Wilmslow Half 2013

Darren Jackson gives us this report on the Wilmslow Half:

Well I was glad that the relays were cancelled yesterday just so that the legs felt a bit fresh for Wilmslow.  I think it is fair to say that every man and his dog knows that it was freezing cold today.  I collected Mr Burgress to embark on the journey to Charlton to collect his new identity (David Delahunty) but the funny thing is he was +55.

It was freezing when we arrived at Wilmslow and we had 90min to spare, after a couple of toilet visits we went and sat in the car laughing because of the pre race nerves.  I covered my body in deep heat because I was determined to run only in my Wigan vest.  The foil ready we made our way to the start.

It was agreed that Chris and I would stay together until 10miles and if felt good would push on and meet at the end.  The start was slow as always at Wilmslow and Chris and I got separated until around 5miles.  We were running between 5:45 and 5:50 which was maintained until 9 miles when we got separated.  I was still very comfortable and at 10 miles I pushed on and tried to up the pace which I did, however the wind was horrendous.  There was a hill at 11 miles, that I had forgot about and the pace dropped to 7 min pace.  There was no getting through the wind and it stayed with us until the end.  I had to work hard for my new PB 129.27, yet at one point until I hit 11miles I thought I would be in the 128s team.  It didn’t happen but it will because I’m not a complacent runner.

Well done to my compatriot Chris (aka David Delahunty) for is effort this morning finishing in 92:27 – 1st half marathon in tens years – well done.  See you at Runcorn next Sunday for 5miles.

Worsley Woods Parkrun

Race addict Peter Mills continued his quest for a sub 20 minute 5k time with a trip to Worsley Woods Park run last weekend. In his own words:

Having done a handful of Parkruns I made a last minute decision on Saturday to try Worsley Woods. Not knowing the terrain I wore light New Balance road shoes 880s. These soon became 3x as heavy with the rain and mud of Manchesters finest weekend weather.

The first mile of this course is on a potentially very quick hard surface. Trying to remain in the – for god’s sake don’t go off too fast again frame of mind – I kept to a 6.40 mile 1.The congestion at the start of the event forced me onto the mud soaked embankment just to keep a decent position. The sudden change as we entered the woods to some large steepish steps was a bit of a shocker on the legs. By now my New Balance had given up completely on trying to be trainers. Covered in mud, tread clogged and slippy as hell, every step became a challenging slide.

Still in recovery from last weeks cold – Without pushing it to the limits we came out of the dank woodland, through Alton Towers style dark tunnels and then hit the last straight mile for one more time. Slightly picking up pace here I managed a respectable 33 place out of 152 with a time of 21.52.Better suited footwear and warmer drier weather would make this a good fast course to try your hand at Parkruns

Trimpell 20 Report 2013

After endlessly debating race strategy in the days leading up to the race, Chris Smullen and Neil Prescott headed north on Sunday for the Trimpell 20 Mile.  This was going to be a real test of self control, with the target of pb’s in London at the forefront of our minds rather than a fast race here.

Neil: I didn’t have the best preparation for the race as one of my best friends was leaving to live down in London, so I had to attend his leaving doo on the Saturday night. I was a good boy and didn’t touch a drop of alcohol but getting in at 12.45 wasn’t the best idea…..

Chris: Conditions were pretty good but cold, so there were only a handful of entrants who decided to join the brave Wigan duo with the summer vest and shorts combo (although we both agreed that gloves were perfectly acceptable!) As 11am approached, the buzzing atmosphere at the start line on the athletics track was building nicely.

To match our “take it steady” approach, instead of elbowing our way to the front we heading towards the back of the pack almost out of ear shot of the starters pre race instructions. The race was soon underway and it felt so strange as we casually jogged around the track, milking the small crowd, before heading out onto the traffic free cycle paths of Lancaster.  We had both decided that our race wouldn’t properly begin until 10 miles, so it was a case of keep the hand brake on and enjoy the scenery.

Neil: The first mile marker passed and it was clocked at 7.38 so we thought “bang on with the plan”. The next 2 miles were a little bit quicker but not much and then from mile 3 – 10 we said we’d run it at about 7.15 pace, so we proceeded just too slightly increase the pace. We leisurely went along our way chatting to each other thinking how comfortable it felt and then noted that nobody had passed us and we were gradually moving up the order passing others who had either gone off too quick or were simply running one pace.

