Alex’s Newspaper Report.

Carl Groome sports a Wesham 10k t-shirt along the bank of the Ribble in Avenham Park

Blackpool, Wyre and Fylde had a good men’s team in the English National Cross Country on Parliament Hill in north London, and Preston had senior men and women running, but there were no other Fylde representatives in this culmination of club cross country running in England with Wesham sadly missing for the first time in the club’s history.

Martin Bates followed up his Saturday morning parkrun with the Lostock 6-mile race from the old BAE site at the Barnstormers pub on Lostock Lane, finishing 121st in a quality race, with a time of 43:48 for 2nd M65 for a great result. Peter Rooney clocked 47:30 for 183rd place and 12th M60 amongst strong competition.  The winning time was a speedy 29:59 from Harry Wakefield on Salford Harriers, with the first woman clocking 35:30 in 23rd overall.

Andrew Wilkinson ran the latest Pilling 10k of the winter season, finishing 34th in 54:20, placing 5th M50. There was a reasonable quality at the front with a winning time of 32:44 and the first 15 runners under 40 minutes. The leading woman ran 36:09, and there were 43 runners.

Finlay McCalman ran the Stanley Park 10k on Sunday, clocking 54:38 over the parkland course to finish 135th and 14th M55. Andy Moore finished 10th M60 in 57:16 for 160th place overall. There were 254 finishers in this popular spring race. Antionette Holton ran the Saturday race finishing 85th and 23rd woman in 54:21, 2nd W35, a well-deserved result.

Blackpool parkrun in Stanley Park was cancelled this week apparently due to a shortage of volunteers a week after the Lytham Hall run was cancelled by Storm Eunice, but at the latter Jonathan Lawson was the speediest Wesham member once again in a time of 22:35 for an M50 age graded performance percentage (relative to world record pace) of 67.45%. Kay Twist was Wesham’s first lady finisher with 24:59 for W50 68.78%. James Danson ran 25:57 for an M55 grade of 60.24%, and triathlete Ironman Lisa Minns clocked 26:14 for W55 69.95%. Stephen Twist recorded 27:06 with an M55 56.70%; Andrew Moore 28:03 and M60 57.16%; Martin Allison 28:27 with M35 47.28%; and Jo McCaffery 29:25 for a W40 graded 53.48%. In the Preston parkrun Steve Abbott had Wesham’s best performance of the week with 18:38 for an M45 76.12%, a great run. Steve Myerscough returned 21:06 for M45 68.80%, and Michelle Tickle 24:17 with W45 67.40%. The cancelled Blackpool run brought a swelled participation in the Fleetwood Promenade run, where Wesham friend and ex member Karl Lee came up for some parkrun tourism and a brunch get together and a battle at the front for the fastest time of the day, Karl coming off 13 seconds adrift with 18:20 and M35 72.36%. Damian Ings was Wesham’s first finisher with 21:35 for a great M45 66.72%. Graham Cunliffe ran his first run for Lytham in 22:55 with M65 73.16%; Suzanne Leonard was Wesham’s fastest lady with 23:23 for W50 72.56%, with Stephen Browne recording 23:53 for an M55 64.90%. Rob Wallace clocked 23:56 for 53.90%; George Kennedy 25:28 and M60 65.25%; David Young 26:39 with an M70 graded 69.92%; David Marsland 28:19 M65 59.80%; and Alex Rowe running too fast with 34:11 for M60 48.61%. A large Wesham group were at the Fountains Abbey parkrun in Yorkshire near Ripon where David Taylor ran 18:06 for an M35 grade of 72.84%. Elliot Costello clocked 24:37 for 52.47%, and Ryan Azzopardi 24:51 with an M40 55.73%. Vicky Gore returned 26:35 for W45 60.31%; Sue Rigby 39:42 and W45 41.23%; and Michelle Pitt and Carl Groome recorded 39:42 and 39:44 for W40 38.75% and M50 38.05%. In the Riverside run in Chester-Le-Street Emma Brook ran 28:39 for W35 53.05%, and in Ambleside’s Rothay Park parkrun Martin Bates clocked 24:26 for M65 68.62%. On the Cinder Track parkrun in Whitby from the old Station West along the railway track to Scarborough out and back across the iconic Larpool Viaduct over the River Esk Steven Gore steamed 21:45 for an M40 age grade of 62.76%.

