This gallery contains 16 photos.
This gallery contains 16 photos.
2018 was a fantastic year for Wigan Harriers Endurance however you choose to measure it. As a club we competed in all the major events, Road Relays, Cross Countries both league and National, Marathons home and abroad, Wigan 10k, Wigan Run Festival to name but a few. Black and red vests were everywhere with plenty of prizes won!
May saw another brilliantly attended 10k Trail Race at Amberswood, thank you to all who helped and raced it.
Endurance membership numbers remained at all time high and it was great to see new faces throughout the year. We of course lost a few people to illness, injury, retirement, home moves and other clubs. We wish everyone well and hope you stay healthy.
Our members achieved some tremendous performances over 2018 with many “PB’s” ticked off. More importantly if you review these photos then you will see that in addition to staying fit they also had a great time with friendship and camaraderie all the way! 😊
Now grab a drink and have a look back at 2018. They aren’t in order so expect the odd surprise. If you click on the first one you can view them as a slide show. I’ve tried to include as many as possible!
SANDBAGGERS ON TOUR/MY RUNNING STAG DO
If your reading this be prepared to have a box of tissues at the ready, because if this race report does not have you in tears of laughter I don’t know what will.
It all started when I went shopping with Emma the week before when Katie Green served us as she usually does. The next words that came out of her mouth was ‘I’m really worried about what’s going to happen with you idiots when you go away next week. Her intuition was right, everything she thought would happen basically did.
4.45am on Saturday Morning on the 8th of December, the alarm went off and it was time to go to the Airport wondering what the next three days would have in store for me, an hour later I met up with the other Sandbaggers of Chris Green, Jonathan Kearsley, Kyle Hazelaar and we were dropped off at the Airport whilst taking bets on the way that either myself or Kyle would get stopped at Airport security due to our ethnicity. We took a picture at the Arabic and Chinese board for a laugh and also I couldn’t read the English one very well so it was a good thing it was there. The bags went through and the three Sandbaggers luggage went through without a problem apart from you guessed it mine. My heart sank and the laughter rose from Kyle, Jonny and Chris as they cottoned on what had happened. ‘why me, why now! I thought, as I managed a nervous giggle. The security guy opened my bag and did a search with a swab stick to where Chris said that the security guy had detected various sexual infections on the swab, much to the sandbaggers and the security guys amusement, after the I got the all clear, a bit of breakfast and Kyle spending at least 30 minutes on the toilet for some reason we finally got on the flight to Malaga, where the banter continued.
On the flight, I was sat in the middle of Chris and Jonny and I know now that if I was to go away with them again, I’ll book to sit somewhere else or make sure I have the strongest coffee to stay awake because the banter was relentless. Kyle who sat next to us across the aisle fell asleep 20 minutes into the flight, and Jonny with a bottle of water wet his crotch. I knew both Jonny and Chris were up to something with me as well and I tried my hardest to stay awake, I managed to get a bit of sleep before waking back up because I needed the toilet that’s when Jonny struck with the water bottle with me and I had to do the walk of shame down the plane with Jonny shouting ‘are you a nervous flyer Rayford.’ In the middle of the flight the lads had agreed to reveal what I’d be wearing for the marathon and Chris pulled out the worst thing I could wear possible, a Manchester City and have Liverpool top with Steven Gerrard on the back, I wanted to projectile vomit and have the ground swallow me up, I’d never seen something so filthy in my life and I had no other option but to wear it now. Jonny decided to wet me again before we were due to land and I walked onto Spanish soil with a wet crotch and disgusted locals glaring at me. A few hours in, I knew this Stag do was going ruthless.
After arriving at the apartment, collecting our numbers from the Marathon expo and doing a bit of sight seeing it turned into early evening and we all decided after Chris suggested on having a meal and a FEW drinks and getting back for a reasonable time. We all decided on pizza but Kyle decided on a tuna Pizza and how he was made to pay for the consequences later on. One alcoholic drink turned into another then into stronger alcoholic, the crazy suggestions of going out all night and then running the marathon straight after was flying about. I ended up breaking a chair due to my excessive winter weight. Jonny and Kyle couldn’t wait to pass on the opportunity to get out their phones and take photos of me and post it on Facebook instantly even the Spanish in the square where we were eating were in tears of laughter. A little afterwards Chris broke Jonny’s dreams after he suggested he reckoned he could run sub 3 in the marathon the next day and he replied bluntly and a with a laugh of ‘no you can’t’, and to end it all I had to get pulled out of the bar by Kyle and Chris because we were absolutely ring bolted and it was descending into chaos. We staggered back to the apartment where reality hit Kyle and said ‘F#%* me Rayf’, we’re running a marathon tomorrow. What are we doing?’ I just laughed in a drunken state and fell asleep. What happened next I’ll never forget.
