9th March – Alex’s Newspaper Report

The Wesham ladies team at a mud-soaked Beacon Park in Skelmersdale on Saturday

After a good start to the day appalling conditions welcomed the athletes and officials at the final Mid Lancs Cross Country League meeting in Beacon Park in Skelmersdale, with persistent heavy rain and waterlogged ground. For the end of the season, in March, it could have been glorious spring conditions but not so. Numbers were down to around half of usual, but those who were present welcomed the prospect to pick up some late season points, and so it proved for Wesham, who turned out a healthy team in their usual numbers. In the Senior Women’s race over two laps of 6km Sue Coulthurst lead the way, and she finished 2nd W55 and 32nd overall in 35:39. Kay Twist was 5th W50 in 37:51 and 43rd overall, with Lisa Minns 4th W55 and 46th with 38:15. Kirsty Holland placed 56th in 41:44 with Clare Belfield 62nd and 18th W40 in 44:37. The Wesham ladies were 13th team overall, 11th W35s and 4th W45s. The Senior Women have ended he season 6th in Division 2 which unfortunately will give them relegation to Division 3 next year, the “B” team only scored once in Division 3, and the W35 team is 16th. The W45 team was 12th.  In the Senior Men’s 10k over 3 laps Adam Wilding excelled to finish 4th, his highest position yet, in a time of 40:53 with Tom Bamber 7th in 41:31, first M40. David Taylor finished 23rd with 45:10; Jamie Houghton came in 25th in 45:15; and Mark Belfield was 27th and 3rd M40 in 45:30. Carl Groome was 41st and 6th M50 with 48:15; Chris Haines 49th in 49:57; Steve Myerscough was 64th and 8th M50 in 52:15; Nigel Shepherd finished 3rd M65 and 82nd overall with 58:48; and James Danson was 10th M55 and 90th with 1:06:26. The Senior Men came 2nd team overall such was their strength, and 3rd M40 team. The M50s were 4th. Overall, for the season the Wesham men have finished 3rd in Division two earning them bronze medals, but the “B” team will be relegated to Division 4. There is better news for the M40 Wesham team who have won Division 2 and will be promoted back into Division 1. The Vet 50 team are 7th, with the M60 team just outside the medals in 4th place.

The New Longton 10k took place on Sunday around a countryfied course around the Police HQ at Longton. Adam Wilding dusted the mud off his legs from the previous day’s 10k and raced round to finish 2nd in 33:42, a new personal; best time and 30 seconds behind the winner Ian Agular of Chorley. Tony Leach finished 80th in 47:36 for 4th M60, with Bev Wilding paced again by Will Parkinson with the pair coming in 122nd and 123rd in 51:39, Bev placing 2nd W60. Peter Rooney ran 54:34 for 159th and 3rd M65 in an event with a high quality of master’s runners. James Birchall finished 212th in 61:28. There were 261 finishers in this race.

There was a good showing of Wesham ladies in the Take the Fell trail race on Sunday in glorious spring conditions, over a choice of 10k or 20k across sodden fields. Alek Walker had hoped to retain his title in the 20k from 2023 where he was pipped on the line by a runner who had taken a wrong time and not completed the distance, but this year with an enlarged entry he finished 4th in 1:50:41 for first M40 but not beating his time from last year, which would have won it this year. Jo McCaffery finished 64th and 9th woman in 2:40:12, placing 2nd W45. Jen salt, Sharon Copper and Emma Lund finished in a line in 85th, 86th and 87th, with 3:04:47, 3:04:56 and 3:05:01 for 21st, 22nd and 23rd women. Jen was 8th W45. Sharon 3rd W50; and Emma 2nd W40. There were 106 finishers in the 20k. Sue Coulthurst finished the 10k in 1:03:38 for 6th woman and 1st W55, 29th overall with Lisa Minns 14th and 3rd W55 in 1:12:30, 54th overall. Both ladies had run the Mid Lancs cross country the previous day. Kath Hoyer, a former dedicated Wesham member was 22nd woman and 74th overall in 1:17:55 for 1st W60. There were 168 finishers in the 10k race.

It was the start of the Wesham Fell and Trail Championships for 2024 at the opening fixture at the Trotters 5 Mile Trail Race around the Smithills Country Park just off the Bolton northern ring road. Chris banks was first in for the club in 7th place with a time of 33:58. Ian Nichols Hogg was 44th in 41:17 with Steve Myerscough 50th with 41:56 for 7th M50. Dan Hounslea finished 62nd in 43:31 and Martin Bates was 120th in 48:53 for 5th M65. There were 264 finishers.

Bradley Flatt ran the 16-mile rave in the Running GP in Oulton Park finishing 14th overall in 1:59:26 placing 5th Senior Open and 13th male. Tom Nicholson was 71st in 3:06:34 placing 18th in the Senior Open and 45th male.

There were 28 Wesham members running a parkrun over the 5k distance on Saturday morning. At the Lytham Hall parkrun Daniel Bolton ran the fastest time of the day in 19:02 for an age graded performance of 67.78%. Mark Holton had the 7th fastest time in 21:01 for an M45 age graded result of 67.49%. Jonathan Lawson ran 22:56 for M55 67.59% and Ian Nichols Hogg clocked 25:03 with 51.90%. Emma Davies recorded 36:34 for 40.47%, with Phil Leaver and Alex Rowe on a fast walk pace for 50:10 for an M70 graded 35.15% and M65 33.75% respectively. In Blackpool’s Stanley Park Chris Haines had the 57th fastest time of 20:31 for an M35 66.04% with Carl Groome 8th in 20:39 for M55 74.41%. Ryan Azzopardi ran 25:40 with an M40 54.81%; Antoinette Holton was on 27:22 for W35 55.54%; and Andy Moore returned 29:15 for M60 55.78%. Pauline Eccleston ran 30:43 for a W50 56.70%, with Anne Berry at 30:53 and W60 63.73%. Kerry Eccles recorded 35:55 for W60 54.80% with Sue Rigby on 51:56 for W50 32.28%. Down the road in the Preston parkrun Steve Abbott was 4th fastest with 18:27 for M45 78.05%; and Steve Myerscough and Nigel Shepherd warmed up for the afternoon’s cross country in fine conditions in 21:31 for M50 68.55% for Steve, and an easier 30:21 for Nigel to record M65 55.24%. Vicky and Steven Gore ran the Widnes parkrun in 23:11 and 23:12 for W45 70.60% and M40 59.70%, Vicky was the 5th fastest female. Martin Bates was at the Stretford parkrun in Longford Park to run 23:45 for an M65 71.93%. Emma Wright ran the Peel parkrun in 29:10 for W45 54.97%, and in the Greenfield Valley parkrun up to Holywell and back near Prestatyn in North Wales Mike Eyre was the 7th fastest in 24:44 for M60 65.43%, and Helen Eyre ran 32:07 for W55 58.74%. Alona Versinina took in the Ellesmere Port 2 lapper in Whitby Park in 30:37 to run the fastest female time for a W35 age graded 48.99%. Dave Young was touring Hadrian’s Wall for the weekend and ran the Talkin Tarn Country Park run in Brampton in 33:36 for M75 57.39%. Emma Brook was on her home parkrun at Riverside in Chester-Le-Street, and she ran 28:07 for W40 54.71%.