New Year New Runners!

Get fit for 2013 with Wigan Harriers

With the New Year fast approaching the thoughts of many will turn to burning off the Christmas excess with a new health and exercise regime. Weight loss and a healthier lifestyle are the top priority of people investing significant sums in a gym membership in January. But is there a better, and cheaper way to get ft for 2013 and drop a few pounds along the way?

Well you cant get much cheaper than FREE!

Wigan Harriers Endurance group meet regularly throughout the week and it will cost you absolutely nothing to join in the free training sessions. The main night is Thursdays from 7pm when runners of all abilities meet up outside the DW stadium for a session to suit every level. We have runners aiming just to jog and chat whilst burning off a few calories, alongside those looking to get into training for a new year 10k charity race or even a Spring Marathon.

Whatever your goals, there is no need to slog it out in the sweaty boredom of an overcrowded gym when you can come along and benefit from the company, knowledge, experience and encouragement of Wigan Harriers without having to spend a penny!

Have a look at the Training Times page for details of the various sessions held around Wigan, or just come along to our busy Thursday evening session where you are sure to find someone to match your own abilities and goals. We next meet on 03.01.2013 to kick off the year. There is no better way to achieve sustainable, long term weight loss and improved fitness than running – and all the equipment you ill need is a decent pair of running shoes and the courage to take that first step!

See you in 2013

Leverhulme Park Cross Country 2012

The finale of the Red Rose Cross Country League 2012 took place at a busy Leverhulme Park this weekend with a fine showing from Wigan Harriers. Relatively benign conditions greeted runners arriving in Bolton for this last race in the season with a few Championship places left to decide. Recent rainfall resulted in a testing course which was heavy in places with a good dose of traditional cross country mud thrown in.

After siting the gazebo on the highest and driest ground available, the Senior Team members set off to watch the juniors finish their season in style. Nathan Dunn faced his final showdown of the season against Josh Boyle of Hyndburn in the U13 boys race. These two talented youngsters had been battling it out for top spot all season with barely a second separating them at the end of each race. Nathan needed outright victory to have a chance of winning the series.

In a truly thrilling finish Nathan entered the home straight trailing somewhat to the Hyndburn runner who opened up a gap as he broke for home. Nathan kept calm and slowly hauled back the deficit before timing his final push to perfection. With around 50 metres to go he found another gear and passed Josh with gathering pace and charged for the line with the Senior Team cheering him on. With both boys level on points it is Nathan who takes the title on the tie break rule of having run all 4 events in the series over the 3 finishes of his competitor. Congratulations Nathan!

In the U13 girls race it was another splendid run from Charlotte Newsham to take 3rd place in 10:11. Charlotte secured joint 3rd place in the League. Only an outstanding run from Natalya Irvine of Blackburn Harriers for her first win of the season denied Charlotte 3rd place outright. Rebecca Jones also did Harriers proud with 18th place in 11:24. Alice Rowe didn’t run on Saturday but her performances over the previous 3 races earned her joint 9th place. Well done girls!

Emma Wheatley and Rachel Sidebotham represented the club in the U15 Girls event. Emma came home in 16th place in 20:33, followed by Rachel in 21st  in 21:09. Rachel ended her season in 17th place overall.

Christmas came early for Richie Noone in the form of a very smart looking pair of cross country spikes courtesy of Andy Eccles. Andy generously donated an unwanted pair to the grateful Richie who promptly donned them for a recce of the route and declared them comfy as a pair of “beddies”. Half way round the recce Andy seemed to have a change of heart and decided to stand on Richies foot, spiking the shoes and leaving them with a 2 inch tear. Instead of a nice pair of shiny new shoes, Richie was hobbling round the course with a shoe stylishly bandaged back together with blue electrical tape: Austerity Measure Specials!

After a couple of races to soften up the wet ground the course was looking decidedly boggy in places. Dave Collins surveyed the 2nd hill on the route declared it was in such a state that most runners would be walking up it no matter what was on their feet. Graham Millington declared this to be nonsense.

