Harriers massive descend on Sefton Park!

A record breaking 54 Wigan Harriers plus supporters descended on Sefton Park for the Northern Athletics Road Relay Championships, this was fabulous and a greater turnout than any other club!!

This was a tremendous reflection of the growth we have seen in the club over the last couple of years. We are currently on target to welcome our 100th member to the endurance group this year (Sorry no prizes available for this feat!)

Just as a reminder last year we entered two Men’s teams finishing in 45th and 62nd places. The Ladies had one team coming home in 40th place. This meant regardless of how well we ran we had already boosted participation by a whopping 80% (YES EIGHTY PERCENT)

Congratulations to the coaching team and team managers Jacqui Jones and Andy Eccles who spent months speaking to people and forming these excellent teams.


Morning rains cleared away to leave a mild sunny afternoon for the endless streams of runners around the park. We moved up to being a two tent club but even then it was a full house, the men being slightly concerned by the news that DC had been on the beans again.

Long legs were two laps and short legs (2.4 miles) were a single lap around the paths and pavements of Sefton Park. It was a normal Saturday so there was the normal array of dog walkers, push chairs and children to dodge!


Those familiar with Sefton Park will know it’s not hilly but it’s sort of on a slope. The clockwise circuit took you down past the lake and back up past the cafe with it’s smells of coffee and food. Cafe goers gazing on as an endless stream of runners powered (or tried to) back up to the end point. With six Harriers teams in action it wasn’t long before you saw another black and red vest come by!


With 54 runners I’m not going to try and pick out any individual performances as this wouldn’t be fair, there were so many people pushing themselves, stretching their limits.



Men’s results

28th Wigan & District H & AC ‘A’ 3:40:11

Andrew Kaufman (52) 27:20 H Avery (46) 13:17 Abraham Afeworki (37) 26:14 Stephen Sheldon (38) 14:20 Daniel Gray (42) 28:09 Mark Glynn (38) 13:23 Gary Fitzpatrick (33) 26:26 C Smullen (31) 13:32 Stephen Nicholls (30) 14:07 Darren Jackson (31) 14:54 Mike Harris (30) 14:52 Andy Ratcliffe (28) 13:37



The Men’s A team picked up 17 places on last year’s performance, just missing out on Nationals Qualification. It was a great all round performance with plenty of new faces who will only improve.







image55th Wigan & District H& AC ‘B’ 4:04:37

Paul Bryers (70) 31:07 Neil Prescott (67) 15:47 Paul Mason (66) 29:39 Andy Eccles (63) 15:26 Paul Platt (63) 30:34 Chris Burgess (62) 14:41 Simon Baines (62) 29:43 Kevin Edwards (62) 16:10 Colin McEvoy (62) 15:24 Richard Noone (61) 15:17 David Waddington (61) 16:14 David Collins (56) 14:35

The B team certainly didn’t perform like a B team! Their were some fantastic performances from old and new faces. They moved up 7 places from 2014.


62nd Wigan & District H & AC ‘C’ 4:29:14

Barry Abram (72) 31:55 Graham Millington (72) 16:29 Gary Wane (68) 31:54 Dean Atherton (65) 15:41 Tony Foster (68) 35:41 Stuart Towns (67) 15:14 Christopher Gree (68) 32:51 Chris Kinsella (69) 17:19 Michael Dutton (69) 20:02 Darren Horrocks (68) 18:13 Keith West (68) 18:02 David Banks (63) 15:53

Three teams! The C team matched the performance of last year’s B team. We had a third more men running and a tremendous improvement in performances. Big tick in the box Coach!!



Ladies results

The ladies section has really grown well in the last twelve months. This could be seen in both the Summer race series and Cross Country season. It was now time to see if they could reproduce this form at the Relays.

20th Wigan & District H & AC ‘A’ 2:08:09

Julie Platt (24) 31:02 Nina Fisher (23) 15:58 Sarah Morton (23) 17:02 Jayne Taylor (18) 30:07 Danielle Thompso (18) 16:55 KellyAnne Towns (20) 17:05

Of course they could! The Ladies team blasted home to 20th place, an improvement of 20 places. Fantastic running from this six. That wasn’t all, we had three times the number of Ladies running this year!

The B and C teams, many of whom were first timers on this types of event turned in excellent performances. It’s so unlike any other race, you run in isolation for long periods, it was testament to their stamina and fitness that they all performed so well.

