Alex’s Newspaper Report.

Bank holiday sun in 2017 at the Avenham Park 5k

A swift decision was made at Wesham last week to switch the May Handicap back to a virtual event after only a small number registered for the planned physical event from the top of Dowbridge. Members thus returned to their own routes although some chose to run the actual 4.9-mile course round Treales. Andy Moore clocked the fastest handicap time of 51:08 with Kerry Eccles second with 52:55. John Burns was third in 53:02 and Robert Danson fourth with 53:36. Karen Cook placed fifth and second woman with 54:07 and Anne Mayers 6th and third woman in 54:13. Michelle Tickle came 7th and fourth in 54:21 with Tanya Shaw and Stuart Topping a couple of seconds adrift with 54:23 and 54:24 respectively.  Stephen Twist was 10th in 54:43; Alan Hudson 11th with 57:16; Martin Bates 12th in 57:34; Troy Watson 13th with 60:07; and Peter Rooney 14th in 63:18. Positions on actual time were Stuart Topping first in 36:24; John Burns second with 38:02; Anne Mayers third in 38:13; Michelle Tickle 38:21; Alan Hudson 39:16; Tanya Shaw 39:23; Stephen Twist 40:43; Robert Danson 41:36; Martin Bates 42:34; Karen Cook 44:07; Troy Watson 44:07; Andy Moore 47:08; Peter Rooney 47:18; Kerry Eccles 47:55. Numbers were probably reduced by the bank holiday weekend but were swelled by the decision to “go virtual”. It is intended that the June event will return to the physical format and may revert to Monday evening rather than Sunday morning.

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Alex’s Newspaper Report.

David Taylor and Tanya and Lee Barlow at the Salford 10k in 2018

There was a good group of 26 Wesham members training on Monday evening with a beer served outside now possible at the Kirkham and Wesham Cricket Club, about the only venue open and serving in the twin towns. The May Wesham Handicap is taking place tomorrow (Sunday May 2nd) and will be the first physically distanced in-person staging since last summer when restrictions were briefly lifted. Being a handicap, the individual starts are staggered, and the start times are published on the Wesham website. Please avoid assembling at the start line, arrive just before you are due to set off. The times are arranged to avoid a mass finish through!

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Alex’s Newspaper Report.

Wesham members at the Caldervale Race in 2009

Wesham members were concentrating on getting back to training last week with the club’s two weekly sessions and waiting for any return to competition as events are being lined up for the coming months. At the moment postponements and cancellations are still the order of the day.

There was excitement last weekend with the Olympic Trial Marathon hastily re-staged in the Netherlands after the cancellation of the previous event in Hamburg the previous week. Eight laps of an airfield were routinely negotiated and in a thrilling race world record holder Eliud Kipchoge stepped on the gas after 30km and eased away to win in 2:04:30, leaving Jonathan Korir second in 2:06:40. Germany’s Katharina Steinruck dressed in full body training gear won the women’s race in 2:25:59 with a race-long lead with Sara Moreira of Portugal coming through strongly to take second in 2:26:42.

There were 81 members in last week’s Wesham Strava training leader-board, and Steve Myerscough returned to the top with a big 71.6 miles completed in a cumulative time of 10:03:47. Daniel Shaw, a consistent high mileage runner for several months now, clocked 65.9 miles in 8:15:18, with Rob Danson gearing up for a return to regular racing with 52.2 miles in 5:43:49. Mark Belfield ran 52 miles in 6:30:00, and last week’s leader Ugis Datavs dropping to 51 miles in 6:17:24 without an ultra-long single run this week. Mark Holton, having a regular favour for a long distance made his maximum single effort of 22.3 miles count towards his weekly total of 46.3 in a time of 6:11:10. Tom Crabtree recorded 40.5 miles in 5:01:44; Robert Danson 38.7 miles in 5:58:37; Alan Hudson 38.6 miles in 5:42:15; and Matty Holton 36.9 miles in 4:44:45. On the women’s leader-board Sue Coulthurst topped the mileage with 32.6 miles in 5:09:42; Lynn Brown was second with 31.1 miles in 7:53:45; Michelle Tickle third with 30 miles in 4:38:30; Helen Greenhalgh equal on 30 miles in 5:39:30; Kerry Eccles with 28.3 miles in 4:51:58; and Tanya Shaw 27 miles with a time of 3:50:24. On the mountains women’s leader-board Julie Parton topped the elevation gain with 1532ft and placed sixth overall over 6.8 miles in 1:30:06. Helen Greenhalgh was second and seventh overall with 1529ft ascent over 30 miles, and Michelle Tickle had 1481ft uphill over her 30 miles. Helen Dutton rose up 1201ft over 24.1 miles in 4:06:13, and Sue Coulthurst ascended 1069ft. In the men’s mountains Martin Bates recorded 2641ft on 31.7 miles in a time of 5:14:53; James Mulvany 2398ft in 4:41:27 over 32.6 miles; Stuart Clayton 2247ft over 27 miles in 4:30:27; James Green 1983ft with 35.3 miles in 4:08:52; Daniel Shaw 1673ft (65.9 miles); Neil Whipp 1502ft clocking 20 miles in 2:55:40; Richard Davies 1407ft over 8.8 miles in 2:01:53; Ugis Datavs had 1332ft climbed over 51 miles; and Steve Myerscough 1314ft on his 71.6 miles. Steve Swarbrick had the fastest average pace last week, at 6:10 per mile over 4.7 miles in a time of 28:59. Lee Nixon was second with 6:18 per mile on 3 miles in 18:24, with Rob Danson third averaging 6:35 over his 52.2 miles. Garry Barnett was fourth with 6:48 for 8.3 miles in 56:26, and David Taylor 6:56 pace over 22.8 miles in 2:38:05. On the women’s pace chart Suzanne Leonard held the top slot again at 8:08 per mile for 5.2 miles in a time of 42:18. Tanya Shaw was second fastest with 8:32 per mile for 27 miles, and Kay Twist held third at 9:14 pace for 17 miles in 2:36:58. Michelle Tickle maintained 9:17 per mile, and Helen Lawrenson came in fifth with 9:18 pace for 12.3 miles in 1:54:23. Claire Marie was running at 9:29 pace for 6.5 miles in 1:01:28.

