Alex’s Newspaper Report.

Maureen Danson strides out in the Curleys 5km Trail run at Horwich.

The final three days of March brought much colder and windier weather and saw out Wesham’s final virtual Challenge of the West Highland Way with the final miles bringing the total for the month on this endeavour to a staggering 4985.36 miles between 49 members. The basic challenge was the 96 miles from Milngavie in north-east Glasgow to Fort William across moderate moorland largely snaking between the big peaks, but three of these completed the return leg and all or most of a third lap back to the finish. Steve Myerscough completed 311.96 miles in total, taking him through Fort William for a second time and back to Kingshouse at the start of Stage 6. Nigel Shepherd was most of the way to Fort William for his second visit having just passed Steve Myerscough who had just descended from the Devil’s Staircase into Altnafeadh having run 270.79 miles. Michelle Tickle had just left Inveroran on Stage 5 and had ascended onto Rannoch Moor the most desolate section of the whole route. Finishing on the last day of the month Emma Wright, Helen Lawrenson, Sharlan Butcher,  Emma Davies, Tony Leach and Phil Leaver were resting up in Fort William while Sue Hopcroft, Sue Coulthurst, Anne Berry, They joined Martin Allison, Helen Greenhalgh, James Green, Kerry Eccles, John Burns, Peter Rooney, Tanya Shaw, Paul Eccles, Karen Cook, Stephen Twist, Liz Beth, Emma Louise, Dave Young, Troy Watson, Neil Tate, Pauline Eccleston, Chris Moss, Robert Danson and Peter Cooke who had all completed between the 19th and 30th of March at the hallowed finish line beside Loch Eil in the shadow of Ben Nevis and the encircling mountains with a dusting of snow still visible. Tom Crabtree, Stuart Clayton, Martin Bates and James Green had all gone on to run some extra miles and were spread across the return stages having made a significant dent on the route back to Mingavie.

The April Wesham Handicap took place last weekend in a virtual format again and there were fifteen members who completed a 4.9-mile course of their own choice or the actual route from Dowbridge to the east of Kirkham on the loop around Treales and back through Moor Side to Carr Hill. Kerry Eccles was the first back in 51:58 with a handicap of 5 minutes, with John Burns second at 52:26 (15-minute handicap). Phil Leaver was third in 53:03 and Peter Cooke fourth in 53:42. Dave young was fifth with 54:01; Robert Danson and Julie Kinsey 6th and 7th in 54:17 with stephen Twist just two seconds behind in 54:19 in 8th place; Tanya Shaw was 9th in 54:33; Nigel Shepherd 10th with 54:35; Michelle Tickle 11th with 54:59; Martin Bates 12th in 56:08; Claire-Marie Axel 13th in 57:05; Lee Barlow 14th with 57:51; and Peter Rooney 15th in 59:26. Fastest times without the handicaps were Lee Barlow 36:51; John Burns 37:26; Nigel Shepherd 37:35; Michelle Tickle 38:59; Tanya Shaw 39:33; and Julie Kinsey 44:17 for the top three men and women. Next month the May Handicap may become a socially distanced physical race with the handicap start providing the required “wave start” with perhaps an added calculation to avoid the possibility of too many runners finishing simultaneously.

It was a return to outdoor head-to-head competition with an invitation Podium 5k at Barrowford near Nelson, with 7 heats recorded featuring 175 runners all clocking faster than 20 minutes. The “A” race (heat 7) had 26 runners between 13:39 and 14:49 but there were another 23 runners within this time band in the “B” event. Wesham’s Rob Danson eased back into his first competitive race since running for Lancashire in the Inter Counties Cross Country 13 months ago. He finished 24th in the “B” race (heat 6) in 14:59, giving him an overall ranking of 50th. He was just behind Preston Harrier Adam Benson of (14:40), with other Preston runners Joe Monk placing 23rd with 14:24 and Daniel Bebbington 10th (13:59). The event featured runners from as far apart as London, Edinburgh and from Wales although these competitors are presumably exempt from the current advised travel restrictions.

