Alex’s Newspaper Report.

Rob Danson grits his teeth ahead of Dave Rigby; 800m to go in the Blackpool ICGP

The athletics world is slowly gearing up for a return to competition but at present this must stay small and local. Wesham are concentrating on their Monday and Wednesday training nights and some planning for future events is under way. The racing calendar is still showing mainly cancellations and postponements. The Tatton Park 10k went ahead last week with 700 competitors and the coming week sees the next in the Curleys Trail 5k series in Horwich and in a couple of weeks the Mid Cheshire 5k in Kingsley between Frodsham and Northwich looks to be attracting some Fylde runners. Junior parkrun re-commenced on Sunday after a thirteen-month layoff with 110 runners in Lytham Park View, double its usual attendance, and 95 at the Worden Park event in Leyland. Senior parkrun cannot re-start until after June 16th. There is some controversy after the Cuerden Valley parkrun has been discontinued by the estate owners after perceived damage has been blamed on the runners.

Steve Myerscough thought he had secured the top slot on the Wesham club Strava training log leader-board last weekend until Ugis Datavs posted a 26.7-mile run along the Lancaster Canal from Kirkham to Lancaster and taking his weekly total to 72.8 miles in a cumulative time of 9:05:10. Steve had run 71.2 miles in 10:00:04 with twice-daily outings making up 12 sessions over the week. Daniel Shaw came third on the leader-board with 63.4 miles in 7:59:47. The top three women were all together in the table, with Kerry Eccles the leader in 31.6 miles in 5:18:08, with Michelle Tickle second on 31.1 miles in 4:39:54. Lynn Brown was third with a time of 7:16:00 for 30 miles. Debbie Myerscough and Tanya Shaw were also grouped together in fourth and fifth places with 28.1 and 27.9 miles in 5:02:33 and 3:59:29 respectively. Tess Robinson clocked 26.6 miles in 2:59:33. Rob Danson was fourth overall on the leader-board having run 61.9 miles in 6:45:27 while Tom Crabtree was fifth over 44.9 miles in 5;32:16. Mark Holton placed sixth over 41.6 miles in 5:41:07, and Rob Wallace seventh at 41.5 miles in 5:41:41. Andrew Harling clocked up 40.7 miles in 4:46:56; Neil Gregson 40.6 miles in 4:59:05; and Alan Hudson 39.6 miles in 4:43:52. On the mountain leader-board Steve Swarbrick had climbed an amazing 6298ft over 30 miles in 5:37:00, with Daniel Shaw second with 3583ft over his 63.4 miles. Helen Greenhalgh topped the women’s leader-board and placed third overall with 3098ft of elevation gain over her weekly mileage of 22.8 miles in a time of 5:34:24. Michelle Tickle was second woman with 1337ft over 31.1 miles, and Lynn Brown third with 886ft over 30 miles. Debbie Myerscough was fourth with 753ft climbed over 28.1 miles, and Tanya Shaw fifth on 722ft over 27.9 miles. Paul Eccles was third man with 2116ft climbed over 14.8 miles in 2:01:51; James Green was fourth with 1671ft of elevation gain over 35.1 miles in 4:02:47, and Martin Bates fifth on 1655ft over 26.4 miles in 4:02:53. Tony Leach was sixth on the mountains with 1604ft climbed over 33.5 miles in 4:16:17, and Steve Myerscough eight on 1543ft over his 71.2 miles. Garry Barnett drew with Rob Danson for the fastest-paced training last week on 6:33 per mile for 12 miles in a time of 1:18:36. Neil Tate placed third on the pace leader-board at 6:41 per mile over 3.3 miles in 22:03. Tess Robinson headed the women’s speed leader-board and placed fourth overall at 6:45 per mile for her 26.6 miles, with Suzanne Leonard second woman at 8:01 per mile for 2.9 miles in 23:15. Anne Mayers was third woman with an 8:20 average pace over 10.8 miles in 1:30:00. Mark Holton was just behind Ugis Datavs with the longest single run in the week, at 26.6 miles, with Steve Swarbrick running a 17.5-miler, Rob Wallace 16 miles, Rob Danson having 15.2 miles for his long run, and Andrew Harling, James Green and Dave Young all completing a half marathon distance.