In 2005 London Marathon hopeful Steve Littler had to pull out of the 25th staging of the race at 19 miles after recurrent problems with his knee. His preparation for the race had not gone as well this year, having lost his brother-in-law just before Christmas, and taking some time off in January to pursue his love of football. Having had the equivalent of a hard training run on Sunday, Steve will be back in action on the roads of the North West this weekend. Paul Dunkerley was the first Wesham finisher in this year’s London Marathon, just missing out on the 3 hour mark by 24 seconds, finishing 1142nd overall, 1074th male. Ever present Alan Hudson ran 3:08:38 for 1749th, 1632nd male and 123rd Over-50. Alan slowed slightly in his 10km splits, recording 41, 43, 44 and 45 minutes. Steve Myerscough was in Alan’s wake by a minute and a half most of the way until he tightened up at around 20 miles, but he still came across the line with a superb 3:10:48 for his debut marathon. Dale Wallis slowed significantly by 30km having recorded 51 minutes for his first two 10km splits and finished 7743rd in 3:49:04. Behind Dale came Andy Divall, who ran consistently, slowing slightly, to run 3:58:11 for 8938th. Also consistent, Richard Storey tracked Dale by 4 minutes to stop the clock in 4:01:31 for 9799th. Freckleton Half Marathon and Wesham 10km Race Director and sports masseur Brian Porter brought up the rear with a fine 4:03:20. Brian set off ahead of Andy and Richard, overtook Dale before 30km, finally dropping behind Andy at 40km and Richard in the closing mile. However, ever the gentleman, Brian may have sacrificed a sub-4-hour marathon by helping a struggling lady over the finish line. Michaela Dempsey ran in the Civil Service Road Relays over a 4.2-mile circuit in Timperley, Cheshire last week. She ran 28:15 to lift the ladies’ team into 2nd place, the highest placed Fylde team. A record 747 runners were not strapped to their couches by the London Marathon coverage and turned out to run the Bolton 10km, run over a long 6.4km course. There were ten Wesham runners, and Peter Cruse was first home, 28th overall in 37:39 over the hilly course. Peter was 5th Over-40. George Kennedy finished 44th in 38:56, and Martin Bates was 82nd in 40:54. Peter Gleaves completed the Men’s team in 7th place, running a fine 43:33 to finish 136th overall. Kath Hoyer was 3rd Over-45 woman in 196th place overall, with a time of 45:57. Wesham results: 28. Peter Cruse MV40 (5) 37:39, 44. George Kennedy MV45 (7) 38:56, 82. Martin Bates MV45 (12) 40:54, 136. Peter Gleaves MV40 (22) 43:33, 187. David Preston MV50 (14) 45:38, 196. Kathleen Hoyer WV45 (3) 45:57, 268. Stephen Wilkinson MV50 (20) 48:07, 328. Nigel Shepherd MV45 (51) 49:42, 331. Alan Taylor 49:48, 369. Mark Wilson MV50 (32) 51:09. Alex Rowe ran in the opening fixture of the Northern Veterans Track & Field League at Cleckheaton on Wednesday. He ran 9:38.0 for 3000m and 4:43.9 for 1500m, winning both races outright by over 200m, with little opposition.

