Danger mouse!

My first Cross-Country season with Wigan Harriers by Kevin Rex.

I have been a member of Wigan Harriers for almost 18 months now. I love running and the sense of achievement and satisfaction you get from racing and competing. Being a member of this club, whilst wearing the black and red colours and representing Wigan Harriers, is a great feeling.

So imagine my surprise on one Thursday night after training in late October 2016, when I was informed by Mike Harris, Gary Wane and Mark Morgan-Hillam that, if I wanted, I could come along to and take part in the Mid Lancs Cross Country League and represent Wigan Harriers.

I, like a lot of members of Wigan Harriers, assumed that the cross country league was for, shall I say, the more elite members of the club. However, I was advised that this was not the case, and that all paid members of Wigan Harriers are welcome to come along and compete for the club. As Mike Harris said, “No-one is invited, all club members are entered and can take part. Why pay X amount for a race when you can do it for FREE once a month throughout the cross-country season”.

Needless to say, I was sold and so I decided that Cuerden Valley in Bamber Bridge, Preston, would be my first attempt at doing an XC, as I now call them. The day of the race started early as I had already previously agreed to go along to Haigh Hall Park Run with some of my running buddies to celebrate their 1st birthday. I took the run very slowly as I wanted to save my legs for the XC race that afternoon.

When I got home, I fuelled up on some banana porridge and changed into my Wigan Harriers running kit. Before I set off I was a little unsure on a few details. So I messaged Mark Morgan Hillam who was more than helpful and advised me on what I needed to do and where I needed to go when I got there. I was even involved in a bit of team banter when I, being the newbie, stupidly asked the question that shouldn’t be asked to experienced XC runners. I asked, “Can I were a T-shirt under my vest?” The response was hilarious and this little bit of banter made me feel like I was part of the team and helped to settle some of my pre-race nerves.

When I arrived at the event there was already a race going on. I watched a bit of this whilst trying to find the Wigan Harriers flag and tent in the crowd. When I got there, members from the men’s and ladies teams helped me find my race number. They informed me that I needed to keep this number and use it again for future Mid Lancs XC events. I put my number on and I was ready to race.

Before the race started Mark and the guys took me to one side and showed me the route and explained what conditions and terrain to expect during the race. From where I was stood it looked like a tough and very hilly course. I was informed that I had in fact picked one of the toughest courses in the mid lancs fixtures for my first go at cross country.

With that said the pre-race nerves came back. However they were settled again by the encouraging words and comments from everyone. We then had a little warm up and went to cheer on the ladies team in their race. Then it was time for the team photograph and, yes, I still had my t-shirt on under my vest. What can I say? It was cold out there…

Race time arrived in no time and, before I knew it, I was on the start line waiting to go. There were some last words of motivation from Gary Wane – and then something terrible happened that could only happen to me. Whilst limbering up, I stepped backwards only to hear some guys behind me shout, “Watch out!” I wondered what was going on – I had only gone and trodden on a field mouse… it had the whole of Cuerdon Valley to roam around, but it had to go and choose to stand behind my shoe. I was mortified, and a little embarrassed, but at least it took my mind off the nerves and amused my teammates…

Moments later, the starting gun went and we were off. Immediately I was slipping everywhere as, being the inexperienced and less equipped member of the team, I had no spikes to wear. I got around the first corner and was headed straight towards and through a ditch of thick mud. As I stomped through the muddy ditch I almost lost one of my trainers. I just about managed to keep it on and I was off and running.

After the first lap I felt like I was starting to finding my stride and I began to relax and enjoy it. My favourite part of the course was running through the stream. The ice cold water cooled my feet and made it feel like a proper cross country race for me.

After four hilly laps (one short, one medium and two long,) of what is probably one of the toughest runs I have taken part in, I approached the finish line. I could see and hear the rest of the XC team cheering me on. This made me feel good and I pushed myself all the way across the finish line.

Even though on the day I finished last out of the men’s team they thanked me and congratulated me for my performance. I left the race feeling included and proud of myself for getting through what was a very muddy and tough race.

The positive experience of the day, and the fun I had, made me want to try more XC fixtures. However, before I did, the more experienced members of the team advised me that I really needed to get some spikes. So with that I was off to the sweatshop to buy myself a pair.

My second, and the next race of the season, was a British Athletics Cross Country event at Sefton Park in Liverpool. This was an event where professional athletes took part and competed alongside amateurs. I learnt from some of my fellow Harriers that apparently, in the past, Olympic champion Mo Farah competed in this event. So of course I was going to go along and compete, if only to say I ran on the same field as Mo Farah.