“I reckon that’s definitely runnable” he said, and immediately slipped on his backside, slid down the hill and almost collected Mr Collins on the way.

At 1.35 the Senior Ladies headed out on the first of their laps of the course with Jayne Taylor leading the way for Harriers. Jayne needed to finish in front of season long rival Suzanne Budgett of Leigh RMI in order to secure 3rd place in the Lady Vets League. It was a fine run from Jayne but 10th place overall, and 1st L50 runner wasn’t enough to beat the RMI runner who put another runner between them to finish 2 points clear for 3rd in the competition. Jayne does finish in first place in the 50+ category for the season though.

Next over the line for Wigan was Tracey Dutton, charging her way to 20th place overall and 3rd in the L40 category. All that cross training on the road to recovery seems to have paid off as this was Traceys best finish of the Red Rose season. It left her in joint 9th place overall in the Lady Vets Competition, and a fantastic 3rd place in the L40 category.

Another Harriers runner stepping up the pace on the way back from injury is Jacqui Jones who also saved the best till last this weekend. Jacquis’ race for 24th place overall also bagged her 3rd place in the L45 category. This was enough to ensure joint 14tj in the Vets competition and an impressive 5th in the L45 league. Continuing this theme was Shona Taylor who placed 29th Vet for her highest finish of the campaign.

The cumulative performances of our Senior Ladies landed them top spot in the Vets League. This is a remarkable performance particularly when considering the ladies scored in only 3 out of the 4 races this season and all of them have fought injuries at one point or another during the campaign. Its good to see a Wigan Harriers sitting firmly at the top of the table so well done to all of our senior Ladies runners for a fabulous effort this year.

Debut cross country entrant Gary Wane was quickly introduced to the “man up” ruling when he produced a smart looking base-layer ahead of the Senior Mens race. A delayed start gave enough time for the man-suit debate to reach ridiculous new heights as the wearing of gloves came under scrutiny too. Dave Collins wasn’t to be parted from his woolly mitts, and thanks to the reasonable temperatures on the day Mike Harris wasn’t forced to carry through his threat of breaking ranks and bringing shame on the club with the wearing of an undergarment. 

When the gun finally went off for the start of the final race of the day, 10 black and red vests charged up the field for Wigan Harriers. It is a real testimony to how the club has grown, and how active the members are that we are now slightly disappointed not to field 2 full mens’ teams. Work pressures kept regulars Darren Middleton and Kev Edwards away, whilst Tim Pilkington was still reportedly applying ice to a swelling which has been troublin ghim lately.

Mark Rogers led the way for the men through the congested first half lap which saw considerable bunching at various points. Dave Collins and Dave Waddington used course knowledge to their tactical advantage and attacked the first couple of turns in order to get ahead of the crowds. The bunching on the initial hill climbs made overtaking impossible without risking a tumble.

Mike Harris and Andy Eccles followed behind with Martin and Barry competing for the final scoring place in 6th and 7th position. Graham Millington claimed to have stopped to tie a shoe lace on Lap 1, a story met with counter claims along the lies of, “yeah – and I stopped for a cup of tea and a burger too…”. He was followed by Richie Noone in his makeshift shoes with Gary Wane making a cautious start with a dubious ankle. The final place for Harriers was taken by the vintage black and red vest of Tony who joined us as a guest runner for his first cross country of the season. We’ll be expecting the membership fee to accompany his application for some time in the new year!

Mark had a spectacular run for first Harrier home in 42:12 for and a highly impressive 41st place overall. He was pursued by Captain Awesome himself Dave Collins in 43:56 for 59th overall and 2nd V50. Dave actually finished the campaign as 3rd V50 runner, but as the category extends to all 50+ runners he was relegated to 5th by a couple of speedy V55 men. If only he had tried hard enough… Just a few places behind in 66th overall was Dave Waddington in 44:37 as 9th V40

Mike Harris reports settling down into a steady, if somewhat lonely run in 4th place for Harriers. With Sefton Park having been his first experience of local league cross country, Bolton was something of a contrast. The runner behind was too far away to challenge, whilst the man in front was sufficiently distant to maintain the gap despite a few surges from Mike to make up the space. He finished well in 81st place in a time of 46:33

Andy Eccles looked to be running well as he continues to pick up fitness following a calf strain earlier in the year. Our club coach is his own harshest critic although his time of 47:24 earned him 10th V50 in 94th place overall.

