Alex’s Newspaper Report.

Kay Twist and Sue Coulthurst, women’s team in the Yarrow Splash with Julie Paton absent

There was a good deal of athletics action last week and over the weekend, and while Wesham could not raise a team for the Lancashire Road Relays in the North West event in Birchwood on Saturday this was because they were out in force all over the North of England.

In the Yarrow River Splash in Chorley there were 10 Wesham members running over the woodland 10km course from the Flaming Grill pub with as the name suggests a crossing through the river. Sue Coulthurst was the first Wesham finisher as third woman and first W50 in a time of 55:10, placing 28th overall. Julie Paton was 16th woman, 64th overall and 3rd W45 in 1:01:42, followed by Kay Twist 4th W50 and 83rd in 1:03:57. Sue, Julie and Kay were the leading women’s team with a tremendous result. Stephen Twist was 87th with 1:04:13; Lucy Neighbour 119th in 1:09:35; Louise Lord 124th in 1:10:51; Anne Berry 2nd W60 and 140th with 1:14:20; Alistair Morris 175th in 1:19:19; and Sharlan Butcher and Dawn Biggs 190th and 191st in 1:24:18 and 1:24:20 respectively.

There was a good turnout of Wesham members at the second Catforth 5km road run on Saturday evening, with Andrew Harling running a personal best time of 17:28 to finish 5th and

1st M40. Garry Barnett came in 8th in 18:09, also a personal best and placing first M55. Chris Hastwell was 10th in 19:13, and the three Wesham men won the male team. Steve Myerscough improved on his morning parkrun with 19:20 for 12th place, and Nigel Shepherd 18th and first M60 in 20:48, successfully under the 21-minute barrier after a long struggle with injury. Martin Bates was 3rd M60 in 21:08 in a hard-fought battle between the three of them. Sharlan Butcher finished 9th woman, 2nd W45 and 35th in 27:07 with Dawn Biggs 36th with 27:17 placing second W50.

Members were glued to the television screen on Sunday morning for the Great North Run with over 50,000 entrants on a revised out and back course from the Town Moor and across the iconic Tyne through arch bridge twice. It was hard to spot any Wesham vests in the coverage but nonetheless Thomas Farquhar finished 2415th in 1:40:24. All the results were chip timed as runners were socially distanced by a zig-zag “hamster maze” at the start. Anthony Leach was 3726th in 1:45:13, with Jo McCaffery 15981st in 2:14:27. Helen Greenhalgh placed 11951st in 2:04:48, with Wendy Hebblethwaite 16228th in 2:15:02 and Antoinette Holton 24961st in 02:42:48.

There was a Blackpool festival of Running over the weekend, but no Wesham members ran any of the Marathon, Half Marathon, 10k or 5k, but in the Keswick Mountain Festival 25k Trail Race on Saturday (15 miles), far more interesting, Helen Lawrenson placed 78th woman, 14th W50 and 296th overall with a time of 3:26:29. Jen Salt finished 121st, 397th and 59th Senior in 3:57:23, and Sharon Cooper 143rd, 430th and 38th W40 in 4:17:11, although her chip time was 3:57:04, a great result.

Wesham travel to Redcar today with four women’s and four men’s teams in the Northern Athletics 4- and 6-Stage Road Relays along the Coast Road, hoping for light winds next to the sea.

The Wesham Strava training log saw Rob Danson still at the head of the leader-board, with 61.2 miles completed in a time of 6:49:01. Daniel Shaw was second on 57.8 miles in 7:01:56 with Neil Gregson third after 56.8 miles in 7:16:26. Lynn Brown was the furthest travelled woman with 35 miles completed in 8:26:30, with Tess Robinson running 32.8 miles in 3:54:31. Helen Lawrenson completed 30 miles in 5:14:30; Michelle Tickle 28.8 miles in 4:17:17 with Sue Coulthurst fifth placed over 26.9 miles in 4:19:35. Jo McCaffery was content with her 23.2 miles and a Great North Run in 3:55:29. Mark Belfield was fourth on the leader-board with 55 miles in 6:32:20 and Steve Myerscough fifth on 48.2 miles in 7:36:18. On the Monarch of the Mountains elevation gained leader-board Paul Lancashire climbed the most height with 3,124ft gained over 35.7 miles in 5:12:23 with Helen Lawrenson second and leading woman uphill for 2,680ft. Daniel Shaw was third with 2,057ft of ascent and James Mulvany fourth at 2,046ft in 4:26:30 over 32.5 miles. Rob Danson had 2,007ft climbed with Tony Leach 1,844ft across 24.9 miles. Michelle Tickle was second woman with 1,300ft uphill; Sue Coulthurst third with 1,073ft; Kay Twist fourth at 1,026ft with 19.8 miles in 3:11:24. Lynn Brown placed fifth with a hill of 915ft. In the speed ranks Garry Barnett achieved the fastest average pace at 6:11 per mile over 12 miles in 1:14:12 with Rob Danson second on 6:41 pace. Matty Holton was third fastest on 7:02 per mile for 9.7 miles in 1:08:13 and David Taylor fourth at 7:06 over 37.1 miles in 4:23:25. Tess Robinson was fastest woman in fifth place overall on 7:09; Emma Lund was second over 8.6 miles in 1:10:05 at 8:09 per mile; and Tanya Shaw was third at 8:40 pace for 22.5 miles in 3:15:00.

