Alex’s Newspaper Report.

Maureen Danson strides out in the Curleys 5km Trail run at Horwich.

The final three days of March brought much colder and windier weather and saw out Wesham’s final virtual Challenge of the West Highland Way with the final miles bringing the total for the month on this endeavour to a staggering 4985.36 miles between 49 members. The basic challenge was the 96 miles from Milngavie in north-east Glasgow to Fort William across moderate moorland largely snaking between the big peaks, but three of these completed the return leg and all or most of a third lap back to the finish. Steve Myerscough completed 311.96 miles in total, taking him through Fort William for a second time and back to Kingshouse at the start of Stage 6. Nigel Shepherd was most of the way to Fort William for his second visit having just passed Steve Myerscough who had just descended from the Devil’s Staircase into Altnafeadh having run 270.79 miles. Michelle Tickle had just left Inveroran on Stage 5 and had ascended onto Rannoch Moor the most desolate section of the whole route. Finishing on the last day of the month Emma Wright, Helen Lawrenson, Sharlan Butcher,  Emma Davies, Tony Leach and Phil Leaver were resting up in Fort William while Sue Hopcroft, Sue Coulthurst, Anne Berry, They joined Martin Allison, Helen Greenhalgh, James Green, Kerry Eccles, John Burns, Peter Rooney, Tanya Shaw, Paul Eccles, Karen Cook, Stephen Twist, Liz Beth, Emma Louise, Dave Young, Troy Watson, Neil Tate, Pauline Eccleston, Chris Moss, Robert Danson and Peter Cooke who had all completed between the 19th and 30th of March at the hallowed finish line beside Loch Eil in the shadow of Ben Nevis and the encircling mountains with a dusting of snow still visible. Tom Crabtree, Stuart Clayton, Martin Bates and James Green had all gone on to run some extra miles and were spread across the return stages having made a significant dent on the route back to Mingavie.

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Alex’s Newspaper Report.

Wrap up warm, it’s cold out there, as David Taylor shows in 2018 in the Bispham 10

The end of March has seen a bite to the start of spring with further cold weather and biting winds and a couple of stormy spells, but Wesham members ploughed on with the March Virtual Challenge and the Virtual Bingo, both welcome and innovative ideas to provide a basis for training. Members were rewarded at the start of this week with a return to club training nights as outdoor restrictions were lifted slightly to allow a brief gathering back at HQ in the grounds of Kirkham and Wesham Cricket Club and a run in socially distanced groups of six as daylight returned to the evenings. Wednesday structured sessions will restart in two weeks’ time.

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Alex’s Newspaper Report.

John Collier gives it everything in the final Mid Lancs fixture in Ulverston in 2018

Wesham members were ploughing on with the March Virtual Challenge and the weekly bingo as they gear up to return to some form of limited club training on Monday. There were 12 members who completed the Virtual West Highland Way all the eight stages from northern Glasgow to Fort William, and two members having run all the way back with a third with just a bit over the distance of the final (Stage 1 on the outward journey) left to do. Steve Myerscough had returned to Milngavie from Fort William (192 miles in two weeks) and overrun by 17.67 miles with a long run on the Sunday. Nigel Shepherd finished early Sunday morning with a 4-mile warm-down. Michelle Tickle was 16 miles from completing the return journey having come off Conic Hill on her way back to Drymen. Tom Crabtree was just approaching Tyndrum on his return journey, the start of Stage 5 on the outward journey, and Martin Bates was at Kingshouse about to start Stage 6 in reverse. Stuart Clayton was descending off the moor to Kinlochleven just a mile ahead of James Green, with Robert Danson 3 miles further back on Rannoch Moor. Martin Allison was four miles out of Fort William up in Glen Nevis having just started back, with Sue Hopcroft, Sue Coulthurst and Kerry Eccles enjoying the sights of a quiet Fort William, Sue H having been in town since Wednesday. Approaching the end of the 96-mile trek Paul Eccles was 10 miles out at Lairigmor above the River Kiachnish on the final stage while Peter Rooney and Karen Cook were close together in the same valley the right side of Kinlochleven with ten miles to go. Tanya Shaw, John Burns, Anne Berry, Liz Beth, and Mark Renshall were all within the environs of Kinlochleven making good progress with 12 to 15 miles to go.