Chris: Once beyond the 10 mile marker, the pace was stepped up to match the target marathon pace for London.  It was a real confidence booster to clock up mile after mile, consistently within 5 seconds of this target pace and moving up the rankings as we did so.  It was clear that most of the runners we passed did not expect to see us and were wondering what illegal substances the Wigan lads had taken mid-race!

Neil: We upped the pace again and every mile thereafter was around 6.50 so the plan was working a treat. Again nobody passed us and we went on their way to target a group or individual in front and overtook them 1 by 1. At mile 17 Chris said that he was going to increase the pace ‘to no faster than 6.40’ so we both went off and then Chris started to edge in fron. I looked at my watch and it was saying 6.35 so thought, “I’m not going quicker than this”. I did the remaining 3 miles at roughly 6.40 pace but Chris still finished a minute ahead of me although he wasn’t going to any fast than 6.40… hmmmmm.

Chris: At 17 miles, we both pushed on to finish strongly (Chris in 48th and Neil in 51st) out of a field of close to 400 entrants.  But the time (around 2hrs 20mins) or position weren’t important on this day, it had purely been a training exercise in preparation for the streets of the capital in 5 weeks. Like all the top athletes, the lure of a chip barm in the sports centre afterwards proved too much…….you can take the boys out of Wigan, but not Wigan out of the boys!

Liverpool Half Marathon 2013

Wigan Harriers were well represented at the recent Liverpool Half Marathon with Pate Cole, Pauline Taylor, Lisa Stevenson and David Newshan taking on the 13.1 miles of this iconic race.

Lisa put in a fantastic performance in her debut over the distance. she can be very proud with an extremely creditable 2:02:17. Serial Half Marathoners Pat and Pauline keep on turning out top times and came home together in 2:16:12 for yet another strong performance.

David Newsham provides us with the following insight into his day:

Three weeks after the Half Marathon in Blackpool, it was off to Merseyside to continue the quest (along with Pat Cole and Pauline Taylor) of completing any Half Marathon ending with the ‘Pool’ (so that just leaves Hartlepool, Pontypool, Ullapool and Welshpool)!

Considering I’m more of an owl than a lark, setting the alarm for 6.30 to ensure the porridge and blueberries had done their thing (if you know what I mean) for a 9.00am start seemed a bit excessive, but once I’d navigated safely to the Pier Head area I was raring to go.

This was the third time I’ve done the Liverpool Half, but it’s a much bigger
event now and has a different course with the start and finish in front of
the Liver Buildings. The start was a bit chaotic with people hurdling
barriers to try to get into cramped pens – it was certainly cosy but at
least it kept the wind off. Off we went in the usual mayhem of people trying to avoid each other and the bollards/traffic lights.

After the early steady climb after about a mile it’s reasonably flat, taking
in some pleasant sights such as Sefton Park which was nice and also an under pass/zig-zag barriers – not so nice. Was feeling OK as the race continued but not as strong as I’d hoped (excuses…. main goal is Manchester marathon in 6 weeks and still in early stages of metamorphosis from recreational to clubrunner!).

Past the 9 mile mark the course followed the Mersey all the way home which
felt like a long home straight, but a tad early to start pushing that bit extra for the finish. Other notable highlights included surviving the plonker who cut across from the extreme right of the field in his desperation to get a drink after 3 miles, someone who clipped my heels and nearly sent me nose-diving half-way through and those beautiful cobbles for the final mile were particularly a nice touch.

A time of 1.51.39 was a minute quicker than the last outing but a long way off my PB and where I want to get to – but still an enjoyable morning and after my mile cool down I felt satisfied with my efforts and returned to my car which still had 4 wheels.

Cartmel Lakeland Trail 2013 – If you want mud…

After a week of man flu and no running for even longer, I approached the first race of the Lakeland Trail series at Cartmel with a little more trepidation than usual. The day dawned dry but grim. It was above freezing but there was a sharpness in the air made keener by the mild breeze that made the thought of stripping down to racing kit less than appealing.