In 2009 twenty-two years ago the Track & Field season kicked off in earnest after the Open Meetings of March, with the Mid Lancs and the Northern Veterans Leagues staging their first events. Charlie Pass took his debut on the track as a senior athlete in the opening Mid Lancs Track & Field League meeting in the Stanley Park stadium in Blackpool on Saturday. He ran an impressive 2:07.7 in the 800m to place 5th. Alex Rowe backed him up with a solid 2:17.1 for 8th place. In the 1500m Pass was 4th with a great 4:25.3, with Les Cornwall running well in 5th place with 4:33.0. Rowe ran 4:39.6 for 6th place, just overhauling team captain Karl Lee who ran 4:46.9 for 7th place. Charlie Pass excelled in the 3000m with a win in 9:33.1 after race favourite Danny Parkinson dropped out. Rowe got ahead of Les Cornwall in the second half to finish 5th with 9:56.0 with his team-mate 6th with 10:04.1. The Wesham men finished 2nd in the Division 2 Seniors. On Wednesday evening, on a windy night at the Princess Mary Stadium in Cleckheaton, Lee Barlow trod the tartan road finishing 2nd M35 in the Northern Veterans Track & Field League with a promising 2:34.2 in the 800m, 10:23.6 in the 3000m which was slowed down badly by strong winds, and 4:59.3 in the closing 1500m. Martin Bates ran 2:50.7 for 800m (3rd M50), 11:17.2 for 3000m (3rd M50), and 5:21.6 for the 1500m, where he was 2nd M50. Alex Rowe started his evening on a high note with a win in the 800m, clocking 2:18.1, 3rd in a tactical 3000m in 10:13.3 and 3rd again in the 1500m in 4:54.8, having finished 1st M50 in all three events. Steve Littler won Saturday’s St Georges Day 10k in the Langdale valley in the Lake District, running a grand 32:15 to underline his racing fitness ahead of next week’s London Marathon. He won form Lytham’s Nigel Thompson by 2mins 5secs. Mick edge finished 26th in 41:05 for 7th M45, while Kath Hoyer was 5th woman and 1st W45 with an excellent 44:28, placing 47th overall. Michaela Dempsey was 7th woman with 44:42, 2nd W40, and Carmel Sullivan eased off the gas for the marathon a week ahead with 44:46 for 8th woman and 3rd W40, 52nd overall. The Wesham women were streets ahead in the team rankings, easily winning from Easingwold RC. Ian Sharples tackled the Hawkshead Trail race on Saturday and finished well in 54th place with 1:18:03. Nigel Shepherd ran the Rivington Pike race over Easter, finishing 9th M50 and 150th overall in the popular 3.5-mile race in a time of 26:20. Sarah Sherratt was 20th woman in 27:01. Graham Cunliffe was 7th and 2nd M50 behind Blackburn’s John Chaplin in the Lancaster Three Bridges 10k, with a time of 38:15. Dave Preston was 46th in 45:16; Paul Carter 89th with a good 50:06; and John Whiteman was 160th and 10th M65 with 58:58. Wesham had a great turnout at the challenging Garstang Gallop on Sunday, and provided the overall race winner with in-form Barry Norman, who crossed the line in first place in a time of 36:38, nearly 2 minutes ahead of second placed Will Garner of Preston Harriers. Jason Barlow also ran very well, placing 3rd with 38:47 for 2nd M40. Dave Waywell was leading M60 in 12th place with 41:40 to secure the men’s team win, and Nigel Shepherd was 35th and 3rd M50 with 45:53. Kath Hoyer was 37th and 2nd W45 in 46:00 to lead the Wesham women, Sarah Sherratt coming in 41st in 46:45, 3rd W35. Michaela Dempsey was 51st in 48:06, 2nd W40 to close in the Wesham women also in a winning position. Nichola Unsworth was 58th in 49:00, and Kerry Eccles ran 50:10 for 68th place and 3rd W45. Brian Porter was 73rd in 50:56; John Howorth 85th in 52:58; and Sharon Cooper 110th with 56:57. Derek Buckley finished 2nd M50 and 35th overall in the Harlech Triathlon, in a time of 1:28:19. He swam 8:04 for 137th place (400m), wheeled 53:01 for 39th rank (30K), and ran 27:14 for 20th (6k).

