Parbold Hill Race

Parbold Hill Race by Karen Moorfield.

This is one of my favourite races and I know it clashes with cross country but I’ve done this race every year since I started running, that’s not some record as its only 3 years for those who don’t know me. On the warm up some guy said it was ten years since he had last done this race and when I hear things like that I am always amazed and it makes me wish I had started running much sooner in life.

The weather was cold but dry at least and I was seriously thinking I’d made the wrong choice in just a vest and shorts. Everyone else seemed to be wearing pants and long sleeve tops, some even with vests over long sleeve tops and there was the odd jacket about. Warren did his usual to put my mind at ease, I can’t help it I still get nervous before any race and I suspect I always will. I actually think it is good for me as it’s not nervous in a bad way, I mean I’m not throwing up constantly or rushing to the toilet any more than every other runner doing the race.

We had the added bonus this year of expanding on the Moorfield racers, yeah that’s right Jenna came with us and this time to race not to watch. if you’re not familiar and haven’t seen her at the odd Tuesday training session Jenna is Warren’s 16 year old daughter. During the warm up and waiting for the start we made sure we explained to Jenna to be careful not to get penned in and to make sure she did not fall or get knocked over. If you have never attempted this race the start can be chaotic, in fact it’s always chaotic but that just adds to the fun. This year took it to a whole new level as there were several attempts to start the race but the starter gun wouldn’t work and so it fell to a quick countdown and then we were off.

The start of this race is on a small field and after about 5 strides there is a quick sharp left turn and then everyone has to funnel out through the narrow channel out of the field and so everyone except those at the front get squished together. I set off reasonably well and was looking but could not see Warren or Jenna but that was fine, I’d see them at the end. I turned the first left on the field and the guy in front of me went down to a chorus of “whoooaaa.” this was a first for me, someone falling right in front of me and I can now say with 100% certainty that when running and the person directly in front goes down there is very little if any time to react. I did try to go right around him with a half jump but as I went that way so did his legs and so his feet struck me on my shins. There was only one way I was going and it weren’t right or left. I sort of tumbled forward which wasn’t that bad, I managed to put my arms out and i seemed to push myself back up pretty quickly. there was of course a second huge roar of “whoooaaa” reserved solely for me but it’s a race and I had a time to beat so no time to be embarrassed.

I felt like I then had to leg it faster than I wanted to down the road past the pub and for those who enjoy the summer midweek races this route turns left off the main road where the Harrock hill race starts. my main goal this time was to get under 1 hour as the year before I finished in 1 hour dead. The long first climb up has on previous years resulted in me walking part way up where it narrows and its easy to stop here when the person in front starts to stop and walk because in some sections you simply can’t get past. Then relief at the top and satisfaction knowing that I had just run up the middle of Parbold hill without stopping and now for the run down through the fields.

The run down has been easier the past two years as this was the wettest I’ve encountered this course and my la sportive bushido trail shoes which I love and would recommend to anyone are clearly not meant for that amount of mud and grass and something like an Inov8 mud claw or even Warren’s Salomon Speedcross would have been better. At a number of section throughout this race my feet were sliding sideways and in some parts the mud puddles were well over the ankles but these are all the reasons I love off road running.

Running down the grass hills, through the mud and divots (and let’s be honest the animal pooh) I think is one of the best feelings ever and I don’t mean running through pooh is fantastic its the feeling of letting go, of losing a bit of control. It may sound stupid to some but to others you might know exactly what I mean, hurtling downhill, a little sense of danger, that you could fall anytime, it’s a thrill or maybe its just me, maybe I am a bit crazy.

Anyway as I’m hurtling down the hill I am fully aware that I have yet again got to climb Parbold Hill, yeah that’s right this race is twice up Parbold Hill and this time its running up the main road past the front of the Miller and Carter and then left back onto the fields. As usual Chris and Andy Nightingale were up near the top cheering everyone one and this always puts an extra spring in my step at what is a tough part of this course. I have now come to expect them at this point cheering and clapping so a huge thank you to them both for this year and every past year they have been there in support.

Unfortunately that’s not the end of the climbing as it’s a climb up from the road across more fields and this section was probably the worst, it was energy sapping thick mud this year and the stiles are so slippery when coated with mud. Everyone queues nicely for the stiles and gates with the odd person jumping the gate. I am far too calamitous to even attempt to jump a gate that high besides you are asked to not jump the gates and keep in the order you arrive at the stile in and so it’s all very sporting and everyone is so friendly. The queues at the stiles provide respite, a chance to catch your breath back but also to chat and have a laugh with other runners. If you want to get to the stile first then you simply have to run faster than everyone else its simple.

