Presentation Evening

This year’s Wigan Harriers Annual Awards night is at the Robin Park Arena (across from the track) this Friday at 28/11/14 at 7:30PM. It’s £3 (or £10 for families) buffet included. The night will mainly be taken up by well earned awards to the various age group young athletes, but also included will be the Harriers Endurance Group Awards for 2014. It will be great if we can have a good representation there showing our support to Wigan Harriers.
The winners of the Endurance Group Awards are judged based on representing the club over the year and their achievements against personal goals not necessarily overall time and race performances.
This year’s Endurance Group Awards are:
Female Athlete of the year: Jayne Taylor
Jayne has had a great year, getting very close to her best times and almost without exception is the first in her age category, and more often than not the first lady. She has raced for the Harriers at least 30 times this year, competing in several team events for road relays and cross country and virtually every distance from 5k to an excellent Marathon at Snowdonia. This of course coupled with her heavy involvement of actually coaching the Endurance Group.
Male Athlete of the Year: Gary Fitzpatrick
Gary has made great improvements again this year and is one of the top runners in the Endurance Group. He has also represented the club in several team events and has achieved PB’s in 5k, 10k, 10 miles and Half Marathon. Another prolific racer he has represented the club well over 20 times this year.
Run of the Year Half Marathon and above: Jayne Taylor (Snowdonia Marathon 3 hours 22 min & 7 sec)
Snowdonia Marathon is rightly considered one of the toughest marathons in the UK, to run 3:22 is a fantastic achievement and compares well with Jayne’s best marathon time of 3:10. Jayne was actually 6th of 412 woman.
Run of the Year up to Half Marathon distance: Mark Glynn (St Helens 10k – 35:48)
A 10k PB for Mark and 9th in his local race, plus coming in a year where he actually prioritised his Ironman Triathlon Training.
Most Improved Athlete of the Year: Pauline Foster
Pauline joined Wigan Harriers last year, with her set goal to get under 1 hour for 10k. She committed to that goal by attending training wherever possible, training with regular partners “Pat and Pauline”, (the other Pauline), she smashed her goal PB with 56:23 at Wigan 10k and goes from strength to strength, also tackling the cross country season.

Well done all

Wigan 10k

Did you run the Wigan 10k? were you one of the army of new runners in Wigan who conquered the 6.2 miles? If so, you will probably be feeling sore, tired but just a little bit elated with your achievement and rightly so.

You are possibly also thinking about next year already, or maybe even another 10k sometime soon? Can you run just a little bit faster next time? Maybe you would like to go a bit further and take on a bigger challenge in the form of a half marathon?  Or maybe you just want to keep up the running habit and all the health benefits you have discovered it brings.

Wigan Harriers can help with all of the above!

10670089_645141618934076_2429424478812450625_nHave a look at the Wigan 10k results and you will see we have a huge spread of abilities amongst our members. We are very proud of our fast runners who were racing it out in the top ten, but we are equally proud of the rest of our members spread throughout the field. This means that if you can already run 10k you will certainly fit right in to the training with Harriers and be able to take your running to the next level.

In fact, quite a few of the Harriers vests you saw on Sunday first joined after last years Wigan 10k so you will be in good company!

We offer free sessions organised by fully trained UK Athletics coaches that are tailored to suit all speeds of runner. You can come along and simply enjoy the company and camaraderie of training with like minded running enthusiasts, or throw yourself into a full training plan and see just how much faster or further you can really go. Either way we would love to see you come and join us.

Training times are updated and available on the TrainingTimes  page, but the best night for new runners is Thursday when we meet at the DW stadium car park near to Robin Park Arena. Drop us an email to let us know you are coming, or just say hello when you arrive and we can have a one to one chat about what you want to get out of the club and how we can help.

See you soon!