Martin Andrews was gradually caught by Barry Abram over the first 2 laps who encouraged his team mate along as he passed. Martin dug deep and latched on as the pair of them swapped the position several times over the last couple of miles. After the final lap of the big field it came down to flat our sprint to the line in which Martin reports Barry made him “suffer for it”. Martin edged it at the last to round off the scoring for the team as 6th man in 103rd place overall in 48:46. Barry was just seconds behind in 48:49.

Graham Millington had a grandstand view of that race as he trailed just 45 seconds behind. Graham was digging deep as he battled to stay ahead of Richie Noone for the first time in a competitive outing. It was only as he began the final loop of the field and saw Richie offering support from the sidelines that it became clear why Rich hadn’t appeared on his shoulder sooner! It turned out that whilst Richie securely taped his dodgy shoe to his right foot, he took less care with the shoe on his left foot – which disappeared in the mud within a mile of the start leaving him to limp back to the tent village. Reports of him taking it off and chucking it into the bushes as an excuse for an early finish are both unkind and unfounded. 

Phantom pursuit from Richie didn’t do Graham any harm as he crossed the line for 109th place in 49:33 in what he claims as his best cross country performance of the year so far. Next home for Harriers was Gary marking his debut with a fine performance for 149 th place. Gary was ably supported throughout by the new Mrs Wane. This prompted several runners to wonder at what point their own spouses no longer found it romantic to stand around in a freezing cold and muddy park whilst they run about in shorts for fun….(general consensus was shortly after the 1st wedding anniversary so make the most of it Gary!)

The mens Vet team finished in a respectable 3rd place on the day for 5th overall in the competition.

Jayne Taylor strictly limited access to Traceys Muffins as runners queued up to get their portion in the gazebo afterwards. The tent was packed up in record time as Harriers headed of with some haste with the prospect of the club Christmas night out to follow later that evening. There wont be a report of the Christmas night out but one or two revellers were forced to delay their Sunday run till at least Monday, and one or two were still a little poorly on Monday too!

Christmas Day Run

Wigan Harriers will be meeting up for the traditional Christmas Day run again this year. 
All those allowed to play out can meet at Plantation Gates on Wigan Lane, opposite the Infirmary at 9.45am.
The run is approximately 4m up to the Hall and back, with the obligatory photos!
Santa Hats and reindeer antlers optional!!


Kendal 6 mile Adidas Challenge


Dave Waddington (the writer) and Jacqui Jones spotted an advertised 5 mile trail race sponsored by Adidas as part of the Kendal Mountain Weekend, with our Olympic Triathlon medal winners the Brownlee brothers starting the race. The course was advertised as running round the trails around Kendal, but ominously there was mention of a hill that would have you using your hands.


Anyway we turned up on a damp November Saturday in Kendal. The Brownlee’s were there mixing with the runners and having photos taken and signing autographs, so we both went over (I was curious how big they actually are – a touch taller than me and very slim). Jacqui got Alistair to autograph her race number. On the start line the starter announced that due to a difficult farmer the race had to be slightly re-routed and would actually be 6 mile, rather than the advertised 5 mile.


The gun sounded and off we went, the first 3 or 4 miles involved flat trails heading out of town, with numerous stiles to slow you down (or to grab a quick breather). Just after mile 4 came  “the hill”; it was a big one. I looked up and saw one person actually running up it, but the rest were walking. I joined the walkers and dragged myself to the top. At the top it dropped down slightly then across to another hill, which was smaller but tough at this stage. After running along a high path for a while the tricky descent started. I was racing a club runner from Sheffield and we both hurtled down out of control in the mud. I heard a yelp; he’d fallen.”Great”, I thought, “that should get rid of him”. Shortly after we joined a road and he appeared on my shoulder (covered in mud of course). I managed to shake him off on the road descent before the route went off to some fields and paths.