50th Wigan & District H & AC ‘B’ 2:33:31

Lindsay Freeman (59) 40:22 Robyn Fawcett (58) 19:26 Sarah Coates (57) 20:41 Shona Taylor (55) 37:06 Annemarie Craven (52) 17:50 Caroline Rasburn (50) 18:06

54th Wigan & District H & AC ‘C’ 3:01:06

Joanne Fairhurst (60) 42:09 Adele Lowe (60) 23:58 Amanda Borthwick (58) 24:56 Melanie Wane (58) 45:17 Pauline Taylor (56) 22:15 Pat Cole (54) 22:31

Congratulations again to all athletes, coaches and supporters. The next Club Relays are in September!

Just some of the 54 runners and supporters! P1060445

The Rat rolls into Liverpool again

Andy Ratcliffe shares his thoughts on the Liverpool Half Marathon, his second consecutive day of competition in Liverpool.

It was with a rush of blood after the Coniston 14 that saw me enter the Liverpool Half marathon knowing we had the 12 stage the day before. I was closely watching the weather all week and with 40mph winds predicted I wondered if I’d made the right decision, luckily the only thing the forecasters got right was the rain.

“I held back on my leg in the 12 stage” knowing I was in with a sniff of a PB 1.17.56 which I set in 1996 (Editor’s note  – before GPS watches were invented!). I arrived at Liverpool nice and early and managed to park next to the start,very nice. Having done a little warm up running to a Tesco Express for some change for the parking meter I took the decision to run in hat gloves AND a base layer……..and to quote “when you can beat me you can comment”….as with Coniston there were a few people who had delusion of grandeur so a quick move up was needed after a slight delay we were off. 5.55’s was my target but I didn’t know whether the 12 stage “stroll” would of deadened my legs slightly.

5.47 first mile but knowing there was quite a steep incline within the first 1.5 miles that was fine, the miles seemed to tick by quite fast and we were soon into Sefton Park, the 10k point was as near as damn it to the finish of the 12 stage which saw me go through in approx 38mins, the next mark on my progress was the 10 mile point 59.45 all going very well and still feeling surprisingly comfortable. We were now on the dockside path and a flat run for home if not 3 miles out.

I’d been having a good battle from about 6.5miles and he tried a surge but today was not going to be his day, my thoughts were solely now on my PB as I’d slightly fell behind my 5.55 target. When should I strike for home!!!!…not wanting to blow I decided on 12 miles and I had in my head if I could reach there in under 1.12 I would have a chance……………….12 miles and 1.11 it was like a boost of adrenaline and I struck for home. I had another runner in my sights which gave me something to chase, caught and passed him. I could now hear the band at the finish just keep pushing and it was on the cards but one thing I always forget is how long it seems to take to do that .1…..Never mind 1.18.16 I’ll take that.

Anyone spot the tongue in cheek comments?


Here Comes the Summer!

wpid-050440_9fdebec3.jpgThe clocks going back bring with them lighter nights, but for Wigan Harriers Endurance the beginning of British Summer Teams means something far more important: it means that our Tuesday night V02 max session moves from the DW back to our Summer stomping ground up at Haigh Hall.

From this Tuesday, (31st March), we will meet at the end of Hall Lane which is off Leyland Mill Lane (See map below for details). Park up as close to the Lodge as possible. We meet up near the Lodge for a jog warm up before starting our session somewhere in the grounds of Haigh country park.

For those who haven’t trained with us at Haigh before you’re in for a treat. The tree line paths and rolling terrain of Haigh Hall make for ideal endurance training territory and many a summer PB has been forged along the Haigh trails! So say goodbye to the DW on Tuesdays and say hello to Summer!

Hall Lane Haigh hall map

Wigan Harriers Endurance Club Records

Club Statto HQ has pored over 1000’s of performances from Wigan Harriers athletes to compile these Club Records from 2011 to present. They include the top 3 performances by age group and overall (one performance per athlete included).

Congratulations to all the runners who currently have a performance included.

Distances included are 10k , Half Marathon and Marathon across all age groups.


Plenty of opportunity for more people to post a performance to get on the board!


March 21/22 Weekend roundup

Last weekend was the usual Harriers mix of superlative performances, PB’s and prizes but shock, horror, Dave and Jayne weren’t racing!

Coniston 14

First up was the Coniston 14 In the Lake District, much like Dave & Jayne’s Dentdale run, it’s a Half Marathon with 5% extra free thrown in. The course follows the roads around Lake Coniston which makes for splendid views.










