I Rocked ‘n’ Rolled!

I defiantly Rocked ’n’ Rolled. 😀

Back in 2013 before I joined Harriers I was looking into losing weight. Sadly this was due to my comfort eating from losing my Dad. He had a tough fight and didn’t win sadly. I was at the doctors and he said why not run, so guess what? I did and never looked back.

Gaining my confidence and working my up from 5k’s to 10s I was on the verge of getting a little fed up of running on my own, and also thinking there must be a way I can improve. This thought pointed me to looking on internet and finding Parkrun. I sent myself along to Edge Hill and this became a part of my routine running plan. I have met so many friends along the way, and with this was advised maybe joining a running club. So the I hopped back on the internet and did my research. Now a lot of you may think wow you find Wigan Harriers and that’s it, but sadly no. Some clubs I had emailed near me wouldn’t take me on due to my “times”. Sadly this was starting to get to me, so I thought sack this! One day a friend suggested to look by my work and see what was around saving me having trouble rushing back to any club near mine. At the time I was working by Robin Park and low and behold there you all were. I emailed and Jayne got back to after answering my questions and telling me to come along. So I rocked up on a cold Tuesday night at the DW in January 2015 and my Harriers journey began.

So over the year I have pushed myself to my limits, doing more 5k’s, 10k’s, trails and Cross country and loved every minuet of it. So mid last year after going along to Rock and Roll Half/Full Marathon to support the team and cheer them on I then came home and signed up to the Half Marathon. I was hovering my finger over the enter button for a good few minuets, but then I pressed and that’s it I was in and no looking back.

Many months of training followed from there. Loads of sessions with the Harriers ( Yes including hills), Parkruns, running with brother, friends, dog and a few sessions with the fab downhill runners. I have had so much help and advice and then that’s it the day arrived.


So on the 29th May I woke up with a nerves tummy, feeling a little sick won’t lie. My kit was ready and prepped from night before, so once I was ready and grabbed the kit I headed into Liverpool. For me it’s only a 10 min drive but still I was there early-ish My mum, brother & finance all coming along with me. We walked towards the start line, I kept thinking I need the loo (As always), but then I spotted a Harriers vest and another, this made my nerves slight go when on seeing Chris, Dan & Gaz. After saying our good lucks and going towards our corrals, I headed to mine. I had placed myself down for the 2:10 mark when entering and was trying to find Mel as we planned to start together. Sadly there was so many people on the bridge, finding it hard to get over, into my corral and even seeing Mel. I thought I will have to go further back and try and catch her up. This wasn’t a plan that would come out well, I then remembered Ian was pacing the 2:45 so that’s it I thought my nerves are kicking in I am going to start with friendly faces. As I spotted him, I also saw Darren, Kerry & Adrienne. The group and the crowd was all ready to go, along with Ian and his bag filled with sweets and speakers to blast out some tunes. It was defiantly a party where they were and as they said “ There ain’t no party like a 2:45 party ”. So we slowly walked up to finish, coral after coral headed out, and then it was our turn. Before I know it I was off, set through the start line to cheers from the crowd, along with my mum, brother and finance cheering me on.

As me and Darren headed through we got a little ahead of the 2:45 group and we were comfortable for the first 5 miles. Heading through the windy roads of Liverpool and then back onto the main road towards the Parliament Street was spotted by Jayne, giving us a cheers on we happy. As we turned to ward China town, I spotted my family all looking at the app, sadly for them I shouted as they were all looking down, as I shouted they missed me as I passed them, this was the last time I saw them till the end.

Heading towards Sefton park, the heat was truly starting to get to me a tad, this was 5 mile mark, and I had taken so much water in already from the water stations, I needed the loo. Lucky for me there are a few portals on the way round, but some queuing was already happening. I began to que, then while waiting Ian (2:45 pacer) passed me and said “Sarah catch us up” my reply was “I will, don’t you worry”. Once my ‘loo’ break was finished me and Darren headed back on course. He was struggling a tad and told me to go for it so I left him, he had a lot of people he knew so I knew he be ok. I did indeed catch Ian up and then over took him, as I weaved in and out of runners, I had a second wind in which I have no idea where is came from. Then in the distance I could hear more music, as it was placed round the course and already passed a few stands, this one I could hear more loud and knew the song. So that’s it Penny Lane was in sight and I knew I wasn’t far off the park and then Promenade.