I contented myself  with the thought that these events aren’t necessarily all about flat out race performances or pushing yourself to the limit. The Challenge event in particular gives participants the opportunity to simply enjoy running on the trails of the Lake District with even a chance to admire the stunning views this part of the world affords. There’s competition if you want it, but camaraderie is the usual winner. With that in mind I began my warm up with full winter tights, hat gloves and a baselayer and gave thanks that this wasn’t cross country and no need to strip down to man-suit only!

There was a real atmosphere of “first day back at school” at Cartmel as acquaintances made at previous races met up for the first time that season to celebrate the joy of running on the fells again. Sadly the Lancaster Batala band who added so much to the atmosphere last year had been silenced on the day following local complaints. I wonder how many of those complainants were still happy to benefit from the enormous revenue the event was bringing to the sleepy little village of Cartmel in the off-season?

A funny thing began to happen during my warm up. The more strides I did the less my lingering cold seemed to be bothering me and the fresher my legs began to feel. A few more laps of the grassy car park and the tights came off as I decided to man-up and brave the conditions properly. Then the sun began to peep out from behind the grey and as the temperatures crept up a degree or two, the baselayer came off too and the race face went on!

The pent up energy of the last 2 weeks exploded out of me at the start and I had to make a conscious effort to hold back the pace from a silly 6:30 minute mile.  I still felt very comfortable over the first mile in around 6th place and revelling in the feeling of soft fell side under my Inov8s again for the first time this season. I swapped positions between 6th and 10th as a group of us formed a loose “pack” over the first few miles before settling down.

The first few climbs of this route set the tone for what is to follow. There are no huge climbs or quad busting rocky descents as may be found elsewhere in the series. Cartmel is more about an unrelenting series of ups and downs that never quite bust a lung, but give no chance to recover on the shorter downhills before the next technical climb. It encourages a faster pace but seems to take a bigger toll. The battle swings constantly between lactic thresholds and oxygen debt depending on the incline or terrain.

We passed a particularly helpful marshal at mile 4 who usefully shouted our placings as we went through. I was told I was in 8th place just as the guy in 9th drafted past me! My little pack had spread a bit now, and although we were all within sight of each other the next few miles were about digging in and fighting the fatigue over some tough terrain.

This really is a delightful route and would make a tremendous days trail running. The views over the bay and up country to the snow-capped fells are awesome. From a runners perspective, taken at a slower pace the technical twists and turns through the heather and rocks and the paths through the woods are a joy to run. Sometimes it’s better to slow down and enjoy the surroundings a bit more than we tend to do in a race. This isn’t a part of the Lakes I would have discovered without Lakeland Trails, but I will be making a point to re-visiting the area to explore a few more of its run routes.

Cartmel promises Sticky Toffee pudding to all finishers and stickiness there is in abundance on this muddy course. It had rained overnight to ensure the gloopy sections lived up to their reputation and nobody was to be disappointed by the amount of mucky stuff! Maintaining speed up a hillside of mud is as much about picking a good line through the mire and keeping up the momentum. I found myself floundering and slipping about at one point, wasting valuable energy on a poor route choice and was swiftly picked off by the guy behind to relegate me to 10th.

Graham on his pretend motorbike

Graham on his pretend motorbike

A fabulously twisting technical path through knee high bracken is followed by a sharp incline to a road section. The tarmac meant greater speed on now tiring legs, but gave some respite from the sapping demands of the muddy trails. I picked up the pace along here and pulled some time back on the runners in front but as soon as we turned off the road it was back into a forestry track that was calf deep in rutted mud and brought me almost to a lactic knotted standstill!

“Softer stuff ahead “, shouted the cheery marshal as though that was good news!

I was caught on this section by another 2 runners and we slogged and stumbled our way uphill together through heaving bogs of mud. At this point there are no kind thoughts of admiration for the course setter and between agonised gasps we all agreed that to plonk a small mountain of mud at this stage in the run was “brutal”!

Up until mile 8 I had entertained ideas of finishing in 10th place but now I was content to simply keep going and not drop any further than the 13th position I found myself in. The 2 runners in front couldn’t pull away much, but neither could I dent their lead as we hit the last mile of rocky paths. I found a bit of energy to power into the flooded ford for the benefit of the photographer, only to stumble on a hidden rock and nearly give him the photo of the day of me face planted in the stream! That’s what vanity gets you.