I raced a few other runners in, passing a runner who I’d clocked at the beginning of the race with tracksuit bottoms on “no way he’ll beat me I thought”, he nearly did!  I finished  24th in 45:56. The clear winner was Louis Goffe of Tyne Bridge Harriers in 39:17 


Jacqui had a good solid race, struggled up the hills and got passed each time by 1 or 2 ladies, but she quickly re-took them on the down hills. The younger lady eventually pulled away (even though she also fell on the tricky downhill), however Jacqui raced in against the other lady and pipped her in tight finish. Jacqui finished 4th lady in 50:58. The winner of the ladies (and 9th overall) was Annie Conway, who finished 2nd lady in the Lakeland 50 mile race in July in an impressive time of 8 hours 41.

Leverhulme Park Cross Country

Harriers head off to Leverhulme Park in Bolton on Saturday for the final fixture in the Red Rose Cross Country series. With our club Xmas night to follow, it promises to be a fun packed weekend ahead.

The last event in the 2012 campaign will see the individual standings settled, and with a few of our runners there is still everything to run for. Young Nathan Dunn goes into the U13 boys race in 2nd place in the competition and looking claim to top spot if he can better Josh Boyle from Hynburn. Another top spot finish could do it to go with his opening victory at Leigh. Charlotte Newsham is sitting pretty in 3rd place in the U13 girls competition and still in with a chance of grabbing 2nd spot if results go the right way. Full vocal support from the rest of the club will be fully appreciated as both set off at 1.00pm

Jayne Taylor is currently tied for 3rd place in the Vet Ladies event and will be fighting it out with Suzanne Budgett of Horwich RMI to the last.Our Vet Ladies are also our best performing team in Red Rose and a good performance on Saturday could even see them overhaul Accrington Road Runners to take top honours.

Our Senior Men are not in any medal shot position this year but bragging rights are at stake as the final race could shuffle the pack and throw out some interesting results in the individual standings. A good team performance can also lift the team to a respectable mid table finish.

Set the Sat Nav for BL2 6EB or click the link: Leverhulme Park

Ladies race starts at 1.35 with the men heading out at 2.15 with most runners arriving from 12.30 onwards to set up the gazebo and shout on the juniors.

The action then switches to Little Fifteen in the centre of Wigan as the Endurance Group meet from 6.30 for the Christmas “Do”. We move on to the Spice Lounge for the meal at 7.30pm, but as the restaurant doesn’t have a license, drinks can be dropped off before hand. Make sure you bag your tipple and label it with both your name and “Wigan Harriers”.

Anyone who hasn’t run at Leverhulme Park and is unable to present either a genuine Doctors certificate or a note from their Mum can expect to be reminded of it throughout the evening.  Anyone who does run at Bolton but does so in a base layer knows what to expect!

Kendal Mid Lancs Cross Country 2012

The clear bright skies over Wigan on Sunday morning gave way to grey clouds and threatening rain somewhere up the M6 en route for Kendal. A depleted Harriers team of stalwarts defied the freezing forecast to set up camp at Crooklands Park for race 3 in the Mid Lancs series.

There was much debate over footwear during the recce warm up laps. The course features a significant amount of ash and crushed rock tracks that looked to be too hard for a spike. The grassy sections were fairly firm underfoot suggesting a trail shoe could be the better option on the day. Mark Rogers volunteered for Guinea Pig duties and did a few strides on the hard paths in his spikes to test it out. His assessment that it was soft enough to take a spike carried the day, with the caveat that we could all blame Mark if it turned out to be a bad move.

As the Seniors completed their recce of the course, Nathan Dunn charged past in 3rd place in the U13 boys race. Nathan was the only junior to make the journey on Saturday and continued his superb season with a good run for 4th place.