In 2008 Wesham rounded off the cross country season in the final Mid Lancs League with a good all round performance to secure individual and team medals for the men and saw the women consolidate their overall position. Joanna Goorney was 20th in the Women’s 5.5km 2-lap race, clocking 25:10 for 5th W35 and Wesham’s ladies champion for 2007/8. Carmel Sullivan ran well and came in 24th in 25:30as 7th W35. Julie Cruse made up the Wesham woman’s ‘A’ team, who finished 4th in Division 2 but sealed their bronze medals overall. Kath Hoyer was first counter for the Wesham ‘B’ team, finishing 11th W45 and 41st with 27:48. Kerry Eccles was 52nd in 29:34, completing her first cross country season in fine style, and Tracy Hulme came home 58th in 30:55 to place the women 6th in Division 3. Pauline Weller finished 65th in 34:35 after a great cross country season. The Wesham W35 and W45 teams both finished 4th, a commendable result. In the Men’s race over 10.2km Charlie Pass had another great run to seal his position as Wesham’s men’s champion again for 2007/8, finishing 13th today in 39:11 over the four-lap course. Behind him Gary Pendlebury and Alex Rowe battled out for the M50 honours, with Pendlebury the stronger finishing 33rd with 41:31 and securing the gold. Rowe put in a final bid on the final climb up the notorious ‘saucer’ but was still 7 seconds adrift as he came in 35th in 41:27 to take the M50 silver for the season. Wesham’s M50 men were to the fore, with Derek Buckley in 6th and 64th overall with 44:20 to secure the team victory for the day and for the whole season, and John Collier was 10th M50 and 73rd overall in 45:06. Alan Glasgow finished 11th M50 and 78th with 45:56. Russell Mabbett was Wesham’s next runner in 116th position with 50:07; Graham Vickers was 145th in 54:58; and John Sharples was 155th in 57:25. The Wesham ‘A’ team finished 5th in Division 1 with the ‘B’ team failing to score. The M40 team earned bronze medals for the season with a strong performance in Division 1. Levon Bates finished 19th in the U13 Fell End Clouds race in the Kendal Winter League fell series in a time of 8:54. His Dad Martin was 24th in the senior men’s 5-mile race in 38:34 in howling winds over hard ground, finishing 4th M50. The previous week in the Cautley Spout Race Martin had finished 39th over a gruelling course in the Howgills, clocking 42:53 for 7th M50. Levon ran 8:30 finishing 19th in the U12 race. Peter Waterman finished 4181 in the popular Reading Half Marathon in a time of 1:55:13 (1:47:31 chip time). Peter Waywell had an excellent run in the Barcelona Marathon in hot conditions, finishing 387th in 3:03:35. Peter Cruse was 958th in 3:16:02, and Simon Eaton was 4923rd in 4:07:36. Sarah Sherratt finished 8th woman and 53rd overall with a time of 60:19 in the Carding Mill Canter from Church Stretton in Shropshire on the Welsh borders, a 4-mile fell race with 1800’ ascent. There were 79 runners and the leading lady clocked 47:36. There was a fair turnout of Wesham runners at the Haweswater Half Marathon on an out-and-back course from Bampton Village Hall up the side of the lake. Steve Myerscough was the first Wesham finisher, 17th in 1:22:44. Dave Waywell was the leading M60 runner in 43rd position overall with 1:27:08. Michaela Dempsey had a great run finishing 15th woman and 5th W40 in 1:39:43, with Nigel Shepherd 172nd in 1:42:58. Kath Hoyer came in 24th woman and 11th W40 in 1:43:49, 181st overall. Lee Barlow had a great run in the Trimpell 20 on Sunday, running 2:02:36 to finish 10th behind the winning time of 1:52:15. George Kennedy ran well to come in 64th and 5th M50 in 2:19:56. Julie Cruse was 130th in 2:34:34, 7th W45, and Graham Vickers was 168th with 2:43:00, both training for marathons. Mike Walsh was superlative in his 2:46:37 M75 victory, well on course for the London Marathon, finishing 177th today. Jenny Salt was 208th in 2:53:37; Yvonne Russell kicked off her preparations for this year’s GB Ironman with 229th place and a clocking of 2:59:44, and Sue Fearon finished 275th with a determined 3:29:15. In the Catforth Canter 5k on Sunday Gary de Banke was the leading Wesham runner, as he finished a fine 10th in 18:47 for 2nd M45. John Sharples made short work of the course after the previous day’s cross country, running 21:41 for 26th place. Jonathan Lawson was 28th in 22:04; Reg Chapman was 40th in 24:02 for 3rd M60; John Howorth was 44th in 25:19 just ahead of Wesham’s first lady Pauline Weller who finished 45th and 2nd W50. John Whiteman was 4th M60 and 54th overall in 28:13

