avoiding the teeth of Storm Dennis at the weekend there was an active week for
athletics in the North west. There were two Wesham runners in the Valentine’s
Day 10k (two days late!) on Sunday in Lancaster. Garry Barnett finished 13th
in 38:44 placing 2nd M50. Run from the Quayside up the Morecambe
railway line to the Rugby Club and back, Neil Gregson was 17th in
39:37, 2nd M35.
Steve Littler finished a strong 3rd place and 1st M45 in the stormy Great North West Half Marathon along the unforgiving storm ravaged Blackpool Promenade on Sunday, clocking 1:15:52 in a close finish with the top 3 within 41 seconds of each other and 3 minutes clear of 4th place. This time last year Littler ran the far superior Village Bakery Half Marathon in Wrexham where he finished 13th in a much higher quality field in 1:12:50, 2nd M45. This year’s race had to be cancelled in the face of yellow and amber weather warnings. In Blackpool again Simon Denye placed 13th in 1:23:50, 2nd M45, and Neil Harrison was 17th with a good 1:26:03. Chris Hastwell finished 26th and 9th M35 in 1:27:15 giving the Wesham men leading club. Mark Holton was 40th in 1:29:21; Lee Nixon 112th with 1:38:26; Paul Lancashire 145th with 1:41:06; Rob Wallace 267th in 1:50:01; and Antionette Holton 448th in 1:58:37.
was the start of a wild week and Sunday saw the cancellation of many events
across the country, with the Mad Dog 10k in Southport and the British Masters
10-Mile Championships at Lytchett Manor near Poole in Dorset two of the
casualties. The Tatton Park 10k in Cheshire managed to go ahead on a revised
course but the Muddy Boots near Ripon in Yorkshire was canned. The Windy Hill
Fell Race in Littleborough attracted 322 runners over 9 miles with 1281ft
winter added an extra element to running last week but this did not deter
Wesham members who managed to anticipate the coming spring on what is perhaps
the traditional start of the athletics year for sure. The traditional “twin
peaks” of later winter athletics in the Alsager 6 mile in Cheshire and the
Dewsbury 10k in Yorkshire attracted the usual high quality and in-depth
competitors although few from the Preston and Fylde region, but nearer to home
there was plenty of action for our local teams.
Blackburn Winter Warmer 10k from Witton Park sems to have adopted a multiple
lap course in the park itself rather than its historic loop up and around
Billinge Hill and through Pleasington but there was still a challenge to be had
looking at the finishing times. First home for Wesham was Steve Littler in 6th
place overall a good time of 34:51 placing him 1st M45. Garry
Barnett finished 40th and 4th M50 in 40:21 with Ian
Garrod 7th M55 and 88th overall with 43:16. Helen
Lawrenson was 14th woman and 2nd W50 with 46:05 in 142nd
place overall and Mick Edge finished 183rd in 47:59. Alan Hudson placed 2nd M70 and
finished 210th overall in 49:09; Kath Hoyer was 3rd W60 and
43rd woman with 50:50 for 250th overall; and Lucy
Neighbour was 73rd woman and 7th W40 in 54:47 in 352nd
place. Finlay McCalman was 407th
in 57:07, 31st M55, and Elizabeth Johnson finished 117th
woman and 442nd overall in 58:32. This was the latest round of the
Wesham road running club championship for 2020.
week was a busy one for athletes in the Fylde area after a quiet week a
fortnight ago with the Northern cross country championships in Yorkshire and
the popular St Anne’s 10 on home ground.
Northern Athletics Cross Country Championships were staged for the first time
at a new venue at Camp Hill in Kirklington Bedale just north of Ripon in
Yorkshire, which was a very spacious estate with a largely flat course through
varied parkland with woodland and field which was very muddy in parts and made
for a very challenging run for the hundreds of runners assembled. Wesham had
just two ladies running un the Senior Women’s race over 2 laps giving a
distance of 9km. Helen Lawrenson finished 190th in 39:49, with Anne
Mayers-Smith 252nd with 44:00. The Senior Men ran 3 laps of 12.5km,
a more sapping prospect, where David Taylor put in a fine performance to finish
198th in 52:12. Andrew Harling ran well for 255th place
in 54:36. John Collier was next in for the team with 1:06:10 for 504th
place and Martin Bates was 535th in 1:09:29. Ben Wrigley finished
578th in 1:20:36 having started strongly. Peter Bartlett bravely set
off with bold intentions but unfortunately the tough conditions and twice the
distance of a Mid Lancs League course he had to withdraw after two laps.
The main event of the week was the Inskip Half Marathon from Redwood Park home of the Blackpool Dog Show and taking in a mostly flat single loop through Elswick and Wharles along largely country lanes. Despite a chilly start weather conditions were good, changing into a seasonal foggy day.