Wesham members were ploughing on with the March Virtual Challenge and the weekly bingo as they gear up to return to some form of limited club training on Monday. There were 12 members who completed the Virtual West Highland Way all the eight stages from northern Glasgow to Fort William, and two members having run all the way back with a third with just a bit over the distance of the final (Stage 1 on the outward journey) left to do. Steve Myerscough had returned to Milngavie from Fort William (192 miles in two weeks) and overrun by 17.67 miles with a long run on the Sunday. Nigel Shepherd finished early Sunday morning with a 4-mile warm-down. Michelle Tickle was 16 miles from completing the return journey having come off Conic Hill on her way back to Drymen. Tom Crabtree was just approaching Tyndrum on his return journey, the start of Stage 5 on the outward journey, and Martin Bates was at Kingshouse about to start Stage 6 in reverse. Stuart Clayton was descending off the moor to Kinlochleven just a mile ahead of James Green, with Robert Danson 3 miles further back on Rannoch Moor. Martin Allison was four miles out of Fort William up in Glen Nevis having just started back, with Sue Hopcroft, Sue Coulthurst and Kerry Eccles enjoying the sights of a quiet Fort William, Sue H having been in town since Wednesday. Approaching the end of the 96-mile trek Paul Eccles was 10 miles out at Lairigmor above the River Kiachnish on the final stage while Peter Rooney and Karen Cook were close together in the same valley the right side of Kinlochleven with ten miles to go. Tanya Shaw, John Burns, Anne Berry, Liz Beth, and Mark Renshall were all within the environs of Kinlochleven making good progress with 12 to 15 miles to go.
The Virtual Bingo last week was a timed mile; an 8k run; and a 70-minute effort. There were nine members who recorded efforts with six completing all three. Martin Bates ran 8:04 for his mile, and 47:24 for his 8k and covered 7.3 miles in 70 minutes. Dave Young had 8:36 for his mile and 45:04 for 8km, and 7.68 miles in 70 minutes. Stephen Twist recorded a 7:43 mile, 45:32 8km and 7.31 miles in 70 mins, and Robert Danson 7:41 for the mile; 46:56 for 8km and 8 miles. Pauline Eccleston ran 52:06 8km and 7.19 miles; Michelle Tickle 7:53 for the mile; 45:58 8km; and 8.26 miles; John Burns a 6:55 mile; 39:38 8km; and 8.46 miles. Paul Eccles ran a mile in 7:17; and James Birchall completed 6.19 miles in 70 minutes.
This week saw athletics gearing up for a modest return to action following the next government review date of 29th March. Events are being planned although these must start off small and local and dependent on local circumstances. It is possible that the Curleys series of 5km trail race at Horwich may go ahead, these will be run as individuals though and not as a head-to-head event. There will be seven days for each event to complete a run over the course. The Isle of Man Easter Festival is understandably cancelled as the island is closed and in lockdown after a serious outbreak, but other events such as the Tatton Park 10k races may go ahead with wave starts although travel across county borders is still not allowed.