Wesham’s Rob Danson opened the 2015 Inter Club Grand Prix race series six years ago in fine style with an emphatic win in the opening race hosted by Blackpool in Stanley Park last Wednesday evening. Taking the race on from the gun he was never out of contention as he raced head-to-head with Preston’s Dave Rigby, testing him to the limit around the four-mile two-lap course and crossing the line with a one-second advantage in one of the closest finishes the league has seen. The pair ran 19:50 and 19:51 respectively, sub-5 minute per mile pace, with Preston Harriers Rob Affleck third in 20:15. It was a glorious spring evening and perfect for running and the event saw a record turnout of 350 runners, demonstrating that the Fylde and the Preston area is truly a hotbed of athletics with this closed race series contested by just seven local clubs. The numbers average 50 per club, which is a phenomenal turnout. The Grand Prix welcomes new local club Thornton Cleveleys and will feature seven fixtures this year. From the original North Fylde Challenge with Wesham in the early nineties the clubs merged in with the old Heckford Grand Prix to form an alliance of six clubs going into the new millennium and the strength of the series has grown and grown, now featuring a fell running series as well. Wesham’s men’s team finished 3rd with Steve Waterhouse (14th, 21:49); James Mulvaney (16th, 21:55); Lee Barlow (22nd, 22:28); Steve Myerscough (27th, 22:56); Alex Rowe (28th; 22:57, 1st M55); David Taylor (33rd, 23:22); Jason Barlow (50th, 24:27); Garry Barnett (60th, 24:47); John Collier (63rd, 24:51, 2nd M60). This was virtually all of Wesham’s best possible men’s team with good performances all round. The Wesham women finished 2nd team, an excellent result, with Emma Pass 9th (26:39); Sue Coulthurst 11th (27:39); Sarah Sherratt 13th (27:52); Helen Lawrenson 15th (27:54); Nicola Unsworth 18th (28:17); Tracey Hulme 19th (28:21). The Men Veterans were 2nd behind Preston; the Vet-50 team 3rd comprising Rowe, Collier, John Bertenshaw and Mick Edge with Preston and Red Rose ahead; and the Vet-60s were 1st with Collier, Alan Glasgow and Alan Hudson. Wesham had 56 runners in the race which was a tremendous show with many first timers. David Taylor ran the unusually named Lancaster Three Bridges race even though is starts and finishes in the same place, coming in 14th in 38:55, a great run considering the course takes in the steps up to the Lancaster Canal bridge. Kath Hoyer was 118th in 49:13; Alan Taylor 123rd with 49:42, and Dave Waywell 134th in 51:34 with 282 runners in this race. In the Fleetwood 10k in strong storm conditions as the heavy rain gave way to high winds on a foul morning Mick Edge ran a fine 42:48 to finish 18th and 2nd M55 behind Fylde ace Paul Muller. Ben Wrigley was 44th in 48:17 in this race measured over distance, and Nicky Omar was 85th with 53:43. Three Wesham runners headed to the Cuerden Valley parkrun on Saturday morning; poor early weather cleared up and Karl Lee ran a personal best for this course timing a good 18:22 for the undulating 2 laps scoring an age graded performance of 70:33. Alex Rowe clocked 19:30 for an M55 80.85% and John Bertenshaw 23:28 for M55 67.19%. Steve Myerscough ran 18:38 in the Preston parkrun for M40 73.79%; David Taylor clocked 18:48 for 68.62%; Alan Glasgow ran 22:21 for M60 72.41%; Steven Gore 29:47 with 43.82%.