The morning of the Marathon I woke up to a noise, it wasn’t my alarm and I noticed it was still pitch black outside. It was a noise I can best describe as a whale dying, it was Kyle and he was being violently sick. The tuna pizza had caught up with him and he woke up the whole apartment with his vomiting. He knew at the moment he f&@ked up! as he crawled back to bed I noticed myself that the room was spinning and I had only a few hours before I had to run a Marathon. The next time I woke up it was to the sound of Chris Green shouting ONNNNNN! Oh dear, the room was still spinning and I had a massive headache, Kyle just get going I’m still spinning and ohhhhhh, whilst both Jonny and Chris slowly made there way to have breakfast and I had to put that wretched shirt on, I never felt so dirty in my life. We only had 45 minutes to get the start and we were a state.
On the way to the Start line, Chris, Jonny and Kyle were singing Blue Moon and You’ll never walk alone. These were the songs I heard repeatedly for the four hours. On the Start line all four of us were stood there just staring into the abyss, Kyle repeating saying ‘What the F&@k are we doing’. It all seemed a dream but it wasn’t we were still leathered and we faced a nightmare scenario. The gun went and we all agreed previously that Jonny should go for it with the shape he’s currently in. He weaved through the ground and off he went which left myself, Chris and Kyle to slog it out, across the start line with all three of us shouting ONNNN! The Marathon started.
Mile 1 had passed and Kyle asked when the first Water Station was, Chris said there’s one a 5k, Kyle groaned followed by his 202nd ‘Feck’, of that morning, Chris followed UP with but Kylie in 2.4km we’ll have 8 parkraces left. Kyle groaned again. Mile 3 and Chris’s shoelace decided to come undone, the amount of runners that told him his shoelace was undone from mile 3 to mile 23 must of been in the hundreds but his responses changed from ‘yes thank you, yes I know to feck off I know’. I find amusing. We came up to 10 km along the pier and we saw Jonny going the other way coming up to 12 km shouting ‘Golly gosh boys it’s on!’, and off he flew. At 11Km the first spectator shouted Go on City at me, Chris and Kyle burst in laughter and started singing Blue Moon and You’ll never walk alone again much to my joy.
As we ran up to Marbella and back down again, Kyle was struggling but Chris positivity kept us both going and coming up to halfway we saw Kelly Withers looking rather weary going the other way and we gave the best encourage we could as she was on her own. We passed Kelly’s parents before we ran back into the City centre to a rapturous ovation. They loved Chris’s pink hair the shouts of Vamos, Allez and something that sounded like Animal pushed us on into the second part of the race. We got passed 14 miles and Chris’s persistent singing of You’ll never walk alone and ‘Kylie you’ve only got 5 more parkraces kept us going, the song choices changed from You’ll never walk alone to Rhythm is a Dancer as Kyle was continue to struggle and he wanted to hear some 90’s dance songs. The 25 km marker came and Chris decides to run backwards through it. Myself and Kyle are looking at each other thinking how has he got this much energy.
At 16 miles is something that will I never forget, Chris started singing You’ll walk alone again as we passed them and they started singing it, my pace increased dramatically then. At 17 miles still running 8 minute miling, Kyle say’s ‘He’s suffering’, Chris then says to Kyle not mentioning names but along these lines ‘think of a certain female at home in high heels and something else’. Kyle’s pace increased at that moment that quickly even Eliud Kipchoge wouldn’t of got near him. We got to mile 19 and stadium section where Chris decides to sprint on the track and then run back for us and then decides to run backwards again. The next four miles after that I can describe the worst I’ve ever ran, the heat was getting up, the banter and chit chat had become brief apart from Chris saying ‘are you ok Rayford’, I’d reply with ‘I’m good’, he’d reply again with ‘you’re talking b#llocks, why are you lying to me,’ I wanted to laugh but I was too tired to and at Mile 23 and half, all three of us decided to stop and walk for half a mile to compose ourselves again. We got to mile 24, near Malaga’s football ground and decided right it’s the last two mile lets finish it off. We pulled our pace back down again and through the City centre at Mile 25 Chris and I started to belt out I’m feeling good by MUSE.