Heading towards the promenade, I spotted Tony & Pauline in the crowds as they cheered me on, was a while since I saw any one I knew so was nice to see them. The park was open and had hardly any coverage form trees, so when it did it was very welcoming. The heat was getting stronger and the water stations were filling up too. We all needed the extra water intake that’s for sure. I then turned my little legs on to the Promenade and I could see the 10 mile mark in site. This was it I said to myself only a park run to go now and its the end. But no one told me the prom was made of quick sand! My feet then started to get heavy, my heads shouting run, don’t stop, but my feet were not listening. It was tough, overtime thought I saw the light at the tunnel we were brought back onto the main road again and then back on the prom. Weaving in and out, there was a fair few people struggling and just walking, but I didn’t want to stop. I looked at my watch and it was 2 hours of running, I knew I only had half an hour left to go. I saw the 12 mile mark and my head was in the clouds, had a mixture of thoughts and emotions. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to keep smiling or cry. Then I heard the crowd in the distance, the noise of clapping and cheering getting louder and I could see the arena in sight. I was away with myself, then I heard my name being shouted, loads of kind folk had shouted my name along the way saying well done, but this voice was one I recognised. Might be the Wigan accent, but I looked up and there was Jayne, Dave and Rachel all cheering me on, and Dave shouting “Sprint Sarah, sprint, go for it”. So you guessed it I did, I have no idea where it came from but as I passed these little legs of mine moved and sprinted, as I sprinted past runner after runner there was my family at the finish line shouting me on too. The finish line was in sight and I passed it and it read 2:34.




Yes! I done it and that was it I couldn’t hold in any more and as I took my medal the tears came out. I walked through the tunnel in the arena to get water and banana oh and another toilet stop, my face covered in tears ( Happy tears) I was just glad to finish it. The atmosphere was great, I managed to find my family at the end, and we stayed a while to see some the fellow Harriers come in on the Marathon. It was a long day and I was in need of sit down. I did a few extra warm down stretches which helped massively.



I can safely say that I’m pleased with my time and performance, and the thing that kept me going was the fact I was doing it for my Dad. I did also say that I would never do another half again, this thought lasted a week, and I have been looking into another. But before you all ask this won’t be till next year I think, I want to do a few more 10k’s now till year is out and I have entered two already…Opps!

Sarah-Elizabeth Coates

Weekend round up post Relays!

Train hard…Race harder, sounds good? It was certainly the motto of a number of Harriers this weekend. Not content with running to exhaustion on Saturday, a number of runners also turned out at the BTR Liverpool Half Marathon on Sunday.

Well we can say, we are becoming a very serious club when not one but two athletes are using pacemakers. First up was Annemarie Craven “fresh” her from Relay performance, Annemarie was using Chris “Crazy Horse” Burgess as a pacesetter, a brave move as Chris is known for liking to chat and for stopping mid-race to do some horse whispering. Regardless of this Chris was determined to ensure Annemarie left Liverpool with r
the desired PB.

Our other runner following another set of heels was Babyface Avery (He reckons he was challenged for ID this week, wishful thinking perhaps?) Howard was using his older brother to coax him round the course to a PB. Laurence is an excellent runner and for him it was “just marathon pace”.

Saturday shots of Annemarie and Howard












These guys were joined by Andy Ratcliffe, Chris Burton, Tony Foster and David Banks.

The pacemaking worked as there were two shiny PB’s created, in fact there were no fewer than 5 PB’s created and a season’s best too. Well done Harriers!

Andy confessed to not knowing Howard was on his tail, judging by this picture if he had looked round he might have sped up considerably!!

Please move back from your screen before clicking on this link, it is also not suitable for anyone of a nervous disposition.


22nd Andy Ratcliffe 1.18:16 3rd V45
33rd Howard Avery 1.18:56 PB
630th David Banks 1.36:15 PB
711th Chris Burton 1.37:45 PB
1125th Tony Foster 1.42:30 PB
1199th Annemarie Craven 1.43:16 PB
1206th Chris Burgess 1.43:17

Training with us recently has been Ian Stewart (Go on Ian, join up, sign the forms!!), who finished in 2.09:11, well done on the improvement.









Meanwhile further north in Accrington, Stuart Holding was taking on the Ron Hill Accy 10k . Stuart too had a great run managing a PB in 44:33, well done!

For those who have not read Andy’s race report…..




