Sun 19 Jan 2020, Helsby
This popular and well-organised race round undulating rural roads in Cheshire had double significance for members of Preston Harriers this year. Not only was it a counting race in the club’s road running championships, it was also a qualifying event for the English masters team at the England v Celtic Match, to be held within the Fleet half marathon on Sunday 15th March. The top 4 eligible runners in each five year age band were guaranteed selection, so there were a lot of hopeful runners on the start line on a chilly, misty morning.
First Harrier to finish, in a chip time of 71.58, was Rob Affleck, who was 9th overall and 1st MV45, thus ensuring his place on the England team. Affleck was delighted with his run and the time, after running most of the race on his own and coping with a hip injury for the past few months. Next in was Andy Whaley in a big PB of 77.06. Marius Kovacs was not far behind, in 81.31 and Chris Wilson was pleased to break the 90 minute barrier with 89.18. Other Harriers to run were Darren Kinder (91.13), Neil McDonald (95.45), Ashraf Kazee (1.42.37) and Ian Patterson (1.54.43). Emma Essex-Crosby transferred her strong cross-country form to the roads and was first female Harrier in a time of 1.47.50, making a good start to the defence of her title in the overall championships. Julie Tyrer finished in 2.03.09 and there were also runs from Sue Wickham (2.11.39), Susan Ashcroft (2.20.50) and Helen Boyer (2.32.38).