Back in 2016 Rob Danson had a clear run in the Valiants Half Marathon on Sunday winning by 27 seconds from Burnden’s Philip Eccleston with a time of 1:14:06 in good running conditions. Lee Barlow was 6th in his second half marathon in two weeks with 1:21:04, winning the M40 category. Jason Barlow was 9th with 1:24:25, coming in 1st M45. Simon Denye is recovering from a hip problem and he ran easy in his last long run before the London marathon, finishing 15th in 1:28:52. John Collier was 16th and 2nd M60 losing out by just 2 mins 10 secs in 1:29:03. John Bertenshaw ran 1:36:09 for 23rd place and winning the M55 category in one of his last races in this age group. Graham Cunliffe as 2nd M55 in 1:47:27 taking 34th place overall. Lee Barlow had run the Wilmslow Half Marathon last week, a big race now with nearly 4000 runners. Lee finished 131st in 1:23:03, a good run after a fast start found him out over the last couple of miles. There was a low-key 5k race in Lancaster on Tuesday evening. David Taylor ran a swift 18:06 showing he is in shape, placing him 6th out of the 33 runners. Helen Lawrenson was 3rd woman and 19th with 20:56 in her first outing since the Paris marathon, with Gemma Owen right behind her in 21:15, 4th woman and 20th. Stephen Browne was 22nd 2nd M50 in 21:34. It was a busy week for the Northern Masters with two events. On Wednesday at the opening Track & Field League at Cleckheaton Alex Rowe kicked off with 800m, finishing 3rd in 2:29.6, quickly followed by 3000m, placing 2nd in 10:46.6, and rounding off minutes later with 1500m in 3rd place with 5:16.6. On Sunday the club held its second Monthly Run of the year at Crossford Bridge in Sale with a trail run along the river and canal banks, where Alex Rowe finished 2nd in 40:35 for the long (over-distance) 10k. Kath Hoyer ran the Three Bridges 10k in Lancaster, and she finished 7th woman and 2nd W55 in 47:55 with the added obstacle of a few dozen steps up and down the canal bridge making up one of the three. Dave Waywell was 76th and 1st M70 in 51:06. Two Wesham off-roaders tackled the Radcliffe 10k Multi-terrain run from the old Sion Arms, using old railway tracks and abandoned canal towpaths, a green corridor in a highly built up and former industrialised region of northern Manchester. The two wily M55s Nigel Shepherd and Martin Bates finished 8th and 11th in their age category; 106th and 136th overall in 46:05 and 48:17 respectively; and very respectably as well. Karen Davies ran the Langdale Christmas Pudding-2 10k, finishing 94th woman and 217th overall in a popular race down the valley from the Dungeon Ghyll to Elterwater and back, clocking a time of 60:03. She placed 12th W50. In the Lytham Hall parkrun Troy Watson blazed round to an M45 age graded performance of 79.84% clocking a time of 18:11. Paul Hetherington ran 19:47 for M40 70.01%. Gemma Owen ran well for a time of 22:06 and W35 67.65%. Jason Blagden recorded 22:31 for M40 62.47%; Kevin McCumiskey 23:25 for M35 57.01%; Phil Leaver 23:28 for M60 69.53%; Elizabeth Jones 23:30 for 62.98%; Stuart Topping 23:34 for M45 60:18; Ben Wrigley 27:02 for M35 48:77; and Sharon Copper on tail runner duties with 57:12. Nigel Shepherd warmed up for the weekend at the Preston parkrun; 20:54 for M55 74:80%. Also at Preston Jonathan Lawson; 22:48 for M45 63.67%; and Robert Brown 25:48 for M55 61.11%. Martin Bates ran the Worsley Woods parkrun in 22:15 for M55 71.46%.

Alex’s Newspaper Report.

Rob Danson grits his teeth ahead of Dave Rigby; 800m to go in the Blackpool ICGP

The athletics world is slowly gearing up for a return to competition but at present this must stay small and local. Wesham are concentrating on their Monday and Wednesday training nights and some planning for future events is under way. The racing calendar is still showing mainly cancellations and postponements. The Tatton Park 10k went ahead last week with 700 competitors and the coming week sees the next in the Curleys Trail 5k series in Horwich and in a couple of weeks the Mid Cheshire 5k in Kingsley between Frodsham and Northwich looks to be attracting some Fylde runners. Junior parkrun re-commenced on Sunday after a thirteen-month layoff with 110 runners in Lytham Park View, double its usual attendance, and 95 at the Worden Park event in Leyland. Senior parkrun cannot re-start until after June 16th. There is some controversy after the Cuerden Valley parkrun has been discontinued by the estate owners after perceived damage has been blamed on the runners.

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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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