The Rat rolls into Liverpool again

Andy Ratcliffe shares his thoughts on the Liverpool Half Marathon, his second consecutive day of competition in Liverpool.

It was with a rush of blood after the Coniston 14 that saw me enter the Liverpool Half marathon knowing we had the 12 stage the day before. I was closely watching the weather all week and with 40mph winds predicted I wondered if I’d made the right decision, luckily the only thing the forecasters got right was the rain.

“I held back on my leg in the 12 stage” knowing I was in with a sniff of a PB 1.17.56 which I set in 1996 (Editor’s note  – before GPS watches were invented!). I arrived at Liverpool nice and early and managed to park next to the start,very nice. Having done a little warm up running to a Tesco Express for some change for the parking meter I took the decision to run in hat gloves AND a base layer……..and to quote “when you can beat me you can comment”….as with Coniston there were a few people who had delusion of grandeur so a quick move up was needed after a slight delay we were off. 5.55’s was my target but I didn’t know whether the 12 stage “stroll” would of deadened my legs slightly.

5.47 first mile but knowing there was quite a steep incline within the first 1.5 miles that was fine, the miles seemed to tick by quite fast and we were soon into Sefton Park, the 10k point was as near as damn it to the finish of the 12 stage which saw me go through in approx 38mins, the next mark on my progress was the 10 mile point 59.45 all going very well and still feeling surprisingly comfortable. We were now on the dockside path and a flat run for home if not 3 miles out.

I’d been having a good battle from about 6.5miles and he tried a surge but today was not going to be his day, my thoughts were solely now on my PB as I’d slightly fell behind my 5.55 target. When should I strike for home!!!!…not wanting to blow I decided on 12 miles and I had in my head if I could reach there in under 1.12 I would have a chance……………….12 miles and 1.11 it was like a boost of adrenaline and I struck for home. I had another runner in my sights which gave me something to chase, caught and passed him. I could now hear the band at the finish just keep pushing and it was on the cards but one thing I always forget is how long it seems to take to do that .1…..Never mind 1.18.16 I’ll take that.

Anyone spot the tongue in cheek comments?


Liverpool Half Marathon 2013

Wigan Harriers were well represented at the recent Liverpool Half Marathon with Pate Cole, Pauline Taylor, Lisa Stevenson and David Newshan taking on the 13.1 miles of this iconic race.

Lisa put in a fantastic performance in her debut over the distance. she can be very proud with an extremely creditable 2:02:17. Serial Half Marathoners Pat and Pauline keep on turning out top times and came home together in 2:16:12 for yet another strong performance.

David Newsham provides us with the following insight into his day:

Three weeks after the Half Marathon in Blackpool, it was off to Merseyside to continue the quest (along with Pat Cole and Pauline Taylor) of completing any Half Marathon ending with the ‘Pool’ (so that just leaves Hartlepool, Pontypool, Ullapool and Welshpool)!

Considering I’m more of an owl than a lark, setting the alarm for 6.30 to ensure the porridge and blueberries had done their thing (if you know what I mean) for a 9.00am start seemed a bit excessive, but once I’d navigated safely to the Pier Head area I was raring to go.

This was the third time I’ve done the Liverpool Half, but it’s a much bigger
event now and has a different course with the start and finish in front of
the Liver Buildings. The start was a bit chaotic with people hurdling
barriers to try to get into cramped pens – it was certainly cosy but at
least it kept the wind off. Off we went in the usual mayhem of people trying to avoid each other and the bollards/traffic lights.

After the early steady climb after about a mile it’s reasonably flat, taking
in some pleasant sights such as Sefton Park which was nice and also an under pass/zig-zag barriers – not so nice. Was feeling OK as the race continued but not as strong as I’d hoped (excuses…. main goal is Manchester marathon in 6 weeks and still in early stages of metamorphosis from recreational to clubrunner!).

Past the 9 mile mark the course followed the Mersey all the way home which
felt like a long home straight, but a tad early to start pushing that bit extra for the finish. Other notable highlights included surviving the plonker who cut across from the extreme right of the field in his desperation to get a drink after 3 miles, someone who clipped my heels and nearly sent me nose-diving half-way through and those beautiful cobbles for the final mile were particularly a nice touch.

A time of 1.51.39 was a minute quicker than the last outing but a long way off my PB and where I want to get to – but still an enjoyable morning and after my mile cool down I felt satisfied with my efforts and returned to my car which still had 4 wheels.