Alex’s Newspaper Report.

Mud underfoot but sun in the sky, Mark Belfield relishes the conditions

It was a busy week for Wesham members with cross country and some local road action, and the club is getting into full swing now with club training nights at the Kirkham and Wesham Cricket Club and facilities now fully available.

Saturday saw the second fixture in the 2021-22 Mid Lancs Cross Country League, over the tough course at Wilson’s Fields in Hyndburn, made all the more challenging by overnight torrential rain. The women and Men 70+ were the first off for Wesham, with a welcome return of Sarah Sherratt, off-road specialist, who ran well and headed the Wesham women with a time of 28:48 over the 2.5-lap 6km course to finish 34th and 7th W50. Kay Twist was 10th W50 and 59th overall with a great run to record 30:51. Sharon Cooper was 74th and 12th W45 in 32:52 with Anne Mayers-Smith 94th and 18th W40 in 35:09. Louise Lord finished 16th W45 and 99th in 36:51; Antionette Holton 11th W35 and 104th in 37:30; and Clare Bellfield 12th W35 and 106th in 37:50. This placed them 8th in Division 3 and a better performance that at the first fixture in Burnley last month. They were equal 10th in the W35 Division; and 7th W45 team. In the incorporated Men’s 70+ race Dave Young was 6th in 37:32, and Peter Bartlett 8th in 47:03, placing them third team behind Clayton and Kendal. The Senior Men’s race saw a big turnout from Wesham over 10km and 3 laps. With a good turnout Steve Swarbrick was the first scorer in 26th place and 2nd M45 in 34:21, backed up by David Taylor 35th in 35:22. Tom Crabtree was 38th in 35:29 and Andrew Harling 39th and 3rd M40 with 35:35. Chris Hastwell finished 61st in 37:18; Mark Belfield 79th in 38:14; and Alek Walker 81st in 38:18. This placed the Wesham “A” team 4th in Division 1 which consolidates a great tart to the season, all to play for yet though! Lee Barlow placed 100th in 39:57 for 16th M45; Les Cornwall came in 120th after a problem with his shoe to record 41:04; Steve Myerscough 144th and 22nd M45 in 42:44; with Phil Quibell heading the Wesham M60 team with 43:32 for 162nd and 2nd M65. Damian Ings finished 169th and 28th M45 in 44:05; John Collier was 184th and 4th M65 in 46:02, with Mark Renshall 191st in 47:22 (31st M45), and Martin Bates 14th M60 and 207th in 51:48. Stephen Twist was 215th and 21st M50 in 54:23; Colin Gibson 220th and 16th M60 in 57:12; and James Danson 222nd and 28th M55 with 59:58. The Wesham “B” team were 3rd in Division 3 although the standings in this division are not correct at the moment; the Vet-40 team were third, which was an excellent result, with the M50s equal 10th. The Vet-60s however were first in their division having been 4th in Burnley.

Wesham staged the second of their monthly Winter Handicap runs on Monday round the 4-mile Dowbridge circuit. First back on scratch was Christine Fare in 43:57, with Emma Wright second on 43:57. Peter Bartlett placed 3rd with 42:15; Dawn Biggs 4th in 39:55; Sharlan Butcher 5th with 9:50; and Colin Smy 6th in 38:01, all also on scratch. Andy Moore 36:38; Robert Danson 36:26; Stephen Twist 36:24; Emma Davies 35:56; Dave Young 35:39; Natelie Middlemass 35:06; Elliot Costello 32:02; John Burns 31:02; Carmel Sullivan 30:54; Stuart Mulrooney 30:41; Peter Rooney 30:39; Damian Ings 28:50; Mick Edge 28:47; Nigel Shepherd 26:32; Steve Myerscough 26:05; Les Cornwall 25:54; Alek Walker 25:12; Ugis Datavs 23:53; and Adam Wilding 22:55. On the Net positions, Rob Danson had the fastest time with 20:26;  Adam Wilding 2nd in 22:27; Ugis Datavs 3rd (24:02); Garry Barnett 4th with 24:11; and Alek Walker 5th in 24:54. For the women, Carmel Sullivan was speediest with 30:07; Becky Ingham second with 31:23; Julie Paton 3rd in 33:40; Emma Davies 4th (34:12); and Sharlan Butcher 5th in 35:30.

