Alex’s Newspaper Report.

Remember last January? Stuart Clayton in the Inskip Half Marathon

As the country locked down in both terms of the pandemic restrictions and the post-New Year blues, the actual Blues (Wesham Road Runners) were all action with the January Move Every Day (MED) Virtual Challenge, and a resumption of the Virtual Monthly Handicap. The latter saw 22 members take on the 4.9-mile event either on the actual course through Treales for those local, although this route is currently flooded again along Spen Lane, or an equivalent distance to the runner’s personal choice. In this month’s run, being the first of the year and a return to a virtual event was not handicapped but used to provide the weightings for February’s run.  Thus, on actual time run Lee Barlow ran the fastest time of 53:13. Alan Hudson was second with in 37:20, an excellent run for the over-70-year-old. Nigel Shepherd placed third in 37:29 with Paul Eccles fourth with 37:38. Rob Wallace was fifth in 37:49 with Peter Rooney sixth in 41:15. Michelle Tickle was first woman in 7th place overall in 41:59; Claire-Marie Axel second with 45:14 (11th overall).  Julie Kinsey was third woman (12th overall) in 45:36, and Karen Cook was fourth woman and 14th in 47:03. Pauline Eccleston was fifth and 15th overall in 47:48. Robert Danson was eight in 43:30; Sean Murray ninth with 43:40; Dave Young 10th in 45:10; Troy Watson 11th in 47:03; Phil Leaver 16th with 47:58; Andy Moore was 18th in 49:16; Kerry Eccles sixth woman and 19th in 49:57; Liz Sharrocks seventh and 18th with 52:05; Dawn Biggs eight and 21st in 53:50; and Sharlan Butcher ninth 22nd with 54:11. This was a good result for the first event in three months and sets 2021 off to a good start.

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Alex’s Newspaper Report.

Paul Carter shows his medals for the Virtual Winter Race Series

Despite the traditionally expected January blues after the festive period and the varied weather Wesham members have been fired up by the Move Every Day virtual challenge to do some activity of 30 minutes each day of the month. Over 60 members are now taking part in the Challenge which is intended to promote physical and mental good health in the depths of winter at a time that is usually dismal and exacerbated this year by the pandemic. Generally, the weather has been benign with some beautiful bright and clear days, but this has brought cold temperatures and slippery conditions with frost and occasional sleet and snow. With no wind though the cold has been kept at bay and with the sun out it has been very pleasant to be out and about.

Seventeen Wesham members completed the January Wesham Virtual Handicap over a 4.9-mile course of choice to approximate the course now used for the physical event through Treales. The result times are now being collated and the full results will be published next week.

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Alex’s Newspaper Report.

Rob Danson man of 2015 for Wesham, Lancashire Championships

Wesham members rounded off the pre-festive period with the completion of the members’ 12 Days of Christmas Challenge. With 49 members taking part each recording 12 runs at all the distances from 1 to 12 miles or kilometres, and 9 members completing 24 runs for both miles and kilometres there was a lot of results collation to be done. 18 members completed the 12 runs at all distances in kilometres with a further seven not recording all the runs. The miles challenge was more popular with 23 members completing all distances and a further six not managing all runs. Those running all twelve distances totalled 78 miles or kilometres; four members completed all runs in both kilometres and miles, totalling 126.44 miles (203.51 kilometres). The results so far available do not have all the times recorded, but the fastest so far recorded are in the kilometre ranks, Lee Barlow with the devilish total time of 6:06:06; John Burns with 6:12:16; Michelle Tickle as first woman with 7:37:03; Julie Paton in 8:03:36; and Nigel Shepherd at 8:16:58. Kerry Eccles had the month of her life, filling all 24 days of Christmas with a tremendous double, completing the 78km in 8:38:28 and the 78 miles in 12:44:07. She had a great time buddying up with some of the other ladies also doing the challenge to make some of the miles feel easier. Lee Barlow also topped the table so far recorded in miles, with 9:54:12 for the 78 miles, giving an overall total for the 126.44 miles of 16:00:18. Kerry’s combined time was 21:22:34. Second in the table so far in miles was Alek Walker, accumulating 10:04:11 for the 78 miles. Carl Groome clocked up 10:07:21 in miles but had to abandon his attempt at the kilometres as his repaired ankle would not hold up to the demand. Sharon Cooper was the leading lady followed by Vron Walker who totalled 12:30:07. Maureen Danson ran 12:34:33 over the 78 miles. Anne Berry ran 12:58:34; Lucy Neighbour 13:03:30; Dawn Biggs 13:28:36; Sharlan Butcher 13:31:47; Emma Wright 13:50:48; and Dave Young 12:27:40. Mark Renshall, Neil Gregson, Peter Rooney, Tony Leach, Robert Danson, Chris Haines, Pauline Eccleston and Debbie Myerscough also completed the challenge in miles, times not yet known, and James Birchall, Julie Rooney, Kay Twist, Peter Cooke, Phil Leaver, Steve Twist and Vicky Gore finished the kilometre challenge. The two Stevens Myerscough and Gore ran the 24 days of miles and kilometres. Liz Sharrocks ran the kilometres in 1:26:47; Tanya Barlow 1:27:47; and Alex Rowe walked the 78 kilometres despite a heart problem in 2:03:15. The lucky winners of Wesham Goody bags were Sharon Cooper and Dave Young. Additionally, the club were gifted two running vests or tee shirts by Trinity Hospice as an acknowledgement of the support that many Wesham members have shown to the Hospice. A separate raffle was held, and the winners were Vron Walker and Steven Gore. Thanks go to Trinity for this truly kind gesture to Wesham Road Runners. Members now await the announcement of a new Wesham challenge planned for January to kick start 2021 and blow way those New Year blues!