The weather on the day was absolutely freezing. So needless to say it was t-shirt under the vest again for me. However, the more experienced members of the team still went out there in the freezing cold in just their vests.
I was more at home this time around and felt a lot more relaxed. I knew what to do and how things worked. The nerves I felt at Cuerden Valley Park were gone. So I focused on trying to put in a good performance for the team.
Before the race we did a warm up run and watched the some of the ladies race. I was pleased to see that the course was flat and not as muddy as Cuerden Valley. It was boggy in some parts, but overall it was a lot better.

After the warm up we made our way back to the tent for the team photograph. There were a lot more people representing Harriers for the men’s team at this one – 14 to be exact. This made it possible to have an A and B team, meaning more points for the team.

After the photographs we all went to the start line as a team. There were lots of pats on back and encouraging word from fellow team members. This made me more confident and pumped up for this one. I was determined to run as hard and as fast as I could for the team.

The gun fired and off everyone went. A mile or so into the race I felt good and I was even managing to keeping up with one of the more experienced members of the team, Kevin Edwards.

As the race went on it was lovely to see flat surface after flat surface in front of me, not a hill in sight. You could even see some of the faster athletes in the distance. I continued to push on and felt like I was keeping my composure well. That along with support from some of the ladies team spurred me on for the final couple of miles.

Approaching the final stretch I pushed hard and move my little legs as fast as I could over the finish line. I stopped my watch and got my breath back. I felt as though I had run well and gave everything I had for the team. Little did I know that I had actually smashed my PB for this distance on all surfaces by just over three minutes, clocking an official time of 46 minutes and 6 seconds.

To say I was gobsmacked is an understatement. I still to this day do not know where I got that performance from. It still stands to this day as my personal best running performance ever and probably will for some time. If I can put my performance down to anything, I think a mixture of the atmosphere of the day, the flat course, wearing spikes for the first time and the amazing support and encouragement from my fellow Wigan Harriers XC team was the main reasons for my mind blowing results.

After Sefton Park I’m sad to say that I missed the next two races in Towneley Park, Burnley, and Cleveleys School, Rossall, due to family commitments and a race clash with the Parbold Hill race which I had entered before I started taking part in Mid Lancs XC events.

The next race I would compete in would be the final XC fixture of the season at Leigh Sports Village. Rather worryingly, a few weeks prior to this race taking place, I was suffering with tendonitis of the Achilles. However I was determined I was going to make it to the last race of the season and I am happy to say I did.

Although my performance was not as strong as I would have liked, I still enjoyed being back with the XC gang and competing in the black and red once again. The appreciation I received from fellow Harriers for coming and taking part again reminded me of why I now love these events so much.

Lastly, because of the positive experiences and feeling of inclusion I received in my first two XC races, I took it upon myself to return the favour and try and encourage some of my running buddies at Downhill Runners to come along and give an XC a try. I am glad to say one of them did. So Jayne Salloum became the newest member of Wigan Harriers ladies XC team.
She was a great addition, and she really enjoyed it. I know Jayne, and hopefully some other new members, will be there competing next season. Needless to say, so will I…..

Manchester Half Marathon

A fantastic race report from one of our newer but very active members Caroline Brown.

My Manchester half experience nearly didn’t start at all… as despite thinking we had left in plenty of time (we clearly hadn’t) and having bought our car park ticket in advance, only useful if you are actually there in time… we decided after getting changed’ Houdini style’ in the car, that the only thing for it was to dump the car and run – all 2 miles to the start (a good warm up I admit) with my poorly friend Sandra in tow who was clearly suffering with a bad bout of flu. Arriving just as the gun was sounding and still needing to find a bush for the customary pre run wee, we decided to just join the back of the pack and set off in the lovely northern rain, after all the name of the game for me was to complete challenge 15 after the hectic week I had had, anything else would be a bonus.

After the heat of the Lisbon sun two weeks before, the rain was a welcome relief and reminder that autumn had well and truly arrived whilst I have been busy trotting round the globe for work. The support all the way round the ‘out and back’ route (see I am learning the terminology) was amazing and the lovely flat course helped to keep the jet lag at bay. My mind and body felt good and for the first time in ages I didn’t need to have a word with myself to keep my feet moving, I actually started thinking how lucky I was to have had the chance to run around the Formula 1 track in Abu Dhabi earlier that week and the amazing experiences and people I have met along this crazy, charity challenge journey.

At mile 5 I took my gel, swilled my mouth out with water and spat it out – yes me I SPAT!, once I would have thought it gross… well not anymore:) The advice and words of wisdom from my friends Bobby and Darren were ringing in my ears and keen not to repeat my recent mistakes at GNR and Lisbon I carried out their instructions to the letter. Amazing I hear Bobby say – she actually listened! At mile 8 I had a welcome shout out from some work colleagues and at mile 11, our very own Sarah Edwards and Ian Stewart were there having cycled all the way to Manchester to act as the Harriers cheering squad to encourage us all homewards.