The Senior Ladies were next off with Tracey, Julie and Jacqui doing their duty for the club.

Tracey leads the way as Julie spoils for a scrap with a young man.

Tracey leads the way as Julie spoils for a scrap with a young man.

Tracey Dutton had a flying start and came through as lead Harrier at the end of the first lap. Julie Platt may have had a legitimate excuse for crying off with a horrible cold, but came battling through exchanging elbow digs with a junior man as she jostled for position on lap 2. Jacqui Jones looked strong on her road to recovery as she came through as 3rd team member.

Julie and Tracey had swapped places by the finish with Julie crossing the line 17th overall and 7th L35 in 27:11. Tracey seems to be getting stronger every week and finished 10th L35 in 25 place just over a minute later. Jacqui Jones raced all the way to the line as she finished with a sprint in a 3 way battle for 29th place. Jacqui finished in the middle of the bunch for 30th place and a fantastic 4th L45 to round off the scoring for the team.

IMAG0202The combined efforts of the Senior Ladies saw them bag a fantastic 5th place from 25 teams on the day. Braving the elements in Kendal now sees them in mid table in a very competitive Division 2. This also meant a second place in the V35 Teams which places them in a fabulous 2nd place in the Division.

There wasn’t a Helly or baselayer in sight as the Senior Men lined up at the start of the final race of the day. With a hint of rain in the air this really was one for the hardcore as temperatures hovered around the zero mark. Pre-race excuses had be aired and dismissed with Graham Millington getting particularly short shrift: “I ran a PB last Sunday”  was met with “well you’ll be recovered by now then”. “I’ve got a tight hamstring” was rebutted with “we all have!”

Only Dave Waddingtons’ mild dose of plague carried any legitimacy and he treated everyone to dramatic demonstrations of his cough at regular intervals to prove his case.

The course at Crooklands begins with a half mile or more loop over mainly flat tracks and grass before turning uphill and away for a steeply cambered and muddy downhill return. The main feature of the route is the sudden plunge down a near vertical muddy drop of around 8 feet near the end of the circuit. That caused a few runners to hesitate with surprise first time round as though refusing Beachers Brook at Aintree!

Mark Rogers lead the way for Wigan as his spike choice proved wise. Although the harder pathways did cause the odd problem for those in longer spikes, the hills had cut up sufficiently to make full cross country shoes essential. The off camber muddy section was particularly treacherous with the left leg wanting to part company with the right and head off downhill on its own in a “splits” style movement.

Dave Waddington raised suspicions as to the legitimacy of his theatrical coughing as he sped away from the challenge of Darren Middleton and wasn’t troubled by “The Reaper” for the rest of the race. Darren had planned on pegging his race off the back of Dave and swapping places a few times. Its an indication of how well Dave is running at the moment that Darren reports having had a good run all the way and still being unable to bridge the gap. As the runners looped back on each other on lap 2, Darren had enough energy to exchange a cheery wave with Mr Millington heading in the opposite direction! Both insist they were still giving it everything.

Barry Abrams had a determined and solid performance as he tracked Darren just a minute behind. Kendal wasn’t the muddiest of courses this year but the last third was sticky enough to suit Barry strength on his way to 99th place and 19th V50 in 42:17

Mark proved he is on his way back to full fitness after picking up injury this time last year. He crossed the line in an impressive 38:16 for 42 place overall. This equated to 12th V40 and is a good sign of things to come from Mark. Dave Waddington must have finally cleared the phlegm somewhere during the race to charge home in 40:34 and bag 20th V40. He will be even more pleased with dodging the Reaper for 76th overall.

Just one V40 place separated Darren from his quarry as he came home as 41st V40 in 41:11. Daren is having a tremendous Cross Country season this year and it will be interesting to see how his performances are stacking up in the individual standings once Mid Lancs publish them.

