Alex’s Newspaper Report.

Dawn and Sharlan collect medals in the Preston 10-Mile,
Open race, Northern and Lancashire team medals

The Preston 10-Mile on Sunday was the event of the area, with a fine open race incorporating the Lancashire and the Northern Athletics Championships. Wesham had a small but effective team present, with Ugis Datavs taking 30th place in 59:04 for 7th M40. Alek Walker finished 41st in 63:05, 8th M35. John Collier placed 2nd M65 in 75:54, 87th overall with a great run. The Men were third Northern Team behind Salford and Preston, but 4th Lancashire with Ribble Valley placing third. Peter Rooney was 117th and 7th M60 in 1:23:25. For the women, Sharlan Butcher and Antoinette Holton finished together in 24th and 25th places in 1:31:13, 8th W45 and 5th W35, and 146th and 147th overall. Dawn Biggs was 27th scorching round to take 4 minutesoff her personal best in 1:32:37, 6th W50 and 150th. The three ladies won the 2nd women’s team silver medals. The women were also the only Northern Athletics and Lancashire ladies’ team and so won both of those categories, gold medals apiece! Emma Wright placed 39th in 1:45:29, 173rd overall and 3rd W40.

On Sunday morning Louise Lord ran the Stanley Park 10k in 55:28 to finish in 46th place, and Finlay McCalman 55:51 for 48th. No Wesham members ran the Saturday version of the race.

With the two “home” parkruns cancelled at Lytham Hall and Blackpool Stanley Park Wesham members had to travel to neighbouring runs or take in some parkrun tourism. Furthest afield Rob Wallace ran a debut as a First Timer in the Swansea Bay parkrun in 23:56 for an age graded performance of 53.90% in the senior category, while Emma Brook completed her home run at the Riverside parkrun in Chester-Le-Street in 28:25 for a W35 age grade of 53.26%, one of her best performances in her 52 runs in this event. Northeast of Leeds in the Bramhall parkrun David Taylor clocked the third fastest time of the day in 18:09 for an M35 grade of 72.64%, with Carl Groome 23:00 for M50 65.14%. Vicky and Steven Gore recorded 27:35 and 27:36 for W45 57.58% and M40 49.46%; and Sue Rigby 34:28 with W45 47.49%. In Huddersfield Anne Berry clocked 29:56 for W60 63.92% as a First Timer, and Ian Nichols Hogg 24:45 in the Burnley parkrun for a senior 52.26%, also a First Timer. In Manchester Tracey Hulme ran the Stretford parkrun in 25:04 for W55 75.27% for this week’s best performance, and in Salford’s Peel run Dave Williams recorded 23:49 with an M55 67.19% a smidgeon slower than last week’s personal best performance there. On home ground in the Preston parkrun Steve Myerscough returned 20:29 with an M45 70.87%; Nigel Shepherd 20:45 for M60 79.36%; Mark Belfield 22:53 and M35 59.21%; Colin Gibson 26:45 with an M60 62.12%; Clare Belfield 31:01 for W35 49.01%; and Phil Leaver 31:16 and M65 55.17%. In the Fleetwood Promenade run Suzanne Leonard clocked 23:24 for W50 72.51%; Stephen Twist 23:45 with M55 64.70%; George Kennedy 24:10 and M60 68.76%; Graham Cunliffe a swift 25:37 for M65 65.45%; James Danson 25:38 with M55 60.99%; Andrew Moore 25:55 with M55 61.35%; and Dave Young 26:54 for M70 69.27%.