Alek Walker finished 2nd in the Halloween 5k on Blackpool Promenade, running 22:31 placing 1:09 behind the winner Ross McKelvie of Lytham Runners. Colin Smy finished 33rd in 37:17, 4th M40.

Wesham had a smaller number of members than usual out at the Saturday morning parkruns in local towns, surprisingly none travelling further afield, although the Mid Lancs cross country and or Halloween celebrations may have kept some of the usual suspects indoors! In Preston’s Avenham Park Nigel Shepherd ran 20:44 for an M60 age graded performance percentage of 79.42%. Vicky and Steven Gore ran 27:32 each for W45 57.69% and M40 49.58% respectively. On home ground in Lytham Hall Jonathan Lawson was the first Wesham member in 22:59 with an M50 age grade of 66.28%. Ian Nichols Hogg scored 26:05 for a senior 49.58%; and Andrew Moore 27:10 and M55 58.53%. In Blackpool’s Stanley Park Stephen Browne clocked 25:53 with M55 59.37%; David Marsland 27:22 for M65 61.27%; and Finlay McCalman 28:12 and M55 55.44%.

Fifteen years ago, in 2006, Wesham had their biggest ever turnout at the English National Cross Country Relays at Berry Hill Park in Mansfield on Saturday with three men’s teams, three women’s teams and travelling reserves. The competition was fierce as these championships have grown in quality in the last eight years, but the weather was excellent, and the course is one of the best in the country.  Alex Rowe headed the Men’s ‘A’ team on Stage 1 with 17:31 for the 2-lap 5km course, finishing 98th. Les Cornwall took over on Stage 2, running a fine 18:10 and raising the team position to 93rd. Karl Lee ran Stage 3 and recorded 18:39 to come home 99th, and Lee Barlow had a great run in 18:26 to anchor the team 87th with an overall time of 1:12:48. The ‘B’ team finished 118th with Alan Glasgow 144th in 20:11; John Collier 137th in 19:37; Peter Cruse 122nd in 19:46; and Dave Waywell bringing the team home 118th with 20:27, overall time 1:20:03. Andy Owen was first off for the men’s ‘C’ team, running 20:54 for 151st; Andy Yelland ran Stage 2 and made a great run with 19:48 to bring the team up to 140th; Brian Porter gained three places on Stage 3 with 22:19; and Graham Vickers closed the team in 127th with 21:07, a cumulative time of 1:24:09. 159 teams started and 132 completed the four stages. Newham & Essex Beagles won in 1:00:42. The Wesham women put up a great show, with Kath Hoyer kicking off for the ‘A’ team with 13:15 over a single 3km loop, finishing 83rd and handing over to Julie Cruse, who ran 13:32 to elevate he team to 72nd. Yvonne Russell brought the team home 68th with 13:15 and an overall time of 40:03. Anne Docherty was first out for the ‘B’ team, with 14:37 for 95th position. Julie Murphy was next, with 14:13 on Stage 2 for 84th place, with Hayley France completing the team in 77th with a fine 15:20, 44:11 overall. The ‘C’ team of Mandy Hinks (97th in 15:34), Pauline Weller (86th in 15:56) and Tracey Hulme (82nd in 16:05) performed excellently to record an overall time of 47:36. 100 teams started the race and 83 finished. The winners were Charnwood AC in 30:19. Steve Littler had a great run at the Derwentwater 10-mile road race around the lake below Keswick, finishing 2nd in 54:01, just 5 seconds behind winner Mike Scott. There was a strong international-quality of athletes at the Through the Villages race on Sunday, with World Masters Half Marathon champion Paul Freary running away with the victory over the 8.4-mile hilly course in 44:13. Wesham runners made a good showing with 16 men and 7 ladies. Derek Buckley was the first Wesham runner to the finish with 53:52 for 2nd M50 and 33rd overall. Dave Waywell scored another M60 win with a good run as he returns to form with 54:39 for 43rd overall. Trevor Rayner ran 55:51 for 56th place, and Peter Gleaves ran well to finish 67th with 57:57. Dougie Brown was 2nd M65 and 185th overall in 68:36. Carmel Sullivan had an excellent run to record 62:21 for 3rd W35 and 12th woman, hotly pursued by Kath Hoyer who was 17th and 3rd W45 in 65:15 having run well in the English Cross Country Relays the previous day. Michaela Dempsey is getting back in shape after her injury nightmare of the last year and came in 21st and 6th W40 in 65:56. Julie Murphy was 35th in 70:09; Pauline Weller was 54th in 76:35; Andrea Rayner 63rd with 79:06; and Hayley France finished 66th in 80:27. Chris Whitlock (M40) recorded 59:55 for 90th place; Michael Edge (M45) was 107th in 61:20 with Alan Taylor hot on his tail 108th in 61:22; Phil Leaver was 11th M50 and 110th in 61:38; Nigel Shepherd (M45) was 146th with 65:24; and Peter Cooke (M45) followed up his success at Holmfirth two weeks ago with another great run with 66:07 for 156th. Stephen Wilkinson (M50) was 163rd in 66:53; and Paul Carter ran 75:29 for 245th.