Unable to see the watch due to the rain, I guessed I was somewhere under 1.50 having overtaken the pacer on route but pleasantly surprised to finish in 1.46.12, the fastest I have run since April – even if as Rachel Naylor and I saw from the text on my phone from Stuweb, I had according to them just completed the Erewash Triathlon in that time … which would have been an amazing achievement as I swim like Miss Daisy! Having rescued my poorly friend who had heroically managed to get round and seeing some of my fellow harriers after the finish, (having missed them at the start due to my late arrival!), I pondered on my soggy long walk back to the car that I felt so proud to be part of a club that saw so many people run PBS yesterday and that never fails to support each and every one of us all competing at different levels with individual goals.

img_1614

I felt strangely emotional to be part of the Harriers gang – although I would still never call myself a runner…but I can honestly say that without Harriers help especially Jacqui and Jayne, I would never have completed 11 half’s, a marathon and 6 other races so far this year as part of ensuring I complete my 16 in 16 for ABTA Lifeline. So roll on the last epic challenge 16 in the Benidorm half next month with some of the Harriers gang, work colleagues and friends, I can’t promise to race it (I know a cardinal sin ;( but I am likely to get over excited, emotional and talk a lot! – who me I hear you cry!) But… I can promise to truly enjoy it and who knows if Darren and Julie P have anything to do with it, I might have to keep up this running lark and renew my club membership in 2017 – having previously competed for my country in another sport, I knew I would enjoy the training and racing side but who knew that I actually would learn to love running along the way! So it’s off to Madrid on Thursday and yes I have already checked out whether there is a park run – does that mean I’m hooked? #NOWWERUN

Wigan 10k 2016

The 4th edition of the Wigan 10K was the biggest yet and so was the Harriers team…70 runners yes that’s right SEVENTY! How awesome is that!

image

An excited crew of Harriers gathered for the obligatory photo call. There were plenty of nerves on display as they prepared for home town action.

20160904_091434

p1070749

p1070750p1070751p1070752p1070753

Mark Morgan-Hillam kindly volunteered his services as club poster boy for the day, endless photo calls ensued.

image

Nobody had the heart to tell Ian he only had to run 6.21 miles this week.

imageimageimageimageimageimage

Harriers were also out on the course at various points as marshals, in particularly the drinks station again.

imageimageimage

Steve got a little wet.

imageimageimage

Chris did two laps to get a couple of drinks off his favourite player.

imageimage

Harriers formation style.

imageimageimageimageimageimage

Some nifty headwear options on show.

imageimageimageimageimageimage

Ian realising he could do another 194 miles, still fresh.

image

When you are first Harrier home then take a bow!

image

Mark realised he still had another 5 photo shoots to do, despair loomed.

imageimageimageimageimageimage

Flying Harrier display.

imageimage

Jonathan our hero helps a fallen runner!

imageimageimageimage

Darren tackles something less than an ultra for a change.

imageimage

The results! Let us know if you are missing.

