Alex’s Newspaper Report.

Paul Eccles with support in his Virtual London Marathon run

The 40th London Marathon on Sunday was in two distinct sections, the elite races over a lap course of nearly 20 laps around St James’s Park with the traditional finish line on the Mall, or a world-wide virtual event open to all on a 26.2-mile course of each runner’s choice. With the excitement of a physical race in central London there was a 24-hour opportunity to complete the virtual run, and officially there were four Wesham members taking part on courses round the Fylde region. Paul Eccles had the fastest time with 3:46:46 giving him 3901st place, 666th in his race category of Senior Male. Rob Wallace finished 5591st in 3:58:56, 1688th Senior Male. Dave Young was 38th M70 in 4:47:46, 12407th overall. Heather Buckel was 11158th woman and 2327th W45 in 6:47:09, 25569th overall. Emma wright completed her own run in 4:58:55 and got a jubilant reception from neighbours as she sprinted down her street at the end. There were over 45,0000 entrants in the virtual event, so these are all good results achieved in isolation with little support en route. It was noticeable however, travelling around the Fylde on Sunday as to how many people were out with race numbers on. Anyone who entered the virtual event will have a guaranteed entry carried over for the next three years.

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Alex’s Newspaper Report.

There’s a big climb out of Avenham Park in the Run Preston 10k!

With Blackpool joining the rest of Lancashire in pandemic lockdown the possibility of activity in the field of athletics faded again against renewed hopes that things might pick up and tentative plans to restart parkrun now scrapped probably until the new year. Revised guidelines for cross country and road and trail events was issued last week, but there are serious challenges for local cross-country leagues that would just be getting started next month. Many venues are out-of-bounds to large gatherings, and the guidance stipulates that the general public must be kept out of the boundaries of sporting events, very difficult for cross country with courses winding all over a parkland venue. Similarly the gathering of athletes and their supporters must be minimalised and managed, with health declarations necessary and full contact tracing. Mass starts to races are technically acceptable with a time limit, as much spacing as possible, and low numbers. Further to this, finishers must disperse immediately and transport to and from venues should be undertaken individually and not in groups. This all makes for too much effort by already hard-working volunteers and reduces the sociability and enjoyment of such events for all. While fully understandable, it has produced a new wave of cancellation of plans and any return to realistic competition.

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Alex’s Newspaper Report.

Water splash at Yarrow Trail Race with Gemma Owen

With the tightening of restrictions in Lancashire due to the resurgence of the pandemic the prospects for athletic competition recede back into time trialling and virtual events with the season of country and regional road relays cancelled and the prospect of parkrun resuming at the end of October fading. Three of the most popular races at Christmas and the New Year, the Longridge 7, Boxing Day 10k and Garstang 10k have already gone virtual. There are some elite events being staged with by-invitation attendances and reduced spectators, and indoor athletics prospects are also being shelved until the spring. Training sessions however that have been set up with full Covid arrangements can go-ahead and Wesham’s Monday and Wednesday training meets are continuing with the full guidance already in place.

David Taylor ran the Podium 10k in Barrowford on Saturday and ran a new personal best in the “Sub-37:00” heat with an excellent 34:49 for 7th place, taking some 45 seconds off his previous 2-year old best time.

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Alex’s Newspaper Report.

There was a mix of athletics last week with virtual and time-trial racing ongoing and Wesham members taking advantage of the opportunities. The closest to home was the Lancaster Jailbreak 10k, using a route along the new Heysham link road. David Taylor finished 3rd in 36:49 with Ray Edgar winning in 33:36 and Lytham’s Russ McKelvie 2nd in 35:51. Garry Barnett was 4th and 1st M55 in 38:26.

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Alex’s Newspaper Report.

Tanya Shaw receiving the Rose Bowl for Women’s Handicap winner from Peter Rooney

Last week saw the first Virtual Inter Club Race staged between the Blackpool, Chorley, Lytham, Preston, Red Rose, Thornton and Wesham clubs. It has not been possible to stage any of the seven 2020 Inter Club races due to the pandemic, and this new virtual event was established to provide at least some competition and interaction in this season. The distance was 4 miles to replicate the final fixture which would have been staged last week in Worden Park in Leyland followed by a social and a buffet. Athletes chose their own 4-mile route, sent in their result to their club coordinator who then sent on the compiled list to the Inter Club representative to produce the final results. These will be publicised next week.

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Alex’s newspaper Report.

David Taylor running in the Wesham Handicap Trophy Race

The delayed Wesham Handicap Trophy Race took place on Sunday morning around the undulating 4.9-mile summer handicap course from Dowbridge through Treales, having been delayed a week due to flooding. Finlay McCalman was the first across the finish line in a time of 41:40 with a handicap of 0.05 seconds on his watch time of 41:35. Tanya Shaw was the women’s winner in 44:30 with an actual time of 38:38 and a handicap of 5:52. She finished 5th overall. Lee Barlow was second in 42:29 with actual time 31:49 and handicap of 10:40. Phil Leaver was third with a good run of 43:06, handicap of 1:05 and actual time 42:01. Nigel Shepherd was fourth in 43:23 (33:16 with 10:07). Kay Twist was second woman in 45:16 (42:02 and 3:14), and Kerry Eccles third in 46:23 on scratch (no handicap). Stuart Topping was 6th in 44:35 (33:55 and 10:40); Paul Eccles 7th with 44:57 (33:56 and 11:01). Peter Rooney was 9th in 45:46 (39:01 and 7:45); Robert Danson 10th in 46:05 (41:38 and 4:27); Alek Walker 11th with 46:16 (29:47 and 16:20); David Taylor 13th in 46:49 (29:00 and 17:49); and Andrew Moore 14th with 47:11 (41:51 and 5:20). On net times the ranking was David Taylor, Alek Walker and Lee Barlow, and for the women the same order of Tanya Shaw, Kay Twist and Kerry Eccles. Nigel Shepherd was 4th, Stuart Topping 5th and Paul Eccles 6th. The handicap was worked out from the best performances over the season (all the summer monthly events had been held virtually over the space of a week), and on top of the handicaps there was also a socially distanced start to ensure separation of all runners.

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