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Alex’s Newspaper Report.

Andrew Harling braves the Mini Beast from the East along Bispham cliff top in 2018

It is becoming a busy month for Wesham members, with the West Highland Way Virtual Challenge covering the 96-mile route from Milngavie in north east Glasgow to Fort William, the monthly handicap that took place last week, and also a weekly bingo card challenge that commenced on 8th March with three items on the card to be completed each week to include a faster paced run to prepare for a return to competition in the summer. The activities last week were a 5k tempo run, 45 minutes running, and a 10k distance. Fifteen members made an entry, where Dave Young clocked 28:04 for his 5km, ran 5 miles in 45 minutes, and 56:55 for his 10k. Martin Bates recorded 27:05; 4.23 miles; and 53:07 for his 10k. John Burns ran 24:11 for 5km; 5.59 miles; and 50:12 for 10k. Michele Tickle recorded 26:58; 5.29 miles; and 53:03 10k. Robert Danson had 27:23 for 5k; 46:43 for his 45 minutes; and 57:17 for 10k. other not completing all three squares were Stephen Twist (4.8 miles in 45 minutes and 55:44 for 10k); Sue Hopcroft 38:34 5km and 2.94 miles in 45; Martin Bates a second card with 27:04 for 5k and 53:03 for 10k; Dawn Biggs 30:11 5k and 4.13 miles in 45 minutes; Pauline Eccleston 4.75 miles in 45 and 59:52 10k; Alek Walker a 46:06 10k; Troy Watson and Karen Cooke both 26:22 for 5km. the bingo challenge continues for the next two weeks (March 15th and 22nd).

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Alex’s Newspaper Report.

Sally Deacon with a cheery wave and a reminder of the arrival of sprin

Last week Wesham members travelled virtually straight from Northumberland to the Highlands of Scotland north of Glasgow to start the 96-mile trek throughout March to Fort William over the West Highland Way. In eight stages, split into individual days Milngavie to Drymen (12 miles), Rowardennan (15 miles), Inverarnan (14), Tyndrum (12), Inveroran (9), Kingshouse (10), Kinlochleven (9), and Fort William (15) this is achievable in little over a week, but Nigel Shepherd forged ahead and reached the finish in just seven days with a massive 22-mile effort on the Sunday. Steve Myerscough was lying second just short of the end of the sixth stage approaching Kinghouse where he pitched up in a camping hut for the night at 74 miles. Michelle Tickle was third at 59.24 miles coming up to Inveroran coming down the iconic Allt Kinglass gorge opposite the Highland Ski Centre. Mark Renshall had covered 52 miles and completed the fourth stage and over halfway in Tyndrum. Martin Bates was showing his strength and clocked up 50 miles just behind having just left the banks of the River Fillan from Crianlarich and passing The Lochan (The Legend of the Lost Sword). Tom Crabtree was five miles down the valley at 45.37 miles although just descending the mountainside, while Martin Allison was going well a further five miles back coming over the shoulder of the mountain coming out of the Falloch valley. Kerry Eccles was making excellent progress with 35.5 miles clocked up and about to gain Inverarnan at the end of the third stage having just revelled in the views along the sides of Scotland’s most famous stretch of water, Loch Lomond. Robert Danson was in sight just behind at 35.2 miles, with Liz Beth a mile further back at 34.27 enjoying the Loch in fair conditions. There were many members traversing the third stage from Rowardennan to Inverarnan, with James Green at 33.15; Paul Eccles 32.74; Dave Young 32.26; Helen Lawrenson 32.12; Sue Coulthurst 30.46; Carl Groome 31.51; Maureen Danson 29.27; Sue Hopcroft 28.99; Tanya Shaw 28.30; and Sharlan Butcher at 28.20.

