Any race that involves 5 miles of varying hill climbs will require a little pain and suffering from those taking part. On that basis, one Wigan Harrier has banked enough agony to keep him in credit for the entire Harrock Hill race series for 2012 with a little bit spare for good measure.
A good showing of black and red vests were on display for this first mid week tester on the hills of South Lancashire. Dave Waddington, Tim Pilkington, Andy Eccles and Darren Middleton set off in the late evening warmth, beginning with an immediate uphill charge. Tim Pilkington took the front for Harriers with Andy and Dave battling it out up the first hill, before Dave snuck in front on the way past the quarry.
Andy Eccles is known for his uncompromising approach to races with his run hard or go home policy. On Harrock Hill there is little more uncompromising than the barbed wire fence he picked a fight with at the first style crossing. Somehow Andy took a tumble and became completely, and horribly entangled in the fence. Club mate Darren Middleton was first to stop and when the seriousness of the injury became apparent he bravely whipped off his vest to use as a makeshift tourniquet.
Darren reports that with the help of another runner who luckily happened to be a Doctor, they managed to painfully unhook the barbs embedded in Mr Eccles to reveal eye watering injuries. “There were bits of him still left on the fence..” adds Darren, who remains traumatised at being forced to display his naked torso in public.
Meanwhile, allegedly oblivious to the carnage behind them, Tim and Dave contnued to slog their way round the course wondering where, and who the screaming was coming from. Dave Waddington staked a claim to a place on the Harriers hurdles team with a spectacuar vault over a closed gate to grab himslf a couple of extra positions over those queing for the style. He finally lost out in a tussle with Paul Seddon over the last 200m to finish in 38:04, with Tim Pilkington having a good race to grab 7th place. They both finished to the sound of sirens and flashing blue lights….
Back up the course Andy Eccles was refusing a lift to Southport General and after being patched up by the Paramedics he drove himself back to A and E in Wigan like an injured Homing Pidgeon. He then spent an entertaining half hour or so watching the staff “cut away the dead flesh” and sewing up his ragged arm. For a time there were quite a few worried club mates keen for news of our coach. However, once word got round that he was stitched, battered, bruised but going to be ok, the sympathetic messages flooded in along the lines of: “You’ve let the club down – losing a limb is no excuse for not finishing”
Seriously Andy -we are all very relieved to hear you are ok – speedy recovery and we want to see you back running as soon as possible.