There were 86 members featuring on the Wesham Strava training leader-board last week giving a total distance run of 1765.7 miles in 11 days 4 hours and 24 minutes.  Steve Myerscough had the highest mileage for a third week of 67.1 miles completed in a cumulative time of 9:33:08. Mark Belfield upped his game a notch higher as he came second on the leader-board with 58.4 miles run in 7:24:50. Daniel Shaw, consistent high mileage runner and frequent leader-board topper was third with another week at 52.4 miles in 6:29:30. Debbie Myerscough made it a family affair heading the women’s leader-board with 35.2 miles run in a time of 6:14:53 with Tess Robinson easing off a little at 31.9 miles in 3:56:04. Kerry Eccles was third close behind notching up 31.5 miles in 5:19:12 with Michelle Tickle fourth at 31 miles in 4:35:23. Tanya Shaw was fifth with 29.4 miles in 4:10:53. Rob Danson clocked 50.3  miles in 6:21:12 for fourth place on the leader-board overall with Simon Denye running 49.4  miles in 5:35:20 for fifth. Andrew Harling was sixth at 44.3 miles in 5:10:06; Martin Bates seventh with 40.0 in 06:16:00; Stuart Clayton seventh on 39.1 miles in 7:22:29; James Green ninth having run 37.2 miles for 4:20:24; and Rob Wallace 35.9 miles for tenth in 4:46:36. On the mountains Steve Swarbrick strode up 5380ft over 32.3 miles in 4:50:42 and Richard Davies was second with 4307ft elevation gain on 17.7 miles run in 4:07:48, and Stuart Clayton climbed 3677ft over his 39.1 miles. Helen Greenhalgh topped the women’s mountain leader-board on 3493ft over 23.2 miles in 5:31:22; Michelle Tickle was second on 1337ft with her 31 miles. Debbie Myerscough came in third with 1033ft and Sue Coulthurst fourth with 1008ft having run 27.4 miles in 4:48:09. Lynn Brown ran uphill for 846ft and Tanya Shaw marked up 827ft elevation. Neil Gregson was fourth with 2966ft (31.6 miles); Tony Leach 2215ft (37.2 miles); James Mulvany 1997ft on 24.1 miles; Paul Eccles 1988ft (18.3 miles); Martin Bates 1972ft; Daniel Shaw 1736ft. On average speed Tom Crabtree was top at 6:39 per mile over 7.1 miles in 47:13, with Rob Danson second at 6:40 pace; and Andrew Harling and James Green equal third at 7:00 a mile. Chris Haines was fourth at 7:06 per mile for 11.1 miles in 2:05:48. Tess Robinson was top woman with a 7:24 pace, and Helen Lawrenson second at 8:28 pace. Tanya Shaw placed third with 8:32 per mile and Michelle Tickle fourth at 8:53. Helen Dutton was fifth woman with 9:06 a mile over 16.5 miles in 2:30:09.

Thirteen years ago, in 2008 Wesham took a coach-full of members to the IAAF World Cross Country Championships in Edinburgh at the weekend. In between training runs on the spectacular Arthur’s Seat overlooking the city centre the group, led by Vice Chairman Dave Young, witnessed the world victories of Kenenisa Bekele who took pole position despite losing his shoe halfway round and Tirunesh Dibaba in the international men’s and women’s races. Earlier the group took part in the Welcome the World 5k race which opened the proceedings with an open road race. Gary Pendlebury was the first Wesham finisher, running 18:01 as he recovers from the Rome Marathon, finishing 54th and 6th Over-40 in impressive style. Lee Barlow was not far behind, coming in 84th in 18:50, with Martin Bates 177th in 20:40. Michaela Dempsey was 299th in 23:16, 32nd Over-35, with Sarah Sherratt 316th (36th Over-35) in 23:32. Reg Chapman was 391st in 25:14; Finlay McCalman came in 486th with 27:50; Dougie Brown was 402nd in 25:28; Dave Young 435th in 26:11; Andrea Rayner was 522nd (83rd Over-35) with 28:51; John Whiteman 584th with 30:30; and Peter Earnshaw 663rd with 32:39. Joanna Goorney triumphed in the Dumfries Marathon on 23rd March to win the women’s race outright by just over a minute and finishing 20th overall in an excellent personal best time of 3:19:21. Second lady was Elaine Calder of Strathaven Striders. Overall winner was David McLelland of Irvine AC in 2:48:15. Wesham finished 3rd men’s and women’s teams in the opening race of the 2008 Inter-Club Grand Prix series in Blackpool’s Stanley Park on Wednesday evening in perfect conditions. Karl Lee scored a 2-1 victory over clubmate Alex Rowe on the track at the Wigan & District Open Meeting at Robin Park on Sunday, and ran his second ever fastest time for the 800m, finishing 2nd in the race with 2:15.3. Rowe was 3rd in the same race with 2:18.4. An hour and a half later Rowe won the 3000m in 9:58.0, with Lee 2nd in 10:07.0. The pair rounded off the afternoon with the 1500m, which resulted in a sprint finish between the pair, Lee edging Rowe out by 6 tenths of a second to finish 2nd in 4:49.1 with Rowe 3rd in 4:49.7. Steve Littler continued his winning streak with another victory in the Blackpool Sixth Form College 10k along the seafront on Sunday, returning to the classroom to clock a swift 32:18. Steve Myerscough took a break from the West Coast Main Line upgrade to run his first road race since January, finding it hard going to beat 38:06 in 5th place. He held off Peter Waywell, who finished 6th in 38:12. Gary de Banke came across the line 14th in 40:35, 3rd M45; and Peter Cooke was 57th in 50:41. Alex Rowe had a disappointing run in the British Masters Cross Country Championships in Banbury on Saturday, finishing 13th M50 in a time of 33:07 for the 8km farmland course. Peter Cruse was the first Wesham runner in the tough Burnley 10k on Sunday in blustery conditions, scoring 39:12 for 25th place and 10th M40. Dave Waywell was 1st m60 and 26th overall just behind Peter in 39:16. Graham Vickers was 70th in 44:50, 4th M50, and Colin Waites was 6th M50 and 92nd overall in 46:55. Kath Hoyer was the only Wesham lady, finishing 2nd W45 in a fine 47:10, 11th woman and 94th overall.

