First London Marathon
3 Friends From Lancashire Fire Brigade Get Together
Mike Carter Joins the Trio
People were running around the streets all over the U.K. prior to the first London Marathon in 1981. However it is now well known that the London Marathon kick-started the 80’s running boom.
Around the same time John Baldwin, Bob Bamber and John Whiteman started running. As members of Lancashire County Fire Brigade, it wasn’t long before they were all running in their colours, mainly because there weren’t many clubs and the Brigade was a member of the 3A’s (Amateur Athletics Association), saving on race entry fees.
John B and Bob introduced John W to other runners who either lived or worked in the Wesham area. One of those people was Mike Carter who was the Headmaster at St. Joseph’s R.C. School. Mike suggested that we met on Monday nights for a group run and that we could use the facilities at the school. This offer was taken up and each Monday night the 4 of them meet up to run and chat about the previous day’s race.
New running clubs started to emerge during the next few years and with this in mind, Mike and John B placed an advert in the Kirkham & Wesham Advertiser asking for anyone who was interested in running to attend a meeting on the last Monday in January 1985 at the Lane Ends Pub. 36 people turned up and Wesham Road Runners was formed.
Initially the runners met at St. Joseph’s Primary School, but (possibly due to the numbers attending) the club then transferred to the Community Centre. The Lane Ends Pub remained as our chosed ‘drinks station’.
A Committee was chosen with Mike Carter being elected Chairman. Wesham Road Runners & Athletic Club was up and running. Soon after the meeting WRR became a full member of the 3A’s and a club constitution was drawn up which has held good, with one or two minor amendments, to this day.
Mike’s autocratic style of leadership was exactly what was required at that time with his experience as a Headmaster being used to good effect. It wasn’t long before he became affectionately known as CAPTAIN CARTER. (fondly remembered for ordering members to take “one sandwich each, from the tray”, and no one dare disobeying him). Within no time at all Club membership had soared to well over 200.
Mike stood down as Chairman at the A.G.M. in 1988 after ensuring that the Club had become well respected and certainly one of the largest in the North West. Dave Nuttall took over the role as Chairman, (see Past Chairperson’s in the Members Section of the Web Site). Around the same time the the club moved its ‘drinks station’ to the “Royal Oak”.
When the club first used the Community Centre in 1984, the facilities were provided free of charge. We did, however, pay a token fee for a number of years, but into the 90’s the Council gradually increased the charges and towards the end of the 90’s it was felt that the fees being asked were more than the Club could afford. It was, therefore, decided that alternative arrangements should be sought.
In 1999 we moved our base to Ribby Hall along with our ‘drinks station’. Unfortunately, this venue didn’t meet our requirements. So, in 2001 we once again moved our base, this time to Carr Hill High School and our ‘drinks station’ moved to the “Stanley Arms”.
After a number of lean years (due mostly to the running boom slowly declining), Dave Waywell was at the helm (2003) and the club was on the up again having more than 120 members.
Since 2005, the Club has made further progress by entering even more Regional & National events, for example our V50 team has become National Champions in the Veteran category. We have gained many individual honours with Steve Littler, Alex Rowe, Alan Hudson, Dave Waywell and Mike Walsh to name but a few who have won many races in their age groups. Not to leave the women out, they have grown in numbers and have now become the Club’s best success story. Without naming individuals they win races in their age groups and team prizes on a weekly basis.
Carr Hill School remained the base for our Monday Night ‘get togethers’. As far as our drinks station was concerned, we moved back to the Lane Ends, where we enjoyed a supply of Monday night butties etc. The Club Website was in the capable hands of Brenda Earnshaw. What an excellent job she did.
In 2009 our 25th Anniversary was celebrated, by giving a special “Technical” TShirt to all finishers in our Annual 10k race, of which there were 466 finishers.
Between 2009 & 2011 our Membership remained constant at around the 150 mark There was however, an increase in numbers of Lady Members, in no small way down to Kerry Eccles, with her continuing recruitment campaign. Unfortunately the fees for our venue were increasing and the amenities decreasing. The Committee looked for alternative arrangements at other venues.
To our rescue came Kirkham & Wesham Cricket Club, where Jason Oldfield (Club Secretary) made us most welcome, the Club has everything that our club desired ie Meeting Room, Showers & Changing Facilities, Bar & Refreshments. So in 2012 the Committee decided to take up Jason’s offer of their facilities and our Base was moved to the Cricket Club.
At our 2012 AGM, long serving Committee Members, Dave Waywell, Brian Wilkinson and Dave Young decided to stand down. Their places were taken by Graham Vickers (Chairperson), Brenda Earnshaw (Secretary) & Lee Barlow (Vice Chairperson).
Unbeknown at the time 2012 was going to be a year where we would lose two of our most loved and admired members. Brenda Earnshaw sadly passed away in March, leaving a huge gap at our Club, she had been our Web Mistress for a number of years and as mentioned previously, been appointed Club Secretary at our AGM.
Filling Brenda’s place was going to be a huge task, fortunately Claire Bateman-Stephenson volunteered to step into the breech. It would be impossible to replace all the hard work that Brenda had contributed to the Club, Claire however, did a fine job! The .com Web Site was been left in memory of Brenda and a new .co.uk Site instigated by Keith Rhead.
