Sun 3 Feb 2019
A brisk Sunday morning saw 710 runners at Witton Country Park for the 10th running of the Winter Warmer 10k and there was also a 2k Fun Run for 5 to 13 year olds organised by Blackburn Harriers.

The previous, even colder, morning had seen a band of Blackburn Harriers clearing snow and ice off the running track so the races could go ahead as they use the track for an initial lap and a lap to finish. A local company had also gritted the paths alongside the river and out of the park to Buncer Lane. At the event centre there was race registration, pre and post race massage, a huge selection of confectionery, baggage storage and a running commentary was taking place. Marshals and pacers were being readied and a bustling throng of runners and spectators was milling about the track and indoor centre in eager anticipation.

Although the race was a club championship event, occuring as close to home as you could get and good value for money, only ten seniors took part and two juniors. In the 2k fun run George Denye came home first in a time of 7.05 having a spirited run and finishing ahead of two other lads quite comfortably in the run for the line, this after finishing in 7th in the Junior Boys at Lancashire Schools Cross Country the day before. Another young Harrier, Charlie Higgins, came 24th overall; he was in the 8-10 years old age group, putting in a strong fast finish to come 10th in his category.

Leading our seniors was Dave Watson; he was first Harrier to exit the track and begin the climb out of the park onto Buncer Lane where an even more severe climb awaits. Perhaps it is this aspect that puts some people off, it certainly isn’t a pb course. After the hill a fairly steady descent past the Clog and Billycock pub towards Pleasington allows a good pace to be maintained until a steep descent then a climb up to a church. A path towards Pleasington Old Hall is followed then onto Tower Lane; as this crosses the River Darwen the runners follow the paths alongside the river all the way back to the event centre.

Dave came 46th overall in a chip time of 41.03, he had a better run than he expected. Andy Acklam, on his debut for this course, was 43.01 and Andrew Tranter in his first run for a fortnight posted a time of 47.18. Next came Daniel Higgins maintaining his lead over Alan Appleby, they posted 47.46 and 48.05 respectively. Our first lady was next, Julie Tyrer recording 54.49 for her run, she was followed by Dolly Parkes having a strong finish completing in 56.38 with husband Stephen chasing her all the way to finish in 1.01.42. Angela Tranter followed in 1.05.46, a good run following her foot injury and finally a great performance by Judith Deakin finishing in 1.08.15. She and Alan were first in the seventy year age categories.

All runners received a bottle of water and banana as they finished followed by a goody bag containing a microwave pan, snood, drink bottle, medal and energy gel. As well as the usual prizes there were spot prizes and for the first three teams comprising 10 and 20 runners from one club. A really extensive prize list. Donations were also made to several local charities as well.

The race was won by Stephen Corbishley of Tipton Harriers in 34.08 and in 44th place overall was the first lady Victoria Mousley of Blackburn Harriers in 40.58.

Will you try next year to ‘Beat Buncer’?