POS BIB GENDER NAME CAT CAT POS CHIP TIME FINISH TIME
1 2061 Male Andrew Kaufman 35-39 3/281 00:34:19 00:34:20
2 3631 Male Tesfagaber Waldu 10-34 6/664 00:35:28 00:35:29
3 2079 Male Mark Morgan-Hillam 40-44 1/280 00:36:48 00:36:51
4 2068 Male Bozhidar Kasabov 40-44 3/280 00:37:04 00:37:08
5 3339 Male Simon Baines 40-44 7/280 00:37:47 00:37:50
6 52 Male Robin Chan 10-34 20/664 00:38:13 00:38:14
7 2169 Male Stephen Nicholls 10-34 23/664 00:38:25 00:38:26
8 3411 Male Stuart Fairclough 45-49 6/225 00:38:41 00:38:43
9 3193 Male Warren Moorfield 45-49 8/225 00:39:07 00:39:10
10 87 Male Paul Bryers 40-44 11/280 00:39:26 00:39:31
11 2996 Male Mike Harris 45-49 9/225 00:39:44 00:39:48
12 2208 Male Jonathan Kearsley 10-34 43/664 00:40:25 00:40:31
13 2310 Male David Barton 35-39 11/281 00:40:38 00:40:45
14 1321 Male Daniel Parkinson 10-34 50/664 00:41:09 00:41:15
15 2544 Male Stuart Hamilton 35-39 14/281 00:41:08 00:41:30
16 36 Male Gary Wane 35-39 16/281 00:41:34 00:41:39
17 8 Male Christopher Green 10-34 61/664 00:41:39 00:41:42
18 513 Male Anthony Ackers 35-39 19/281 00:41:44 00:41:51
19 253 Male Dean Atherton 10-34 65/664 00:41:48 00:41:54
20 40 Male Steven Bayliss 35-39 22/281 00:42:06 00:42:11
21 1690 Male Darren Jackson 40-44 22/280 00:42:14 00:42:19
22 3100 Male Scott Wiggans 35-39 27/281 00:42:43 00:42:47
23 1558 Male Barry Abram 55-59 1/87 00:42:49 00:42:54
24 3194 Female Karen Moorfield 10-34 5/516 00:43:10 00:43:15
25 3449 Male Paul Walker 35-39 31/281 00:43:22 00:43:30
26 620 Male Gareth Holland 35-39 32/281 00:43:25 00:43:30
27 1280 Male Tony Foster 55-59 4/87 00:43:46 00:43:51
28 2041 Male Daniel Yates 10-34 93/664 00:43:58 00:44:21
29 2107 Male Paul Carter 45-49 24/225 00:44:13 00:44:35
30 1868 Male Stuart Holding 40-44 32/280 00:44:13 00:44:36
31 1850 Female Nina Pilkington 35-39 2/211 00:44:36 00:44:41
32 936 Female Charlotte Newsham 10-34 10/516 00:45:10 00:45:12
33 1757 Female Melissa Banks 10-34 11/516 00:45:22 00:45:28
34 2592 Male David Hartley 50-54 13/135 00:45:55 00:46:01
35 1375 Male Paul Fisher 35-39 61/281 00:46:56 00:47:03
36 1497 Female Lauren Wheatley 10-34 28/516 00:48:19 00:48:28
37 1392 Male Paul Platt 35-39 79/281 00:48:59 00:49:04
38 2040 Male Ian Yates 40-44 75/280 00:49:15 00:49:16
39 110 Male James Pentland 35-39 83/281 00:48:50 00:49:20
40 1873 Male Darren Horrocks 10-34 203/664 00:49:22 00:49:30
41 606 Male Alan Taylor 55-59 22/87 00:49:26 00:50:10
42 1869 Male Kevin Rex 40-44 94/280 00:49:17 00:50:27
43 1966 Male Sam Blakeman 35-39 91/281 00:50:31 00:50:39
44 1640 Male Scott Oshea 10-34 246/664 00:47:40 00:50:42
45 1086 Female Rebecca Kaufman 10-34 50/516 00:50:55 00:50:56
46 2138 Female Rachel Sidebotham 10-34 51/516 00:50:28 00:51:01
47 408 Female Julie Platt 45-49 9/169 00:52:03 00:52:09
48 1950 Female Melanie Wane 10-34 67/516 00:52:40 00:52:46
49 1514 Female Jayne Salloum 40-44 21/225 00:52:31 00:53:05
50 1549 Female Lisa Atherton 45-49 13/169 00:52:59 00:54:23
51 673 Female Alice Rowe 10-34 75/516 00:53:29 00:54:51
52 1108 Male Andrew Mcmanus 40-44 141/280 00:54:10 00:55:19
53 2108 Female Michelle Liptrot 45-49 19/169 00:53:31 00:55:59
54 2505 Female Rebecca Jones 10-34 94/516 00:54:57 00:56:52
55 671 Female Olivia Rowe 10-34 109/516 00:56:51 00:58:13
56 607 Female Pauline Taylor 55-59 9/42 00:58:11 00:58:20
57 879 Female Pat Cole 60-64 2/19 00:58:12 00:58:20
58 2078 Female Leanne Morgan-Hillam 35-39 33/211 00:58:54 00:59:00
59 2771 Male Ian Stewart 45-49 128/225 00:53:54 00:59:17
60 624 Female Mandy Borthwick 40-44 60/225 01:00:37 01:00:45
61 457 Female Sarah Coates 10-34 181/516 01:00:23 01:03:10
62 3473 Female Lindsey Jones 10-34 200/516 00:59:02 01:03:52
63 2173 Male Peter Gregory 40-44 216/280 01:01:28 01:04:59
64 13 Male Paul Brierton 10-34 527/664 01:01:01 01:05:52
65 777 Female Rebecca Swindlehurst 10-34 309/516 01:08:42 01:11:29
66 422 Female Adrienne Barnes 45-49 111/169 01:12:36 01:13:40
67 2630 Female Sarah Edwards 40-44 179/225 01:07:08 01:16:00
68 3282 Female Adele Lowe 40-44 180/225 01:07:08 01:16:00
69 92 Female Lillie Barnard 10-34 371/516 01:07:16 01:16:02
70 1693 Male Darren Finnegan 45-49 217/225 01:13:37 01:20:42

A hug for little sis!

image

Selfie time..

imageimageimageimage

Mark Morgan-Hillam M40 winner! GB Sticks just about managed another smile!

image

Barry Abram M55 winner, well done Bazza!

image

Wigan Harriers First Men’s team, yes he’s in this one too!

image

A few drinks to celebrate, cheers lads!

image

Well done to the organisers, marshals, spectactors and runners for making the 2016 Wigan 10k an amazing success. Everyone up for it again in 2017? If you can’t wait then take a look at the Wigan Run Festival in March – more news to come soon on that one!