At one of the last stiles I was in a queue and the guy behind me squeezed the butt of the guy in front of me, so when he turns around I am the first person he sees. Thankfully his mate said something they said hello to one another. I said “I’m relieved at least he didn’t think it was me” to which he replied “you can have a feel if you want” as he climbed over the stile. Now I know racing is about having fun but I don’t think Warren would want to give me carte blanche to go around grabbing everyone’s bottom and so on this occasion I gestured to squeeze his butt without making actual contact. All of this seemed to amuse the marshal manning that stile and its good to have them laughing on such a cold day as the marshall’s did a tremendous job on this race, they always do.

The race route then goes past the Highmoor Restaurant and left on a tarmac section and over the dreaded cattle grid. I am going to rant now as I feel strongly about this, there is nothing I hate more than cattle grids, they are not animal friendly which is of course there purpose but they are not people friendly, nor are they bicycle friendly or even car friendly and so my conclusion they are pure evil. have got over the cattle grid alive and in tact there is then a wooded section which is rough under foot with millions of tree roots (ok millions was a slight over exaggeration there may have been 999,992 at a guess, that’s what it feels like).

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I know I’m on the downhill finish when the route hits the very narrow section where there is slippy mud and rocks under foot and on one side are trees and the other a wire fence and at this point no one can pass anyone but it leads out to a field which is then a free for all. the field is quite a steep downhill and its were you have two fence jumps. I felt last year’s set up was better. Last year there was a hay bale on the near side of the fence so you could stand on the bail and jump over the fence. this year the bale was on the other side which I though made it harder. I hope they rethink this for next year. anyway I was back with the freedom feeling as I picked up speed going down the hill passing other runners with my arms almost windmilling.

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Then there is the last couple of fields to cross before a quick few metres on the road to then cross the finish line on the field were the race started. it was Moorfield PB’s all round, Warren with 52:24, me with 57:37 and Jenna with 1:18:16. Still can’t believe at the start l was going on and on and on to Jenna about being careful and not getting tripped up only for me to be the one to end up on the ground, well that will teach me. I love off road running and I’m always hoping to convince other’s to take it up or even just to give it a try, as it’s not for everyone. I love trying to beat my previous years times but that’s not really what this type of off road running is about as you can never judge the conditions or terrain.

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Jenna it has to be said was undoubtably the star of the Moorfield household in this race. She is clear testament that anyone of any ability can do these types of races and all you have to do is decide to go for it. Yeah sure she is only a kid at 16 and so has bags of energy but the furthest she had ever raced before this race was the 5K Haigh Hall and Pennington Flash Park Runs. She was supposed to have a hockey match and when it got cancelled on Friday night, we asked her if she wanted to race with us and to be honest we didn’t expect her to say yes. Both me and Warren warned her about the hills and the mud and explained over and over how it would not be an easy course but she was resolute in that she wanted to run. She wasn’t pre-entered but we managed to get a number swap on the day (thanks Marc) and even though we drove down Parbold Hill to show her how big it was still she would not be deterred. She absolutely loved it and completely SMASHED IT!!!!!

2016 Club Records

February now so 2016 records are well overdue for publishing.

Another fantastic year for Wigan Harriers.

Please either sign up up to Power of Ten or send us the race details if you are missing from these records.

Ladies

  • 72 Performances logged (Just best one logged per athlete)
  • 46 PB’s broken
  • Congratulations to Jenny Meadows on her 36.37 10k.
  • Congratulations to Kath Brougham on her 86.30 Half Marathon
  • Congratulations to Tracey Dutton on her 3.08.53 Marathon.
  • Well done to all the ladies who donned the Harriers vest in 2016.

Men

  • 111 Performances logged.
  • 78 PB’s broken.
  • Congratulations to Gary Fitzpatrick, top of the 10k and Half Marathon standings with 33.31 and 76.34 respectively.
  • Congratulations to Howard Avery on his 2.48.41 Marathon.
  • Well done to all the men who donned the Harriers vest in 2016.

 

The full 2016 honours board.

 

 

Back on the tour bus….

Four Mid Lancs fixtures complete, two to go, so where have been so far on the tour and how is the club getting on?