There were 83 members featured on last week’s Wesham Strava training leader-board, with Daniel Shaw regaining the top spot with 68.9 miles run in a cumulative time of 8:42:44. Ugis Datavs was second as he gears up for a summer of ultra-running with 67.9 miles in 8:15:58. Steve Myerscough came in third on the list at 66.4 miles with an overall time of 9:16:47. On the women’s leader-board both Sue Coulthurst and Kerry Eccles topped the list with 36 miles each in 5:46:48 and 6:01:12. Michele Tickle was third with 34.7 miles in 5:02:28 as all three ladies were covering big mileage on the virtual West Highland Way. Helen Greenhalgh ran 32.9 miles in 5:41:04; and Lynn Brown returned to the top five with 31.2 miles in 7:48:00. Rob Danson was fourth over all with 62 miles clocked in 6:51:16, and Mark Holton back up the leader-board on 55.5 miles recorded in 7:23:05. Mark Belfield was sixth on the list with 50.7 miles in 6:10:07; Tom Crabtree seventh on 45.7 miles in 5:43:31; Andrew Harling eighth with 44.8 miles in 5:31:31; Stuart Clayton ninth at 44.5 miles in 5:58:14; and Steve Swarbrick tenth with 42.6 miles at 5:19:30. On the elevation leader-board Steve Swarbrick topped the brow of the hill at 3000ft, with Shaun Worden second on 2553ft climbed over 34.5 miles in 5:24:52. Daniel Shaw was third gaining 2165ft of height. On the women’s mountain list Michelle Tickle had the greatest elevation gain at 1444ft with Sue Coulthurst second with 1112ft climbed. Lynn Brown was third with 962ft uphill and Helen Greenhalgh fourth at 938ft. Helen Dutton was fifth with 767ft over 25.8 miles completed in 4:28:25. Neil Whipp was fourth on the list at 1837ft over 19.9 miles in 2:53:28, with Paul Lancashire fifth on 1770ft over 22.2 miles in 2:59:27. There were lot of runners over 1000ft with Steve Myerscough (1662ft); Rob Danson (1566); Mark Belfield (1450); Martin Bates (1422); Ugis Datavs (1356); Robert Danson (1233); Stephen Twist (1050); Stuart Clayton (1040); James Green (1028); Tom Crabtree (1021). On the speed front Thomas Farquar came up top of the list with a speedy 5:35 per mile average over a weekly total milage of 13.6 run in 1:15:56. Rob Danson was second at 6:38 pace with James Green third at 6:49 over 37 miles in 4:12:13. Tess Robinson had the fastest women’s average pace at 7:19 over 15.9 miles in 1:56:20. Emma Lund was second on 8:06 pace for 8.2 miles in 1:06:26, and Suzanne Leonard third at 8:27 per mile for 13 miles in 1:49:51. Anne Mayers was fourth on 8:37 over 2.2 miles in 18:57, and Tanya Shaw fifth also with 8:37 per mile for 26.7 miles in 3:50:04. Chris Haines was fourth overall with 6:55 pace over 11.4 miles in 1:18:51, and Garry Barnett fifth at 6:58 over 24 miles in 2:47:12.
Eleven years ago, in 2010 with fair weather conditions it was a good weekend for running and Wesham made the most of it to get out and about. As ever the Coniston 14 race (extended this year from its usual 13.8 distance to 16.7 miles as the Bouthrey Bridge over the River Crake was flood damaged). It was an easy start away from the John Ruskin School in Coniston, but the pace quickened up after passing Torver at three miles. Jason Barlow dropped back after a promising start and Alex Rowe still suffering with a tight chest managed to keep in contention with the back of a big group in about 12th place. Karl Lee caught up at around 11 miles and the pair ran together for most of the remainder of the race, Lee getting away on the big climbs past Brantwood at 15 miles. Rowe caught him and finished 10th in 1:45:01 for 1st M50, but Lee had a superb run-in to finish 12th in 1:45:15. Steve Myerscough ran strongly with marathon-trained legs, placing 15th with 1:46:32 and securing the Wesham men 2nd team position behind Glaxo Hoad Hill, who had spotted a gap in the market and placed their 3 runners in the Top 8. Jason Barlow was not quite in shape but nevertheless finished 28th in 1:49:47, a strong run on the extended course. John Collier placed 3rd M50 in 1:52:02 (38th), a great run after a race long battle with the in-form Martin Bates, who came in 5th M50 and 39th with 1:52:06. The Wesham women were not so well represented, but Carmel Sullivan ran well for 13th place in 2:02:06, 131st overall, and Michaela Dempsey was 57th with 2:15:48 (356th overall). Jenny Salt completed the team in 77th place with 2:19:37 (433rd), and the ladies’ team was 5th in a strong competition. Tracey Hulme had a great run, finishing 101st in 2:24:50 (545th), and Helen Lawrenson was 124th in 2:28:30. Alan Hudson was 1st M60 in 1:53:56 (49th); Peter Waywell 68th in 1:57:07; John Bertenshaw 