 

Catforth 5k by Tracey Dutton

Saturday 13th August 2016

Woke up Saturday to strong winds, was worried all day about racing against the wind, as the last mile of Catforth is usually quite windy. Catforth is a 6:30pm start. The wind had dropped slightly by time I got to Catforth. Collected my number, which was 249, I don’t like odd numbers and this time I couldn’t add the numbers together to get a even number. I did have Susan’s lucky coin in my pocket. After collecting my number I went off to do a mile warm up with 4 x 50 strides at race pace. One more visit to the toilet and gave hubby a big hug and off I went to the start. Wished Paul Mason good luck and said to him I wish I was doing a marathon instead of a 5k, because 5k races hurt too much. Paul said the pain is short and will be over quick. We were counted down and off we went around the country lanes of Catforth.

First mile 5:41 omg I thought that’s fast, but carried on running well under 6 minute miles. 2nd mile past still doing well and managed to catch up with a group of guys and thought should I stay behind them and wondered what time they were aiming for. Looked at my garmin they were doing 6:05 decided to over take them, the look on their faces were a picture, they must have been thinking where did she come from. Only one guy came with me and finally over took me. I tried to keep on his tail for the final mile, but he had put his foot down. I passed the Running Pump Pub and knew I wasn’t that far away from the finish. Turned the corner and saw Joanne Fairhurst and hubby shouting me and waving because I was first lady. I came into the gates of the school to the finish line sounding like a old steam train. Collected my medal and bottle of water and slumped over a fence until I managed to get my breath back then looked at my watch. Couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw my time 18:28. I had only ever got 19:55 at my previous Catforth race back in 2013. My pb for a 5K was back in 2009 18:57. Did a slow jog to meet hubby who was absolutely over the moon with my time. Went back to car to freshen up and have my protein shake. Every runner gets a pie and a can of cider or beer after the race. I gave mine to hubby as I was looking forward to a huge steak for my tea. Waited for prizes to be given out. Won £15. I came 1st lady and 13th runner out of 105 runners. I texted my dad after the race and he said I was “like a fine vintage wine that gets better with age”.

Wigan Trail 10k results 2016

Well most of the rain missed us and it was another successful Wigan Trail 10k race. Well done to our 140 finishers who did brilliantly on a warm humid morning. There were plenty of determined runners who secured excellent times.

Over the next few days there will be news reports and photos but for now here’s the important results. If you spot any omissions please let us know and we will try to amend. Once again thanks for your support, we can’t do it without you! 😊

http://www.ukresults.net/2016/wigan10k.html

 

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.

image

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.

image

image

image

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.

image

image

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

Henderson’s End Fell Race

Henderson’s End Fell Race by Karen Schofield

This was my first attempt at Henderson’s End Fell Race and I had been looking forward to it ever since I had been a mere spectator two years ago, cheering on Warren at the finish getting eaten alive by flies. I had been unable to run this race last year, work got in the way but I made sure I was free this time.

I was well prepared and certainly was not going to under estimate the task at hand, how could I as I’ve only had 2 years of Warren explaining to me, that this is the hardest midweek local race I’ll ever do, harder than any of those Wednesday night races.

So we turned up early and headed up to the barn, not that early it turns out as Kev Edwards was coming back down to his car race number crumpled up and stuffed in his jeans pocket. I will confess now, that I am a little OCD about racing and keep all my race numbers neatly in a folder as a reminder of everything I have achieved, so inside I was secretly horrified at the fact that Kevin had stuffed his number in his jeans pocket. I like to roll mine so that it does not get creased – yes very sad I know but I cant help it. I think I did comment about his crumpled up number to Warren, so maybe not so secretly horrified but I think Warren is probably use to me by now.

Anyway we signed up and paid the unbelievable fee of just £4, yes thats right just £4 for a 6.8 mile race which actually turns out to be 7 miles at least. We then went on a 1 and a half mile warm up which of course was hilly causing me to ask Warren if he was trying to tire me out before the race had even begun. I didn’t feel that running uphill for the warm up was necessary when I knew what was in store for me during the race, but it is Rivington and as such impossible to do warm up run without hitting a climb.

Everyone headed up from the barn just through the trees as the path starts to go up for the 7:30pm start. There were the usual team photos being taken and a large contingent of Red Rose and Horwich Runners and in the middle flying the flag for the Harriers, me Warren and Kev. Then everyone got moved further back and the count down began 3,…. 2,….. Warrens parting words, remember don’t go off too fast,…. 1…… GO!.