Back at home the March Virtual handicap took place from Dowbridge in Kirkham over the undulating 4.9-mile route down Spen Lane and through Treales. There were 23 members who took part over a course of their own choice or the actual Treales route, individually and only in socially distanced pairs or alone, with Troy Watson coming home first in 47:13 (actual time 38:13). Nigel Shepherd was second in 48:00 (37:00), and Peter Rooney third with 49:28 (38:28). Julie Paton was first woman and fourth overall in 51:30 (44:30), and Karen Cook second in 53:24 (44:24). Michelle Tickle was third with 53:46 (38:46); Pauline Eccleston fourth in 53:53 (47:53); and Julie Kinsey fifth in 54:01 (44:01). Dave Young placed fifth overall with 53:21 (42:21); Finlay McCalman 7th in 53:44 (41:44); Rob Wallace 9th with 53:50 (34:50); John Burns 11th in 54:01 (39:01); Robert Danson 13th 54:14 (42:14); Kerry Eccles 14th 54:19 (49:19); Martin Bates 15th 54:20 (39:20); James Birchall 16th 54:38 (49:38); Alek Walker 17th 54:47 (33:47); Ben Wrigley 18th 54:50 (46:50); Alan Hudson 19th 54:59 (36:59); Paul Eccles 20th 55:02 (37:02); Andy Moore 21st 55:16 (50:16); Lee Barlow 22nd 56:47 (33:47); Colin Smy 23th 57:48 (48:48).

Wesham is gearing up to return to club nights outdoors from March 29th, with arrangements probably following those used last summer during the brief reduction in the pandemic restrictions. It is still early days and numbers will be restricted and the length of time it will be possible to spend together, as well as travelling arrangements. However, at least it will be possible to gather socially distanced for a brief talk and then training in small groups, and to be outdoors sharing training. Licenses for competitive events are being issued for April, and one of the first events is a masters’ cross country being arranged in Wotton-under-Edge in Gloucestershire. The athletics fixture calendar for further into the year is being compiled and again masters are rising to the fore with plans for a festival of athletics in Gloucester in November. This is one week after the planned Masters’ Cross Country International in Dublin, and cross country relays at the end of October. The British Masters 10k road race on 18th April in Grangemouth is unlikely to go ahead and a new date is anticipated but plans for the Road Relays in September are likely to be shelved with efforts to focus on a top-quality return to Sutton Park in May 2022. The Northern Masters are anticipating their half marathon in Lancaster in August and 10k in September, with 5,000m in July and 10,000m in October. In terms of track and field a series of regional masters’ events are being put together for May and June with national competition likely in August. There are no European or World Masters competitions this year although the mountain running (in Telfes in September) is likely to go ahead. The Northern Athletics 6- and 4-Stage Road Relays are scheduled for September 19th, which is also the weekend currently selected for the Northern Masters Track and Field Championships.