Horwich Jubilee 5 Mile Race – August 2014

And so to the final race of the Jubilee series and another strong turn out by the Harriers (writes Dave Collins). I never really liked this race, probably because it’s tough. However, with the Snowdonia marathon looming, tough hilly races had started to feature in the training plan, which explains why I found myself on the start line for the third time this summer. Kev Edwards regularly completes the series of runs, but nearly missed the start of this race after a stressful time on the motorways of Manchester. What a disaster that would have been given the performance that he was about to put in. Continue reading

Astley Park Success for Harriers

This years Astley Park trail race series proved hugely popular with Wigan Harriers with full mens and ladies teams turning out for every one of the 3 races this year. Strength in depth paid dividends as the club grabbed a bagful of prizes after the final race on August 6th.

Both the mens and ladies teams finished the season with outright victory in their respective categories for the first time in the clubs history. The garland of success was gilded with some standout individual performances. For the men, Andy Kaufman finished 4th overall despite the distraction of a heroic attempt at the Lakeland 100 ultra marathon part way through the season. Dave Collins rolled back the years to finish as first V50 in the series.

For the ladies, Jayne Taylor not only topped her age group but also saw off all-comers to finish as top lady overall. A stunning individual achievement that contributed in no small way to the team success. Jayne may have competition for that top age group place in the form of Caroline Rasburn who finished the season in a fantastic 3rd place in the Vets category. Kelly Anne Towns was ready to pounce on any slip up as she finished the series in 4th.

The series saw PB after PB for our runners as each Harrier gave everything they had for the common cause. All who took part can be proud to have worn the red and black vest.

Success breeds success they say and Daniel Gray seemed intent on proving the truth of that homily as he took on the Welcome Tavern 10k on August 10th. Dan put in a tremendous run to win the race in an eye watering 35:40. Congratulations to Dan and all our Harriers winners this month

Cumbria Way Ultra Recce 1

With 73 miles of the Cumbria Way Ultra Relay to cover between us all, we are looking to schedule in a few weekends to recce the various sections ahead of race day. Although race organisers will be supplying a detailed “road book” ahead of the event, it is always wise to gather some advance knowledge idea of both the route and the type of ground to be covered.

This Sunday Kev Edwards, Gary Fitzpatrick and myself, (Graham), decided to defy the forecasts and have a run over Leg 3 from the Dungeon Ghyll pub in Langdale up to Keswick. Kevin is currently pencilled in to tackle this stretch on race day, with Gary reserved for the glory leg from Caldbeck to the finish. We met up at 9am sharp in a still sleepy Ambleside for a quick coffee before taking the extortionately priced bus up the valley to the start. with rain battering the bus windows and low clouds blanketing the peaks it was with some trepidation that we stepped off the bus at the Sticklebarn pub to set off up the valley.

This initial stretch is relatively flat as it snakes its way along a rocky path towards the head of the valley and the big climb of the day up Stake Pass. From here the path rises on an increasingly steep incline up the head of the valley, until it reaches its highest point of around 1600ft, before passing over into the next valley, (Langstrath). It was here that the differences in style and experience of the 3 of us became apparent.

Kevin and I have both completed the Lakeland 50 Ultra run and have spent a fair bit of time running around the Lake District. In that time, Kevin has discovered just how much he despises running downhill on slippy wet treacherous rock. Being unable to make up time on the descents as most people would, Kevin instead chooses to run all the up-hills in defiance of all trail and fell running wisdom. Personally, I much prefer adopting the more pragmatic fell runners approach of running where possible, fast hiking where it isn’t, and taking advantage of all that lovely free energy that gravity gives on the way down.

Gary Fitzpatrick had never run a Lakeland track or even taken much of a walk on a fell side before today. This may explain why he chose to sprint the entire climb, skipping from rock to rock like a demented bearded Pixie, before vanishing off downhill as though headlong falls, twisted ankles and broken legs were things that only happened to other people.

A coupe of walkers actually stopped to watch in awe as he ran past them with enough breath for a gasped good morning, before turning their gaze on the slightly less impressive spectacle of me and Kev labouring our way up. I told them we were having Gary drug tested because he wasn’t normal…

After grumbling his way up a staircase of treacherously slippy rock steps, Kev was less than delighted to find the stepping stones over the usually delightful babbling brooks were now submerged beneath the raging waters of streams dangerously swollen by the rainfall. The wind was gusting powerfully at the top of the pass and robbing us of heat so we set off for the fabulously twisty descent into Langstrath down a series of switchback turns taken at full speed. Gary and I loved it: Kevin declared it “worse than the bloody Lakeland 50. He wasn’t having a good time. In fact the only thing that raised his spirits at this point was the thought of Richie Noones face as he encountered this same stretch on race day!