In 2008, 23 years ago, the spread of November across five weekends seemed to produce a void last weekend, with very few athletics events to choose from. Wesham’s efforts concentrated on Sunday on the Leeds Abbey Dash, and the final fixture in the club Fell Running Championship. Fortunately, both events benefited runners with torrential rain all day on the Fylde. Conditions were perfect for the Leeds Abbey Dash, and Alex Rowe and Derek Buckley took advantage, although they experienced heavy rain and snow showers on the journey over. In a high-quality field featuring some of the country’s best 10k runners, Rowe finished 67th and 1st M50 in 34:34, 46 seconds ahead of second placed Chris Henry of Wirral AC. Derek Buckley finished 206th and 8th M50 in 38:14 after a disappointing run. The race featured two of the top British masters’ runners, Martin Rees of Neath Harriers and Mike Hagar of Tipton in an attempt on the world M55 record of 31:40. They fell short with 32:02 and 32:31 respectively, but both broke Hagar’s previous British best of 32:36. The first 6 men broke 30 minutes, with the wining pair Matt Janes and Ben Tickner clocking 29:32 and 29:33. Helen Clitheroe was the first woman in 32:15, breaking both her personal best and the event record, with Katie Ingram of Horwich 2nd in 33:42. Indeed, the first nine women ran inside 35 minutes, with 5 of them passing Alex Rowe in the second mile of the race. Olympian Dan Robinson toed the line but pulled out after 7km. The final race in the Wesham Fell Championship for 2008 was the Rivock Edge in Silsden near Keighley, 6.2 miles long with 1600ft climb, featuring canal towpaths, woodland, and open moorland. Steve Myerscough got a good start, making good headway on the climb through the woods, with Richard Davies following on behind. There was all to play for on this last race, with Steve competing for his fourth scoring race and Richard potentially well ahead after 7 events. Steve was well clear at the summit but his downhill skills need some development and he was taken aback as a group of three runners hurtled past including Richard. However, with a long run-in back along the canal tow-path Steve’s superior road speed cut in and he regained his advantage to finish 22nd in 57:32, with Richard 26th and 4th M50 with 58:10. Nigel Shepherd, with 5 races under his belt, followed Sarah Sherratt up the ascent but came down better, and finished 65th in 67:14, 15th M50. Sarah Sherratt had a great race, finishing 3rd woman in 68:55, 71st overall. Kath Hoyer was the only Wesham woman to complete all eight races in the club championship and came in 12th woman and 3rd W45 in 76:23, 98th overall. There was a good showing of North West athletes in the recent British and Irish International Cross Country in Swansea’s Singleton Park. The event is the crowning glory in the home masters’ race calendar, entry for all five home countries is by selection, that for England being governed by the Veteran Athletic Association. Lytham lady Sue Samme was the most impressive, finishing 11th in the opening race featuring all women and men over 65 on a three-lap 6km course over very challenging ground. An international cross country runner, she debuted as a master in this event and excelled with a W45 bronze medal, and she was second counter for the England team with Jane Clarke and Sue Becconsall for the team gold medals. Preston’s Marian Hesketh ran for the England W50s and finished 9th in her age category with fellow Northern Veteran Dawn Gibbs, the team also taking gold medals. Kevin Hesketh was called up for Wales, and ran the International M50+ race, finishing 21st in 34:05 for the four-lap 8km course. Southport’s Susan Cooper was champion in the W55 age group, leading England again to team gold. Lancaster’s Eddie Simpson was in the M40 team for England, overcoming a recent bout of flu to come in 12th in 30:00 for the team gold. Clayton’s Mark Aspinall, a strong cross country runner, finished 6th in the M45 category with a near clean-sweep for all 6 runners, again for gold medals. Ex-Chorley man Ken Moss took M55 bronze and team gold in probably the hottest of all the age groups with Mike Hagar and Nigel Gates, with Wales top ace Martin Rees pulling out to save his efforts for his attempt on the 10k M55 World Record in Leeds the next weekend. Not to forget Preston’s Steve Hallas, who was selected as a reserve for the England M35 team; he chose not to travel for the Open Race but contest the Preston 10-mile on home ground.

Back in 2017 Rob Danson strode into the Wesham record books once again with a spectacular new 10-mile personal best performance at Sunday’s historic Brampton to Carlisle road race, winning the 66th staging of the event and also coming out top in the incorporated North of England Championships.