It was another bumper week on the Wesham members Strava training leader-board, and Steve Myerscough regained the top spot with a total mileage of 74.2 miles run in a cumulative time of 10:17:07, bob on his average pace per mile of 8:19 as he chugged along over the uplands to place second on the West Highland Way and nearly in sight of Loch Eil on his way to a well-deserved wee dram in Fort William. Daniel Shaw was relegated to second place with his regular 63.1 miles accomplished in 7:40:29. Rob Danson has his sights on the opening up of athletic competition with 62.8 miles in 6:42:58 as he takes up the men’s captaincy at Wesham. Ugis Datavs is keeping focused on the possibility of some ultra-endurance events this year as he kept his focus up with 60 miles run in 7:13:00, and Mark Renshall was fifth on the list with 52.1 miles in 7:34:47. On the women’s leader-board Tess Robinson headed the list with 40 miles completed in 4:46:40, with Sue Coulthurst second with 38.5 miles in 5:53:34. Kerry Eccles, both administering and relishing the Wesham long-distance themed virtual monthly challenge was storming along the West Highland Way to come in third with 35.5 miles run in a time of 5:58:33, continuing to exceed her previous personal records for distances run. Helen Lawrenson placed fourth with 32.1 miles in 4:45:41, very dependent on shift work patterns, and Michelle Tickle had 31 miles in 4:33:50 although also clocked 59.24 on the West Highland Way. Mark Belfield placed sixth overall on the list with 50 miles in 6:05:00; Tom Crabtree 44.3 miles in 5:25:36; Steve Swarbrick 40.4 miles in 5:25:54; Rob Wallace 40 miles as he prepares for some long-distance events in 5:35:20; and Simon Denye 10th with 40 miles in 5:19:20. Helen Greenhalgh was sixth woman over 29.8 miles in 6:13:59; Debbie Myerscough 27.2 miles in 4:42:52; and Tanya Shaw with 25 miles in 3:32:05. On the mountains Steve Swarbrick had the steepest elevation gain with 3289ft uphill with Helen Greenhalgh on 2914ft over 29.8 miles. Neil Gregson was third overall at 2218ft over 36.7 miles in 5:07:03 and Daniel Shaw fourth at 2101ft. Helen Lawrenson was fifth overall and second woman climbing 2093ft over 32.1 miles and Michelle Tickle was third over the Highlands with 1331ft ascent. Sue Coulthurst was fourth with 1259ft and Tanya Shaw fifth over 771ft. Paul Eccles was fourth male up 1827ft over 24.4 miles in 3:39:36 and Stuart Clayton fifth with 1706ft across 32.4 miles in 4:33:14. Rob Danson had the fastest average pace over the week at 6:25 per mile with Garry Barnett second again at a swift 6:38 pace over 22 miles in 2:25:56. Alek Walker was third with 6:53 over 4.9 miles in 33:44 with James Green fourth at 7:01 per mile for 33.1 miles in 3:52:15. Jason Parkinson came in fifth with 7:07 for 3.9 miles in 27:45. Fastest female was Tess Robinson with a fine 7:10 per mile for her 40 miles with Emma Lund second again at 8:01 pace for 9.3 miles in 1:14:33. Suzanne Leonard was third clocking 8:15 for 8.3 miles in 1:08:29. Tanya Shaw was fourth at 8:29 per mile and Michelle Tickle fifth with 8:50 pace including the significant uphill mileage.

Sixteen years ago in 2005 at the final fixture of the season the Wesham men’s cross-country team earned their promotion back into Division 1 in the Mid Lancs League, and Steve Littler strode into the record books by winning the Dentdale 14 for the third consecutive year. There was a poor turnout at the Mid-Lancs final fixture in Fitz Park, Keswick, as several local athletes were in Northern Ireland for the British Masters Cross Country Championships, and so Charlie Pass was able to steal third place for Wesham to give the team a head start. John Collier was 2nd counter in 36th position, with Dave Waywell struggling to recover from a virus coming in 41st. John and Dave were 3rd and 4th Over-50s, securing Wesham the M50 team victory. John Bertenshaw was 4th scorer in 47th place, followed by Arthur Swarbrick sealing the Over-50 victory in 65th and Brian Porter delighted to be in the ‘A’ team finishing 79th. Wesham had no ‘B’ team on this occasion, and so will remain in Division 3. The Vet-40 team finish 3rd in Division 1. The Wesham women did not have a team, with only the faithful Pat Swarbrick and Marie Wyld turning out. The women finish 4th over the season in Division 2. Men’s results: 3. Charlie Pass 38:43, 36. John Collier MV50 44:24, 41. Dave Waywell MV60 45:04, 47. John Bertenshaw MV40 46:01, 65. Arthur Swarbrick MV50 47:19, 79. Brian Porter MV40 49:42, 81. Phil Leaver MV50 49:59, 85. Graham Vickers MV40 50:19, 95. Jonathan Lawson 51:45. Women’s results: 46. Pat Swarbrick WV45 37:04, 49. Marie Wyld WV45 38:00.