Graham Millington may not have found himself a decent pre-race excuse but came up with a blinder during the run itself. Graham felt strong picking off other runners as he began the second lap and was encouraged enough to switch on the after-burners for a big charge for home. When the lead runners lapped him towards the end of the circuit, the penny dropped that this was a 4 lap event and not the usual 3.

Team spirit helped though, and Graham was urged home with shouted warnings from fellow Harriers of “he’s on your shoulder – sprint for it  – dont let him catch you”. This was followed by laughter all round as Graham pointlessly sprint finished with not another runner within 5 seconds off him. Perhaps it explained his 45:48 and highest finish this season in 144th from 216, (45th V40).

Having won the first 2 events of the season in Division 3, it was disappointing for the men to drop back to 3rd place in the league thanks to a zero pointer at Kendal. The vital 6th man was missing from the line up making it all the more important that we get a decent turn out at Hyndburn on January 12th. Thankfully, we did get 4 V40 runners home to earn 6th place overall and keep Harriers top of the Division 2 V40 league.

Back in the tent Tracey Duttons Muffins were greatly appreciated with some going back for seconds and even grabbing a pair. The day was rounded off with a few seasonal glasses of mulled wine and the odd pint in the Crooklands Hotel as weary runners got in a little training for next week!

Benidorm Half Marathon – Sunday 25th November

Less than 24 hours after Graham Millington et al had been deriding Andy Kaufman for his “shirt crime” at Sefton Park, Jayne Taylor and Dave Collins also had dress issues at Benidorm. There were rather more pleasant decisions to have to make here though, involving which pair of sun glasses to run in and whether it was worth taking a tee shirt to change into after the race, in case the temperature dipped below 20C.

With neither of us expecting a particular fast time and with chips being used anyway, we made no real attempt to get close to the front for the start of the race. The race had originally been scheduled for Saturday evening, but the move to Sunday morning meant that it was quite a bit warmer; probably 20 degrees hotter than Sefton Park! 

For those familiar with the Benidorm (half) marathon, the route had reverted from the previous years flat but repetitive course to the older course, which is more interesting but also considerably hillier. So off we went with the usual collection of obstacles who had positioned themselves far too near the front, and we spent the first K picking our way through people who sounded as if they had got their early pace judgement seriously wrong! 

The first 5K had a fair bit of climb in it, going up past the Levante Club hotel and Benidorm Palace. The Nightingales (perennial Wigan Phoenix runners) had entered the 10K which had started about 30 minutes earlier, and it was good to see their familiar gaits as they returned on the opposite side of the road. A fairly sharp turn saw us also getting the benefit of the downhill and this was reflected in the splits, with the second 5K being nearly a minute faster than the first. 

Once back at sea level, the route passed through the “old town”, with lots of supporters lining the way, before it briefly ran along the sea front. At this point, expectations of a half decent time nose-dived as we were directed away from the flat promenade, up a rather nasty sharp incline. Followed by a bend, and then another nasty sharp incline. Followed by one of those long stretches of straight road that you can see gradually climbs. Well at least you have to come down again, so that should be good. Unless they decide to take you down in no distance at all, so that your quads get a good pounding. Oh the joys of road racing! 

Anyway, we eventually were led through an underpass back out on to the promenade. Nice and flat, and extremely warm – the sun having sneaked up a degree or five while we were being distracted by the climbs. Still, well over half way now. Back through the old town (climb!) and onto the prom along Levante beach. At this stage, Jayne was having a real battle with her chimp (as in paradox!) and only managed to placate it by promising it a glass of coke at the finish. In the meantime, she avoided the temptation to nip into the nearest café and hung on to the next drinks station for a much needed swig of water. 

If you’re running well, the last mile or so of this course is brilliant. Wide avenue, good surface, a real fast track. If you’re tired and feeling sorry for yourself, it’s a horror, a real road to nowhere. The 20K gantry can be seen all the way along but never seems to get any closer. Then when you’ve almost lost the will to run its just (just?!) a K to go. The crowds thicken again towards the finish and people shout “only 200m to go”. Those of us who have done this race before though, know that you are rewarded by an uphill finish. Round the corner, give it all you’ve got, look at the clock and realise that you are getting slower. Come back Graham Millington’s best mate PB. 

