Haigh Hall 4 mile August ’15

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?


Ultra Trail Harriers!

Ultimate Trails 55k by Colin Mcevoy.

When the message went out asking if anyone fancied doing the Lakeland Trails 50 miler, it sounded like a ‘really good idea’ and definitely something I’m stupid enough to have a go at… Unfortunately, despite warnings off a quick sellout, I missed out by half a day and that was the end of it, or so I thought…

Not long after the close another message started doing the rounds ‘anyone fancy the Ultimate Trails 55k trail race?’ Well I wasn’t going to miss out on this one as well and signed up immediately.

In the end I think 6 of us had signed up to the challenge and I started planning how the hell I was going to do this having signed up for London (9 weeks before) and Edinburgh( 4 weeks before), eventually I opted for minimal training for any of them and see how it goes…

After a few days of miserable weather predictions, on the morning of the race the weather was lovely and I was quite looking forward to seeing everyone and getting started. After finding Howard it became apparent that it was just going to be us after the various injuries and illnesses that had befallen our fellow Harriers (including severe bouts of love sickness).

After the safety brief and a last minute dash for the loo we headed for the start line and waited for the winner of the 110k to cross the line. We didn’t have to wait long as Kim Collison finished in 10:48:57 and once he’d crossed and made his way through all of us doing the ‘easy’ option, we were off.

I thought I’d started easy up the first hill and at the first checkpoint I was feeling good. I was eyeing up the food but wasn’t that hungry, after saying as much I got my first bit of advice “get food down early or you’ll be suffering later”, probably the best bit of advice I was given all day and I’ll definitely be eating more next time. By the second checkpoint I was starting to realise just how wrong the weather reports had been and after asking a marshal, she ran inside and came out with a bottle of factor 50 in hand, I think she may have saved me from some serious sunburn and ridiculous tan lines.

The further I went the less interested I became in the amazing views, chatting to people, being overtaken or occasionally overtaking people. ‘One foot in front of the other’ became my passing comment to everyone and that mentality was probably the only thing that kept me going.

Getting to the finish was everything, walking the ups, jogging the flats and running any downs that weren’t too rocky. I rounded a corner about ½ a mile out and there was Emma waiting for me, she jogged the last half with me and after 8:14:24 I finally crossed the line 55th out of 312 finishers. Happy with that for a first attempt and I’ll be back next year to see if I can (with some improvements to my ‘training’) get a better time.

I had left Howard nearer the front of the lineup and , after a final good luck and hand shake, that was the last I saw of him. Emma caught a glimpse of him at the finish and was quick enough to take a picture and return his bag that she’d been looking after for him before he disappeared again. He did resurface eventually and had a cracking result coming in 25th with a time of 7:37:45 and another one entering again next year.



So if anyone else fancies it, entries open on 1st September, we’ll see you there!


Harrock Hill Race July ’15

Harrock Hill Race 3 – 22nd July, 2015 by David Collins

There was a seemingly smaller field at the third Harrock Hill race of this year’s series. This was reflected in there only being four Harriers in attendance – neglecting Tony “If you give me a form, I’ll join” Boyle. Serial Harrock Hillers Mike Harris and Shona Taylor were joined by Jayne Taylor (would have done Sefton 5 but it sold out) and Dave Collins, who couldn’t dodge the Mike Harris challenge for yet another race.

With familiar faces from other clubs missing it was more difficult to judge pace and tactics. Pre-race psychology and banter were not lacking though. Mike had rushed from home and managed to forget his trail shoes. The route was in fact pretty dry underfoot, but Mike’s pair of treadless triathlon trainers still didn’t look the best option. For some reason, he had also reverted to having a pre-race two course meal. The seeds were being sewn for any potential drop in previous months’ exceptional performances by Mike. He had also managed to forget to bring the bottles of wine that the teams had won last time out!

Mike's inappropriate racing footwear

Mike’s inappropriate racing footwear

According to Mike, Dave set off like a rocket up the first hill. Dave can assure you that this was an illusion caused by Mike’s pre-race banquet playing on his stomach. In any event, the pair of them managed to get a reasonably clear run to the “Andy Eccles stile”, while further back, Jayne and Shona were boxed in, having to walk and queue in places.

The race took on its usual unpleasant pattern, with tough uphill sections intermingled with tricky descents over hard ground, and the annoying presence of stiles and gates. Mike was running a little cautiously in his slippery shoes, though the closest he came to a fall was a slip on gravel as he cornered a section of road in Parbold.


Dave plucked up the courage to go past Mike on the long drag up to High Moor, fully expecting him to re-appear on his shoulder later in the race.


Now where is that Harris and his banana slippers?

He then had a battle (eventually lost) with fellow vet 50 Steve Gould from Wigan Phoenix.
The race winner was Danny Miller in a time of 33.56 – this a few days before he was to run the Lakeland 50! Lindsey Brindle was first lady, and 6th overall, in an outstanding 36.16. Dave was first Harrier home, keeping Mike at bay, to finish in 16th place, 40 seconds up on last month. Mike by his own admission struggled, and finished well down on previous months efforts, but still managed a very respectable 39.21.


