The temperatures might not show it but believe it or not we are now at the end of May and that meant it was time for the first of the Harrock Hill series.
The weather forecast had resolutely stuck with a forecast of heavy rain for proceedings and sure enough it arrived on time at 4pm. This wasn’t enough to deter five brave souls from Wigan Harriers, keen to run around and go mad in the countryside!
Included in the ranks were two Harrock newbies. First up Chris Burton, one of of youngest and newest members. Chris had managed a very successful start to his Harriers running career, managing a speedy 18.54 at Dunham 5k and great runs at Chorley and Haigh earlier in the month. He was about to encounter something very different – a fresh challenge! April Morgan was our other Harrock newbie, having experienced Parbold Hill race, April felt confident she knew what she was letting herself in for!
Mike took responsibilty of showing Chris and April the finish and start positions during a warm up. I’m not sure whether it was pre race nerves but April witnessed the complete Amnesia from Chris within 5 minutes.
This was Mike Harris’s tenth consecutive Harrock Hill Race, the run ins with cattle had yet to put him off. Completing the Harriers line up was Gary “Ultra” Wane and Shona Taylor running on local turf.
For those not familiar with it, Harrock follows footpaths and bridleways over the fields and woods north of Parbold. Often a kind farmer lets his cows stay out late and play with us. Twenty cattle charging towards you often helps improve speed towards the next stile. Talking of stiles, there are plenty of those to get your leg over but much to April’s relief none like the one covered with carpet from the Parbold Hill race.
Not sure what type of inter club competition was going on but it boosted numbers to a very healthy 232, which was very surprising based on the weather. The swollen numbers made the first climb very congested with a few of the front runners very much at an aspirational pace.
Once we were out racing it was surprisingly warm and the course was in decent condition.
Apart from a brief bovine charge most of the high velocity action came from the athletes. All Harriers successfully navigated the course with all limbs intact in some very good times.
25th Mike Harris 38.11 – 25 seconds better than his best from 2014.
33rd Chris Burton 39.01 – A great first Harrock outing.
63rd Gary Wane 41.55 – Nearly two minutes faster than last year.
130th April Morgan 47.55 – Not sure whether April enjoyed it until it was over but the love for it soon flooded back afterwards.
148th Shona Taylor 49.46 – A brilliant two plus minutes better than last year.
A big thank you to the Kaufman and Wane families for their on course support. Three more races to come in the series at a bargain £4 each.
Back we go next week to Astley Park for the Chorley Trail Race series, don’t be shy!