Warren shot off like a bat out of hell up hill and I didn’t seem him again until about half way through the race near the very top. I started running up and up and within minutes Kev passed me, he didn’t disappear out of sight though as we headed to the car park at the side of Rivington. Then comes the steep climb up to the pigeon tower, this goes on for up and up and up forever, or at least thats how it feels. This steep section, it’s a bit of a quandary, do you stay in the middle on all the stones which move under foot or do you stay to the right hand side and go up the steeper embankment on the path and possibly get held up by the queue of runners that start to walk? decisions, decisions what to do.

I stayed on the stones as I could see some people on the embankment starting to walk and although I knew I would never be able to run every bit of this race I knew that I could run up to the pigeon tower without walking. I could also still see Kev on the embankment and he was going to get a little held up then even if only for the briefest of time I could possible catch back up to him. I did catch up to him and it was for the briefest of time.

I caught up to him as we neared the pigeon tower and then he stretched his legs and pulled away. The race route then goes along the top where it flattens out for a while and then left through the gate and straight up to the pike, yes up all those steps. I could see Kev getting further and further away and as I began to walk up those steep steps with hands on knees Kev disappeared over the top.

I eventually made it to the top and to be honest my first thought was, ok I only have to do that one more time, right near the end or at least that is what everyone had been telling me. Once at the top I set off running again downhill and headed towards the dog kennel’s at which point I could see Kev back in my view but not close enough. I thought that if I could just keep him in my view then I would not have had a bad race. We turned and headed back upwards towards the mast, this is a long drag of a climb and again this is where I once again lost sight of Kev. This is all soft peaty ground which has a little give and which is draining on the legs. It was also on this long drag that I noticed someone sat just behind me, I could here this guy and see his shadow from the sun right behind me. Part way up I began to walk and so did he, when I set off running again so did he and when I walked again so did he and so on and so on, he was obviously enjoying me sheltering him from the head on wind.

The race then goes up past the side of the mast and then turns left onto the road as you have to run all the way up to and around the trig point, because the mast clearly isn’t hight enough. It was on this road that I saw Warren first and then Kev, I was happy that they were not further in front of me and that was the last time I would see them until the finish line.

Once around the trig point there is relief for a while as the race heads back down the road, past the mast and then takes a left back onto the moorland. It’s downhill and I could see this bridge coming up and a runner going over it. I was going pretty much full pelt downhill and I cant see too far in front of me when I race as I don’t like wearing my glasses when I run. Due to this, it was only at the very last second and I was going way to fast to do anything about it or change my course, did I realise that right in front of the bridge was some very deep mud. Only one thing for it forge ahead and pray I keep my shoe. My right foot went in followed by my right leg just shy of my knee as I grabbed the bridge with both hands and with my left foot on the bridge I hauled my right foot out, shoe still were it should be phew. I trust my salomon’s they have never come off yet.

As I sank the guy that was still right behind me and who I still could shake off managed to changed his direction and go on the nice clean dry path at the side of the bridge. Yes, that’s right, as I pulled my self out and took the two strides needed to cross the bridge it was clear that it was the most pointless bridge I have ever seen. It does not go over anything, it has no purpose as it has a perfectly clear dry path at the side of it, never mind, fingers crossed that I will remember that for next year. Once over the bridge it was still downhill and I noticed that the guy who had been hanging on the back of me suddenly stop. I was glad he was now gone because it was beginning to really irritate me that i could not get away.

The race then crossed back over the road which leads up to the mast as the route heads up to the two lads. Once at the top its then all back downhill to the dog kennels. I’ve done this route before, just training with Warren so I was well aware that it was steep in places but there was a guy in a blue vest with a yellow stripe across the middle, no idea what club but he kept passing me on the uphills and I kept passing him or at least catching up to him on the downhills. As I came over the top of the two lads and started my decent I spotted him and knew I had to catch him, I always find when I’m running that if I can pick someone out to aim for it helps.

I set off downhill like a maniac and I felt good, it was all going well and I was almost on the guy when I hit my toe on a rock, not clearing it properly with my foot and as I going downhill there was only one way to go, yes, you’ve guessed it head first. This is not the first time I have fallen and it by no means will be the last. I must have fallen pretty quickly but I don’t know if anyone would agree with me, when its happening to you, it feels like its in slow motion. It feels like its taking an age for you to hit the deck but there is nothing you can do to stop it, because it is quick. So in this slow motion fall there is one thing going through my mind…… hurry up and land so so you can get back up and carry on.