In November 2012, Reg Chapman passed away, after a long illness caused by cancer, his bravery was admired by all. Reg had been one of our longest serving members and as a tribute to him the Annual Club 10k was dedicated in his memory.
2016 saw the sad loss of Derek Emmens. The annual 10k race was dedicated to his memory and a trophy is named after him for the Trail Race Championship (Mens), which was introduced in 2017. The ladies trophy is named after Brenda Earnshaw. 2017 also saw the introduction of the wesham10k.co.uk site and the move of the main website from .co.uk to .com designed by David Taylor.
The origins of the “Club” as seen by John Baldwin
Almost a quarter of a century ago, after a 10k race in Goosnargh in September, a few of the locals who had competed, decided to return to the Lane Ends for a pint or two. During the conversation Mike Carter and myself thought that, maybe, we could form a local running club. I asked, the ‘then’ landlord, (Barry Goddard and his wife Beryl), of the Lane Ends, if we could use the upstairs function room to hold a meeting. They agreed and we set a date for early November and placed an article in the local Advertiser. Here, I add, that the first six who were in agreement were Mike Carter, first Chairperson; Mick Ward, first Club Captain; Bob Bamber, Jack Bell, Mike Gallagher and myself. Around forty people attended that meeting, including first secretary, Val Tudgey, and first treasurer, Frank Glenholme.
Regarding the club November Road Race: the first one was the Club Championship – seven miles for the men, five for the women and, contrary to a Wrinkly comment, both courses were measured with a surveyor’s wheel by Mike Carter, Steve Ball and myself. I also had input to the first eleven races by being given the dubious title of Race Director. I also obtained sponsorship for at least seven of the first eleven.
I could go on for a while yet but it is all in the past and tide and time wait for no man. I wish you all continued success for the future.
Written by John Baldwin
Submitted: April 2007
HISTORY OF THE WESHAM 10K
The first ever club race was round the sports field by the side of the Community Centre and it was for Wesham members only. I can’t recall how many laps there were but it didn’t amount to anywhere near 10K. Terry Maunder won the race.
Our next effort came in November 1985 and was again for Wesham members only. The weather was freezing and there was ice everywhere. The distance was again a little dubious, (no Jones Counters, Surveyors Wheels or GPS monitors used then), and the course was measured by Mike Carter’s car. The start was on Mowbreck Lane outside St Josephs, through to the end of the lane, on to the Derby Arms, left up Church Rd, left down Cross Lane, left down Moss Lane, right at Mowbreck Lane back to the start to the finish on the sports field. But this was for the ladies – the men ran an additional distance by having to carry on along Church Road to the Eagle & Child at Wharles before returning to join in the ladies’ course at the other end of Cross Lane. As previously mentioned, there was ice everywhere; Mowbreck Lane was like an ice rink, people were falling all over and needless to say that was the last time that course was used. The race was won by Terry Maunder (39:59) for the men and Cath Munro (40:47) for the ladies.
1986 was to become the year of our first ever officially recognized open 10K race. This was only open to club members, (unattached members did not take part). It was held on the last Saturday in November and has been every year since. The start was on Garstang Rd. North opposite the end of Church Rd. (the road leading to the Community Centre). The course went out towards the Motorway then left into Bradshaw Lane, at the end, left onto Back Lane to the crossroads, right onto Weeton Rd. left Singleton Rd., left Kirkham Rd back to the crossroads, right onto Weeton Rd. then down to the finish outside the old Fire Station. This race was won by Steve Connolly. He ran for the now defunct Springfields Club. Janet Eaton of Wesham R.R won the women’s’ race.
For the next few years the same course was used, with one or two minor alterations. Probably the most notable of these was the year a cow that had escaped from a field on Bradshaw Lane decided to join in, it ran all the way to Weeton Village before dropping out ‘knackered’, (sorry ‘exhausted’), and it probably went to the “knacker’s yard” afterwards. When the new roundabout and Wesham Bypass was opened the police quite rightly refused the Club permission to use the route on safety grounds, so an alternative course had to be found.
There is plenty of countryside around the Wesham area, so finding a new course wasn’t too difficult but finding one that would satisfy the police would prove to be more onerous. The Derby Arms at Treales was to be the race HQ and also the start and finish.
This course wound its way round the lanes through Treales and Wharles then back to the Derby Arms. This was an excellent, flattish course on quiet country lanes so how the police could say that, “There was an accident waiting to happen”, beggars belief. Unfortunately after a couple of years at this venue it had to change.
Another venue would have to be found.
This time we were off to HMS Inskip. The people there were kind enough to allow the use of their facilities for the start and finish. This course was over many of the lanes used from the previous venue and the police, however, were happy for them to be used from HMS Inskip. After two years using this course there were some staff changes at the site and once again another course would have to be found.
Coming to our rescue this time was BNFL Salwick. The Social Club there was, and has proved to be, an excellent venue for the start and finish. Currently there is a limit of 600 entries and the event is usually closed as being ‘full’ long before the closing date and this has been so for a number of years now. Long may it last!