There were four athletes making the trip north but only three managed to fit into their vests…we don’t name names that wouldn’t be fair on Nina’s fiancee.

Romping home in a superb 1.25:30, 2nd V45 and 9th overall was Andy Ratcliffe. Andy was well rewarded for is efforts, winning a fully fitted carpet with some running shoes thrown in.








Tim and Nina came in with an excellent 1.30:35 and 1.45:31 respectively and then enjoyed the rest of the weekend in the sunny lakes. Well done on those times.

For details of how Gary’s race went have a look at his detailed race report.


Well done for some superb running!


Fleet Half Marathon

Sunday was Half Marathon day. Heading south to Fleet was Dan Gray. Dan reported back that he struggled in the race, slowing down near the end but still managed an excellent 81.17, a time most of us only dream about! Well done Dan!


Wilmslow Half Marathon

Back nearer to home were seven Harriers competing at the Wilmslow Half. A very popular event that always sells out well in advance. Leading the Club home in a new PB was Chris Smullen, fantastic work! There were plenty more brilliant times….

Chris Smullen 80:11 PB

Warren Moorfield 87:43 PB

Paul Bryers 89:59 PB

Barry Abram 90:06

Julie Platt 91:36

Darren Jackson 96:17

Karen Schofield 1.42:00 PB


Well done everyone, four new PB’s overall, excellent work!



Coniston 14 by Gary Wane

A sunny day greeted me on the morning of Saturday 21st March. Perfect weather for the Coniston 14 race. I’d been building up my runs after a shin niggle and after a painful (very) massage on Tuesday, I was good to go.

The drive up was straightforward and I arrived at Coniston hoping to drop under 2hrs. I met Andy, Tim and Nina before we went to chill and prepare for the race. The sun was out so it was a perfect time to buy some new running sunglasses. My warm up started with 10 mins on the park with Imogen. Then I thought I’d better get to the start line.








Just before 11am Nina and I went to the start working our way as far forward as possible. Tim and Andy went straight to the front.
The race started suddenly and we were off. The first 2 miles was spent jogging up and down inclines whilst weaving around the running traffic.



By the the time we reached Torver the field was spreading out. I had been running with Nina but decided to back off the pace more to 7.45 min miles from the 7.30 or so I had been doing letting Nina surge onwards. Soon I was in my groove and feeling good as the miles ticked over. I saw Nina briefly on 7 miles as my legs wobbled after a mini stumble going down an incline. Within a minute, Nina was back ahead of me and slowly pulled away from me throughout the remainder of the race. I was struggling by now. A few runners passed me at this point as I dug in. The views kept me going. At 11 miles we hit the last hill. I ran up it and was now struggling. Then it went up again. Gutted!!! Soon it was over and I saw a few people who had passed me slowly coming towards me on the steep downhill. I passed the 13 mile marker soon after and hit a wall. I tried to speed up but when I looked at my Garmin, somehow my pace was slowing. We entered Coniston town and I was on empty. I dug deep again and managed to pass a couple more people and hold off a runner behind. As soon as I crossed the line the first feeling was relief and then breathe.

Well done Dad!









A fab run with fab views. My time of 1hr 47mins 2 secs was well below my expectations. I had also somehow to managed to run my 3rd fastest ever half marathon during the run. Bonus. All in all I was chuffed with my run.

Brew with a view!









2015 Club Records YTD

2015 has got off to an amazing start. Membership numbers continue to grow on a weekly basis and the two club sessions regularly attract forty plus runners each night. There are a significant number of athletes training hard for a spring Marathon and this can be seen in the Half Marathons completed so far this year. 18 HM performances registered on the records that excludes the greedy people who have done more than one!

I’ll try and update the current year on a regular basis so please help by sending your results, photos and reports to wiganendurance@hotmail.com

Brief Highlights

  • 80 min Half Marathon and PB for Chris Smullen
  • 37:30 10K and PB for Bobby Kasabov

Well done to everyone who has competed already this year, there have been many fantastic performances and PB’s.

Full details are on…..


Please let us know if you have any performances missing.


Training update w/c 23rd March 2015

This will be the last Tuesday session at the DW 18.30
We will move the session to Haigh Hall on 31st March for the summer. Full details will be given in next week’s update.

Thursday DW 19.00
A large number of us are racing at the road relays on Saturday who won’t be doing a full session. It would be really good if you would all still come along and support those who will still be training.