So to the results. Over 1400 runners. Winner (Spaniard) in 1.07.44. Great run from Joe Bailey of Salford to grab second place in 1.11.27; apparently he’d been up until 5 the night (morning) before or he might have got a decent time! He came back from the presentation laden with rewards – a hanging basket full of fruit, a “chicken drink” (his words – turned out to be chicken soup!) and 4 months membership of the local gym! Jayne has been following the fortunes of one Maxine McKinnon on the Power of 10 for the last year or so, having trailed her in most of the rankings and then realising that they share the same birthday (year too!). Maxine won the ladies race in an amazing 1.22.40, and we had a good chat with her after the race. Dave’s time (chip) was 1.27.28, to just squeeze in the top 100. Jayne recorded 1.32.21 (chimp), for 6th lady overall, and 2nd lady vet. 

How nice it was to stroll round in vest and shorts after the race, thinking of the mighty efforts of those Harriers at Sefton Park the day before. Then an afternoon session with Mr. Miguel J I wonder if Wrexham in February will be as entertaining.

Rallying Call for Kendal X-Country

Saturday afternoon sees a hardy bunch of Wigan Harriers runners heading off to Kendal for the next round of the Mid Lancs cross country campaign. Following a magnificent turn out at Sefton Park a couple of weeks back, we need to keep our 100% scoring record intact with full teams this weekend too.

The ladies race starts at 2.00pm with the men heading off at 2.30pm. For those anxious to get back to picturesque Wigan after the event, we estimate being all wrapped up and ready to go by 3.30pm at the latest. Crooklands is less than a spirited 50 minute journey from home seeing most of us confortably back before 5pm. Anyone needing a lift should get in touch asap and we can sort out any car sharing needs.

If anyone is still wavering about truning out for the club, it is rumoured that there will be muffins up for grabs in the Gazebo and there may even be a relaxation of the man-suit vest only ruling. Give those cross country spikes a wash down and get kitted up for a fine afternoon representing Harriers in the beautiful surroundings of Cumbria for what should be a memorbale club outing.

Crooklands Park Map

Guys 10 2012

A sudden dip in temperatures meant an icy start to the day as Wigan Harriers headed up the M6 to Bilsborrow for the Guys 10 miler this year. One or two of our number may have been hoping for a postponed race given the marrow chilling conditions and the prospect of 10 miles around the icy country lanes of Preston. Host club Garstang RC put paid to such lily livered hopes with an early morning gritting operation to make sure the route was frost free and good to go in time for the 10:30am start.

Representing the Harriers were Dave Waddington, Kevin Edwards, Chris Burgess, Neil Prescot, Graham Millington and Julie Platt, well supported by Jacqui Jones. The turnout would have been higher were it not for a complete sell out of this popular local event, (318 finishers). A gentle 2 mile warm up jog confirmed both an ice free surface to run on, and the bitingly cold temperatures in which to do it. Our runners were grateful for the still air and clear skies which allowed at least a memory of warmth to penetrate the day from the low winter sunshine. A frozen squirrel just before the mile mark seemed an ominous testament to the weather!

Kit decisions were tortuos, with only Graham Millington bottling it completely and opting for a base-layer beneath the Harriers vest, along with Buff, hat and gloves to complete the Mardy outfit. Dave Waddington who kept the honour of the club intact with just vest and shorts derided Grahams’ faint hearted attire with the words, “you’re running in a Onesie!”

The race starts on the potholed car park next to the Thatched Hamlet pub/hotel just off the A6. The still frozen puddles on the start finish section proved to be the most difficult terrain of the whole event, particular so during the massed start as footing is tricky due to the numbers making their way out onto the course. Once out on the open tarmac, the slight downhill start encouraged a fast first mile on closed roads.