First up was Chorley, Astley Park. This venue was familiar ground for many Harriers. The course is devised to use as much of the natural terrain as possible. It features a stream crossing, muddy ditch, woodland, steep slopes and grassy parkland. Plenty of climbs to test early season form and much easier to smile before the first race! It was fantastic to see Tony Boyle, Kev Edwards and Barry Abram all back and doing great.

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After enjoying the slopes of Chorley, the next stop off was equally close to home and equally challenging (or maybe more?) Cuerden Valley Park. It was the first time any of us had Cross Country raced at that venue. An interesting mix of hills, firm paths, muddy fields and stream crossings meant it was another tough day out. Debutantes for the men were Kevin Rex and Simon Baines, both turned in brilliant performances. Different personnel for the ladies but equally impressive results to Chorley, establishing a presence near the top of all the league tables.

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Next up was the Daddy of the Mid Lancs fixtures – Sefton Park. A combination of multiple leagues plus the Euro champs qualifier makes it a big affair with plenty of elite runners. It’s a much flatter course than the previous two and often produces some lightening times. A muddier course than normal made it hard work but we were blessed with a decent turn out. This meant for the first time this season we got two men’s teams over the line. The ladies had another great showing taking another fantastic haul of league points. Tracey Dutton looking very sharp and carrying her 2016 form right through to the end of the year. We finally organised a ladies photo!

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Fixture four continued the theme of flatter courses with a trip to Towneley Park Burnley. It also chipped in with mud, lots of it! It was the hardest the conditions have been at Burnley and made the course far removed from it’s usual benign self. This made it the perfect place for a Harriers XC debut, step forward David Barton, who turned in a great performance. It was also another opportunity for Darren Jackson to continue his love affair with Cross Country. Darren’s preferred footing is on the track or road so thick heavy mud was not an ideal setting. Fair play to Darren, apart from a brief stand off when he and the course exchanged a few choice words, he stuck it out to help the team to another solid performance. The ladies turned out another strong team and with it a good points haul.

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We now have the pleasure of two fixtures to go, both on fairly tame courses. First up is at Hogwarts aka Cleveleys School, Rossall followed by a March date in Leigh.

Here’s a picture of the excellent men’s turnout at Rossall last year, a flat course by the seaside.

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This is the men going off to conquer Rossall 2016.

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League positions so far

Ladies: Division One: 2nd place,  V35: 1st place,  V45: 1st place,

Men: Division One: 5th place, “B” team Division Three: 7th place, V40: 4th place

Well done to everyone who has represented the club so far this season in particular the 100% attenders, great commitment. Everybody is welcome, just ask if you want anyone more information. There are no fees to pay!

Good luck everyone!

 

The Magnificent 7 and the Lone Ranger

Knowsley Safari Park was the scene for the Northern Athletics Cross Country Championships, two laps and then the lions are released well that’s what we joked but those poor lions 🦁 wouldn’t have stood a chance of making it through the swamp.

Many have bitter memories of running at Knowsley, for good reason, it’s usually tough and Saturday didn’t disappoint. Let me make one thing very clear, the photographs do NOT do it justice, it was very heavy mud in most of the course.

First up was the Ladies race. First place Harrier was Pauline Foster with a very determined run. Well done Pauline, our lone ranger. Pauline ran the two lap course in 52.28 coming home in 317th place out of 362

When Pauline realised she was our sole female competitor there was no complaints or grumbling, she just got on with it and did herself proud.

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Meanwhile the men sorted themselves out for a team photo in the nick of time. GB “social media” Sticks resisted the temptation to try a team selfie and chose someone slow looking to take the photo. The men had seven so barring two drop outs we were good for a team placing.

Now my warm up had consisted of running over to collect the numbers and then over to the only part of the course that wasn’t muddy so I have to admit a slight tinge of guilt that I underplayed the course to Northerns newbie David Barton. He has recently joined in on the delights of XC experiencing the joys of Towneley Park too. David you now deserve an easier one!

Kev Total Warrior Edwards was ready for the challenge in his trail shoes and white socks (did they wash alright?), fair play to Kev, XC is not his favourite and it never was at the peak of his powers but when he can he joins us and he always makes a great contribution to the team. Thanks Kevin.

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Three laps and 12k of undulating muddy hell. Here’s some action shots…

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Finishing line photos.

I think we all burst down the finishing straight, joyous that it was over at last!

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There was plenty of on course support, thanks support crew. 🙏

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Men’s results then…a total of 676 finishers (plenty pulled up!)

