Race Reports

Race Report 28/04/20

With all races cancelled or postponed just now, the Club Championship has ground to a halt.  However, Club Coach, Rob Burn, organised a virtual 5 mile race this weekend, to be included in the club championship, with each participant doing 2.5 miles out and back from home.  No fewer than 64 members took part, as well as 2 dozen non-members joining the fun!  The fastest finisher was new member, Andrew Price in 30.33 – sounds like a good acquisition to the club, with Mike Cropper 2nd in 31.30 and Tom Levi 3rd in 31.53.  The fastest lady was Esther Harrison, in 36.28, with Kirsty Naylor 2nd in 38.34, and Clare Tempest 3rd in 40.57.  Well done to all, and to everyone who took part.

Included, of course, was Alan Wikeley, with his wife Margaret.  Alan is the longest serving member in the club, joing shortly after its inception in 1977 by the late and much lamented Norman Smith.  Alan showed early potential in running when, at the age of 3, he won a race at a local garden fete.  From then on, he was hooked and achieved success at primary school, but only really blossomed when he reached senior school.  Under the encouragement of PE teacher, Vic Rawlings, he and many other boys, and girls, went on to improve beyond their imaginings.  Vic told the class that a boy in another class would win the forthcoming cross country race, which spurred Alan’s determination that that would not be the case, rightly so, as Alan went on to win.  He represented the school in track and cross country races, and at the age of 15, went on to win the North Yorkshire Schools half mile in 2 min 9 sec.  The same year he broke the school mile record, which holds to this day, as Alan had a letter to say all races in future would be measured in metres!  His fastest time for a mile was 4 min 20 sec.

After leaving school, he continued to run, but there were not so many races in those days.  Most villages had sports days, and first prize would be 10 shillings.  When you consider wages at that time were about £3 a week, 10 shillings was a goodly sum indeed, and well worth winning, which Alan very often did.  At the age of 21 he got his own dairy farm, and running had to fit in around milking and other farm duties, often at about 9pm.  He also kept horses and was an enthusiastic point to pointer.

On joining Thirsk and Sowerby Harriers at the time running was becoming more popular, there were road races just about every week.  (With “health and safety”, and more traffic, how things have changed.)  The first big local race was a half marathon at Richmond, with 5000 entries!  Alan was disappointed with his time of  1h 30, and decided to up his mileage to about 70 miles a week.  This had the desired effect, and his best time was 1h 17.  He completed the 1986 London Marathon in 2h 57, and with continued hard training, raced regularly and very successfully.  When Alan was 50, disaster struck when he became seriously ill with meningitis.   Slowly and steadily he started running again, with 2 sticks at first, and with sheer determination, he once again entered races.  He was regularly doing 10ks around the 37 minute mark, Barnsley, Darlington and Rainton, to name but a few, but gradually he veered towards fell races, and soon acquired the nickname, “mountain goat”.  The main local fell race series were organised by the late Dave Parry, every 2 weeks or so, and Alan won his age category regularly throughout the years.  He won the V60 Yorkshire Vets Chamionship in 2005, and often did fell races in the Lake District.

The 5th World Masters Mountain Championships was hosted by Keswick in 2005 and several club members attended.  Since then members have travelled to Switzerland, Austria, Poland, Germany and Slovakia and Slovenia, where Alan came away with a Team GB Silver Medal!  Alan continues to run regularly, albeit more slowly, and also enjoys walking in the hills.  He has been a stalwart of the club over all the years, and always welcomes and encourages newer and slower members.  If I were to say he was one of the most popular members of the club, and indeed throughout the district, that would not be an exaggeration.

Race Report 21/04/20

April is a quiet month for races, but one which could be relied on, up to now, was the London Marathon.  This year’s event has  for the moment been postponed and it remains to be seen whether it will take place.  Thirsk and Sowerby Harriers have competed in this event over the years and in 1988, David Catford, Mervyn Burn and Norman Smith – loved founder of the club in 1977, and now deceased, were the club’s entrants.  In 1995, Merv Burn did the race in 2.43, Rob Burn in 2.53, and Pat Kirby 3.47, all raising money for charities, as has always been the case.  2003 saw Alan Harman, Nigel Morgan, Pam Sherlock and Marian Codling on the finish line, Marian running under the WI banner on this occasion.  In 2004, Ian Codling decided it was his turn, and finished along with Ernie Huck and 4 others, 5 members, including Ian and Marian Codling in 2007, and 2009 saw Phillip Craig, Jill Knight and Ernie Huck on the start line.
 