As I swung into the final uphill section through the woods I spotted the 2 lads in front had ground to a walk up the steep terrain. I had a faint idea that this could be my chance to make up some ground but despite keeping up an agonizing jog up and over the tree roots, they were away and running again before I could make up enough of the gap. From here it is a quick, twisty descent through the trees before bursting out into daylight and the racecourse itself for the finish.

I got a rousing cheer from the family and the crowds lining the run in. Its amazing how the presence of an audience can lift previously finished legs into a heroic sprint for the line! That was 11.2 miles completed in 1 hour 34 something and 13th place from 400, (3rd vet 40). I was delighted with a 1:41 for 26th last year so more than happy with that!

As I said at the beginning, there’s competition to be had in even the challenge event if you want it – buts its camaraderie that wins the day at Lakeland Trails. As soon as I was over the finish line I was met by the other 4 or 5 runners I’d been racing and we stood around re-living our shared experience and congratulating each other between the handshakes.

With the business of running about the hills getting muddy out of the way, it was time to enjoy the rest of the day. These events are about far more than the run itself and so it was now time to enjoy finding familiar faces, and kicking back to enjoy Pete Lashley entertain the crowds with a cracking set whilst refuelling on a sausage bap. It’s always worth hanging about post-race for the various race presentations and to join in the fun of the spot prize give away at the end too. My daughter proved her sprint potential once again and was up like a jackrabbit in response to the call for volunteers to make the draw. For once she spared my blushes by not pulling out Dads number!

Another fabulous day out for the whole family and we are already looking forward to the next fixture at Hawkshead. By then I hope to have removed most of Cartmel from my dogs, shoes, kids and car boot….

Graham Millington

Cartmel 18k Challenge Results

Dent 14 – 2013 Report

Our final report from last weekend comes from Kev Edwards who took on the Dent 14:
I have run the dent 14 for last few years in preparation to a spring marathon and so again I turned up this year, having had a hamstring problem for the last week I wasn’t sure if it was a wise decision but the free cakes at the end where too tempting
With weather reports forecasting snow I was happy to find just a cold and windy day confronting me. So I set off for my warm up of 4 miles (oh I didn’t mention this race was going to be in the middle of a long run). Some days your warm up feels easy, unfortunately this wasn’t one of them. I came back to the start to put my race kit on, thinking “you’re going to have to tough this one out”.
The hootter goes and off we go. After about a mile we hit the first climb, where upon a women flies past wearing full winter training gear. I am poor on climbs but this is not on! However she stops at the top, and I never see her again. By now I was starting to regret my new breakfast routine off oatcakes and peanut butter; I’m going to stick to bannanas in future.
At about 7 miles you can see the car park where you parked up (never a good idea: way too tempting) and you get a big cheer from the supporters, then its the last long climb of the race. I had been hearing this guy behind huffing and puffing to get on my tail and eventually he did, just as we hit the climb and wind: bad idea. I tucked in and let him take the pace until after about a mile,  I said “take a break mate and I will do a stint at the front”. That was the last I saw of him as he blew up big time!
At 10 miles you turn for home, and you have 4 miles of sharp climbs and long descents. My stomach was really starting to worry me now. Would I have to do a paula or could I make back in time? The 1st lady passed me like  I was standing still, which brought my concentration back.
“Right I am not having this, don’t you know I am supper speedy going down hill?” I thought to myself. I pulled her back in a classic Darren Middleton move. I had my eye on the guy from Wesham now and we had about 800 meters to go. I started to pull him back and that’s when my stomach went critical, and I had to slow right down. I did make it to the finish with seconds to spare, (details have been withheld due to graphic nature).
1.31 for the half
1.35.53 for the race
Quick change to some warm kit and a very slow and not very pretty 4 mile warm down – 22 miles for the day, job done!
Back to the village hall for free tea and cakes, and prize giving, best part of the day.
You always learn something new in every race, and today it was: don’t eat oatcakes and peanut butter before a race

Roddlesworth Roller & Doddle 2013 Report

The majority of our runners may have been testing their speed on fast flat 10k courses this weekend, but that easy option was not for Shona Taylor. Shona and daughter Em took on the challenging inclines of the 25th Roddlesworth Roller and Doddle. In her own words:

At the start line of the Roller it was blowing the odd dusting of snow
in a truly arctic wind. A bunch of us sheltering in the pub doorway
concluded that we were all mad but with 175 finishers there were a lot
of daft folk out that day! After a short section along the reservoir we
headed up into the (slight) shelter of the trees.