In 2013 nine years ago the cross country drew to its climax with the English Cross Country Championships held this year in the north at Herrington Park Sunderland. Runners were surprised by the worsening weather conditions as they travelled north and east and were greeted in Teesside by a thick blanket of snow, reminiscent of the Northern Athletics Championships in Knowsley Park last month. With an 8km two lap course the women were off after the junior age groups and the course was starting to get very muddy. Wesham had only two ladies running so were short of a team but retiring captain Tracey Hulme and regular stalwart Kath Hoyer flew the flag and paced 298th and 300th respectively with 45:01 and 45:11 for some great running. In the 3-lap 12km men’s course the going was very cold underfoot and very challenging with some tough conditions and some technical areas but there was some good ground and much determination. Rob Danson had a tremendous run finishing 145th in 47:22, just 6 minutes adrift of the leaders. Alex Rowe came in 414th with a strong finishing flourish to record 53:53 fading after a good second lap. Peter Gibson showed no fear to run 58:25 for a good 623rd place just ahead of John Collier who was 627th in 58:30. John Bertenshaw was pleased with his run to finish 863rd in 1:04:49, and Alan Glasgow closed off the team in 909th place with 1:06:40. Dave Waywell was 997th with 1:11:53, and the Wesham team placed 59th team, the first of the only two teams from Lancashire. On Sunday the Great North West Half Marathon attracted 1140 runners on a fresh morning but good for running up and down the Blackpool Promenade. Emma Lund finished 5th woman and first non-veteran in 155th place overall with a time of 1:30:12. Nicola Unsworth was 29th woman and 5th W50 in 1:38:29, 289th place overall. Carmel Sullivan was 53rd woman and 410th overall with 1:43:17, 5th W45.  Linzi Young was 315th woman in 1055th place overall in 2:24:00 and Claire Hardman 328th woman and 1078th with 2:28:04. For the men Troy Watson was 37th and 3rd M45 in 1:21:44, a good run.  Graham Cunliffe was 2nd M55 and 141st overall in 1:29:35. George Kennedy was 4th M55 and in 178th place with 1:31:47 with Nigel Shepherd 11th M50 and 205th in 1:34:08. Mick Edge on the comeback trail after back surgery was 348th and 22nd M50 in 1:41:10. Mike Walsh was given 1st M75+ with 2:10:26 in 933rd place overall. Joanna Goorney has been called up for the Lancashire team at the Inter Counties Cross Country Championships to be held in Birmingham’s Cofton Park on 9th March. This is her second Lancashire vest in two years. She finished 9th senior lady in the Lancashire Championships in January at Witton Park. It was a small but select group of runners that took on the Keswick Buttermere Round 35km a couple of weeks ago in glorious early spring sunshine and a warm day, with for once no risk of ice coming off in the shadow of the Honister Pass. Featuring some 1200 ft of climbing over Honister and Newlands Passes this is a tough race and this year only 52 runners took on the challenge. Wesham’s Steve Littler has the course record and several of the fastest times with wins on all bar one of his visits. On this occasion his record was not in jeopardy as the winning time was 2:24:27 some 20 minutes slower and only two runners beat 2hrs 30mins. Lee Barlow was tempted into running this race but was rewarded with 11th place and a time of 2:40:33 finishing 3rd M40. He had been running with the lead pack up to the top of Honister in third place but then he was challenged from behind and then ran out of steam coming off the Newlands Pass and then gradually dropped back several places. Simon Eaton was in 24th place with 2:54:41, 9th M40. Russell Mabbett had a solid run finishing 27th in 2:56:25 with a steady effort Sarah Sherratt finished 4th woman and 3rd W40 in Mr Sparkle’s Dark ‘Un, a night fell race from Tockholes up and over the Darwen Moors and down though the Roddlesworth woods on easy enough trails with 702ft climb over 5 miles. Mark Midgley was taking it easy after a long injury and he finished 29th in 44:20. The following day the Bleasdale Circle Fell Race was held over 5 miles again with 1250 ft of climb and offered a double event challenge. Sarah Sherratt and Mark Midgley were in action again, this time running together and finishing 41st and 42nd with 53:15 and 53:18 respectively. There were 4 Wesham runners in Saturday morning’s parkrun in Preston. Steve Myerscough ran 19:23 for a 69.91% age graded performance. Helen Lawrenson clocked 21:26 for 72.86%; Alan Taylor 61.29% in his first attempt with 22:57; and George Kennedy with 22:57 also for 66.96%.