Jayne was 3rd lady in 41.20, while Shona continued her race by race improvement, trimming another 10 seconds off her previous month’s time for 48.40.

Jayne received the customary box of veg for finishing 3rd lady (she was also 1st vet 50). Dave benefited from the absence of some regular vet 50s to also claim a box as 2nd in the category. Shona narrowly missed out, finishing 3rd vet 50, but some pre-race agreement saw Jayne hand over her box – there is only so much cabbage that one household can stomach! Without talisman Andy Kaufman, and Danielle Brearton (who thought the race was a week later!), the Harriers didn’t have complete teams, and so there were no bottles of wine for Mike Harris to take home.
If anyone fancies giving it a go, there is one final race in the series, on Wednesday 26th August.

Excellent race photos courtesy of Mark Sammon – thank you.

Horwich Jubilee 5 mile road race July ’15

Horwich Jubilee 15th July by special reporter The Kaveman.

A small field of just 3 Wigan Harriers made it to the start line for the 3rd round of the Jubilee – Just! Andy Kaufman, Mike Harris and Gary ‘The Hulk’ Wane. Andy didn’t realise that the start had moved back by about 100 metres and just made the line 30 seconds before the start.

Andy went off with the front pack and stuck next to the eventual winner from Bolton. The Bolton runner made his move to distance himself and they both moved clear from the rest. By the end of the first lap the Bolton runner just had a little bit more strength and distanced Andy. Andy stayed 2nd for most the lap but was pipped to third on the line by 2 seconds as he paid for his earlier efforts to win the race. True to his word after the Chorley race he went with the leader, as you have to be in it to win it! His form is improving and although he lost 2nd there were no regrets. Give it another 2 weeks and he’ll stay with the leader and we will see what happens.

Mike Harris came through 19th place & 2nd V40 to his annoyance as his form is so good at the moment he expects those after race prizes. He said before the race he was going to hurt and leave it all on the road tonight. He ran strong and hard and took a few local scalps that he battles with normally. His stiffness after the race highlighting the effort he put in.

Gary Wane followed in shortly in 38th place well in the top third of the field He blanked Andy’s congrats and proceed to hunch in a corner for 4 minutes to properly recover. His hulk trainers powering him along to a superhuman effort. 6 minutes later we were walking back along the finish line when he pointed out a guy finishing who he said he used to finish with last year. You can really tell he has a lot of confidence in his running now and believes he has the ability to push his expected level of performance. Look carefully and these days you’ll see a green tinge to his skin after a race, look out Lakeland the Hulk is coming for you!


Chorley Trail Race July ’15

Kaveman’s view from the front

I turned up to the race not expecting much with no confidence in my pace as I had only just got back into training. I arrived after a quick trip to Sportsdirect to buy all my race gear as I didn’t have time to get home. I headed to the start line looking at the competition trying to assess my finishing position and was quietly annoyed that I might be out of the prizes after seeing the competition.

The race started and I was quietly surprised not to see the front group speed off and even more surprised when at the top of the hill I was finding the pace quite easy. After the first mile two guys pulled ahead leaving myself and a runner from Leigh who had soundly beaten me at Haigh Hall a few weeks back. I stayed with the Leigh runner thinking he was better than me and I should hold back. Half way through the first lap I finally realised that he was holding me back. I eased past him and moved after the 2 leaders who were about 40 meters ahead. The distance kept the same between me and the two leaders as we started the 2nd and last lap. I could hear the Leigh runner behind me breathing heavily and realised I had him and so just concentrated on the leaders. Half way through the 2nd lap I realised I was never going to catch the winner so relaxed the pace and conserved energy. The guy in 2nd was visibly dropping pace and I knew I would get to him near the end. By dropping the pace I let the Leigh runner come past me who kicked a little to try and distance me thinking I was flagging. I coolly stayed about a metre behind him letting him put his effort in and burn some energy. As we reached the last tarmac he accelerated and I followed. We both reached the 2nd place man at the bottom of the hill and both eased past him. I pulled along the Leigh runner as we crested the steep part and accelerated away holding my form to the finish putting a good 10 metres between us by the line. It was the first race I had real confidence in my finish holding a hard sustained effort for over 200 meters. The track speed sessions really have made an amazing difference to my speed endurance and strength. I finished 2nd and was proud and surprised with my performance – just got to back myself next time and take the fight to the winner. I gave him too much respect at the start line and didn’t even fight for the win. I am not saying that I would of beaten him, but I am saying at least I would of had the chance to. Next race I will be at the front.

Statto’s bit….

First Harrier home was Andy Kaufman in an OCD pleasing 25:00 dead, in 2nd place. Next in was Mike Harris in 28:43 and 12th place. Daniel Parkinson finished in an excellent 22nd place with 30:20. 65th place & 35:11 was Chris Kinsella’s reward for his efforts. Chris managed to secure 4th place for the men’s team. Excellent work Harriers men!

Going into the final race of the series Mike is 2nd place in the Vet’s standings and 5th overall.