I hit the floor putting my hands out in front of me and letting my shoulder take the brunt of the force, I say letting but in truth it is something that just happens to you, I say it like I had complete control over how I fell and landed. I am well aware that no one has control at that point. As I hit the floor, I must have shouted out, I don’t remember but the guy I had been chasing stopped and turned around and asked if I was ok. My response, to yell at it forcefully, “don’t stop keep going! I’m fine, keep going! go on! go on!!.” I jumped back onto my feet and carried on chasing him down again, as fast as I could, no time to check myself or even dust myself off. I was a little apprehensive now but I was not far from the kennel’s and back on the flat and bumpy, rocky road. This final part down to the kennel’s is probably the steepest and instead of being completely focused, I could hear my mum’s favourite saying about me in my head, “ clumsiest child, ever, if there is a curb, she will fall off it no matter how small.” I am used to my clumsiness which for those who don’t know and aren’t aware of the depths of this, it involves a number of falls when running and cycling. To give you a flavour, the most ridiculous have been the 4 times I have fallen off my bicycle and only one time I was actually riding it. Yes you did just read that right, once I fell off coming down sheep house which is fair enough but one time I fell off after I had stopped at traffic lights, another time I fell off after I had stopped at a cafe and the final time was when I fell off in a carpark before I had even set off. Anyway enough of my clumsiness and back to the race.

The sun was now shining directly into my eyes and as I ran along the flat for a few moments I thought yeah, they told me wrong, I don’t have to run back up to the tower, until I then realised I was not as far along the road as I thought and would have to go back up to the pike. Out of the glaring sun I could see the runners in front of me now heading back up to the pike, straight up the side, that steep climb that I had to do a month earlier on the Horwich Triathlon run.

I was desperately trying to catch that same guy again, yes he had paused to check I was fine when I fell but that act of kindness did not mean I had to let him beat me. With a mixture of walking and running up the steep side eventually hitting the top, I closed in. There was a marshall on the top telling everyone what they had been desperate to hear, “well done! all downhill now love,” he said as I thanked him and ran past.

Now back down all those steps and its on those tight little steps at the top that I passed the guy I had been desperately chasing down for miles now, I passed him and did not look back. My tumble was now a thing of the past and I was again running downhill like a crazy person, down and along to the pigeon tower.

Immediately past the pigeon tower the route turns left through a gate and down, again quite a steep decent with the marshall kindly telling everyone its easier on the right path and to take a left near the bottom to go through the gate and immediately right back on yourself. Got it, I hurtled down, turned left and headed to the gate. I could blame the heat, the sun, my tiredness but actually it was more likely to be my poor eyesight again, I thought ‘oh look the fence is down I can cut through instead of going through another swing gate. Argh! last minute breaks had to be applied as I realised just in the nick of time that yes the fence was down but had been replaced by wires. I was so close to the finish and as the tumble had not ended my race I was definitely not going to end it by garrotting myself. Safely through the swing gate I was then on the final stretch, I now knew were I was and was heading for the finish. No one was going to pass me now and no one did, back down and across the top of the car park at the barn to the finish line.

A few cups of water to drink, one to rinse the dirt out of my grazed shoulder and a big huge smile beaming across my face. I’m not going to lie, I have done all the midweek Wednesday night races over the last couple of years and its true, this is most definitely the hardest of the lot. It is a fell race after all and so it should be harder. It is different though, its unique, its longer at 7 miles and its on tougher terrain and very hilly. All in all, what is not to love about it, the weather was glorious and when your in this race you cant help but look around you, the sights off Rivington are amazing. Its far too easy to forget that you do not have to travel to the Lakes for amazing races with amazing views. This is right on our doorstep and in my view far too easily overlooked. This race is very well organised and very well marshalled thanks to Lostock whose club race it is, with the help of Bolton Mountain Rescue. We all know that Mountain Rescue rely on volunteers and donations and this race donates all fees to both Bolton Mountain Rescue and Local Scouts. With a £4 entry fee, I don’t know why more people don’t give it a try and its all for worthy benefactors. So, if you are considering trying something new then next year give this race a try, I promise you wont regret it. Yeah its hard, but honestly, its so much fun and people of all different abilities were certainly giving it there all and trying to hit set new achievements for themselves, just like me.

image image

Fell Race or Fall Race? Here’s the Harriers results, well done all, a tough race.

35 Warren Moorfield Wigan 01:00:18

56 Kevin Edwards Wigan 01:06:40

64 Karen Schofield Wigan 01:08:27

Mark’s story time…part one

Within the ranks of the Harriers we don’t just have grear runners but also a number of talented wordsmiths. Here’s an abridged version of Mark Morgan-Hillam’s latest blog. Make a brew and settle down for a read…I’ve turned it into a mini-series. The omnibus is on Sunday. 😀

Well, my New Year Resolution of keeping my blog more up-to-date went well didn’t it? I know you non-teacher folks get fed up of us bleating, but this year workloads have reached a new low (honest). Add in the fact that currently, as of June 1st, I have run nearly 750 miles (over 250 more than I have ever run by this time of year) and there simply hasn’t been time to blog.