Fifteen years ago in 2006 Wesham fielded one men’s team in the North West Road Relays on Saturday in Woodbank Park in Stockport, combining the Lancashire, Cheshire, Greater Manchester and Merseyside Men’s 4-Stage and Women’s 3-Stage championships. The Wesham team kicked off with Alex Rowe with a fast start on the track on the first stage, dropping back behind Blackpool’s Brian Hall on the initial downhill before pushing ahead again on the uphill gully in the adjacent Vernon Park. Rowe ran 18:16 for the hilly 2-lap course to finish 22nd, 4th for Lancashire. Paul Dunkerley took over on Stage 2, holding position with a 19:29 finishing 29th fastest. Trevor Rayner ran 20:34 on Stage 3, 35th fastest run on this stage and dropping Wesham behind Blackpool for 5th in Lancashire. Peter Cruse ran the anchor leg, running 20:41 for 29th position on the stage, bringing the team home 28th overall with a cumulative time of 79:00 and 5th for Lancashire. In the tough Mileta 10k in Cleckheaton in Yorkshire, Dave Waywell was the leading Vet-60 in 18th place overall in 39:25, with a stiff climb in the first 3.5 miles. Kath Hoyer finished 1st W45 and 4th lady in 46:01, a fine run placing her 55th overall. The severity of the course excluded fast times, with the winner recording 35:23. In the Boggart Chase 10k in Blackley Alex Rowe finished 3rd overall and leading veteran in 33:59, in glorious weather over a pleasing and undulating 3-lap parkland course. Nigel Shepherd (M40) finished 80th in 46:02 with a good run in his comeback trail, and Stephen Wilkinson (M50) was 93rd with 47:22.

Paul Hetherington and Chas Linkison shelter Lee Barlow in Garstang Half Marathon in 2014

It was a popular weekend for the half marathon distance seven years ago in 2014 and a good number of Wesham members headed or the rural hilly Garstang Half Marathon on Sunday, unfortunately at the expense of the Lancashire 3 and 4 Stage Road Relays that were held on Saturday at Stockport’s Woodbank Park over a senior course of 3500m, perhaps too short for many athletes. Indeed only 5 Lancashire clubs contended the senior races for men and women, and barely more in the junior ranks. Hosted by Greater Manchester on behalf of Lancashire, Merseyside and Cheshire the other three counties managed a reasonable turnout, but it may have been the end of the track season and many athletes taking a well-earned break before cross country kicks off next month that put them off. Alex Rowe ran a better half marathon than for some years in Sunday’s Lake Vyrnwy Half Marathon in the Welsh hills between Welshpool and Bala, clocking 1:18:46 for the single lap round the very picturesque reservoir serving Merseyside, coming in 30th place and winning the M55 age category by nearly 6 minutes and recording a 88.72% age graded performance ranking him 3rd of the day. Rowe’s Wesham team-mates headed to the more local Garstang Half Marathon for a good tester in the Bowland foothills. Lee Barlow recorded the best performance for the team, coming in 20th with 1:29:19 showing the severity of the course against his 2013 best of 1:19:51 and 1:16 personal best. Garry Barnett was 23rd in 1:29:54 with Paul Hetherington right behind in 23rd place with a time of 1:30:14. Chas Linkinson was also running very well, and he was 26th in 1:31:01.  In the women’s race Carmel Sullivan was 3rd and 1st W45 in 1:39:07, a great run. Nicola Unsworth was 4th and 1st W40 in 1:42:54, 61st overall, finishing unusually ahead of Helen Lawrenson who was 6th and 2nd W40 in 1:45:32, 69th overall securing the women’s team win. Sara Ward was 11th and 2nd W45 with 1:52:03 Anne Mayers-Smith was 24th and 114th overall in 2:03:02 and Jayne Hurst 30th and 128th overall in 2:08:06. In the men’s ranks Brian Jones came in 60th with a time of 1:41:40; and Dave Young was 122nd in 2:06:21. In a new race from Hawkshead on Sunday, the Esthwaite Water 10k there were three Wesham runners taking part. Dave Waywell finished 23rd and 1st M70 by over half a minute in 48:58 over virtually the same undulating course as taken by the mid-summer Hawkshead 10k. Kath Hoyer was 4th woman and 1st W50 in 50:02 in 29th place overall. John Howorth ran, and he placed 5th M60 and 46th in 54:14, a good run. Phil Leaver ran the Stoke 10k and he finished 99th in 46:13 for a hilly course in very warm conditions, placing 2nd M60. In the 15km Derwentwater Trail Challenge last weekend on Saturday part of the Lakeland Trails season Elliot Bennett finished 375th in 1:57:37 for the challenging mountainous course around the flank of Lonsdale Fell and Lattrigg and starting and finishing in Keswick’s Fitz Park. Karl Lee ran a good 17:51 in the Preston parkrun on Saturday morning, scoring a 72.36% age graded performance as he prepares for next week’s Berlin Marathon. Steve Myerscough ran 18:51 for M40 71.41% performance. David Taylor recorded 19:41 for 65.54%, and Dave Young ran 26:11 with 64.67% graded performance.