Steve Littler led a field of 351 runners through the isolated valley of the Dent in the Yorkshire Dales to win the 14-mile race for the third year in a row in 1:19:46. He was 4 minutes clear of second-placed veteran Peter Banks. Steve’s win guarantees him a spring holiday in the area next year. Peter Cruse finished 14th in 1:30:09, Martin Bates came in 37th in 1:36:38, Steve Myerscough ran 1:38:57 for 53rd, Derek Goodenough finished 176th in 1:56:15, and George Kennedy opted for an easy run to complete the course in 2:00:09 in 205th place. Michaela Dempsey finished 7th woman (90th overall) with a fine 1:47:32, 4th Over-35. In Bangor’s Castle Park in Northern Ireland, Alex Rowe was the only Fylde veteran to compete in this year’s British Masters Cross Country Championships, held overseas for the first time in its 40-year history. Despite this, there was a strong English presence, including teams from Clayton-le-Moors. Alex struggled with fatigue and the aftereffects of a recent virus, finishing 10th Over-45 and 28th overall over a typically tough 4-lap 10k course through wooded parkland. Roy Pickles was the first Wesham man across the line in the Stanley Park 10k on Sunday. Roy was 29th in 40:12, a fine result. The two Grahams, Ingham and Vickers were the next in with 41:27 and 41:53 in 41st and 45th respectively, and Peter Gleaves recorded an excellent 42:13 to finish 53rd. Kath Hoyer returned to the scene following her nasty fall in the Radcliffe Trail Race to finish 12th woman and 1st Over-45 with a delicate 47:50 on the twisting course. Mandy Ingham (143rd in 50:42) and Catherine Newton (225th with 58:24) completed the women’s team. Further afield, an all-veteran squad tackled the 5.5-mile Roddleworth Roller, an all-terrain scramble though woodland around the reservoirs north of Abbey Village. Dave Waywell was the first Wesham runner home, finishing 1st Over-60 in 37:25 (26th overall). Neil Tattersall broke the course record on an excellent day for racing. Dave Preston was next in with 46:24 for 110th place, and Dougie Brown was 2nd Over-65 in 47:08 (114th overall). Julie Murphy was 6th Over-40 woman in 52:33. John Howorth finished 116th in 47:14 and John Whiteman 168th in 55:08.

In 2019 two years ago pre-pandemic Rob Danson was selected for the Inter-Counties Cross Country in Prestwold Hall in Loughborough after his excellent performance in the Lancashire Championships on 6th January. He finished 6th in the Lancashire Senior Men’s team and placed 70th overall in 35:34 for the 6 miles. Lancashire won the 9-man team. Steve Littler was 2nd behind Nick Leigh of Horwich with 1:23:18 just 8 seconds adrift in the 14-mile Dentdale run in the Howgills. Many-time winner of this race this result also won him the M45 age category. Steve Myerscoough in marathon training and recovering from injury finished 48th and 12th M45 in 1:46:31. There were 283 runners in this race. Simon Denye finished 210th in the top-quality Trafford 10k, running 38:54 for 9th M45. Despite the difficult wet and windy conditions, the first 4 finishers still broke 30 minutes on this fast single loop course near Carrington. In a new race at New Longton south west of Preston there were three Wesham finishers. Lee Nixon was an excellent 23rd with 41:49. Finlay McCalman finished 101st and 10th M50 with a rounded 54:00. Lucy Neighbour was 34th woman and 10th W35 in 56:40 and 122nd overall. In the now historic Roddlesworth Roller trail run around the reservoirs south of Abbey Village on a 9km (5.6-mile loop) Garry Barnett finished 26th and 3rd M50 in 39:30. Kath Hoyer was 14th woman and 2nd W55 in 48:17 and Dave Waywell placed 4th M70 after last year’s 2nd with 58:59, 16 seconds faster than 2018. Debbie Myercough warmed up for the trails and fells with 64:29 for 81st female position and 233rd overall, 12th W55. Conditions were wet and windy for parkrunning last Saturday morning, but Wesham members were able to get out as usual either to their local park or further afield. There was just one member out in Avenham Park in Preston, Robert Brown, who ran 26:40 for an M60 age graded performance of 60.69%. Some way down south in Winchester Martin Allison clocked 24:29 with an M35 grade of 53.85% and Jo McCaffery 29:40 for W40 51.85%. At Sherwood Pines north east of Mansfield Darren Gray recorded 27:19 for an M40 grade of 50.34% and Ann Knowles ran 36:39 for W45 44.66%. Back at home at Lytham Hall Jonathan Lawson was the fastest Wesham member of the day with 22:05 for an M50 grade of 67.32%. Ben Wrigley ran a good 22:16 just 10 seconds short of his best for M35 60.40% and Sharon Cooper clocked 23:46 for W45 66.83%. Colin Smy ran 26:37 with M35 50.91%; Graham Cunliffe kicked off a double 5km with 26:53 for M60 60.69%; and James Birchall ran 27:17 for 47.40% and Emma Davies 27:28 for 53.88%. Keith Wilding ran 30:17 pace-making 30:17 with an M60 grade 53.44%; John Sharples 30:21 on his 3rd parkrun with M60 54.75% and Phil Leaver 30:23 with M65 55.18%. In the Lancaster parkrun in Williamson Park Carl Groome ran 24:01 on his return from injury for M50 61;42% and Sue Rigby 36:52 with W45 43.08%. In Blackpool’s Stanley Park Helen Lawrenson ran the fastest women’s time of the day with 22:16 for W45 74.40%. Dave Marsland had an M60 performance of 71.39% with a time of 23:04; James Mulvany popped back to his home grounds and ran with his son to clock a swift 24:12 for M40 56.82%. Finlay McCalman ran 26:08 for M50 58.29% and Tanya Barlow 28:07 for W45 57.62%. Along Fleetwood Promenade Peter Cruse was 9th fastest of the day with 24:44 for M55 62.67% and Suzanne Leonard 11th with 24:48 for W45 65.99. George Kennedy also clocked 24:48 with an M60 grade 65.26%. Further afield again the parkrun tourists visited the inaugural run at Centre Vale in Todmorden. David Taylor was 2nd fastest of the morning with a good 18:41 for a graded performance of 69.58%. Vicky Gore ran 27:56 for W40 55.91%; and Steven Gore 27:57 (M35 47.76%).

