The sun shone and the records tumbled at the Amberswood Trail races in Wigan this weekend. Wigan Harriers hosted the third annual running of this event amongst the picturesque parkland of Amberswood near Ince. This hidden gem of greenery and lakes offers a true trail experience tucked away in the heart of traditionally industrial Wigan.
Strong pre-entries were followed with a swell of entries on the day entries as the fine weather made for perfect race conditions. The 118 runners who completed the 10k course represented the highest attendance so far in this increasingly popular event. The wide spread of abilities taking part typified the friendly, inclusive ethos behind the races which attract balanced numbers of both club members and unattached runners.
The 2.5k fun run started the day with over 20 runners charging off for a lap of the lake. Harriers youngsters did the club proud and put up quite a battle amongst themselves to bag the top 3 places. Fun run this may have been but that didn’t stop Tim Hartley and Jack Dee Ingham hammering it out for 9:44 and 9:57 respectively. Matthew Lynch was hot on their heels for 3rd place in 10:28 closely followed by the first lady, Alice Rowe in 11 minutes. Charlotte Newsham and Rachel Sidebottom were 2nd and 3rd ladies in 11:03 and 11:40..
Despite the speedy stuff from the youngsters up front, the Fun Run saw plenty of fun along the way! Paul Mason of Atherton RC was the only runner taking part in both the 2.5k and 10k as he acted as mobile motivation station for those around him. If it had been a cuteness competition it was no competing with the youngest athlete of the day little Summer D’Ascendis toddling the full 2.5k for her very own finishers medal, (well earned).
With the temperature rising race starter Richie Noone called the 10k runners to order before sending them on their way on the dot of 11am. With the attendance record already broken, the next benchmark to fall was the 10k course record as Liam Thompson of Leigh Harriers led from the start for a stunning 34:58. He was chased by Czech runner Juraj Gavura adding an international flavour to the field with his impressive 36:39. Third place was taken by Tim Greenald of East Cheshire Harriers who also bagged 1st placed MV40.
The womens race was also won in a record time by Louisa Thompson in 41:18 making it a fine double for Leigh Harriers. Heading home a large contingent of Prestwich Harriers runners was Vivienne Slack who took 2nd placed Lady in 42:16 with Trafford AC runner Alison Drasdo taking 3rd in 43:20. The first Wigan Harriers runner home was 5th placed Mark Glynn doing the club proud with a 38:48 performance which also earned him 2nd MV40.
The 10k race took in two full laps around the lake and off into the country on a selection of footpaths and bridleways. The recent hot weather had dried out the soggier sections of the route through the woods leaving the going firm to good underfoot. Tiring competitors were encouraged all the way by a grand turn out of marshals, many of them runners themselves and fully understanding of the efforts being made! Early feedback from competitors suggests that more than a few Personal Bests were set amongst the field on Sunday.
Several Marshals were also equipped with cameras and dashed back and forth snapping pictures of all the runners to offer as free souvenirs of the day. Richard Noone and Graham Millington were close to claiming personal bests themselves with the miles they put in criss crossing the course to capture the best shots! Back at the finish line the assembled spectators helped create a real atmosphere for the runners as they headed for home. Many a runner was coaxed into a sprint finish by the noisy encouragement of those on the home straight.
A healthy number of runners stayed to enjoy the prize giving back at Springview Sports Club, with a good few taking advantage of the licensed bar and the pie and peas being served. Prizes were given in all the usual age group categories along with a special award of a years membership of Wigan Harriers to the first unattached male and female runners with a Wigan postcode.
Anyone who has ever been involved in organising a running event will understand the levels of hard work, stress and anxiety that go into the pre race build up. Wigan Harriers race organisers breathed a huge sigh of relief at the end of a successful day and reconvened to the Brocket to de-brief over a pint or two! At least one club member was de-briefed so effectively he had to miss work the next day …
Harriers would like to thank all of our runners for coming along and enjoying the day, with special thanks to friends from local clubs who did us proud with their support. A contingent of runners from St Helens Striders had competed the previous day in the Staveley Lakeland Trails in Cumbria, but decided their legs were ok to run again the following day at Amberswood, (which was a better effort that one of our own who dropped out after 5k at Staveley and bottled out of setting up the course on Sunday with some sob story about a sore ankle…). Also there in numbers were Astley, Atherton, Knowsley, Manchester YMCA, Spectrum, Swinton Prestwich, Knowsley and many more.
We are indebted to our Event Partners ‘Friends of Amberswood‘ and Greenheart both for giving us their blessing for using their very special park and for providing marshalling support to boost our numbers on the day. Legacy Events were of tremendous assistance with the provision of vital equipment which helped us with course marking, accurate results and those professional touches which make all the difference. Thanks also to Springview Sports Club for use of the venue and to George in particular for mowing the grass across the first field to make the start that much easier!
We have been greatly encouraged by the positive feedback received so far from those who took part, and we are already looking at ways of making the 4th running of this event even better. See you next year!
|3||00:36:45||Tim||Greenald||East Cheshire Harriers & Tameside AC|