We swung around the City Centre under the Christmas lights and there was the finish not before I was heckled by a Manchester United fan saying ‘feck off City,’ as we ran down the road to see Jonny beaming after he ran a 3.05, we finished arm in arm, we completely winged a Marathon, a true test of what teamwork was.
On the Beach after the Marathon, we had to ‘GET IN THE SEA’, to help our legs recover and we decided to bury Kyle alive, the poor man was practically dead, as we left the beach literally we found that Kelly had finished and we were all made for her. She ran a marathon by herself in some severe heat, she showed she has some serious bottle.
After a Nap we heading out on the town, we were sat relaxing in the Irish bar and Kyle introduced us to Creepy Crawford, a randomer and then Kelly eventually joined us. I don’t remember much of that night after that apart from drinking a awful cocktail, sitting on Picasso’s statue, Kyle making Crawford cry after he said we’re moving on from you and shouting ONNNN, so we could sprint away from him through the streets of Malaga and then myself getting lost only to be found by the lads hearing my vomiting noises from down the Street. We at 3am decided to call it a night, it really had be some day.
All I can say is Malaga was of the best weekends I’ve ever had and said this before but thank you to the Lads and Kelly for making my stag do what it was.
“Let’s go shopping tomorrow,” declared Mr C, much to my surprise as this is definitely not his number one choice of pastimes. Then he mentioned Real Buzz and it became apparent … he meant running related shopping!! Bang went the 3 inch high heeled patent shoes that I was dreaming of – Shaun had spikes of a completely different nature in mind – cross country spikes!
Having never run cross country at school, I had no idea what I was letting myself in for and it certainly wasn’t something that I had ever considered taking up at my age but… Having secured a ballot place for London (thanks again Mr C!) I thought it was time to get a little more serious about my running and start strengthening those legs of mine to ensure that they have a chance of carrying me round a meagre 26.2 miles. So, much to my own surprise, I agreed and two hours later found myself with the afore mentioned spikes in hand.
I really didn’t know what to expect at all. I hadn’t initially signed up for the cross country races as I was reserving judgement until I’d heard my running buddy (Denise’s) thoughts about Sefton Park. Needless to say, last Saturday, I found myself sitting (rather quietly and nervously) in the car, which incidentally looked like we were going on a fortnight’s skiing holiday, heading towards the sunnier climates of Hyndburn. “It looks like its brightening up,” I was told as I looked up at some rather dubious dark clouds – I wasn’t too convinced and I was right not to be. As we parked up, the heavens opened literally – timed to perfection!
We spotted Team Heyes and Simmo masquerading as market stallholder sheltering from the sudden downpour, so we set off across a rather muddy (and slippery) field to battle the elements and erect the women’s tent. Once it was up, we huddled together like penguins to keep warm and at this point I honestly thought to myself – What on earth am I doing? Then I remembered, Pauline Taylor had manged to complete this very course with a broken ankle. Time for me to shut up, man up and derobe (brrrrr). By the way, anyone who knows me realises that being cold and wet are not really options for me. Miss Cunliffe (AKA photographer and support crew for the day) was sent to tell me to warm up. Great I thought, time to get my layers back on. Absolutely not. What it really meant was that her dad had sent her to tell me to start jogging up and down the field – in the rain!!! But hey – I did it – if only to stop myself from dying of hypothermia.
After a delayed start and overcoming the most dangerous obstacle of the day – avoiding getting your spikes stuck in the orange netting as we jumped over it (slight exaggeration with the word jump), the gun sounded. Heeding Jackie’s advice to stay high or face the choice of running back up the slope again – and believe me that was not going to happen – we were off. The first lap took us half way round the football field and through a dark undulating wooded area that was, at times, ankle deep with mud. Then, we literally had to get over the next hurdle – a stream (think gazelles Ms Jones!!) to re-join the course.
We are now 2 races into the 2018/19 Cross Country season and so far we have seen two contrasting races. Waterlogged Ulverston and a very dry and unmuddy Sefton Park. There have been some great performances and excellent debuts. For more on this please see this news story.
A few of our brilliant ladies team in action.
Don’t worry though there are plenty more to come. Another four Mid Lancs League fixtures plus Northern and National Championships!
The next one is this weekend. Hurray!
Cross Country – Saturday 8th December Hyndburn (no need to register just turn up!)
The next Cross Country race takes place this Saturday 8rd December at Wilson Playing Fields, Hyndburn. If you are a registered club member do please come along, join in and represent the club, we have a number for everyone!
There is no selection criteria, just a club vest is required. The course this weekend is a cracker and a great test. For details of location, course maps and timings please look at http://www.midlancs.org.uk/ Details of the rest of the 2018/19 Mid Lancs League fixtures will be there too.