After the fourth orfifth up and then down section I understood the “roller” bit and my legs were begging to hit the top as I knew that with finish in the same place as we started there should be some downhill. There was – a shallow decline down a road into the wind so no bonus there.

Big names like Suzanne Budget were dropping like flies and taking
their numbers off. Above the snow line at this point. Then through a gate and the serious down-hill. Flying over shallow steps and tree roots it was a miracle I stayed upright but then we went up again and … On the final half mile along the reservoir I could see some folk in front and reeled them in successfully.

Back at the school later there was a wounded bench with a girl icing an ankle and a bloke abraded from top to toe, so the down-hill took a few prizes.

Then it was straight down the road to the start line for the “Doddle”, a swig of juice then off again. Under 10s were meant to be accompanied. I knew this could be a challenge for the so called adult accompanier and so it was at starting. Em shot off in front and I got caught in a pinch section for a bit. Caught her up on the hill and whipped her on a bit.
Cresting the top she saw where she was and kicked again. I kept up for
a spell shouting encouragement but then she dropped me at the finish.
Hmm, I could have used better placement tactics early on but by next year the accompanier won’t be in the race…

Trafford 10k 2013

A particularly pernicious form of man flu took its toll on Harriers turn out at Trafford this year, but 3 brave souls still turned out in the red and black to represent the club. It was a cold morning in Partington with even light snow flurries greeting Nina Fisher, Bobbi Kasabov and Colin MaCevoy.

Over the past month Harriers members have clocked up in the region of 20 individual PB performances in events from Wrexham and Blackpool Half Marathons to Blackpool 10k and elsewhere. With 2 shiny new best performances already recorded over in St Helens, the pressure was on our Trafford runners to maintain the high standards the rest of the club has been setting.

First off into the flat lands of Trafford was Bobbi Kasabov. According to the Power of 10 site, Bobbi was chasing a PB of 39:27 set last year at the Manchester 10k. His recent training efforts paid off handsomely with  over a minute off his previous best with 38:07 for 180th place overall.

Next to finish for Wigan was Colin McEvoy, who will be best known to most of us the chap who runs in “those funny five toes shoe things”, or “Vibrams” as those of us in the know call them. Colin only recently set his PB of 42:59 at Stanley Park 10k the previous week. We can only conclude he must have been holding something back as he took nearly 2 minutes off that time with a startling 41:08 for 257th overall.

Completing the hat tick of bests was Nina Fisher fresh from her Cross Country feats last week at Beacon Park. In a superb debut over the distance Nina ran a chip time of 47:49. That represents 449th overall from 745 finishers and gives an indication of what we can expect to come from Nina.

Superb efforts all round on a difficult day to run.

St Helens 10k 2013

Its been another busy weekend of racing for Wigan Harriers despite the worst that the wind rain and the odd virus could throw at us. First up is the St Helens 10k at which we were represented by Mark Glynn, Peter Mills and Darren Jackson. First report in his own words from Darren:

Well it was cold morning and I wasn’t sure whether it was going to rain, although I appreciate when it’s not too hot because of being a sweaty individual. All wrapped up and ready to go Pete Mills and I made our way to St Helens rugby ground to embark on my first 10k in 10 months. Not knowing where I was at in terms of speed work I had made my mind up that I was going to try to achieve sub 40 given that my endurance is back to some decent level in the last five weeks. Pete and I met with Mark Glyn who had done the race the last couple of years and coming in the top four last year.  Mark informed me that me it was hilly!  Mark and I prepared in the first pens ready to set off, neither of us not knowing what to expect.