Kevin Edwards led Harriers in the early stages with Dave Waddington in close attendance. Chris and Julie kept each other company with Neil not far behind and Graham bringing up the rear. Sadly, Chris didn’t make it much further than the dead squirrel before his own race expired with a calf pull. Chris began the long walk back to race HQ hoping to get there before the race leaders finished!

The course makes its way out into the countryside for the first 3 and a half miles, before beginning a long 4 mile loop along quiet lanes and back to the main road. The final 2 and a half miles retrace the “out route” back to the Thatched Hamlet Inn. Its about as flat as you are likely to find anywhere, apart from the odd canal bridge crossing and few gentle inclines here and there. The toughest section is the last half mile or so up a gentle but wearying incline and a final short sharp pull up to the car park in the last 200metres.

Kev Edwards relinquished his leading position to Dave Waddington in the later stages of the race and expected to be overhauled by Chris as he felt himself pushing hard to maintain pace. Dave had managed to maintain a steady pace throughout, and with Chris already out of the race it was Dave and Kev who finished in formation as 2nd and 3rd V45 in 1:03:41 and 1:03:47, (34th and 35th overall)

Just 3 minutes behind was Julie Platt who was competing in her first 10 mile event. Julie had found herself settled in with a close matched pack of runners from early on, and had spent most of the race in their company. Running a consistent 6:40 pace she came home in 1:06:47 as 8th lady and 2nd F40. As first F40 was also 2nd placed lady overall, Julies’ performance earned her a race prize to go along with the special commemorative cheese given to all finishers. Anyone receiving a very generous night for two at the Thatched Hamlet Hotel from the Platts this Christmas is entitled to be suspicious…

Running without his Harriers vest thanks to a logistic mix up was Neil Prescott who had the biggest support crew of the Harriers runners in the form of his wife and family. “Are you going to be a runner like Daddy when you grow up?” he inquired of his little one, who took one look at the arctic conditions from under his hood and promptly marched off for the warmth of the pub! Neil pounded out a solid 6:50 pace to find himself in 82nd place in 1:08:34.

For Graham this was the second time he had competed over the distance in a fortnight, having set a new 10 mile best at the Preston Guild race 2 weekends ago. After a steady start he gradually upped the pace in the second half to find himself passing runners all the way up to the dead squirrel at mile 9. It was a matter of holding on as long as possible for  the final mile before crossing the line in 114th place and shaving a further 15 seconds off that still shiny PB for a 1:12:12 finish.

With cheeses safely stashed the post race analysis took place in the highly convivial surroundings of the Thatched Hamlet bar room, (coffees only!). Chris Burgess made up for his lack of cheese with a complimentary copy of Lancashire Life as tired runners contemplated how race winner Ben Fish could possibly be less than delighted with his 51:52 finish!

Guys 10 Results 2012

Sefton Park X-Country Results

The Sefton Park Cross Country Results have now been published on the Mid Lancs site here: Sefton Park x-Country 2012

As well as the individual placings, we can now confirm a fantastic result for the Senior Ladies placing 4th overall, and 1st placed Over 35 Team. Julie and Tracey came 16th and 17th overall which equates to 5 and 6th in category respectively. Jacqui was 24th overall and fantastic 2nd in her category.

The Senior Men brought 2 full teams over the line with the A Team placing 7th, and the B-Team coming home in 18th. In the Vet 40 Team event, Harriers bagged another 2 team placings at 4th and 15th place for the A and B teams.  The big turnout meant we also had a V50 team finishing in 11th place.

Well done Team Wigan Harriers!

Next up in the Mid Lancs series is the Kendal fixture on Saturday the 8th at Crooklands. We are back to the more familiar distances and start times with the Ladies competing over 6.2k, and the men taking on 4 large laps for 10k. The Senior Ladies start at 2pm, with the men setting off at 2.30pm. We are hoping to get as many runners as possible to make the trip north and build on our strong start to the season with another good club turn out.

Pictures from Mick Hall Photos are now on-line.