Northern Athletics Cross Country Championships – Saturday 26th January 2019 at Pontefract Park, Park Rd, Pontefract WF8 4QD (please mail us if you want to do this one!)
We would like to enter teams and compete against clubs from all over the north of England. This year the course is at Pontefract Racecourse but hopefully there will be no hurdles to jump!
14.15 Senior Women 8.05K Competitors 20 years and over on 31st August / 1st September 2018
15.05 Senior Men 12.1K Competitors 20 years and over on 31st August / 1st September 2018
There is no cost to enter and we will be back in time for the Harriers January party!
Please email email@example.com if you want to represent the club in this excellent event. For more details see
2019 Saucony English National Cross Country Championships – Saturday 23rd February at Harewood House near Leeds
The 2019 Saucony English National Cross Country Championships will take place at Harewood House near Leeds which was the venue used for the 2018 Northern Athletics Cross Country Championships. It’s a fantastic course and well recommended, don’t miss the chance to do a NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP!
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to represent the club in the National Championships.
After October’s rain sodden race at Ulverston it was time for one of the biggest fixtures of the season at Sefton Park. It was the 18th year that the Mid Lancs XC league had taken part in the Liverpool Cross Challenge. Originally the league was recruited to fill out the junior fields and the event has become a popular fixture in the Mid Lancs calendar.
Across the different events there are 37 clubs with entry of 1265 runners. It’s a fantastic way of taking part in a race involving elites. The challenge is usually to avoid being lapped!
The first event at Ulverston saw a Harriers entry limited to just 5 men, this meant that only the M40 team scored points. This meant it was vital we had a big entry and scored heavily. Wigan Harriers certainly didn’t disappoint! 15 ladies and 14 men – an awesome turnout. ⚫️❤️⚫️
Conditions were excellent, Sefton Park has never been so dry, probably too dry as parts of the were rutted. First up for the seniors were the ladies running 8.1 km.
Leading the ladies home was Danielle Brearton who has carried her excellent summer form into the autumn. The strength in depth and numbers meant the Ladies achieved these fantastic results.
The first 3 ladies counted as the A team and came in 6th, the next 3 were the B team and were 12th. Both are L35 and L45 teams were 2nd behind a very strong Lytham St Annes.
Next up were the Men with 9.8 km of fast racing!
Making a brilliant debut to bring the men home was Jonathan Kearsley. Again with strong teams we were able to score heavily.
The first six men counted as the A team and came 15th and with plenty of male runners we were able to score as a B team too in 30th place. M40 were 4th and the V50 were 8th.
A quick scan through the updated results and then a lengthy calculation on how we fared against just the teams in our divisions yields the following provisional results for Sefton. (Polite way of saying I might have slipped an error in). Note 4 best results count (most of our teams didn’t score at Ulverston) so we we need to repeat!
Ladies 2nd place Div 1
L35 2nd place (only 1 Div)
L45 2nd place (only 1 Div)
Men 3rd place Div 2
V40 2nd place Div 1
V50 8th place (only 1 Div)
Well done all, especially our debutants who ran brilliantly. 👣
Next up is Hyndburn on 8th December and yes we have a number for every member!
My first ever trail run I entered with trepidation not knowing what to expect. I purchased my first pair of trail shoes at a massive £24.99! I might add the best £24.99 I have ever spent and in true harrier colours.
On the morning of the run I woke up late and in a blind panic. I Jumped in and out of the car every two minutes forgetting my watch, forgetting a flask and forgetting I hadn’t eaten. I settled for the best of McDonald’s bacon roll hash brown and a coffee.
After meeting up with Kelly Withers at CP2 we drove to CP1 to meet with other runners and tag our partners and continue the race. After a short, cold wait I was greeted by Katie Green. I was handed my number and I ran with Jayne Barlow-Salloum who was running strong as part of her duo run. After a gruelling 11 miles across a beautiful countryside the end was in sight. As I arrived at the finish line of CP2 I was greeted with cheers from all the fellow runners and harriers alike.
Questions were being asked who am I handing my numbers to, to continue leg 3 of the run. I was hungry and thirsty, phone calls were being made to seek the runner. It appeared the runner may have got dates wrong, however the race had to continue. I hadn’t fuelled, dressed or trained for anything more than 13 miles especially a trail run. I grabbed a cup of tea and a piece of granola biscuit and refilled my water bottle and offered my services to do leg 3.
