Manchester Marathon – Tony & April’s report

This is the first in a series of articles highlighting the exploits of Wigan Harriers in spring Marathons. Paris, Manchester, Blackpool and London, we despatched record numbers of marathon runners to all four races in spectacular style. First up is the Morgan husband/wife combo Tony and April in marvellous Manchester.

The Morgan’s in Manchester!!

The day didn’t start well when my pre race drink had leaked and damaged my mobile phone and soaked my post race clothing but it was race day and time to focus on my Wigan Harriers debut.

I headed for the 5th row from the front in order to have a trouble free start whilst April started with the 3:15 pacer, at 09:00hrs the race was underway and I went through miles 1 & 2 in 6:30/6:28 min mile pace in order to find a clear run. April was sticking to the plan and seemed glued to the 3:15 pacer who was pacing perfectly.


Both myself and April were right on target at 5k, 10k & HM, Altrincham was the halfway point so a run through the town centre and straight back out heading into mile 14 at this point ours paths crossed with April on her way into the town. Mile 14 was a really bad period when all those demons in my head where trying to destroy my marathon and telling me to stop!! At mile 15 Tim Pilkington came passed me and said are you ok Tony my reply was no Tim going through a bad moment. Tim soon became a distant figure and I continued the fight with my head but I was still some how managing 6:50 pace from miles 15 – 21.


April had no issues with anything mentally for most of the 26.2 miles just a really bad group of runners with no idea of race etiquette constantly clipping heels and cutting up fellow runners to reach drinks but she still continued with the strong running mile after mile.

At mile 21 it was my turn to pass a club colleague and my turn to ask Tim Pilkington how he was feeling and the response was similar to mine, no problem I thought he will come through it over the next mile or so and probably pass me again. Miles 22, 23, 24 had me fading fast with each mile getting slower I managed to receive a bottle of water at 25 mile and a quick pour over the head got me back on track with Old Trafford in the distance and the Sub 3hr actually looking possible.


I then entered Sir Matt Busby way and couldn’t focus on my watch and found it difficult to read the official race clock “did it say 2:57:58 or 2:59:58”, it was then that Howard Avery came flying past shouting come on Tony we can do this and then I noticed it was reading 2:58:20 and eventually finished in 2:58:41.









Miles 21 – 25 for April were again right on target with the perfect pacing continuing and the sub 3:15 barrier was still achievable at this stage but it was at mile 26 that the 3:15 pacer and group started to move away at which point April could not respond and eventually crossed the finish line in 3:15:33 missing out on a new PB by 4 seconds and a Championship place at next years London Marathon by 34 seconds.

After the race we realised just how successful the day had been for the Morgan’s and everyone else at Wigan Harriers Endurance from those supporters, coaches and athletes.

Ps never run a marathon after interrupted training it’s too painful.

Tony & April

Mid-week Racing

I make no apology for it but this is an updated article from last year. Guess what? Same weather again……Hailstones the size of small pebbles, frosty cars in the morning! It doesn’t seem like summer is with us yet but fear not it’s just around the corner. One of the first signs of summer is the return of mid-week racing. Hurrah!!

First race on the calendar is the Chorley Trail race at Astley Park, well worth giving it a try as there are always plenty of Harriers for company. Here are some more details.

Chorley Trail Race Series, registration at Baron’s Rest Pub by entrance to Astley Park, Chorley.

Dates: A series of 4 races first Wednesday of the month – May to August at 7.30pm

Further details:

Distance/Ascent: 4.33 miles 60 metres

Terrain: Park paths and trails – wooded sections can sometimes be slightly muddy – Road or Trail shoe

What you need to know: Good race for all abilities. Two lap course but three times up the hill including the finish in front of Astley Hall. Excellent venue for spectators as plenty of opportunities to watch. Junior race held earlier in the evening. Results and prizes are given out in the pub afterwards. Harriers have a good track record of winning indivdual and team prizes. Don’t be too late arriving as the car park fills up fast. Don’t let anyone tell you the hill is hard, you guys are Harriers, you blast bigger hills in training for fun!😀


Here’s a dip in the photo archive!


Middle right is Andy Caveman - he's not small he's just far away

Middle right is Andy Captain Caveman – he’s not small he’s just far away!


For any further information just ask one of the coaches, Dave Collins or Mike Harris. Don’t worry if you can’t do this one, there’s a race nearly every week, more news to come on these soon.


Weekend round up post Relays!

Train hard…Race harder, sounds good? It was certainly the motto of a number of Harriers this weekend. Not content with running to exhaustion on Saturday, a number of runners also turned out at the BTR Liverpool Half Marathon on Sunday.

Well we can say, we are becoming a very serious club when not one but two athletes are using pacemakers. First up was Annemarie Craven “fresh” her from Relay performance, Annemarie was using Chris “Crazy Horse” Burgess as a pacesetter, a brave move as Chris is known for liking to chat and for stopping mid-race to do some horse whispering. Regardless of this Chris was determined to ensure Annemarie left Liverpool with r
the desired PB.

Our other runner following another set of heels was Babyface Avery (He reckons he was challenged for ID this week, wishful thinking perhaps?) Howard was using his older brother to coax him round the course to a PB. Laurence is an excellent runner and for him it was “just marathon pace”.

Saturday shots of Annemarie and Howard












These guys were joined by Andy Ratcliffe, Chris Burton, Tony Foster and David Banks.

The pacemaking worked as there were two shiny PB’s created, in fact there were no fewer than 5 PB’s created and a season’s best too. Well done Harriers!

Andy confessed to not knowing Howard was on his tail, judging by this picture if he had looked round he might have sped up considerably!!

Please move back from your screen before clicking on this link, it is also not suitable for anyone of a nervous disposition.

22nd Andy Ratcliffe 1.18:16 3rd V45
33rd Howard Avery 1.18:56 PB
630th David Banks 1.36:15 PB
711th Chris Burton 1.37:45 PB
1125th Tony Foster 1.42:30 PB
1199th Annemarie Craven 1.43:16 PB
1206th Chris Burgess 1.43:17

Training with us recently has been Ian Stewart (Go on Ian, join up, sign the forms!!), who finished in 2.09:11, well done on the improvement.









Meanwhile further north in Accrington, Stuart Holding was taking on the Ron Hill Accy 10k . Stuart too had a great run managing a PB in 44:33, well done!

For those who have not read Andy’s race report…..