83rd and 8th M50 with 1:57:56; Russell Mabbett 109th in 1:59:54; Graham Cunliffe 112th with 2:00:20; Mick Edge 120th in 2:01:11; Simon Eaton 221st in 2:09:01; John Sharples 327th with 2:14:38; Alan Taylor 426th in 2:19:27; Gary Moore recovering from the ‘flu with 2:19:28 (427th); Nigel Shepherd 2:19:50 (439th); Peter Bartlett 8th M60 (2:20:37, 457th); Chris Moss 2:20:53 (460th); Finlay McCalman 2:24:22 (529th); John Howorth 2:33:10 (722nd); Julie Cruse 2:36:50 (179th and 788th); Paul Carter 2:37:04 (794th); Peter Cooke 2:37:56 (805th). Steve Littler ran a fab-tastic 1:08:38 in the Wilmslow Half Marathon on Sunday to finish 14th at the head of a field of over 3,500 runners. Salford’s Andy Jones won in 1:04:45 and the leading lady was Michelle Ross-Cope in 1:12:02. Dave Preston came in 696th in this popular race, 16th M55 in 1:39:09. Gary Pendlebury finished 4th M50 and 64th overall in the Ribby Hall Triathlon, having finished 94th in the 400m swim with 11:05; 94th again in 10.5 mile bike stage with 35:34, and showing his strength, 9th in the 5k run with 20:02 for a total time of 1:06:41. The winning time was 50:55 by Rodger Wilkins of Triclan with 6:57, 26:16 and 17:42. Dave Waywell came in 21st in the Great Grizedale 10 mile trail race in Cumbria, running 69:48 for 1st M60. Kath Hoyer was 62nd in 80:29, finishing 3rd W50 and 13th woman. Peter Gleaves finished 4th in the Anderton Arms Comic Relief 5km, over a hurriedly re-arranged 2-lap course diverted due to mud. The resulting course was multi-terrain with a stiff climb at one point. Peter ran 22:33. Phil Leaver came in 9th as 3rd M55 in a time of 23:46. John Howorth finished 23rd with 46:07. Brian Porter ran the Muddy Bottoms 17-mile trail race and finished 37th in 3:04:19 and definitely with a muddy bottom after the rain of the previous three days.
In 2013 eight years ago, the weekend was blighted with the worst weather so far experienced this winter as high pressure over Norway held any prospect of spring at bay. The heavy snow and biting easterly winds put paid to the major athletics events in the North West with the cancellation on Friday of Saturday’s Coniston 14 and then later with the loss of the Northern Athletics Men’s 12-Stage and Women’s 6-Stage road relays due to take place in Blackpool’s Stanley Park. Despite little snow locally the course was reported to be treacherous in places at 8am on Saturday, presumably with patches of ice in shady stretches inside the park, although a local survey at 9am revealed no potential hazards. However, with athletes travelling from the North East and Yorkshire, and even from East Lancashire, these areas were badly affected by heavy snow with many towns and villages completely cut off and some of the Pennine passes closed, particularly Stainmore on the A66. The Midland Relays, due to take place in Sutton Park in Birmingham, were similarly cancelled due to the weather. With only three weeks to the England Road Running 6- and 12-Stage Road Relays there will be no opportunity to re-stage these events and so selection, usually restricted to the first 25 teams will be based on the results from the last three years with entry forms sent out to those clubs. The Coniston 14 road race, a single circuit of Lake Coniston from the John Ruskin School in the village is now in its 32nd year and was called off on Friday when the snow came in. Due to the strong easterly winds the laying of the snow was very localised with six inches in Coniston and none south of Ambleside in Kendal. There were heavy drifts across the South Lakes region and several vehicles were completely immersed on the A592 on the west coast including the comical sights of gritters and snow ploughs immobilised, including one upside down in a field. The Coniston 14 has been re-scheduled for October 12th when hopefully the weather will have warmed up by then. Those with numbers for the postponed race will be able to use them on October 12th with no need to re-register. Nicola Unsworth ran the Goal-den Girls Blackpool 10k along the windy and freezing seafront on Sunday, finishing 7th overall and 3rd W40 in 47:46 on a long course. Mick Edge and Carmel Sullivan made the right choice to take their annual foreign trip to Mexico last week and once again took in the delights of the Ujena 5km race. The course was out and back from Cancun at 9am in high temperatures and humidity. Mick finished 14th in 22:18 and Carmel was 18th in 23:23. Last year they completed the 10k and 5k double and they were told this year that they hold the record for the best performances by GB athletes in this event.