A record breaking 54 Wigan Harriers plus supporters descended on Sefton Park for the Northern Athletics Road Relay Championships, this was fabulous and a greater turnout than any other club!!
This was a tremendous reflection of the growth we have seen in the club over the last couple of years. We are currently on target to welcome our 100th member to the endurance group this year (Sorry no prizes available for this feat!)
Just as a reminder last year we entered two Men’s teams finishing in 45th and 62nd places. The Ladies had one team coming home in 40th place. This meant regardless of how well we ran we had already boosted participation by a whopping 80% (YES EIGHTY PERCENT)
Congratulations to the coaching team and team managers Jacqui Jones and Andy Eccles who spent months speaking to people and forming these excellent teams.
Morning rains cleared away to leave a mild sunny afternoon for the endless streams of runners around the park. We moved up to being a two tent club but even then it was a full house, the men being slightly concerned by the news that DC had been on the beans again.
Long legs were two laps and short legs (2.4 miles) were a single lap around the paths and pavements of Sefton Park. It was a normal Saturday so there was the normal array of dog walkers, push chairs and children to dodge!
Those familiar with Sefton Park will know it’s not hilly but it’s sort of on a slope. The clockwise circuit took you down past the lake and back up past the cafe with it’s smells of coffee and food. Cafe goers gazing on as an endless stream of runners powered (or tried to) back up to the end point. With six Harriers teams in action it wasn’t long before you saw another black and red vest come by!
With 54 runners I’m not going to try and pick out any individual performances as this wouldn’t be fair, there were so many people pushing themselves, stretching their limits.
28th Wigan & District H & AC ‘A’ 3:40:11
Andrew Kaufman (52) 27:20 H Avery (46) 13:17 Abraham Afeworki (37) 26:14 Stephen Sheldon (38) 14:20 Daniel Gray (42) 28:09 Mark Glynn (38) 13:23 Gary Fitzpatrick (33) 26:26 C Smullen (31) 13:32 Stephen Nicholls (30) 14:07 Darren Jackson (31) 14:54 Mike Harris (30) 14:52 Andy Ratcliffe (28) 13:37
The Men’s A team picked up 17 places on last year’s performance, just missing out on Nationals Qualification. It was a great all round performance with plenty of new faces who will only improve.
Paul Bryers (70) 31:07 Neil Prescott (67) 15:47 Paul Mason (66) 29:39 Andy Eccles (63) 15:26 Paul Platt (63) 30:34 Chris Burgess (62) 14:41 Simon Baines (62) 29:43 Kevin Edwards (62) 16:10 Colin McEvoy (62) 15:24 Richard Noone (61) 15:17 David Waddington (61) 16:14 David Collins (56) 14:35
The B team certainly didn’t perform like a B team! Their were some fantastic performances from old and new faces. They moved up 7 places from 2014.
62nd Wigan & District H & AC ‘C’ 4:29:14
Barry Abram (72) 31:55 Graham Millington (72) 16:29 Gary Wane (68) 31:54 Dean Atherton (65) 15:41 Tony Foster (68) 35:41 Stuart Towns (67) 15:14 Christopher Gree (68) 32:51 Chris Kinsella (69) 17:19 Michael Dutton (69) 20:02 Darren Horrocks (68) 18:13 Keith West (68) 18:02 David Banks (63) 15:53
Three teams! The C team matched the performance of last year’s B team. We had a third more men running and a tremendous improvement in performances. Big tick in the box Coach!!
The ladies section has really grown well in the last twelve months. This could be seen in both the Summer race series and Cross Country season. It was now time to see if they could reproduce this form at the Relays.
20th Wigan & District H & AC ‘A’ 2:08:09
Julie Platt (24) 31:02 Nina Fisher (23) 15:58 Sarah Morton (23) 17:02 Jayne Taylor (18) 30:07 Danielle Thompso (18) 16:55 KellyAnne Towns (20) 17:05
Of course they could! The Ladies team blasted home to 20th place, an improvement of 20 places. Fantastic running from this six. That wasn’t all, we had three times the number of Ladies running this year!
The B and C teams, many of whom were first timers on this types of event turned in excellent performances. It’s so unlike any other race, you run in isolation for long periods, it was testament to their stamina and fitness that they all performed so well.
50th Wigan & District H & AC ‘B’ 2:33:31
Lindsay Freeman (59) 40:22 Robyn Fawcett (58) 19:26 Sarah Coates (57) 20:41 Shona Taylor (55) 37:06 Annemarie Craven (52) 17:50 Caroline Rasburn (50) 18:06
54th Wigan & District H & AC ‘C’ 3:01:06
Joanne Fairhurst (60) 42:09 Adele Lowe (60) 23:58 Amanda Borthwick (58) 24:56 Melanie Wane (58) 45:17 Pauline Taylor (56) 22:15 Pat Cole (54) 22:31
Congratulations again to all athletes, coaches and supporters. The next Club Relays are in September!