In a break from editorial convention we will publish this before Chorley as Dave Collins has turned out an excellent report so promptly.
The third and final race of the summer Haigh Hall 4 mile series took place in pleasant evening sunshine. With a few Harriers regulars unavailable, there was some concern that we might not be able to muster together a team of 4 men. As it turned out, we actually managed twice that number, and also had a couple of our top lady runners out too.
The race set off at what for me seemed a ferocious pace, as runners tried to make the most of the long downhill start. The long drag up to Higher Lane calmed things down a little, and then the even longer section back to the gates of the Hall wreaked more havoc. As inevitably happens with a field of only 100, the runners got strung out with small groups developing between the gaps. There was a good smattering of Harriers supporters around the course and their shouts were very much appreciated, although hearing “Come on Jayne” a few seconds after your own name has been shouted can be a bit disconcerting. And if one lap wasn’t enough, you then have to do it all over again!
Revelling in his discovery of mid-week racing, Howard Avery ran a superb 22.37 to finish in 5th place and get himself a well earned prize at last – he was considering taking aging pills to get into the vet 50 category. Chris Burton (15th 25.05) produced his usual youthful (didn’t run hard enough) sprint to zip past Dave Collins (16th 25.08)with less than 100m to go. Next home, and first in the women’s race (19th overall), was the ever-impressive Jayne Taylor in 25.42. Stuart Towns (or Atuart as he appeared in the results was the final counter for the men’s team in 26.16 (23rd). Paul Walker knocked a chunk off his previous Haigh Hall time for 27.36 and 33rd. He attributed this improvement to the loan of Danny Parkinson’s Harriers vest – please take note those of you that are awaiting the delivery of vests. Danielle Brearton was just behind Paul in 27.44 and was delighted to pick up the 1st lady vets prize – she was also 1st L35.
Although I didn’t witness it, it appears that Pete Gregory and Sam Blakeman had quite a battle, with Pete edging it (33.12 and 80th) by 4 seconds. I presume he drew on his previous experience as a Harriers sprinter to take this. Ian Stewart had appeared in the preliminary results in 12th position in under 25 minutes. Sadly, this was a mix-up with Karl Tuzio of Phoenix, but Ian (34.41 and 90th) continued to show the benefits of pushing himself in training to average just over 8 and a half minute mile pace, on what is a tough course.
The men were first team, with Chris Burton stepping up to receive the beer – not sure what happened to it. The ladies were one short of a team, otherwise they would have made it a double for the Harriers. The Stuart – Tuzio mix-up cost me a vet 50 prize, but race organiser Paul Carroll took pity and awarded me a bottle of wine. When I saw that it was white, and even worse Liebfraumilch, I was tempted to ask for a red, but even I’m not that hard-faced?