Alex’s Newspaper Report.

Two storms at the weekend, Eunice and Franklin, had some effect on running last week but there were few events in the calendar in the North West for Wesham members, and a time to consider some DIY perhaps!

In the Great North West Half Marathon along the Blackpool Promenade Ugis Datavs stretched his legs with a time of 1:24:17 for the 13.1 miles to return a finish position of 15th in a race with 479 participants. He finished 4th M40. Stuart Mulrooney finished 153rd battling the high winds and rain to clock 1:51:08, M35 position not available.

Martin Bates ran in the Waterson’s Hale 10K in Cheshire’s Ashley Park part of the 2022 Hale & Ashley Race Series, placing 145th in 46:21 with a 5k split of 23:01 for 1st M65 (credited as 4th Over-60). There were 711 runners in this popular run.

It looks likely that there will be no Fylde runners in this weekend’s English National Cross Country at Parliament Hills in London. Regarded as the traditional home of English cross country with matches dating back to the 1890s the fields extending on to Hampstead Heath offer a real running challenge, with hills, woodland, sticky London clay and plenty of twists and turns over only a single large lap for the senior women and two for the men. And a cracking view over the skyline of the City and the West End, if you have time to eyeball it as you come tanking over the top to a fast run in to the finish.

This week’s Saturday morning parkrun was devastated by the aftermath of Storm Eunice in Friday night, but then rewarded by a significant dump of snow mid-morning. The Lytham Hall run had been called off on Thursday afternoon and indeed the park was closed completely so there were many refugees at the Blackpool parkrun in the morning where there were no after-effects. Jonathan Lawson was the frontrunner for Wesham clocking 23:15 for an M50 age graded percentage of 65.52%. Rob Wallace was next in 23:32 for a Senior age grade of 54.82%. Graham Cunliffe was on great form with 24:21 for M65 68.86%, with Michelle Tickle Wesham’s leading lady in 24:35 for a W45 66.58% performance. Stephen Browne recorded 24:38 for M55 62.92%; Ryan Azzopardi stayed on his feet this week for 25:07 and M40 55.14%; Finlay McCalman ran 27:48 and M55 56.24%; Julie Rooney returned 33:56 with her W45 47.74%; Alex Rowe tempered is run for 37:15 and an M60 44.61%; and Michelle Pitt clocked 41:53 for W40 36.73%. On Fleetwood Promenade in more exposed conditions David Young ripped up the concrete in 28:18 for an M70 65.84%. There was a bigger turnout at the Preston parkrun where David Taylor ran 18:53 for an M35 grade of 69.81%. Steve Abbott clocked for 19:14 and M45 73.74%, with Carl Groome running 21:09 with an M50 graded 71.47%. Vicky and Steven Gore recorded 26:34 and 26:35 for W45 60.35% and M40 51.35%. James Danson returned 27:02 for M50 57.83% with Stephen Twist timed at 27:54 for M55 55.08%. in Manchester’s Peel parkrun Martin Bates clocked Wesham’s highest age grade of the week with an M65 74.41% in 22:32. Further down the road Tracey Hulme was out in South Manchester’s Platt Fields to run 26:27 for W55 71.33%. Parkrun tourists Brian and Janine Weatherington were out in the Trelai Park parkrun in the west of Cardiff to run 25:53 and 37:44 for M40 53.12% and W40 40.77%.

In 2007 fifteen years ago there was a variety of activity last weekend both off road and on road around the region for Wesham members, with a quartet running off-road at Standish Hall and a good turnout on the roads. The greatest success for Wesham was made by the ladies at the Standish Hall Trail Race near Wigan. Over a sodden 2-lap 10k course across fields it was tough going but the ladies persevered and bunched well to win the women’s team with a clutch of age category winnings. Julie Cruse was highest placed, with 5th place for 2nd W45 in a time of 49:17, placing 61st overall. Michaela Dempsey was close behind, finishing 5th woman and 1st W40 in 49:42 (65th overall). Chasing her all the way was Sarah Sherratt who came across the line 6th woman in 49:49, 2nd W35 and 67th overall to clinch the women’s team victory ahead of St Helens. Peter Cruse was the first finisher for Wesham, crossing the line 5th M40 in 24th place overall with a time of 43:54, demonstrating how challenging the running had been. The winner was Nick Leigh of Altrincham in 35:40. The Blackpool Half Marathon was by far the biggest event in the region this week with a remarkable turnout of over a thousand runners. Conditions were bright, although there was a stiff cool breeze off the sea. The race was won in a record time of 1:06:48 by Martin Scaife from the North East over a two-lap out and back course along the Lower and Middle Walks between Blackpool’s North Pier and Anchorsholme. Wesham father and son pairing Peter and Dave Waywell ran virtually side by side to finish 59th and 60th, recording 1:23:54 and 1:24:07, with Dave roaring to another Vet-60 win 5 minutes ahead of his nearest rival. Simon Eaton was next to finish for Wesham, placing 120th in 1:28:33, with Trevor Rayner coming across the line in 168th with 1:31:21. Kath Hoyer was Wesham’s first lady finisher, placing 51st and claiming 2nd W45 in a time of 1:41:58, 396th overall. Pauline Weller came in 130th in 1:56:03 for 703rd overall; Andrea Rayner was 170th in 2:00:20 (797th overall); and Berni Ashworth finished 277th (975th overall) in 2:13:29. Alan Taylor ran another personal best to finish 194th in 1:32:52, and Nigel Shepherd ran 1:40:28 placing 351st. Finlay McCalman is regaining his fitness and placed 611th with a time of 1:51:51. Scott Munday finished with Berni Ashworth in 976th place in 2:13:29. In the Lostock 6 race Michaela Dempsey completed another weekend double with a fine run to finish 14th woman and 3rd W40 in a time of 43:10 for 149th overall. Andrew Owen was the first Wesham man home in 40:55 for 102nd place, with Chris Moss (M40) 200th in 45:47. Shaun Turner (M40) ran 48:23 for 246th; Mike Owen (M55) was 291st with 50:15 with John Howorth (M50) hot on his heels with 50:17 for 293rd; and Nick Brandwood was 307th in 50:58.