In 2018 with a mixed bag of weather last week it was quiet for athletics with perhaps action holding off in preparation for this weekend’s London Marathon. In the third and final race of the Curlys 5km Trail series on Wednesday evening Lee Barlow finished 5th overall in 20:16 placing 2nd M45. Steven Gore was 9th in 20:54 and Paul Gregory 10th with 21:03.  Gemma Owen finished 8th woman and 42nd overall in 24:20 in 2nd W35 place. Martin Bates was 61st in 26:20 finishing 4th M60. Sharon Cooper came straight off her train home from Manchester at Horwich Parkway and just made it to the start to run 27:48 for 6th F40.  Markus Dobson finished 77th in 28:50; Vicky Gore finished 80th and 7th W40 in 29:13, 50 secs faster this week; Maureen Danson was 87th in 29:37; Rob Danson Snr came in 91st with 30:01; and Kerry Eccles finished 101st in 31:49 for 4th W55. In the overall series results from all three races Steven Gore placed 6th with a combined time of 1:04:16 Vicky Gore finished 16th woman and 2nd W45 with 1:29:01 for 56th place overall. There were three Wesham members running the Radcliffe Multi Terrain 10k from Cams Lane on Sunday in inclement conditions after the warm sun of the day before. Martin Bates finished 116th and 12th M60 in 51:49. Kath Hoyer was 1st W55 and 21st woman in 53:17, 129th overall. Dave Waywell finished 1st M70 and 226th overall in 63:28. Elizabeth Johnson ran the Lancaster Three Bridges 10k on Sunday and she finished 182nd and 10th W35 in 53:55. Paul Gregory finished 3rd in the Ultra Lakeland Trails 17km Challenge race on Saturday in Hawkshead with 1:20:14. Finlay McCalman was 320th in 2:07:27. Simon Eaton finished 110th in the Trail Race with a time of 1:42:50. Russell Mabbett came in 133rd with 1:46:44 with a good run having not been so good. It was good conditions for running. It was good conditions for parkrunning on Saturday morning as in 2021 we prepare for the return of junior parkrun next week and there were good turnouts all round. At Lytham Hall parkrun Andrew Harling ran 20:03 for an M35 age graded score of 66.58%. Jonathan Lawson ran 21:59 for M50 67.10%. Phil Leaver returned an M60 69.92% with a time of 23:46. Andrew Moore ran 26:03 for M55 59.50% and Ben Wrigley 27:41 for M35 48.22%. Kerry Eccles clocked 28:26 for W55 63.29% with Clare Belfield W35 49.50% with a time of 30:18. Graham Cunliffe ran easy for 32:14 and M60 50:21, and Linda Williamson had 38:36 for W45 4e1.15%. Rob Danson ran the fastest time of the morning at the Preston parkrun with 16:04 for 80.29%. Steve Myerscough ran 22:30 still struggling with a sore ankle for M40 62.52%. Robert Brown ran 25:20 for M60 62.47%. Anne Knowles ran the Long Eaton parkrun and she finished with 34:29 for W45 for 46.98%. Martin Bates returned to the Worsley Woods parkrun and he clocked 23:34 for M60 68.67%. In Blackpool’s Stanley Park parkrun David Taylor had the fastest time of the day with 17:45 for a grade of 73.05%. Lee Barlow ran 20:47 for M40 68.72% and Peter Cruse ran 21:02 for M55 73.06%. Dave Marsland clocked an M60 grade of 72.20% with his time 22:36 while Rob Wallace had 52.87% with 24:24. Kay Twist ran 24:40 for W45 66.35% and George Kennedy clocked 24:54 for M60 64.39%. Dave Young produced 25:53 for M70 68.13% and Stephen Twist 27:00 for M50 55.06%. The travelling Gores found the Northwich parkrun; Vicky ran 26:23 for W40 58.75% with Steven also 28:23 for M35 50.28, leaving Megan behind to run 34:49 for JW11 47.77% with fellow junior Grace Robinson.