We had quite a debate on the next stretch on how honest I ought to be when reporting the recce for fear of frightening everyone else off. It has to be said that this is probably the toughest section of the entire Cumbrian way with the rest of the route being a lot flatter and on far firmer and more runnable tracks….although Richie can save himself some time and stop reading now safe in the knowledge that from here on its a walk in the park.

Has he gone?

Right then – it got worse!

Once down in the valley there is a choice of paths, left or right of the stream. Kev did what he always does on these outings and buggered off on his own not knowing where he was going and was half a mile up the valley slogging it out alone before Gary and I spotted him and called him back to the river crossing and the split in the path. A quick check of the map showed the Cumbrian way to be on the right as we looked at it….the path Kev had actually been on!

We crossed the river and set off along a windy, rocky, twisty little track that ploughed across raging streams, over boulders, across slippy wet grass and the most challenging, technical, leg breaking terrain imaginable. Gary loved every second off it and took off like a whippet on a mission, pausing every now and then to allow Kev and I to catch up. This is only a 3 mile stretch at most but it requires total concentration and commitment across very difficult ground – the sort Kevin hates – the sort that made us laugh every time we thought of Richie!

Oddly enough, there is a much easier path on the other side of the river of smooth, well packed trail. That’s the route used for the Ultimate Trails race that comes this way and one I have previously used. A quick email to the race organiser Gaynor Prior after our recce revealed…as I began to suspect as Kev effed and jeffed his way down the tougher trail I’d chosen…….that err…. we should have been on the easy path!

The views up and down these valleys are truly magnificent. I know this because I have been here before. On Sunday all we saw were the greyed out outlines of the hills amidst the persistent drizzle. Once out of Langstrath the trail leads through the picturesque hamlets of Rosthwaite and Grange before finally taking us to the shores of Derwentwater.

It was along the shores of the lake that we finally hit smoother ground with well packed trails populated by strolling pensioners. To make progress even easier the sun finally came out, our waterproofs were removed and the tracks began to dry out as our speeds increased. After miles of lethal rock and dodgy footing we were on good quality, easy surfaces…so obviously this was where Kevin went over on his ankle and hit the deck like he’d been shot!

It looked bad for a few minutes, and in hindsight, I’m sure out first concerns were well founded, but Kev chose to “run it off” and limped his way over the next half mile before picking up speed and blocking out the pain.

The last couple of miles into Keswick are about as easy as it gets along snooker table flat paths but we were all feeling the miles by now and looking forward to the finish. We hit Keswick after 17 mile on the Garmins with seconds to spare to meet our planned bus back to Ambleside, (another Kings ransom in fares though – £7.85? I want a ride on the bus not shares in the company!)

This Sunday a few of us are considering having a run out along leg 5, from Caldbeck to Carlisle which promises to be flatter and faster if less picturesque as it makes its way to the finish. We still have leg 1, 2 and 4 to check out over the next few weeks so anyone available for some solid training runs in the Lakes be on standby and check your email!






Half Year Membership

It’s bargain bonanza time at Wigan Harriers with Half Year Memberships now up for grabs at a discounted £17.50! That will entitle you to 6 month full membership of the club and the right to wear the red and black vest and represent Harriers at race events. Join now and you will be in time to experience the mud, guts, glory and goose bumps of the cross country season, or the fabulous camaraderie of the upcoming road relay championships!

Membership also gains you a UKA competition license, money off all UKA races, discounted track entry and a host of money off options from the likes of Sweatshop. You will also gain access to the wealth of knowledge and personal advice available from our UKA qualified Leaders in Running Fitness and Coaches.

