Alex’s Newspaper Report.

Mark Belfield and Alek Walker start off with intent in the Mid Lancs Cross Country

Saturday saw much local excitement with the final meeting of the Mid Lancs Cross Country League for the 2021/22 season, and a mad scrabble for the final points for the overall competition over the six fixtures. Over the Senior Women’s’ 6km two-lap course in Burnley’s Towneley Park Kay Twist once again led the ladies finishing 3rd W50 and 28th overall in 25:42. Lucy Neighbour had a good run to place 53rd and 7th W40 in 28:52, with Clare Belfield 65th with 30:47 for 9th W35. Jo McCaffery was 13th W40 and 79th in 32:34. The Ladies were 11th team in Division 3 and in the W35 rank; and the W45 team were 12th in their team category. The Over-70s race held at the same time incorporated with the women is becoming a bigger event as the ranks swell with the “baby boomers”, where Dave Young placed 7th and 4th M70 in 30:48. Peter Bartlett was 10th in 38:25, and the team finished 3rd in the M70 league for the bronze medals. In the men’s 10k David Taylor was the star placing 26th in 36:54. Mark Belfield was a useful marker in 32nd place with 37:12, with Tom Crabtree 44th in 37:53, and Alek Walker 45th with 37:59. Lee Barlow came in 71st in 39:50 while Carl Groome performed a double with the parkrun for 82nd place and a time of 40:18. Steve Myerscough finished 100th in 42:00; Damian Ings 114th in 43:39; Nigel Shepherd and John Collier had a tussle for the finish in 128th and 129th with times one second apart in 45:30 and 45:31. James Danson placed 144th in 50:08; and Colin Gibson 154th in 53:00. The Wesham Senior Men have placed 3rd in Division 1, a great result for bronze Mid Lancs medals. The M40 men were 4th in the masters’ Division 1, with the M50 team 7th. The M60s also finished, adding a third team bronze to the club’s medal haul for the season.

Chris Hastwell was 53rd in the Trimpell 20 in his marathon preparation with a time of 2:23:42. Andrew Wilkinson finished 233rd in 3:21:03. In a different category John McDougall came in 9th in the multi-terrain Roddlesworth Roller from Abbey village with a time of 35:44 for 4th M45. It was a great women’s race with a close finish between Liz Proctor, Victoria Thompson, and Erica Booth 26th, 28th and 29th.

Martin Bates ran the Garstang Gallop 7-mile race and finished 35th and 1st M65 in 52:04. Steve Abbott was 8th in the second Longton 10k in 37:43 placing second M45. Steve Littler finished 4th M45 and 9th overall in the Dentdale 14.2-mile road race in a respectable 1:33:36.

There was a reduced number of Wesham members out running a 5km parkrun at 9am on Saturday morning, possibly because of the Mid Lancs cross country league match in the afternoon, but those that did get up early for a run spread themselves far and wide. At the Preston run in Avenham Park Steve Abbott ran 19:16 for an M45 age graded performance of 73.62%. In the Riverside parkrun in Chester-Le-Street Emma Brook clocked 28:39 for W35 53.05%, and Martin Bates was a First Timer in the Workington parkrun in Cumbria with 22:26 for M65 74.74%. Much further afield to the east of Edinburgh in the Portobello parkrun, Ian Nichols Hogg recorded 25:08 for a senior graded 51.46%, while north of Liverpool the Crosby parkrun runs on the Promenade on its two levels and includes a section on the beach running pas the iconic Iron Men, and Carl Groome ran 22:01 to achieve an M50 grade of 68.66%. Ryan Azzopardi returned 25:01 for M40 55.36%; Vicky Gore 26:34 for W45 60.35%; Sue Rigby ran 33:40 with an W45 48.61% grade; Elliot Costello saw 38:05 and senior a senior grade 33.92%; and Michelle Pitt clocked 41:12 for a W40 37.34% grade. On home ground in Lytham Hall Michelle Tickle recorded 24:02 for W45 68.10%; Peter Rooney 24:59 and an M60 grade 65.91%; Martin Allison 25:53 for M35 51.96%; and Emma Crabtree ran 29:46 and 49.72%. In the Blackpool run in Stanley Park Jonathan Lawson returned 22:27 for an M50 grade of 67.85%; Suzanne Leonard ran 24:13 for W50 70.06%; Stephen Browne 24:41 and an M55 62.80%; Rob Wallace clocked 25:52 and a senior age grade 49.87%; George Kennedy recorded 27:22 for M60 60.72%; and David Marsland ran 27:23 for M65 61.84%. On Fleetwood Promenade Steven Gore had a time of 21:22 for an M40 grade of 63.88%, and Sharon Cooper clocked 24:57 for W45 65.60%.