In the Olympic year 2012 there was controversy in the popular and high-quality Village Bakery Half Marathon in Wrexham over a revised course this year when a direction sign was changed twice during the race causing many competitors to run only 11.5 miles and caused havoc with the results. This may have been due to the organisers choosing to mark and sign the course rather than marshalling it but it seems someone was intent to spoil the event for all involved. There were a few from the Fylde area taking part but perhaps not as many as in past years however the race still attracted a field of 470 runners, a good standard. John Bertenshaw was 99th for Wesham and 3rd M55 in 1:29:25, a great improvement in his recent performance and shows he is back on track for full fitness. Tracey Hulme is benefiting from a consistent training regime, and she ran 1:46:29 for 289th place, 15th W45 and50th woman. In the Standish Hall Trail race on Saturday, it was fresh and breezy over an approximate 10k on two laps along farm tracks and through woods and recorded a record turnout of 246 runners. The conditions were reasonable even if there was a cold biting wind and the winning time was 36:29. Charles Colby was 76th and the first Wesham finisher in 48:24, 16th M40. Kath Hoyer began a competitive weekend with a win in the W50 category with 52:31 to finish 13th woman and 111th overall in this large and competitive field. Nigel Shepherd was 201st in 1:03:56, with Norman Bateman 4th M70 and 218th overall in 1:06:51, a fine run. Mike Walsh was 1st M75 and 237th in 1:12:45, a tremendous run. In the Central Lancashire 5km in Leverhulme Park in Bolton on Sunday there were 9 Wesham competitors on a bright morning perfect for running. This was also the opening fixture of the Central Lancashire Grand Prix. Duncan Carter showed himself to be a useful team member coming in 40th in 18:47, 7th M40. Joanna Goorney was back in action after the cancellation of last week’s Watford Half Marathon due to the wintery conditions in the South, and she came in 3rd woman today and 1st W40 in 56th place overall with a time of 19:23. Alan Hudson had a good run winning the M60 category and placing 60th overall with 19:27. Simon Eaton posted a fast time with 19:28 to finish 62nd, and Barry Peatfield heeded the call to arms and was flying in 69th place with 19:48 taking the 2nd M60 slot. Kath Hoyer was 13th woman and 4th W50 in a competitive race, running 22:03 and placing 115th overall. Dave Waywell was 2nd M65 and 131st overall with 22:46. Lisa Minns was 35th woman and 179th in 25:40, and Peter Cooke was 186th in 26:09. The Wesham team finished 8th although incomplete and the ladies were 4th with the vets team 6th. There was a good turnout for the re-scheduled Blackburn Winter Warmer 10k from Witton Park on its hilly course, with 300 runners and a good quality. Gary Barnett was first to complete the course for Wesham coming in 52nd in 41:55, 6th M40. Jenny Salt was 16th woman and 1st W35 in 49:31, 144th overall. Paul Carter ran 52:47 for 176th position, a good effort, and Stephen Wilkinson was 7th M55 and 193rd in 54:05. John Howorth was 215th with 55:32. Alan Taylor finished 2nd in the modest Muddy Boots 11mile trail race from Caldervale inland from Garstang over the hills around Brock and Bleasdale and the foothills of Bowland. He ran 1:40:47 just 23 seconds off the lead to finish 1st M40. Kelly Thorn was 3rd woman and 1st W35 in 2:07:09, 10th overall. Bob Thorn was 14th in 2:07:34 and 1st M65. Sue Jones was 8th woman and 2nd W45 in 2:49:04, 19th overall. Simon Eaton ran the Buttermere 34k Round last week on the gruelling course up the Honister and Newlands Passes and past Buttermere itself, completing the circuit in challenging wintry conditions in 2:53:46 to finish 36th. Nigel Shepherd master of the long and tough events was 43rd in 3:14:34, 5th M50. There were 54 runners completed the course this year, organised by Keswick AC as one of their series of races.