Sun 29 Dec 2019, Clitheroe
This increasingly popular race, besides being the Northern Athletics 10k Championship, attracts runners from all over the country creating a very competitive field. The runners were fortunate to have a day with almost perfect conditions for a fast run. Although an undulating course there was little wind, it wasn’t too cold, and the roads were dry. It is always busy around the Roefield Leisure Centre on race day and with a sold out entry of 1500 runners, race announcer Brian Porter, as well as having general banter with competitors, kept urging the runners to get up the road to the start area while the elite field gathered near the centre. Just before the 10 o’clock start the runners were walked forward towards the timing mats; with so many running it would be minutes before those at the back crossed the mats to begin their race so times here are chip times.
There were lots of spectators lining the route, out past the centre, then at the Edisford Arms at the other side of the Ribble bridge and at various junctions and turn points along the course people were out encouraging and urging on the runners. At one point a deer dived out of the hedgerow and knocked two runners over before dashing across the road and leaping into the adjacent field. Thankfully no one was seriously injured. The excellent conditions resulted in a finish time of 28.32 for Mark Scott breaking his previous course record and earning a nice bonus while Jess Judd won the ladies race in an impressive time of 32.17chip 32.20 gun and 64th position overall.
Preston Harriers were led home by Andy Benson in a chip time of 30.30 and gun time of 30.33. Next was young Kian Davis having an impressive run in that quality field; he was 3rd Junior Man coming 26th in a chip time of 30.40. Another youngster followed in 57th position, Jack Dee-Ingham posted 32.05 and he was closely followed by Matthew Fazackerley (62nd in 32.07) and 5th Junior Man. Another lad from Pete Crook’s training group was Byron Sowerby (89th in 33.25). A good turn out from that group who had others there supporting them. Close behind Byron was our first lady, Jacqueline Fairchild; looking purposeful warming up in the car park beforehand she looked to have had a close tussle with two other ladies all finishing within twelve seconds of each other. Jacqueline was 4th lady and 92nd overall in a chip time of 33.36. She was closely followed by Niall Malone, 95th in a time of 33.40. In 181st position was Andy Whaley clocking 36.38, next was Mariusz Kovacs in 212th spot and looking for a pb, he posted 37.30 and was raced in all the way by 213th placed Will Metcalf in 37.31, that was close! Chris Wales had a good run in 233rd and timed at 38.20 followed by Alan Metcalf, 272nd and 39.24. Steve Hallas was next in, he should know better than party the night before, hence the time of 40.21 and 292nd. Darren Kinder was hot on his heels posting 40.27 and 299th and next Kevin Hesketh, 3rd V65 came in 364th and 41.46. Young Luke Suffolk, Katey Markland and Steve Townhill were all closely bunched, 364th ,369th and 372nd respectively with times of 42.21, 42.23 and 42.25. Steve Needham was next, 414th in 43.21 with the steadily improving Laura Conn 496th in 45.05. Club Vice Chair Dale Wallis was 521st in 45.40 and in 568th Steven Mort clocked 47.09. In another close finish Jade Bebbington outsprinted Alan Appleby in the last few metres, she was 621st and Alan 623rd, Jade clocked 48.23, Alan 48.18 for 3rd V70. Not far behind, Emma Essex-Crosby posted 48.48 for 646th. From the Wednesday night group Janice Metcalf had a good run for 801st position timed at 52.33 and a smiling Olga Wiggins finished 845th in 53.53. Julie Tyrer had a gutsy run as she didn’t feel well before the start, she came 861st in 54.11 while Shelley Audis-Riddell was next, she didn’t feel well at the finish but did it in 56.07 for 928th . Maureen Kirby and Sue Wickham were both pleased to finish under the hour, Maureen 1031st , Sue 1041st in 58.51 and 59.06 respectively. Next across the line was a determined Alex Proffitt, 1204th in 1.05.55, with Judith Deakin 1233rd in 1.09.53, not bad for a LV70 and finally after a long time out through injury a great finish by Adella Nuttall 1246th in 1.11.55.
1288 runners completed the race of whom 35 were Preston Harriers.