But it’s the school hols (right, NOW you can start moaning about teachers!) so I have a minute – just! So, what’s to report? Well, I’m going to start with the here and now, because that is what is consuming my time and my thoughts at the minute. It’s Ultra-time again!

You may recall that last year I entered this race as an Ultra debutant. Infact, this entire blog was set up just to record my progress from ‘bang-average’ runner to ‘Ultra-God’ (I’ll let you know when I make it there.)

Anyhow, I was honoured to run in the memory of our friend, the lovely Alisha Bartolini (18), who tragically died of Meningitis the previous year. Innocently setting up a Just Giving account and asking some kind folks to Facebook it for me, I was truly astounded to raise £2500 for Meningitis Now. I also completed the race, about as successfully as I dared hope, in 17hrs 37mins.

image

Ultimate Trails 110k Race 2016 – #110kforIestyn.

So I re-entered this year’s race. Just for fun. Then fate raised it’s evil head above the parapet again.

Last October a past pupil of our school, a lovely lad called Iestyn Keir, tragically died aged just 12. He had only just left Primary School but was still part of our everyday lives as his Mum, Carrie, is a TA at school. Iestyn was a mad keen cyclist but otherwise just a delightful, polite young man.

I hope to have time to write more about him in the build-up to this year’s race, but for now PLEASE click on the link below and read a little bit more about him. I certainly don’t expect you to sponsor me, there are enough such requests floating around in cyberspace these days, but if you do – thank you so much, from both myself and Iestyn’s family.

Just Giving – #110kforIestyn

Wigan Harriers Endurance Group.

The club continues to grow on a weekly basis, it seems. I wear my vest with pride to all races now and always, at some point on a course, someone will pipe up “Come on Wigin!” It is a pleasure to spend time with a lovely bunch of people. My better half has joined and enjoys it just as much, despite claiming to be a total fun-runner, (a false claim, I hasten to add) but never-the-less backing up the oft-repeated phrase that running clubs are available to all, not just ‘fast-uns’.

The cross country season ended on a bit of a damp squib – literally. We finally managed to put out something close to a full strength Men’s team at the penultimate race of the season, held at Cleveleys, near Blackpool. This jumped us up the tables in all league categories and set us up for the grand finale nicely. The grand finale never happened though – waterlogged course. Ironic given how cross country is supposed to be just that. To be fair though, we did have a LOT of rain in February, and localised flooding was a problem.

If we can put out a team like this, however, for more races next year, we will have a very strong line-up!

image

Smiler

Smiler

The National Cross Country Championships. Donington Park, Sat 27th Feb.

You may remember, the last time I blogged was in the immediate aftermath of the Northern Cross Country Championships at Witton Park, Blackburn. The most brutal hour of running of my entire life.

image

First smiles then high fives…outrageous

Well only three of us hardy souls dare venture to the Nationals after that! I was joined by Mike Harris (Club statto) and Steve Nicholls (team manager – don’t laugh.)

I always suspected that this event would be anticlimactic after the Northerns and so it was. Don’t get me wrong, I loved taking part. The cavalry charge of hundreds of decent runners stampeding for the first corner was a joy to be part of. Knowing you’re lining up against the best of the best was both inspiring and a privilege. (How many sports do you get to do that in?)

It’s just that we all knew in our heart of hearts that, this year at least, the Nationals would be a damn sight easier than the Northerns!!!

And so it was. Not as hilly. Not as muddy. Not as cold. Not as windy. Not as rainy. No hail. I’m sure that in most years ‘the National’ is the pinnacle of the cross country year; but not this year. I repeat my last blog – if you completed the Northern Championships this year my cap is tipped in your direction.

image

Well apologies to Mark for slashing the jokes and captions. Coming shortly will be part two (Teacher mmm, all that running is the real reason he has no time to keep up with his blog). If you can’t wait here is Mark’s full version.

ultra-time-again-and-4-months-of-other-stuff

Jubilee 5 mile road race

Wednesday 18th May is the first night of the Jubilee race series, a 5 mile road race on scenic undulating roads around Rivington.

Jubilee Race Series, registration at Rivington Village Club

Dates: Series of 4 races on Wednesdays – May to August at 7.30pm

Further details: JubileeRoadRaceSeries

Distance/Ascent: 5 miles 120 metres

Terrain: Road – Road shoe recommended

What you need to know: Two laps with a flat start with a hill in the middle. 200 metre finishing straight is off road and flat, perfect for practising the perfect sprint finish. Although on road it is very quiet and generally traffic free. Andy Kaufman has managed a podium finish in previous years even though he turned up expecting a trail race. Results and prizes are given out in the club afterwards.