Starting out conservatively in the Cumbrian market town east of Carlisle on the way to Hexham and Newcastle Rob tucked in at the back of a 10-strong lead group and ticked off the first few miles steadily. By halfway at 5 miles the group had fractured down to five and Rob started to take a more active part, working though the group one by one and finding himself 3rd with two miles to go. He worked up to 2nd and then took on the lead in the final mile having already been pulled along much faster than he could have dreamed of. With a final ascent out of the way he hit the last descent across the river to the finish with a 5-second lead and won the race in 50:06 taking a whopping 2min 28sec off his previous best performance. Musing on the near-miss of a sub-50-minute run he agreed that he could not have planned for a specific target, he just went with the flow and then pushed on when the opportunity arose. Nearer to home 15 Wesham members took part in the 10-mile race at the Preston 10 in Hutton. On the traditional 2-lap course through Longton Ugis Datavs was the first finisher for the club with his own personal best, 59:31 for 17th place and 6th M35. Wesham’s leading lady was Vice-Chair Helen Lawrenson who was 13th woman and 3rd W45 in 1:08:43, 120th overall. The women’s race was won by another Helen: Olympian and Commonwealth medallist Clitheroe. In the Wesham team, David Taylor finished 24th in 1:01:00 with Garry Barnett 37th and 1st M50 in 1:02:33. Paul Gregory was 53rd in 1:03:46 and Peter Cruse finished 72nd and 5th M55 with 1:05:24. Stuart Topping was 75th in 1:05:43; Carl Groome 76th in 1:05:54; Roger Leadbeater 219th with 1:15:46; and Dave Young 306th and 3rd M70 in 1:22:45. Rob Wallace placed 331st with 1:24:12; Tracey Hulme was 86th woman and 6th W55 in 1:30:09 (403rd overall). Anne Berry was 108th woman and 7th W55 in 1:32:36 (439th); Heather Buckel and Stephanie Blakely 171st and 172nd women in their debut at the distance with a time of 1:49:48 (545th and 546th overall).

Paul Gregory on the ascent of Scout Scar in the Kendal Mountain Festival

Paul Gregory on the ascent of Scout Scar in the Kendal Mountain Festival

The Kendal Mountain Festival had a whole weekend of activities including a 10k Trail race on Saturday from the town hall in the centre of town up on to Scout Scar and along the escarpment with views of the Lyth Valley. Paul Gregory was attracted to this race, and he finished 110th in 51:20, just under 2 minutes behind the leaders, such was the quality of the event. Kath Hoyer was 9th W50 (no separate category for W55) and 62nd woman in 1:03:03, 347th overall. Dave Waywell finished 524th in 1:15:16, winning the M70 category. Kath Hoyer made a weekend double with the Arnside Knott Fell Race on Sunday where she finished 113th in 57:25, 5th W50 and 21st woman for the 6 miles and 1093 ft ascent. Jen Salt was 134th in 1:01:35 placing 33rd woman and 16th W40. Alistair Morris finished 156th in 1:08:36. Leigh Doughty ran the Chorley Fire 10k and he finished well up in 21st place with a time of 41:19. Steve Myerscough and David Taylor had a head-to-head at the Preston parkrun on Saturday morning, coming in 1 second apart with Myerscough clocking 19:05 for an M40 age graded performance of 73.71% and Taylor 19:06 for 67.89%. Luke Robinson ran 21:21 for 60.42%; Nigel Shepherd 23:22 for M55 68.05%; Robert Brown 24:35 with M60 65.22%; and Paul Carter 36:03 with M45 40.27%. In the Hyndburn run at Clayton’s Wilson’s Fields Graham Cunliffe clocked 34:10 for M60 47.37%. Debbie Bell was in Oxfordshire, and she ran the Abingdon parkrun in 32:19 for W40 48.68%. In Lancaster Emma Lund had 24:58 for 59.68%, and further afield in the new Sale Water parkrun Steven Gore ran the fastest time of the day with 19:24 for M35 68.38%. Megan Gore ran 36:30 for JW10 46.76 with Vicky Gore the same time in company. In Blackpool Stephen Browne clocked 22:05 for M50 67.32%; Jonathan Lawson 22:18 with M50 66.14%; Dave Marsland 23:48 and M60 68.56%; Martin Bates 24:23 for M60 66.37; Phil Leaver with 25:05 and M60 66.25%; George Kennedy 25:14 with M60 63.54%; Ben Wrigley 25:47 for M35 51.78%; and Andrew Moore 27:35 with M55 55.71%.