northern Veterans M60 team category. Alan Taylor was 115th in 1:18:00; Chris Moss 139th with 1:20:46; Paul Carter was 186th in 1:26:13; Peter Cooke 197th with 1:27:13; and John Howorth 14th M60 and 227th in 1:32:13. Former Wesham member Mike Walsh now with Thornton was the oldest competitor, 1st M80 and 269th with 1:42:47.  In the Lancashire Championships the Wesham men were 2nd again behind Preston; Lee Barlow and Troy Watson were 5th and 6th with John Collier 126th. Alex Rowe took part in the British Masters Cross Country Championships in Tollcross Park in Glasgow on Saturday in bright but windy conditions in a four-lap 8km race with M35s to M60s running together. He finished 65th overall and 10th M55 in 30:35. In the Trimpell 20 race in Lancaster on Sunday Graham Cunliffe finished 77th and 3rd M55 in 2:22:39. Nicola Unsworth was 29th woman and 9th W40 in 2:42:58, 176th in the race. Helen Lawrenson ran the Preston parkrun on Saturday morning clocking 21:14 for W40 74:10% age graded performance. Jason Blagden ran 21:58 for M40 63.05%; Jenn Thompson 22:09 for a new personal best and W35 67.72%; Alan Taylor 22:59 for M45 61.71%; Diane Blagden 26:37 with W45 60.86%.