Download your form here and give it to Dave Collins of Jayne Taylor along with cheques made payable to Wigan Harriers:  NEW Membership Form 2014

Freckleton Half Report 2014

Listen to your coach….yes that’s right, it is useful to listen occasionally! A few months ago I mentioned to Big Chief Waddy that a few of us were doing Freckleton, his one liner was “always hot and hard work”. Entries were already in place so the advice was ignored.

Freckleton took place on 22nd June and is run unusually in the afternoon at 2pm. This is so it fits in with church services celebrating the Village Club Sports Day.

In the run up to the race the forecasts were for 18/19 degrees and sunny intervals, slightly warm but manageable indeed I was pleased to see the weather looked settled.

image (1) imageTaking on the challenge were Mark Rogers, Daniel Atkinson and Mike Harris. Chatter in the car mainly revolved around PB’s and spirits were high. The morning cloud encouraged us all to believe we were going to have decent races.

The start and finish were on the sports field and there was a great atmosphere whilst everyone was milling around waiting to start, a varied mix of competitors. The morning clouds were by now rapidly disappearing and the temperatures were climbing.

The race starts with a loop of the village with plenty of supporters on hand for encouragement. Not surprisingly with this level of support the opening mile felt comfortable and I settled into a sub 6:30 pace. It didn’t take long for things to start getting harder. The heat was now building to a mid-afternoon high and I was mighty pleased to see the first drinks station. Prior to the race I had foolishly not given hydration much thought. My thinking was sub 90 minutes of running so no need to worry. It proved to be a school boy error. First mistake was not stopping to drink, I tried to manage a few gulps on the fly, choked and gave up. I should have taken a few seconds out to get some fluids on board. My second error was not thinking through the effects of heat and dehydration and moderating my pace and target.

The course is fairly level and is a mix of village roads, country lanes and pavement beside the main road. It’s pleasant without being memorable however on the 22nd June those gentle inclines seemed very hard and not flat as temperatures climbed to 23 degrees.

image (2)With my stubbornness to stop for a drink and a steady decline of pace, meant the race developed into a war of attrition with only one winner.

By ten miles I just wanted to go home so I kept running as the car was at the finish. Any chances of a PB were long gone, it was now just about pride. I overheard a spectactor comment to a friend how knackered I looked – thanks I thought, at least everyone can see the pain.

Mark was far more sensible, taking on drinks and running well until the 10 mile mark when a lack of longer training runs started to take it’s toll, coming home though in a great 14th place in a time of 1.21.07.

I had no idea how Mark and Daniel were doing as the course apart from the start is one big anti-clockwise loop so with half a mile to go it was good to see Mark cheering me home. I tried to rally, picking up the pace for a few strides but it was short lived and I trotted home in 1.34.54 mighty relieved to be finished in 68th place.

It was so busy near the finish I didn’t manage to find Mark. It was fabulous to see so many spectators. After a short wait Daniel emerged around the final bend deep in the zone and oblivious to the shouts of encouragement to finish in 1.52.25.

No PB’s gained but some important lessons learnt!

Windermere Triathlon 2014

Our very first triathlon report courtesy of Kelly Anne Towns:

If anyone fancies doing an Olympic distance triathlon then this has got to be one of the best around.  (Well I can only compare it to one other but it was good).  Last Sunday I took part in the ‘return’ of Tri Windermere after a last minute cancellation the previous year.

I travelled up with the family the day before and was able to register on the Saturday evening, saving a bit of time in the morning.  Anything to give me an extra ten minutes in bed before the 7.30am start!  Depositing my bike at a friend’s motorhome right next to transition, off I went for an early night to our accommodation in Ambleside.  Which was right next door to the Lakeside Inn, complete with waterside seating and thriving with people enjoying the sunshine.  And wine.  Oh the wine.  I managed to abstain though and obeyed my 5.45am alarm after the obligatory nightmare about oversleeping and missing the start. Continue reading

Sale Sizzler 5k Race 1 2014

As the rest of the club were recovering from their heroics at Astley Park, 4 more Harriers donned the vest to put out a full mens team for the first of this years Sale Sizzlers. This super fast 5k course attracts some of the best runners in the north West with former Manchester Marathon winner Dave Norman spied warming up around the leafy pathways of Wythenshawe park before the race. Continue reading