Alex’s Newspaper Report.

Gemma Owen was running well again in 2018

The last week saw the fourth and final week of the Wesham February Virtual Challenge to run the 84.5 miles of Hadrian’s Wall from Wallsend in Newcastle to Bowness-on-Solway west of Carlisle. In the final tally 54 members had embarked on the journey, 38 had started on the return journey with 10 members making the full 169 miles back through Newcastle, with three going on for a third point-to-point to make it back to the Solway!  Michelle Tickle, Nigel Shepherd and Steve Myerscough completed the 253.4 miles of the triple with the latter carrying on for a mile warm-down. All told the 54 members had clocked up 5612.99 miles over the 28 days. Helen Lawrenson, Peter Rooney, Carl Groome and Pauline Eccleston all finished their double distance on Saturday, joined by Mark Renshall, Tom Crabtree and Neil Tate on the Sunday for a well earned socially distanced virtual celebration in Wallsend before conceptually heading for home. James Green was at Low Brunton after 139.89 miles; Peter Cooke taking in some summer sun at Walwick Hall (137.28 miles); Robert Danson had reached Milecastle 32 at Carraw for the second time (133.40); Kerry Eccles at Milecastle 36 at King’s Wicket on the crags with 129.83 miles completed; Tanya Shaw at Turret 43a at Cockmount Hill (122.91); Steven Gore had reached 212.51 miles at Milecastle 45 on Walltown Crags; Karen Cook on 112.53 miles at Gillard Croft Primary school; Phil Leaver on 110.95 miles at Milecastle 49 at Harrow’s Scar; Stephen Twist with 110.30 miles at the Dovecote Bridge along the King Water riverside; Tony Leach at Cambeckhill with 108.58; John Burns at Wall Head White Moss at 104.87 miles; Maureen Danson at the Croft in Linstock at 101.26 miles; Paul Eccles on 100.93 miles at East Capels Plantation; Dave Young crossing the Memorial Bridge at Stony Holme on 99.6 miles; Troy Watson parked up at Burgh by Sands Village Hall at 91.92 miles and Emma Wright coming along past Dykesfield on the coast road on 90.57 miles. Content to just go the one way Emma Davies was nearly there at Walker House in Drumburgh, with Martin Allison, Jason Parkinson, Anne Berry, Julies Paton and Rooney, Liz Beth, Chris Moss, Neil Whipp, Emma Louise, Kay Twist Neil Whipp, Sue Hopcroft and Chris Haines joined by Michelle, Nigel and Steve all enjoying a well-deserved conceptual socially distanced ice cream in the main village street in Bowness as there is no shop nor any facilities and the Kings Arms was closed.

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