Friday 10th January saw the Wigan Harriers Christmas Party and Annual Awards Ceremony at Pemberton Labour Club. Club Chairman John Dobbs presented the awards in various categories across all disciplines of Track and Field. The future of the club looks to be assured if the quality of talent in the junior ranks is anything to go by. Some outstanding young athletes received recognition from the club for performances that have won honours for the club on the national stage.
For the Endurance Wing there were 4 awards on offer. Each year we aim to recognise outstanding performances in distances up to Half Marathon, distances above Half Marathon as well as identifying our male and female athletes of the year. However, the first endurance runner to be recognised on the night was Chris Burgess who collected a nomination for his exploits over 3k on the track last year.
The award for best performance ‘Under Half Marathon’ went to Gary Fitzpatrick. This was a hard fought category with some outstanding personal efforts from our runners this year. Gary took the trophy for his PB performance of 35:26 on his way to 10th place at the inaugural Wigan 10k.
The “Over Half Marathon” award took account of some sterling Marathon performances this year, but also included Ultra Marathon events over and above the classic 26.2. The outstanding performance of the year was decided to be Dave Waddingtons’ run over the 50 mountainous miles of the Lakeland 50 course. Dave came 61st from 480 finishers overall in a field that attracts the elite of British ultra running. His time of 11h 25:30 in particularly difficult conditions that saw the highest drop out rate the event has yet experienced.
The Athlete of the Year awards recognise the runners who have consistently applied themselves throughout the year, demonstrating effort and commitment to themselves and the club in both training and racing.
The Female Athlete of the Year went to Shona Taylor. Shona has had a sparkling year of improving performances as the PBs tumbled, but she has also been prepared to take on new and challenging events such as the quad crunching Wray Caton fell race and the Roddlesworth Roller and Doller. She has also answered the call for runners to represent the club at various team events from cross country to Harrock Hill.
Shona also supplies us with lively and entertaining race reports from many of her events which are a highlight of the blog site during the year.
Male Athlete of the Year was awarded to Gary Wane. This is a chap who first joined our club and waxed poetical about the joys of running without a watch, unconcerned with times or PBs and extolled the virtues of running without a thought to competition or personal achievement. Older heads nodded in agreement whilst muttering to each other that we would “soon knock that nonsense out of him”. True enough, Gary is now well known for his raw meat munching, wild eyed, fully committed lung bursting racing style which has brought him a string of PB from 10k to the marathon and beyond this year.
Gary is one of our most consistently competitive runners taking part in cross country and all of the summer series races. He also found time to take lumps off hi 10k time, destroy his Marathon PB in Blackpool and complete 2Ultra Marathons at the Lakeland 50 and the White Rose Ultra. He must have had a little energy to spare after these exploits as he has also managed to start a family with wife Mel this year too.
Congratulations to all our worthy winners!