Fell races continue throughout the year, and include Guisborough Moors, Clay Bank East, Eskdale Eureka, and Fox and Hounds, to name but a few.  In 1994, Charles Stead, always an outstanding runner for the club, was in the lead by about 3 minutes in the Guisborough Moors Fell Race when he took a wrong turn, easily done in a fell race with no marshals and always having to be on the lookout for small pieces of tape, and ended up eventually in 52nd place!  Fell Races have been discontinued for the time being, and runners are invited to send what would have been their entry fee to charities.
 
Hartlepool Marina 5 can mostly be relied on in April, and in recent years, has featured in the Club Championship.  It’s a popular race, out and back along the front at Hartlepool, and in the early days was stated by a blast from the cannon on the quayside!  In 2015, Cameron Choules, Stephan Tomaszewski and Ken Wood were high up in the finishing order.  The Mermaid 10k is also a regular, if Easter is in April.  It always takes place on Good Friday, and is another fast, flat, coastal race at Redcar.
 
Richard and Angela Hall were other competitive runners and finished high up, along with Stephan Tomaszewski, and Dusan Svoboda in the Ackworth Half Marathon in 2006, another club championship race that year.
 
Meanwood Valley Trail Race was always a regular, and if you can get up early enough to get to Dewsbury for a 9.30am start, you can still do the Dewsbury 10k.  It’s a fast out and back course, and one in which Gary Dunn always did well. 
 
In 2009, Pete Wilkin, Stewart Mechie, Noel Clough Gavin Coventry and Alan Wikeley headed to the Lake District for the 12 mile Anniversary Waltz Fell Race, and the Lake District is the regular venue for a Harriers social weekend.
 
Members are always in contact and trying to keep fit and active, and next weekend sees the first of the races in a virtual club championship, 5 miles in total, out and back from your home!

Race Report 14/04/20

Last week, Harriers and friends completed a virtual Easter Handicap, with handicapping based on at least 2 time trials over the term.  155 members and guests, some as far away as Hong Kong, took place over the stipulated 2 miles, run near home, of course, and Duncan Fothergill tabulated the results, with Marian Codling declared the winner, Liz Stepehenson 2nd and Ken Evitt 3rd.  Each runner paid a donation to Thirsk Clock, one of the club’s favoured charities, and with a contribution from the club, about £1000 was raised, very much needed in these awful times.  Marian eventually got her shield, which she will hold for a year.

Meanwhile, ardent fell runner Marc Davies has been collecting his reward.  Marc has done fell races all over the place, and as well as regularly appearing in the Dave Parry Series, likes runs attached to shows and village feasts.  Kilnsey Crag near Hebden Bridge is one such event, another, Osmotherley Show race, plus Pen Hill, and Charlesworth Chase, Simon Seat, to name but a few.   On one occasion on the way to a fell race, his tyres failed so he abandoned his car and thumbed a lift to the start of the race.  His wife, Bev, later collected him!  Generally speaking, like most runners, Marc is an “also ran”, and runs purely for the love of it, but this year he won his age-group section for the Winter Fell Race Series, his first ever trophy.  Very many congratulations Marc, and well deserved. 

He has been known to do the occasional parkrun, but generally speaking, he likes hills.  He’s also a cycling enthusiast covering many miles.  He was out supporting riders at the Tour de France and had his house appropriately garlanded for the occasion.  But Tour de Yorkshire, Tour de anything, he will be there!

Race Report 17/03/20

Against all the odds, Thirsk 10 took place at the weekend, and the gratitude of runners was palapable!  There were 962 finishers, seeming to find the new course to their liking and the weather was kind, though wind in places was a factor.  Graham Rush of Leeds City AC won the event in a time of 51.44 – not bad for 10 miles – just 24 seconds ahead of Jonathan Johnson of Rotherham.  We were pleased to welcome back Olympian Aly Dixon of Sunderland Strollers, 20th finisher, who won the ladies event in a time of 57.07  with Rachel Friend of Leeds City 2nd lady in 58.19.  Tyne Bridge Harriers won the Men’s Team prize, with Harrogate Harriers second.    Stainland Lions RC were 1st Ladies Team amd Knaresborough Striders 2nd.  The only wheelchair athlete was Tiaan Bosch of City of York AC who went round the course in 43.31. The Norman Smith Trophy for men not attached to a club and living in the YO7 postcode area was Greg MacDonald, a name familiar to club members, and the ladies winner was Laura Wood.  About 30 or so children and adults entered the Fun Run.

