Alex’s Newspaper Report.

The Men’s team at the Mid Lancs in Burnley on Saturday

The athletics world is now well up and running, and after last week’s marathons the autumn season continued with the Manchester Marathon, where Mark Belfield had a great run and fulfilled his expectation after months of hard training with an excellent 2:59:03 for 499th position overall in a field of 13,853. He passed halfway in 1:29:45 giving him a perfect steady pace and a negative split, and most significantly a new personal best of 15 minutes. Lee Nixon made a spectacular return with 3:32:23 to finish 2461st in his debut marathon also with an even split and a slightly faster first half of 1:45:54. Carmel Sullivan was disappointed with her run of 4:13:47 for 6590th (1196th woman and 39th W55) after a troublesome knee after halfway, her pace dropping from 8:07 to an ultimate 12:27. Even worse news from Mark Holton, who had to drop out having tripped on a kerb at 5km and badly bruising his foot, after completing some successful very long runs earlier in the year. In the Manchester Half Marathon Neil Whipp finished 838th in his debut at the distance to record 1:43:18 speeding up considerably in the second half to place 105th M40, and Mick Edge was 1569th in 1:52:29, 23rd M60 after a good run slowing by 2 minutes a mile over the final 3.5 miles.

The big event of the week for Wesham was the first fixture in the Mid Lancs Cross Country League, the first event since March 2020. In the Senior Women’s race over 5.8km on a small, medium and large lap, the Wesham women packed well in the second half of the field with Kay Twist 78th in 26:13, 6th W50; Maureen Danson 112th in 29:09 for 8th W55; Antionette Holton 120th in 30:12, 19th W35; Emma Davies and Clare Belfield in a tight finish in 30:40 and 30:56 (124th and 125th); Louise Lord 1290th in 31:13 (12th W45), and Julie Rooney 140th in 35:25. This placed the Senior team 27th; W35 team 16th; and W45 team 7th. The Vet070 men in the same race for Wesham were Dave Young, 6th in 29:05 (4th M70) and Peter Bartlett bravely returning from a heart procedure placing 11th (7th M70) in 35:25, giving their reigning position as leading M70 team 3rd in this fixture behind arch-rivals Clayton and Kendal. In the senior men’s race over 9.8km, a small lap and 3 large ones, the Senior Men packed well with an excellent performance, with Tom Crabtree leading the way to finish 29th in 35:06. David Taylor was chasing all the way and making ground placing 32nd with 35:26. Andrew Harling was third counter in 41st place in 35:54, 8th M40. Garry Barnett was next finisher in 59th place with 37:12 coming 2nd M55. Alek Walker was 64th in 37:35 and Lee Barlow fast finishing in 66th place, 10th M45 with 37:43 to make 4th team and 3rd in their new ranking in Division 1. Chris Hastwell was first for the Wesham “B” team, 75th in 38:41; John Collier 163rd and 2nd M65 in 44:53; Damian Ings 166th and 32nd M45 in 45:22; Peter Rooney 174th and 10th M60 in 46:23 with an excellent cross country debut; Stephen Twist 193rd in 49:40 (23rd M50); and James Danson and Colin Gibson 201st and 202nd in 52:38 and 52:00, 27th M55 and 15th M60 respectively. The “B” team were 4th and 22nd overall; the M40 team 9th, 5th in Division 1; the M50 team 10th; and M60s, previous champions, 4th in this opening fixture.

Wesham had two runners in the 40th Coniston 14 race, 13.875 miles through Torver, Water Yeat and Brantwood to complete the circuit from the John Ruskin School, a traditional race usually in the Spring started in 1982. Alan Hudson finished 2nd M70 and 252nd in 2:01:22 with a chip time 14 seconds faster. Andrew Wilkinson was 1443rd and 48th M50 in 2:18:28 over the challenging undulating Lakeland course.

A large team of Wesham members and friends and families made their traditional trip for the Palma 10k. In conditions favourably warmer that the North West Steve Myerscough ran a modest 40:45 to finish 29th and 4th M40. Nigel Shepherd was 50th and 2nd M60 in 43:09 with Martin Bates 95th and 6th M60 with 47:06. Ryan Azzopardi came in 404th with 68:06, 46th M40; Kerry Eccles 184th woman and 550th overall, 19th W55 in 1:02:44; Debbie Myerscough was 381st woman, 871st overall and 41st W55 in 1:16:51.

In the parkrun on Saturday morning there were 8 Wesham members at the Lytham Hall run with Jonathan Lawson first for the club in 22:13 with an M50 age grade performance of 68.57%; Michelle Tickle ran 23:31 for W45 68.89%; Martin Allison recorded 25:49 and an M35 grade of 52.10%; Ian Nicholls Hogg 26:00 and 49.75%; Andrew Moore ran 28:17 for M55 56.22%; Jo McCaffery 32:06 and W40 48.65%; Graham Cunliffe 39:09 with M65 42.83%; and Alex Rowe fulfilling his initial rehabilitation tail walk of 50:42 (M60 32.77%). In the Blackpool run in Stanley Park Chris Haines ran 21:26 for an M35 age graded 61.90%; George Kennedy and Suzanne Leonard clocked 24:58 for M65 66.56% and W50 67.96 post-Covid infection; Rob Wallace recorded 25:21 for a post-marathon 50.89%; Kath Hoyer made a welcome return with 26:00 for W60 63.99%; Dave Marsland was just behind with 26:12 for M65 63.99%; and Damian Ings warmed up for the afternoon cross country in Burnley with 27:09 for M45 53.04%. Further afield Tracey Hulme ran 26:19 at the South Manchester event for W55 70.68%; Finlay McCalman was at the Carlisle run for 27:35 and an M55 First-Timer grade of 56.68%; at the Riverside run in Chester-le-Street Emma Brook clocked 29:18 for W35 51.65%; across the Irish Sea in Peel Vicky and Steven Gore ran 26:35 for W45 59.75% and M40 51.35%; and furthest away in Weymouth Carl Groome recorded 22:30 for M50 66.59% and Sue Rigby 31:08 with W45 52.57%.