Striders 5 mile trail race

Striders 5 mile trail race by Kelly Anne Towns

On Sunday 1st November, 10 Harriers made the trip to the other side of Billinge Hill, where our hosts St Helens Striders were to stage their 30th anniversary event, a 5 mile trail race around the paths surrounding Carr Mill Dam.

The day’s misty start didn’t threaten to rise, and questions were raised as to whether a jaunt around the unfamiliar trails was the best idea! But as the field of around 150 gathered at the start for the race briefing, the great atmosphere ensured any concerns soon disappeared. The promise of slippy paths, slippier trails, lots of mud, oh and the bit that ‘had loads of bricks’ was cheerily delivered and off went the gun.

About half a mile of tarmac path soon became trail underfoot, followed by lots of twisting and turning around the perimeter of the Dam over several bridges then through fields and footpaths before eventually winding it’s way back towards Haydock on more solid ground. The first half was a gradual climb, including a couple of little uphill stings; making for a second half which contained some fast downhills to enjoy. At almost every opportunity, Striders had provided the most enthusiastic marshalls, nearly all of them with cameras (get gurning Harriers!) and incredible support throughout the whole race.

Stuart Towns was the early pace-setter, followed by Dave and Jayne hot on his heels. Not far behind was Paul Walker, with April, Kelly Anne and Tracy chasing. Stuart Hamilton, Ian Stewart and Mike Dutton followed in quick succession.

The strategically placed footbridges over the streams surrounding the Dam required some sharp-angled manoeuvres, but to Dave’s dismay, Stu negotiated each one perfectly. DC was resigned to continue the chase, visions of his team-mate taking an unplanned swim being scuppered every time. All the while, fending off his other half, always unsure as to her success over said bridges.

The other battle of the day was between Kelly Anne and Paul with half a mile to go. Shouts of encouragement to Paul (“Get going Wigan”) as KA took advantage of a strong finish obviously worked, as he stuck with her to finish just 2 seconds behind.

All in all a good day out for Wigan Harriers, with 4th places overall for Stuart Towns and Jayne Taylor, and four out of the five vet prizes on offer. Mr Towns collecting his second 1st V40 prize in one weekend following his first at Standish on Saturday afternoon!

Finish Position Time Race Number First Name Last Name Category Gender Position Prizes
4 33:39 178 Stuart Towns MV40 4 MV40 1st
14 34:46 35 David Collins MV50 13 MV50 1st
27 36:34 175 Jayne Taylor FV50 4 FV50 1st
35 38:10 146 April Morgan FV40 6 FV40 1st
38 38:49 177 Kelly Anne Towns F 8
39 38:51 187 Paul Walker M 31
55 40:02 68 Tracey Dutton FV40 10
63 41:37 101 Stuart Hamilton M 52
105 47:34 170 Ian Stewart MV40 81
112 48:44 69 Michael Dutton MV60 86

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All in all a great event, St Helens Striders nailed every aspect from the £8 price tag to providing a goody bag that actually contained goodies! Would be a welcome addition to the calendar if they decide to make this a regular event, fingers crossed!

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