To achieve the 10k PB I knew that I needed to be running at 6:25 and be able sustain this throughout the race.  The first mile was far too fast and I’d gone through this at 5:40.  Rather than trying to hold this I slowed right down and ran the next couple of miles between 6:10 and 6:15. The hills and returns took the toll and at 4.5 miles I was running at 6:40. I was able to respond and picked it back up to around 6:18 and tried to hold the pace.  Returning on the hills I saw Mark coming down and Pete going up, both my compatriots were working hard and I was proud to wear the Wigan Harriers vest. There was a guy about 400 meters in front and the same behind. At 5 miles I knew that I was going to get the sub 40 that I have been working on for what seems a lifetime. Colin (the chimp) was happy and worked hard to achieve the 15 second PB. I felt really strong and aim to take another minute of the PB this year. I know I’m lacking in some aspects of training but I’m looking forward to training and competing again.

Next up was new member Peter Mills:

I had actually signed up for this race before I was an official Harrier.But I’m very proud to be a member now.

The night before St Helens 10k was an uncertain affair for myself. A head cold, sore throat and cough decided to make another appearance before a race After some emergency herbal remedies and the usual bargain 60p Tesco’s cold tabs I woke up feeling definitely no worse. The race was on!

I met up with Darren Jackson and later Mark Glynn.I arrived with Darren and had a useful pep talk on tactics and staying positive despite feeling under the weather. It helped! The particularly chilly climate of far away St Helens made me reach again for my jacket. A last minute word from Mr Jackson and threat of Harriers ridicule for life if I ran in my Nike jacket meant I quickly came to my senses and decided to run in a flimsy Mothercare sized, paper thin Nike black vest instead. I couldnt possibly wear the tiny Harriers vest that was so kindly loaned to me.The 80s glam rock scene has long since gone…

The welcome staggered starts meant no unwelcome pushing or shoving occurred.. I set off with the intention of sticking to 7min miles and listening closely to my body. My legs felt great and the tapering of only 11 miles running the previous week paid off immediately. No lactic build up and no tight chest. Just before my Garmin beeped at mile one, I took note of the pace and realised my body was pushing too hard too soon. I hit the brakes and let a few runners pass me.Checking my watch more regularly than ever before I managed to maintain a good steady sub 7min mile pace for almost the whole 10k.Much welcomed ‘well done’s and ‘keep it up’ shouts from Darren and Mark shook me out of my trance like pace and let me pick it up a little more when required.

At 4/5 miles a runner from a small group who had tagged on just behind me for what seemed like an eternity went past and commented on how bad the wind was.(no bean jokes please Graham ;O).I hastily agreed and then jumped behind this human shield for the next ¾ of a mile.

As I entered Langtree Park Stadium two of the group following fancied their chances and overtook me.They increased their pace to slide past – Cheeky buggers!I thought after 6 miles of hard bloody work – how dare they!…..I knew at the stadium entrance point that I would try for the full on sprint unless they REALLY gave it their all. At about 100metres they were no further than 30ft ahead so I hit the afterburners and then some more…The crowd roared the announcer shouted ‘something’ but this caused them both to glance over their shoulders and go for gold but before they knew what had hit them I was inching across the finish line just in front.

Apparently runner 1019 was ahead. I dispute this though as I could see them both slightly behind me at the line and strangely on photos published – that isn’t even his number?  But 76place achieved. Smashed my 10k time by over a minute with new PB of 43.17 and enjoyed the company of other Harriers. I  had a great day all round.Onwards and upwards to my biggest challenge (Not for Darren or Mark ;0) target time of sub40 10k.

Red Rose Trophies for Harriers

Wigan Harriers cross country runners may be looking forward to picking up their solverware after a successful Mid Lancs campaign, but the first trophies of the year have aready been collected. The Red Rose League presentation night took place last week and Harriers took home a sparkling selection of awards.

Nathan Dunn was presented with Gordon Fisher Trophy after topping the table in the U13 Boys competition. Nathan was good value for his victory after a series of nip and tuck battles with Josh Boyle of Hyndburn. Charlotte Newsham is pictured with her plaque for a superb 4th place in a very competitive U13 Girls competition.

Wigan Harriers Lady Vet Team won their category outright and Jacqui was there to represent the squad. Jane Taylor finished as 4th veteran lady aswell as first L50 and Jacqui  kindly picked up the trophy on her behalf. The Enduracne Group sends its hearty congratulations to all our award winners!

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