Eleven years ago, in 2011 the cross country season drew towards its close for the 2010-11 season with the British Masters Championships and the final league date which included the Mid Lancs at a new venue in Skelmersdale’s Beacon Park. At the British Masters Cross Country Championships Wesham’s Charlie Pass was amazed at the speed in which the M35-64 age group race set off on Saturday over the 4-lap 8km course in Birmingham’s Perry Park on a fine and dry afternoon. Looping behind the Alexander Stadium currently being refurbished for the USA Olympic Team in 2012 he gradually made some ground through the stampede and finished 6th M35 in 28:44, 32nd overall with the first 4 M50s and first M55 in front of him, such was the standard of this race ideally placed in the Midlands. Alex Rowe was disappointed with his run, finishing 15th M50 and 73rd overall in 30:22, a little too flat and fast for the ageing veteran. Preston’s Kevin Hesketh was 12th M55 in 31:05 for 86th place overall, and Marian Hesketh had finished 6th W55 and 72nd overall in 27:36 over the earlier 3-lap 6km race for all ladies and Over 65 men. At the final Mid Lancs fixture for this season over a new course in Beacon Park in Skelmersdale Joanna Goorney made light work of the 6km course to come home 10th and 5th W35 in 20:26. Sarah Sherratt had a magnificent run to finish 15th with 21:04, 7th W35. Helen Lawrenson was 36th in 23:51, 17th W35 to complete the women’s team, and Kerry Eccles was 11th W45 and 66th in 27:37. The women were 3rd in Division 1 but unfortunately bottom of the table overall thus they are demoted next season into Division 2. The W35 team finished 3rd and secure the 3rd place overall in Division 2 for the season, a great result. A depleted men’s team did their best with 7 runners, with John Collier leading the way to place 68th and 11th M50 in 34:17 for the 10km course. Gary Moore ran well to finish 100th and 22nd M50 with 36:25. Russell Mabbett was 113th in 37:37, 42nd M40. Mark Midgley was just behind with 37:44 for 115th place and 44th M40, Peter Bartlett was 7th M60 and 153rd in 42:00. Alistair Morris was 158th in 43:12 and Dave Young 173rd and 14th M60 in 48:54. The men’s team were 3rd in Division 2 which drops them to 3rd overall and just 2 points short of promotion back into Division 1. The M40 team have won Division 2 earning promotion for next season and the M50 team 5th on the day have placed 2nd overall. Steve Littler finished 2nd in this year’s Dentdale 14 Run amidst a trio of runners in costume, Manchester runners celebrating Altrincham’s Andy Norman’s 40th birthday. The race was won by Spiderman in 1:18:23 just ahead of Littler’s 1:18:30 with Clark Kent blowing his cover in his Superman guise followed by a medieval swordsman. Lee Barlow was 20th in 1:30:40, Steve Myerscough 32nd with 1:34:44, Michaela Dempsey 10th woman and 102nd in 1:47:22, 3rd W45, Graham Vickers 108th with 1:48:47, Simon Eaton 177th in 1:57:50, Chris Moss 178th in 1:57:53, Kath Hoyer 33rd, 5th W50 and 192nd with 1:59:23, and other Wesham runners not recorded. In the Blackpool Wyre & Fylde Spring 5km Gary Pendlebury made a comeback to competitive running with a very promising 18:12 for 5th place and 1st M55. Lee Barlow was cruising in 8th place with 18:29, and Alan Hudson returned to old stomping grounds and finished 1st M60 in 18:48 and 15th place overall. Martin Bates also made a welcome return and ran 19:34 for 18th place 1st M50. Graham Vickers was 30th with 20:50 and 3rd M50, and Peter Gleaves came in 32nd with 21:08 a good result on a breezy morning after several weeks of concentrated preparation. Helen Lawrenson was 5th woman and 1st W40 in 21:43, 37th overall, with Alan Taylor 38th in 21:52. Angela Colby was 2nd W40 and 7th woman with 22:24, 43rd overall. Kerry Eccles was 14th woman and 3rd W45 in 24:24, 61st overall, and Dave Jones was 72nd in 27:49. Lisa Tomlinson was 76th and 4th W3517th woman, Bill Newhill was 84th and 5th M70 in 34:32. In the 5.5-mile Roddleworth Roller Chris Whitlock finished 35th on a beautiful morning for running, clocking 41:24 for the up and down course. Shaun Turner was 75th with 46:09, and John Howorth 4th M55 and 103rd with 49:47. Sue Jones finished 69th woman and 198th overall with 61:53. Graham Cunliffe ran in the Burnley 10km and finished 50th in 45:14 as he regains his fitness, placing 5th M50. In the revised Twin Piers Half Marathon from St Anne’s Pier to Lytham Windmill and up to Blackpool Central Pier and back there were a few hardy Wesham souls on a bitter but bright morning. Troy Watson put the sheen on his marathon preparation with 1:21:28 for 3rd place and 1st M40. Emma Lund was 46th in 1:35:23 and Paul Carter 226th in 2:34:16. Nigel Shepherd took on the hilly two lap Spen 20 race in Yorkshire and finished 187th in 2:55:17. John Bertenshaw acted as pacemaker in the high-quality Trafford 10k, finishing 310th and 19th M50 in 45:47, with Tracey Hulme 311th in 45:48, 9th W45.