17 members entered the race, though thanks go to a large number of others were involved in organising and marshaling, without whom the race would not be able to be held.  Special thanks to Race Director, Ken Wood, and Chief Marshal Phillip Craig, who has done that job successfully for several years.  First club finisher was Michael Cropper, who is really on a roll just now.  He came 157th in 67.02, a full 3 minutes quicker than his time for the race last year.  Rob Burn, entering the event after a gap of many years, was 273rd, and 3rd M65, in 73.06, Lorraine Hiles 289th, and 5th F55, in 74.01, 18 year old Jack Fisher, in his first time in the race, 291st in 73.21, Gary Wilkinson 304th in 74.40, Adrian Saunders, emerging from an injury, 361st in 77.05, David Tervit 397th in 79.04, Pete Jackson 412th in 79.17, Paul Chapman, pushing his friend, Euan Harrison in a wheelchair, 428th in 80.26, Paul Bradford 447th in 81.06, Clare Tempest 473rd in 82.07, Faith Coy 675th in 91.50, Trish Radford 730th, and 5th F60, in 94.56, Joanne Hunt 739th in 96.26, Adrian Elsworth 787th in 98,44, Paul Adams, more accustomed to Park Runs, 878th in 106.36 and Siobhan Woodland 951st in 123.29.  A celebration and thankyou meal was held in the evening.

10 members were among the 418 finishers at Fountains Abbey Park Run.  They were Mike Cropper, 19.35, Alan Simpson 23.05, Paul Adams 30.15, Jemma Cropper 31.41, Paul Chapman, with Euan again, 33.10, Kim Werner PB 35.06, Ian Codling 40.50, Marian Codling 41.39, and Ian Crane, walking, 45.28   Jill Libby and Phillip Craig were in the 94 at Northallerton, Jill taking 28.01 and Phillip 28.56.  Liz Stephenson at Millfield was 167th out of 203 in 37.29,   and Park Run Tourist, Rosie Gatenby, at Nostell , came 56th out of 201, and 5th lady, in 26.16.

On Friday evening, the club put in two teams in the Churches Together  “A Question of Sport evening”, with each team supplying a list of questions from its sport. After a break for a delicious supper,  I’m delighted to say that Thirsk and Sowerby Harriers won the event, after a tie-break, and were awarded with a silver, inflatable, trophy!  The event had a Bishop and a former Sunderland football player in attendance, and it was a very happy and successful evening.

Club activities are suspended for the time being, and members will be kept informed.

Race Report 10/03/20

Give Rob Burn hills and mud and a cross country race and he’s in his element, and that is exactly what happened at the Yorkshire Veterans Cross country Championships at Sheffield on Sunday!  Rob won the V65 section, over a 10k 4 lap course with 2 significant hills each time, in 46.43 minutes.  Ladies had to cover 2 laps of the course, 5k, Jill Libby taking 30.20, and Christine Burn 36.36.  Congratulations to Rob, and well done to all three for representing the club.

There were 283 finishers at the Lightwater Valley Challenge 10k this weekend, on a much altered course since its inception several years ago, and not clashing with Thirsk 10 for the first time for a while.  In its early days, it was definitely a multi terrain course, but this year it was largely on roads, which made for much easier going, with runners encouraged along by enthusiastic marshals!  The indefatigable Stephan Tomaszewski was first club finisher in 23rd place, and 1st M60, in 43.11.  Andy Butcher came 54th in 47.41, Kirsty Naylor 74th, and 4th lady, in 49.27, Rosie Gatenby 114th in 54.20,  Sue Low 194th in 62.21,  Lianne Robinson 216th in 64.34,  Marian Codling 279th in 87.20 and Ian Codling 281st in 89.43.

The previous day, 464 runners were at the Fountains Abbey Park Run, which had National Women’s Day in mind.  It was very good to see Olivia Mulligan involved and she was 41st, 5th lady, in 21,50,  Geoff Bullock, trying Fountains this week, 161st in 26.24, Pete Jackson, running with his young son, Bobby, 321st in 33.06, Nigel Morgan 343rd in 33.55, Gillian Crane 366th in 35.04, Rosie Gatenby, supporting friends on NWD, 429th in 39.53, Ian Codling 433rd in 40.58, Marian Codling 441st in 41.34 and Kerry Morgan 445th in 41.55. Mike Cropper liked to ring the changes and this week he was on the muddy in places 3-lap course at Harrogate, coming 11th in 20.44 out of 337, with Bev Davies 293rd in 37.01.

Jack Spence was among the massive field of 582 at Newcastle and finished an excellent 17th in PB 19.06, and Gary Wilkinson at Cross Flatts, Leeds, came 30th out of 172 in 23.08.

By the time you read this, Thirsk 10 and Wheelchair race will be almost upon us, at 10 am on Sunday March 15th, Fun Run at 9am.  If you haven’t aleady entered you can turn up and enter on the day.  Plenty of parking and toilets, with refreshments also available – and even a small children’s play park!

Thirsk 10 - 2020

Sunday 15th March 2020

Click here for results

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