See you in the week


Dentdale Run – Dave Collins

Kev Edwards has been quietly championing this race for years. However, I must confess that I had no real desire to run a 14 mile race (why not make it a half?), let alone in a place I ashamedly hadn’t heard of. Waddy and Jacqui are also great supporters of the event, though Jacqui’s tale of a flooded course, serious hills and near hypothermia hadn’t really sold it to me either. With the remaining weeks to Manchester marathon ticking down (no, we haven’t entered yet), I was scouting about for a suitable half marathon when I had the brilliant idea to enter the Dentdale run. Well actually, Jayne didn’t use the word “brilliant” but I’ve convinced her that tough build up races are the secret to a good marathon.

After previous weeks’ pre-race dramas of the strained back (Standish) and dodgy stomach (Haweswater), I wondered what Jayne was going to come up with this time. As usual, she didn’t disappoint, and on this occasion even got in an early strike. A few days before the race, she tripped over the hoover (Dyson, but sill a hoover to me), head-butted the record player (yes, it plays vinyls) to break her fall, and then pulled it over on herself. This while juggling with a hair drier and straighteners! The resulting cut and bruised eye, swollen toe and sore wrist didn’t stop her from running though and so Dent was on.

So for those of you who don’t know where it is, it is slightly to the south east of Sedbergh – junction 37 of the M6 and turn right. The weather had turned cold on the Friday before the race and the news had mentioned snow on the Pennines. Here we go again I thought, as we drove up to the Lakes on the Saturday morning. Thankfully by now it was dry though and the wind was nowhere near as strong as at Haweswater, but it was certainly cold. The race start time was a highly civilised 1 o’clock, allowing the previous night’s wine to get through the system, and giving plenty of scope for the now obligatory coffee stop. Heading beyond Sedbergh, there was a worrying layer of snow on the surrounding peaks, and the road started to undulate even more. I had no sooner commented that I hoped not to see any “Caution Runners” signs, than we passed a warning of 1 in 7 gradient, and one appeared! At this point Jayne decided that she didn’t like “these kind of hills”.

Dent Village








There was a lot of traffic for such a quiet road and it became obvious that most of it involved runners heading for the race; including a coach with about 50 Royton Road runners. Kev was certainly right in praising this race. It had a very similar feel to the Haweswater half, with the local community turning out in force to support and help with its running. The local council had waived parking fees for the day (although Waddy and Jacqui paid), while one of the camping sites had provided additional parking and toilet and shower facilities. The entry fee was another bargain £13, and I was more than impressed when they actually didn’t ask for the extra £2 for entering on the day. Also included was a ticket for a post-race hot drink and refreshments. This is what un-commercialised club racing is all about!

I’d been disconcerted in the previous week to discover that the race was actually longer than its name suggested, at 14miles, 331.5yards! I hadn’t managed to find an elevation profile though, but close to registration there was a big screen with a slideshow, and we managed to glance up at just the wrong moment and catch a glimpse of what appeared to be a rather hilly contour. We had a bit of a mooch about, checked the finish line, looked at the local pubs, had a good chat with a few runners who we knew and eventually braved a warm-up. I managed to restrict Jayne to 2 miles, and this was enough for us to realise that we would have a cold easterly head wind for about miles 4 to 10; which from mile 6 had also looked like a climb on the elevation.

The course loop






The course starts in the village centre and heads north west, back towards Sedbergh. After about 3½ miles, it turns and heads back, along the road that we had driven in on. You are then given a tantalising glimpse of the village before being sent out for another loop to the east of Dent. So at just before 1, we gathered on the start line outside the village school, and were sent on our way.

View from the start








Being a downhill start everyone is taken up in the moment and aspirational paces are the norm. We knew that Waddy and Jacqui were coming to watch, but hadn’t managed to see them. It turned out that they were in a queue of cars behind a tractor which were all being made to wait for the runners to pass. At that turn in the road, we were greeted by the first of many hills, and the wheels immediately fell off some of the aspirants. I’d had a great tussle with Richard Jones of Garstang at the Haweswater half, and so was pleased when he appeared next to me at the start of the race. It was déjà-vu as we spent the first outward part of the course keeping each other honest – is he Mike Harris in disguise? At the turn of the first loop, I put a bit more effort in and seemed to gain some distance on Richard and a few other runners – though I didn’t look back to check.