166th Tesfagaber Waldu 50.58

263th Mark Morgan-Hillam 54.23

332th Stephen Nicholls 56.38

349th Mike Harris 57.26

432th Gary Wane 1.00.42

454th David Barton 1.01.49

615th Kevin Edwards 1.11.52

Team result was 34th out of 50 teams. Well done fellas!

Two more Mid Lancs fixtures and the Nationals to go, how exciting!

 

Petzl Night Runner by Karen Moorfield

Petzl Night Runner

2nd weekend in January means only one thing…. UFO’s! Well that’s how the race is sold but actually its the Petzl Night Runner Rivington 10K.

Cold start again for the second year in a row but sadly no snow this year. It had been forecast earlier in the week and I had been really excited about running in whiteout conditions but in the end is was not to be, it was very wet underfoot but thankfully the rain held off for the race itself.

7pm start meant us arriving at Rivington School an hour before for a standard mile warm up which turned into two followed by the compulsory briefing under the start gantry. Warren of course ushered me up to the front with my usual protestations of “ I can’t start up here with all these, I will slow them down.” I think Warren’s reply was along the lines of well don’t let them go past you. Following the countdown we were off, a downhill start (for at least 20 meters) and then a relentless energy sapping, leg trashing, uneven underfoot climb of approximately 2 miles. Now I know what your all thinking reading this, that bit has just sold it to you.

Next the flat bit along where the pigeon tower is and I’m sure most of you may well be familiar with how rocky and uneven the path really is and how that makes it just as challenging as the ascents and descents. It’s not flat for long before the route takes you up around the back of the Pike, thankfully not up to the top, that was my mantra at this point “ at least it’s not to the top, at least it’s not to the top.”

It’s a decent descent then back to the road past the Dog Kennel’s before a sharp left onto the footpath which then climbs all the way up to the top road and for those not familiar with the area, that’s the road that leads to the mast. On this climb I was aware that I was 3rd female and this particular stretch is one which Warren has had me spend many a training session doing. Warren’s theory being that this is good Mont Blanc and Lakeland 50 training. It was also fantastic training for this race, as whilst I did not close down on the second female I was happy to pass a number of runners on this section. Usually when training when I hit the road I have a breather for a few seconds and a quick look back at where I have come from but not in the race, no time to stop I had to head up the road before turning back off to the left onto the footpath up to the Two Lads.

This section from the road up to the Two Lads and then back down to the Dog Kennels has seen me fall a good many times on both races and training runs. Last June on a warm, dry, clear, light summers evening during the Henderson’s end race I fell face first scrapping all my shoulder which still had the scar a month later on my wedding day much to my Mum’s annoyance, but at least the dress covered it. In fact that is clearly a life long scar as its visible today. We had done a training run just over a week before during the day when the ground was thick with ice. Now I bet your thinking I slipped, which is logical but when I fall it aways seems to be spectacular. My foot went through the thick ice breaking and as my leg went down into the deep bog the broken ice pitched up and my knee slammed into the edge of it. This time I had to do it in the pitch black with just a head torch for company and it’s really hard to get used to running with a head torch so that you’re not blinded by your own breath bouncing off your beam.

I headed up to the Two Lads and carefully down to the Dog Kennel’s, sorry guys no tumbles on this occasion it passed easily and without incident. Once I hit the Dog Kennel’s I knew it was a straight descent back to the school and I could pick up some time. The two thirds is no technical trail as the terrain is uneven to say the least but you know your nearly home when hit the smooth tarmac for the final downhill just before the finish. It is on this part i was flying in fact the stats show that I managed mile 6 a second faster than Warren (I’m sure he understands that I have to get that point in). I over took the second female on the road descent and as I rounded the corner at the bottom i could then see the first female as I got closer to her she spotted me and accelerated off, I tried my hardest and finished strong but I had nothing left when I crossed the finish line.

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As it’s a chipped race on corrected times I finished 3rd female overall. I’d like to be able to share with you my prize for coming 3rd but it was cold and more importantly I had a homemade lasagne waiting for me at home that I had slaved over earlier in the day and that was now on the top of my agenda.

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I finished in a time of 01:01:16 which was 7 minutes faster than last year. Warren finished in a time of 57:31 which was 2 minutes faster than last year. This is always an epic race from Epic Events and well worth a go to get you out of your comfort zone. As for UFO’s I’m sure they were out there up on Rivington but I couldn’t see as I had my head down focusing on the terrain.

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This is a race for everyone, just check it out, Epic Events even encourage fancy dress so even if you just wants something that is fun but a bit different then this is definitely a race to consider.