All my team mates were very grateful and spurred me on. I continued the run along unknown paths and started speaking to other runners asking to run with them and swapped running stories and experiences. Around mile 14 or 15 I started to flag and felt blisters developing on my toes (damn these new shoes) I was cheered on by umpa lumpas and continued through the niggles of blisters.
As I ran towards the canal I saw a post office, I walked towards the door (yes walked) and thought I need food, I picked up the biggest bag of harribo sweets I could see and a bottle of lucozade sports, I hadn’t brought any money, “oh no” then prompted by the shop keeper, “have you got Apple Pay on your phone” my saviour!! I continued my run and started to slowdown. I was caught up by two runners who asked how I was doing and started to tell me their stories. They were winging there first attempt of an ultra. We became the three amigos, we had loads in common including running the first Wigan Half Marathon, all three of us finished London within 4 minutes of each other this year and then we all ran first Kirkby 10 miler.
As we approached the finish of leg 3 I was contacted by Ian Stewart asking where I was, he was with all the best intentions of meeting me at mile 25 to take over but I was almost complete so he had to rush to CP3 to meet me. As I approached I was never so happy to see another man before, but on the flip side the three amigos had become 2 as I was no longer running with them.
I sat waiting for Denise Riley to finish her leg so I could get back to face HQ, receiving calls from family and Kelly making sure I was ok. I saw Denise arriving then it hit home I’d finished and in my eyes saved the day in more than one way after giving first aid at CP3 until rescue services arrived to a fellow runner that literally ceased up on the spot he rested. We left the tent and headed towards HQ to a satisfactory welcome from all other runners and all the harriers that had completed their runs.
I know I’m not at Harriers that often anymore due to other commitments but I am proud to say that they are my second family. The support we offer each other is second to none.
Did I mention the “massive” budget priced trail shoes I bought. They will most definitely be used again.
Maybe I might join Marsha on the full 40 miles next year?
The Haribo had a startling affect on James!
Mid Lancs Cross Country League
The next Mid Lancs Cross Country fixture is the esteemed Liverpool Cross Challenge on 24th November where clubs from the North West compete head to head with some of the best elite runners in the country.
This is a massive event and a great day out. We always try to get as many runners as possible at this one and everyone is welcome. Don’t think “I will be too slow” runners of every ability will be there.
If you would like to run please email Jacqui Jones by 8th November. Email details have been sent out.
As this is a team event, your entry fee will be paid by the club.
Please only enter this event if you seriously plan to compete as entries are non refundable
All athletes will be allocated a race number specific to this event. These will be available for collection in the team tent on the day.
A couple of photos from last year of all those that were ready and dressed ready for action!
Saturday 13th October is the magic date! What for? A trip to the seaside for the Mid Lancs Cross Country season opener in Ulverston, Cumbria.
All paid up members are eligible to run, no selection criteria, all welcome. 6 events all part of your membership so don’t miss out!
Ulverston was a new venue last season, first used March earlier this year. It’s a great course to start the season. It’s held on the playing fields and surrounding land of Glaxo. Even after a long winter it was good underfoot, with a few sections of gravel/hardcore so most people wore trail shoes.
Hills? Nope! A few short inclines but we are on the sea side so nothing tough.
The course is quite short so the men ran 4 laps to rack up 5.7 miles.
There’s a decent sized car park a few hundred metres away so all quite convenient.
Refreshments? Yep! We will have it covered every way. Harriers Airpot or Booths coffee shop, either way we will get our treats!
Last March Men’s posse including Simmo without his wig! 😀
ORDER OF EVENTS
12.30pm u11up to 2K
12.45pm u11 boys up to 2K
1.00pm u13 girls 2.5K
1.20pm u15 girls and u13 boys 3K
1.40pm u15 boys and u17 women 4K
2.00pm u17 men, v70 men and jnr, snr & vet women 6K
2.30pm jnr, snr and vet men 9-10K
Need a lift? Drop an email to email@example.com and we will get you sorted. 🏃♀️🏃♀️🏃♀️🏃♀️🏃🏻🏃🏻🏃🏻🏃🏻🏃🏻🏃🏻
Volunteers are needed for the Awards Selection Committee. Last year an Awards Committee was set up to discuss your nominations and make fair and fitting decisions to choose the winners.
If you feel this is something you would like to be a part of, please email your interest to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will forward onto Lisa Heyes or let Lisa know at training.
Date for your diary.
Harriers Awards Evening Friday 23rd November 2018 at Standish Social Club.
Further details to follow nearer to date. Hope to see lots of you there celebrating our club and the many outstanding achievements.