In 2015 it had been a busier week with the longer days and better weather approaching and the feel of spring in the air. The Sweatshop 10 Mile road race moved house from St Annes where it has been in action since 1992 to Bispham; still based on a Fire Service station as it hosts their championship the event retained a seafront course using a two-lap route starting out along the scenic North Shore cliffs and returning along the Lower Walk to Anchorsholme the race retained its popularity with over 350 entrants and 274 finishers. Hosting the Lancashire AA and Northern Masters championships this was a well patronised event, and Wesham had 7 women and 13 men, not as many as in previous years in Fylde borough but still a good team. The Wesham women won the team event and also Lancashire Senior and Masters’ teams; Helen Lawrenson was first home in 10th place in the women’s race and 97th overall in 73:55, placing 3rd W45 and winning that age category for Lancashire. Nicola Unsworth was second in the team in 12th place and 100th overall in 74:49, 2nd W40. Kath Hoyer completed the team in 20th place, 124th overall in 78:29, 4th W55 and the only Wesham member to also enter the Northern Masters Championship where she finished 4th and 3rd W55 in a challenging age group. Sara Ward was 22nd and 164th in 1:23:04; Elizabeth Jones was 34th and 165th overall with 1:23:04; and Diane Blagden was 49th and 198th in 1:28:51. The men finished 5th team overall with a weaker squad against Preston Harriers and Lancaster University and finished 5th team overall but 3rd in the Lancashire Championships. Lee Barlow headed the team in 15th place coming in 2nd M40 but winning the age category for Lancashire with a time of 60:24. Garry Barnett was 29th and 5th M45 in 63:13, a great performance from him, and David Taylor shone again with 33rd place in 63:56 as he comes on in leaps and bounds. Elliot Costello was 76th in 70:39, another good performance, and Jason Blagden finished 91st and 13th M40 in 72:48. Chris Moss was 93rd and 12th M50 as he continues to find a new stride clocking 72:59. Sean Murray was 107th in 76:11; Brian Jones 112th and 15th M50 with 76:53; Ben Wrigley finished 126th with 78:45; Peter Cooke was 193rd and 11th M55 in 1:28:24 a good long distance run after some time struggling with his back; Graham Vickers finished 212th and 14th M55 in his first major race since recovering from major illness last year to run 1:30:57, a fantastic effort. Dave Young came in 228th and 7th M65 with 1:36:07 and Alistair Morris was 234th in 1:37:17. Wesham took an M55 team to the British Masters Cross Country Championships in Ruthin in Denbighshire on Saturday. Over a gooey 3-lap 8km course on farmland Alex Rowe finished 7th M55 and 50th overall in 33:31. John Collier was 10th M60 in a strong age category, placing 95th overall in 36:52. Alan Glasgow finished 27th M60 and 131st overall in 41:50. Their team position is not yet known but their combined time of 1:52:03 was 3mins 15secs behind the 3rd placed team. Steve Myerscough finished 31st in the Dentdale 14-mile road race on Saturday in his run up to the London Marathon recording 1:32:46 coming in 11th M40. Paul Gregory returned to action in 51st place in a time of 1:37:29. Rob Danson was 86th with 1:42:46. Mick Edge ran the latest event in the Podium 5k series at Barrowfield at Nelson running the ‘B’ race in 19:54 finishing 20th, his first run under 20 minutes in some time. Carmel Sullivan came 82nd in the tough Spen 20 race in Yorkshire running 2:30:33 over the two-lap figure of eight course, placing 1st W45 and 9th woman.