2017 important dates

As 2016 is drawing to a close it’s an ideal time to remind everyone of some important dates in 2017. All these events are open to all club members, no selection required! 🏃🏻

Don’t forget we also have the last three Mid Lancs Cross Country events to come.
https://wiganharriersendurance.wordpress.com/fixtures/cross-country-fixtures/

Saturday 28th January
Northern Cross Country Championships
Knowsley Safari Park.
£7 to enter.

Saturday 25th February
National Cross Country Championships
Nottingham Wollaton park
£7 to enter.

Contact Steve Nicholls to enter both of the above events.

Sunday 19th March
Wigan Half Marathon and 5k
If the buzz around town is half as good as the 10k then it will be another two cracking events. Sign up to be part of the Harriers massive!
http://www.wiganhalfmarathon.co.uk

Sunday 26th March
Northern Athletics 6 and 12 Stage Road Relays
Right on our doorstep…Haigh Hall.
http://www.northernathletics.org.uk/events/northern-athletics-12-6-stage-road-relays-championships/

Sunday 7th May
Wigan Trail 10k
Our very own race is back again, spread the word!
Marshal or race make sure you are there. 😊
https://wiganharriersendurance.wordpress.com/amberswood-trail-race-series/

 

Guys 10 Mile Road Race by Mike Harris

I first remember hearing about this race a few years ago when Dave Waddington ran it. Guy’s 10 mile race, who’s Guy I wondered, must be famous to have his own race?

Guy’s Thatched Hamlet is a hotel and restaurant in Bilsborrow north of Preston. Flat terrain leads it to being excellent running territory.

10 miles, a very interesting distance. Do you treat it as a 10k and try to hang on, maybe pushing your performance to the limit or run it as a fast half marathon, training up for the coming marathon season. Which ever way you look at it, I’ve always considered it as a good start to marathon training season. An indicator of where you are at, after an autumn of racing.

2015 was cancelled due to flooding and so my entry was rolled over into 2016. A calf problem had meant I tried to defer but it wasn’t possible so being too tight to waste a race entry, racing was on!

I car shared with fellow Harriers Darren Jackson and Bozhidar (Bobby) Kasabov, both in excellent form so it was shaping up to be a good showing for Wigan. Also racing was Danielle Brearton but unfortunately Danielle didn’t manage to make the photo call.

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The course is out and back with a loop that takes in the outskirts of Inkskip (a good half in January) returning back to Bilsborrow.

It was a very cold day but otherwise pretty good race conditions.

My plan was to run 6.20 miles and see whether I could maintain it. Bobby as expected took the lead for Harriers, running initially with some caution but gradually upping the tempo and getting into a racing battle with a few other men. I was joined for company by Darren for the first 4 miles. The race could be categorised as miles 1 -4 easy, 5 – 7 some effort and 8 – 10 hanging in the best I could. It was obvious I was still be punished for a lazy summer when I got to the last couple of miles.

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Still I stuck it out for a 73 second PB in 64:33 and was joined in the PB club by Bobby in 62:40, Darren with 65:30 and Danielle 74:14. A fine outing for Wigan Harriers yielding a full set of PB’s, an excellent morning’s work.

 

Save a life!

A short message from the secretary of the Mid Lancs League that we as a club compete in both track & field and cross country events.

The second Mid Lancs League defibrillator Training Course is taking place 7pm – 9pm on Tuesday 17th January 2017 at St Saviour Church, Bamber Bridge, handily placed just five minutes from J29 of the M6. The same tutor, Dawn Taylor of Rossendale First Response, is taking the course and I can say from personal experience that she is an excellent instructor and the course is very worthwhile.  There are 20 places and the fee to cover room hire is £2.

A poster giving the full details is attached and I would be grateful if you can publicise the course to your members.

Defibrillator training

Thank you.
Dawn

Be bright and keep safe!

We often remind people of the importance of wearing a high visibilty top or bib for training and the reason for that is it’s not safe to run in poorly lit areas without one. Unfortunately there are too often media reports of runners or cyclists being injured or killed whilst out on the roads. Please take the issue seriously and get yourself a high vis bib (means you can wear it over anything) and stay safe on all your runs!

Many of you also have flashing lights and head torches, anything that helps you be seen will help keep you safe.

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As for Harriers sessions it’s mandatory to wear one so please make sure you always do. Please do not be disappointed to be asked to a leave a session if you don’t have one as it’s not fair to other runners, pedestrians, cyclists or motorists so be bright and stay safe.

Thank you for your support.