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Alex’s Newspaper Report.

Wesham women in the Rudolph Red Nose Race at Blackpool de Vere in 20

What a year 2020 turned out to be for all of us and of course it decimated the sporting year after the first 12 weeks of relative normality. For athletics this meant that the domestic winter cross country and indoor seasons could be completed but presentations and awards evening could not take place and the follow-on global championships could not take place. Club training sessions came to an abrupt end and athletes had to train on their own although with the national lockdown there was at least plenty of free space and fresh air with no traffic, and more time to exercise with working from home or the less attractive furlough schemes.

Athletics had to adapt to keep participants and competitors interested and involved, and so activity at home schemes were devised, virtual gym and aerobic sessions, and Zoom conferencing became de-facto practice. Then virtual events were invented, starting with relays, and then developing to distance endurance events. Wesham members were given weekly virtual challenges at set distances such as 5 kilometres or miles or running a measured or “negative” split with a fast finish. Then the easing of restrictions began in June and by July Wesham were able to restart training nights, based outdoors at various venues and restricted to groups of six remaining socially distanced. With the prolonged hot summer weather the outdoor meets were refreshing and welcome, and some indoor socialising was available for a while. Wesham also re-introduced its structured training sessions, again all outdoors and in groups of six only. All members sessions were on a pre-booking basis only to maintain a contact trace.

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Alex’s Newspaper Report.

Anne Berry, Steven Gore and Pauline Eccleston Mad Bull Torchlight run

This week the pandemic restrictions in the Fylde area have just been reviewed but Wesham had already made the decision that they were not going to attempt to restart any club activity until the New Year and to concentrate on virtual activities. The 12 Days of Christmas Challenge has proved extremely popular with around 50 members taking part. The challenge has a real Christmas flavour with members running each of the distances 1 to 12 kilometres or miles one effort a day within the 24 days before Christmas Day. There has been a buddy approach with volunteers to provide a pairing for members seeking assistance and motivation within the pandemic guidelines. This week the Wesham club coaches have hosted a Festive Fun Structured Session via video conference, and the week rounds off with a Christmas Live Update and Social on Facebook on Friday evening.

This weekend there is expected to be several pilot events staged by England Athletics as a tentative return to competition opportunities, although all events will have been subject to the government announcements regarding the various levels of local restrictions. This is mainly centred on stadium athletics and in the North West there is one for Pendle juniors in Colne and a meeting at the Streford track in Manchester. England Athletics are making more grants available to clubs in 2021 in four rounds to fund specific areas of support and development.

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Alex’s Newspaper Report.

Jenn Thompson happy with the women’s result in the Mid Lancs XC this week in 2014

Wesham members got stuck into the club 12 Days of Christmas Virtual Challenge last week, individual runs taking in the distances 1 to 12 kilometres or miles, one a day between the 1st and 24th of December in the run-up to the festivities. Participation has yet to be evaluated but the club’s Strava and Facebook pages are inundated with members results. Lee Barlow is doubling up and running both kilometre and mile distances at the rate of two a day. On Friday 18th December, the club will host an online gathering for members to toast the festive season and catch up on news and socialise. There may be some freedom over Christmas itself and there is the chance to run the Virtual Race series 2020 which includes the Longridge 7, Boxing Day 10k and the Garstang 10k, between the dates of 13th December to 13th January, to replace the extremely popular physical events. Just run a 7-miler and two 10ks and submit your results to the link given on the UK Road races Facebook page.

Great sadness this week to learn of the loss of Pete Bland, fell running great and founder and owner of Pete Bland Sports in Kendal succumbed to Covid-19 at the age of 79, a great loss to the athletics world of the North West and Cumbria.

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