Wesham members were getting stuck into the club challenge for November, to complete a 5k, 10k and 5-mile run by the 26th of the month with the 5-miler also being a “negative split” run picking up the pace in the final mile to make this the fastest of the run. These will all be compiled from Strava into a final set of results and there will a draw for a Wesham goody bag. With no competitions allowable and all training sessions and meetings on hold during the lockdown this challenge is a great way to hold the club together and keep members involved and in touch with each other.
Wesham’s next challenge during December for club members could be a festive 12 days of Christmas, an individual run each day in kilometres or miles stating at 1 and building up to 12, spread over the 24 days leading up to Christmas Eve and allowing for rest days as the mileage starts to build up.
Competition and club training are off the athletics calendar but there is now hope and expectation of a return to action in the new year, and although international cross country events have been cancelled there is hope that the English National will go ahead at the end of February and the final in the UK Athletics Cross Challenge, and the English Relays later in the year. There is an expectation that some domestic indoor competitions will be allowed in the spring although these may well still be without spectators or supporters. It is expected that the Olympics will go ahead next summer in Japan and there will be some qualifying events to stage, particularly a marathon in the spring, and the possibility that some of these will be televised.
While Wesham have had to cancel their winter club handicap events for both November and December they are running a triple virtual challenge through the month at 5km, 5-mile and 10k distances, with awards to be made at the end. Several members have already started submitting their results over measured courses of their choosing so the final listings will be welcomed.
Wesham staged a virtual 5-mile challenge for members last week, to be run on a safe course of each runner’s choice, and sixteen members took part. Rob Danson posted the fastest time, an impressive 26:08 to surge ahead relatively of second placed Garry Barnett who recorded 32:33. Alek Walker was third with 32:38 close behind Garry, and Carl Groome was fourth ranked with 37:22 as he continues to regain his running strength after his ankle operation. Alan Hudson was fifth and well-placed as an Over-70 with his time of 38:49. John Burns placed sixth with 39:16, and Tanya Shaw came in as first woman and seventh overall clocking 39:58. Stuart Topping as socially distanced coach provided the pace coming equal placed with the same time 39:58. Peter Rooney posted 41:20 for ninth fastest time with Robert Danson tenth with 41:55. Completing the family trio Maureen Danson was second woman and eleventh overall with 44:16 in tandem with Sharon Cooper for third woman. Anne Berry was next in line with her time of 46:13 together with Kerry Eccles. Dawn Biggs was sixth woman and fifteenth overall in 51:19 and Sharlan Butcher seventh and sixteenth in 51:30.
As the country pegs down deeper into the escalating pandemic as the new three-tiered system came into force there was no athletics in the North West for our local clubs although there are a few races taking place in Cheshire this weekend. The inclement autumnal weather also made training a challenge although Wesham members managed to keep their motivation and keep active. This week there is a club 5-mile virtual challenge run and the second winter monthly handicap on Sunday.
In the last fortnight the challenge for Wesham members was a virtual 10k race with each member choosing a 6.2-mile course of their own and declaring their result. Rob Danson ran the fastest time with a time of 33:31. Trying to achieve an optimum race pace in a solo run is a real challenge. Chris Hastwell was second fastest with 36:18, and Stuart Topping third in 43:06. Tanya Shaw was the quickest woman as she refines her training and put in the effort for 51:38. Second woman was Maureen Danson with 57:18, and third on the clock was Dawn Biggs with 59:40, with Sharlan Butcher five seconds behind in 59:45. Jason Parkinson was fourth overall in 44:27; Carl Groome returning to running after his ankle operation and also 900 miles cycling from Land’s End to John O’Groats with 45:43 for the 10k. Tony Leach was sixth in 46:25; 70-year old Alan Hudson next in with 47:32; and sexagenarian John Burns eight in 48:24. Ryan Azzopardi ran 49:24 for ninth; Martin Allison 50:49 in 10th rank; Dave Young the second Over-70 12th with 55:41; Peter Rooney 13th in 55:52; Robert Danson 14th with 56:17; Stephen Twist 15th in 57:10 with Claire Marie coming in fifth woman in 59:49. James Birchall was 20th in 1:01:10; Phil Leaver Over-65 21st with 1:03:00; Pauline Eccleston sixth woman in1:03:30; Troy Watson and Karen Cook 23rd overall with 1:04:52 in a social bubble; Peter Cooke 25th with 1:05:31; Steve Myerscough taking it very easy with 1:08:46; and Tanya Barlow, Kerry Eccles and Julie Rooney in a socially distanced group run for 1:14:24 apiece.
In a week that saw increased levels of pandemic in the North West region and higher levels of lockdown imposed again it was a further withdrawal of athletic activity, against a backdrop of some fine global performances and the publication of the first issue of Athletics Weekly since March, albeit as a monthly edition. In Valencia Ethiopan Letesenbet Gidey broke the women’s 5,000m world record in 14:06:62 and Ugandan Joshua Cheptegei set a new men’s world 10,000m mark with 26:11:00. Days later world 1500m and 10,000m champion Sifan Hussan beat Paula Radcliffe’s 18-year-old 10,000m record and set a new European record with 29:36.67 in torrential conditions in Hengelo. Nearer home a new British record was set for the 68-mile Bob Graham Round in the Lake District as Ambleside man George Foster set the second-fastest time ever with 13hrs 44mins.