Wigan Harriers success at Chorley Trail Race

May gives you blossom, bank holidays, light evenings and the start of mid week racing.

The first Wednesday in May saw the start of these summer mid-week races. The opening race was at Chorley in the leafy surroudings of Astley Park.

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The mass entry of Harriers in spring marathons meant potentially we were likely to have a depleted entry in this opening race, many were either still resting or easing back into running. Fear not, such are our strength in numbers we still had 10 runners representing the club.

The morning had been very wet but thankfully these moved away to leave cool, windy but dry conditions. Hopefully we will have some of last year’s pleasantly warm weather in the future races.

Joining us as spectactors were Dave and Jayne, after recent marathon success they were wisely taking plenty of time to recover. With a number of first timers they were both able to very capably fill the roles of coach, advisor, spectactor and cheerleader supporting the team superbly.

A slightly smaller field of 106 runners congregated at the start and after a few annoucements we were off, immediately into the first of three times up the Astley ‘hill’. The usual stile blockage of previous years had been sorted before the end of last summer so there was nothing to stop the runners getting strung out fairly quickly.

With nearly 10% of the field being a harrier it was no surprise that during the race a colleague was usually in sight. Making an overdue return to the local races was Steve Nicholls, putting sleepless nights to one side. Steve very quickly got himself near the front of the Harriers. Also running surprisingly strongly was Mike Harris, fresh from his Manchester Marathon fun. Steve and Mike traded places a few times on the opening lap. Right up there was also Warren, some great recent race times had shown the hard work in training was paying off. Keen to show his club colleagues what he was capable of and set a few records was debutant Chris Burton. Chris had been putting plenty of effort into club sessions so it was a great chance to show his capabilities. Our other Chris was of the “Kinsella” variety, another debutant keen to sample the rolling paths of Astley Park.

The were five ladies to match the men, Chorley always attracts a great turnout. Karen Schofield (turning in an excellent supporter’s performance instead) was a late absentee, taking everyone’s advice to rest an injury otherwise the ladies would have outnumbered the men. Making a welcome return to racing after injury was Caroline Rasburn, who has turned in some great performances on the Chorley course. Joining Caroline was Kellyanne Towns, Tracy Holt, Karen Jones and Shona Taylor. All the ladies were at varying levels of fitness but keen to find out just were they were at!

After picking up the pace on the final lap Chris Burton led the Harriers home in a fantastic 15th place in 28.02. Closely following was Mike Harris in 16th with a new PB of 28.07. There was then a steady stream of Harriers vests crossing the line, all encouraged on the final climb by shouts from the Harriers massive!

The next two Harriers also came in as a pair, Steve Nicholls and Warrren Moorfield, 20th and 21st places in 28.34 and 28.38 respectively. Brilliant running from both of them, fighting it out to the very end.

Leading the ladies home was Kellyanne Towns and guess what she wasn’t alone, another pair! Chris Kinsella was glued to her side which was nearly a disaster in the post race funnel when Chris’s stomach contents were threatening a reappearance. Kellyanne was home in 33.14 with Chris four seconds behind in 33.18.

The finishing in pairs was starting to look contrived but thankfully Caroline put a stop to this nonsense with a great 33.47.

Separated by just a single runner so not eligible for the pairs finishing club were Shona Taylor 35.26 and a little further back Karen Jones in 37.00 exactly. Making it a nice round 10 runners was Tracy Holt in 37.58.

Well done to everyone who represented the club, there were some fantastic performances, with top 20 and high age category finishes amongst the individual results.

Most impressive was the first place for the Mens team and third for the Ladies team. A tremendous start to the summer and carrying on from last year! Awesome!!

Next up for those who enjoy the mid week race is Haigh Hall 4, fairly local!?

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