This part of the course sends you back towards Dent, and despite running into the wind, I was feeling good and settled into a nice pace. Then to my astonishment (because he’s usually way in front of me), I realised that the next runner in my sights was Peter Cruse of Lytham. Without consciously increasing pace, I gradually came up on his shoulder, and not wanting to be seen to be drafting, pulled alongside and had a chat. He worryingly told me that for some reason he tends to get stronger in the second half of these races, so I thought I’d just stay with him for as long as I could. There was a drinks station at about the 6 mile mark, and I was surprised that Peter took a cup. Before I knew it, I was ahead of him with Dent in sight.

A couple more runners were reeled in and then I could see the crowds at the half way stage. Jacqui had threatened to bring a chair to sit in as part of her recuperation, so I was surprised to see her standing there. Just along was Waddy with his camera at the ready, and an encouraging “Come on Dave”. He immediately undid the good work by shouting “Well done Crusey”. Apparently, this was to warn me that he was back on my tail! True to his promise Peter passed me shortly after, but I managed to hold the distance between us until about 13 miles; in some places pulling back to within a few yards.

From Dent to the turn was largely uphill, and although the wind wasn’t strong, it was bitter. I noticed that my legs had turned a nice shade of red, and Jayne said that she never got warm along this stretch. The turn took you over a bridge and a little dig of a hill. What better place to site the race photographer!

Jayne looking very determined!








The last few miles are a classic roller coaster. I hadn’t read the script, and thought that there was a single big climb at some point. I can’t say that I was disappointed that one never materialised, but the continual ups and downs took their toll on your legs, and eventually at about mile 13 my right hamstring spasmed and I thought it was the end. At a similar distance, Jayne got a sharp burning pain in her left calf and also feared the worst. For me, it was a case of avoiding striding out, so any thoughts of trying to catch Crusey were conveniently dropped, and the focus shifted to not being caught from behind.

Classic: Waddy the photographer cheered on Peter Cruse! Nice one Coach!








The 14 mile mark came, with a wry smile, and then we were into Dent village itself. The quaint cobbled streets were not exactly the best surface to finish on, and the last little climb was unappreciated, but the finish line was in sight and with no-one to catch or to be caught by, I could avoid any temptation to sprint. I’d not really had any pre-race targets because the race was such an unknown to me. I managed 1.34.31 (about 6.39 pace) which Peter Cruse assured me was a good time – he was 18 seconds ahead. This put me in 40th place overall, and 7th vet 50 – who was saying that they might podium in this category?! Jayne had another excellent run, defying her claim that she can’t run these types of course. She was 57th overall, 4th lady and 1st in the vet 45-54 category, in a time of 1.38.29. Altogether, 447 runners finished, the winner being Simon Deakin of Leeds City in 1.18.34, and the leading lady Joasia Zakrzewski of Dumries RC in 1.29.17.

Waddy and Jacqui were at the finish with stories about being stuck behind tractors and missing the race finish due to being caught up in a coffee shop – the tough life of the spectator. We chilled (cold, not relaxed!) surprisingly quickly and so limped back to the car to get changed. The school hall provided welcome refreshments, organised with military precision by the local WI. It was great to see so many runners stay behind for the presentations., but I’m sure the free refreshments played their part. Jayne recovered our entry fee with a prize for 4th lady, and then somewhat unusually also received a vets prize. I couldn’t believe it as she explained that she had already received one prize, and was relieved when the organisers insisted that she take it. Relief was temporary though because it turned out to be a pair of running socks, not my size, and another glass trophy for me to dust.

As with Haweswater, get this race on your 2016 calendar. In my opinion, great spring marathon training – but I’ll reassess that claim, depending how we go at Manchester.


Editor’s note: Dave is going to have withdrawal symptoms from writing race reports so I guess we will need to get him to write up the relays. Beware anyone who smiles or waves at the camera, you’ll be slaughtered in the write up!



Or maybe not?











2014 Club records

2014…I had to go and lie down after compiling these records, the computer needed an upgrade too. Well done to all those who made it another fantastic Harriers year!

Brief highlights

  • Sub 40 min 10K for Jayne Taylor
  • 3.22 Marathon on hilly Snowdon course for Jayne Taylor
  • Sub 35 min 10K’s for Gary Fitzpatrick and Andy Kaufman
  • Sub 80 min Half Marathons for Gary Fitzpatrick and Dan Gray
  • Sub 3 hour London Marathon for Neil Prescott

Athletes of the year were Gary Fitzpatrick and Jayne Taylor…..for the above reasons.

Absolutely brilliant from everyone!