In 2019 only six months before the pandemic there were some good autumn fixtures on this week and Wesham members were out and about. The most popular event was the highly scenic and undulating Derwentwater 10-mile road race from Keswick. Helen Lawrenson was 13th woman and 4th W45 in 1:17:14, 127th overall in this popular run through stunning surroundings. Jen Salt was 59th woman and 6th W40 in 1:27:20, 247th overall. Sharon Cooper finished 63rd and 15th W45 in 1:28:21, 254th overall with a new personal best time. Sharlan Butcher and Dawn Biggs both took 9 minutes off their previous best running together with Emma Wright, with the trio coming in 382nd, 383rd and 385th in 1:46:15, 1:46:15 and 1:46:23, 138th, 139th and 141st women. Tom Crabtree finished 25th in 1:03:59, also a new best time. Stuart Clayton was 125th in 1:17:04, 11th M50, and Peter Bartlett placed 7th M70 in 1:40:53, 354th overall. James Birchall finished 417th in 1:57:14. Steve Littler finished 3rd and 1st M45 (also first master overall) in the hilly Through the Villages race in 49.27 for the 8.45 miles on a wet and wild Sunday morning. Jason Parkinson finished 44th and 3rd M50 in 58:40. The race route starts from the outskirts of Wheelton and passes through Brinscall on the way out and back, passing through Abbey Village at halfway. There were 373 runners in this popular race. Paul Lancashire finished 35th in the Tatton Park 10k with a time of 42:19, 6th M45. Tony Leach placed 45th and 2nd M55 in 43:30, a good run and a good position. Kath Hoyer came in 50th in the Allithwaite 8-mile trail race from Grange Over Sands in a time of 1:20:15, finishing 2nd W55 and 12th woman. Lee Nixon had another good run in the Lytham Hall parkrun on Saturday morning, running 20:05 for an M35 age graded performance of 67.47%. Ben Wrigley recorded 25:39 for an M35 52.83% and Colin Smy returned 27:21 for an M40 grade of 49.91%. In Blackpool’s Stanley Park run Stephen Browne stopped the clock at 23:12 for M50 65.16% and Dave Marsland timed in at 23:56 for an M60 68.80%. Suzanne Leonard ran 24:34 with a W45 67.44% and Andrew Moore ran 26:37 with an M55 grade of 58.74%. On Fleetwood Promenade Simon Denye clocked a good 19:16 for M45 74.13%. In the Avenham Park run in Preston Nigel Shepherd recorded 22:13 for an M60 60.39%. Robert Brown ran 27:09 with M60 60.10% and Lynn Brown clocked 35:15 for W55 53.50%. In Southport’s Hesketh Park the Wesham parkrun tourists scored well, with David Taylor taking the fastest time of the day with a new personal best of 17:14 and an age graded performance of 75.73%. Steven Gore was 4th fastest with 18:45 just short of his previous best and an M35 age grade of 71.73%. Vicky Gore ran 28:44 with a W40 grade of 54.35%. In Manchester’s Heaton Park Graham Cunliffe ran 27:16 for an M60 grade of 60.39%, and in the Riverside run in Chester-le-Street Emma Brook ran 28:57 with a W35 grade of 51.81%.