Sunday, 13th August 2017
Paul Mills is making up for lost time – having joined BUH&AC after 2015 Bolton 10K, a long injury layoff put paid to almost 12 months of racing, but 2017 has seen him return with a bang! The fells have been his terrain of choice, and he’s “squeezed in” over 20 races, excluding the CLGP.
He entered the Pendle & Burnley Grand Prix, which has a similar format to the CLGP – the best 9 races of 14 qualify and count to your cumulative league table score. Races are mostly Fell or tough Trail but also a couple of Road, including the 13.5 mile, over 2000 feet of climb, Legendary Gerry McCabe race, billed as “possibly the toughest road half marathon in the country”! He explained they test you across all the different terrains and pull in 200-300 starters, mostly from the big local three clubs (Trawden, Clayton-le-Moors and Barlick (Barnoldswick), though he saw a few vests from far and wide with numbers from Rossendale, Bowland, some of the Lake District clubs and Yorkshire (Bingley, Calder Valley, Todmorden etc). The scoring had the added edge that the points allocated per person per race were based on overall position, not your age category position. It all added to the fun and competition as different folks turned up to their ‘specialism’ or the odd race, with GB internationals Tom Cornthwaite and Chris Holdsworth appeared occasionally, destroying the opposition with ease.
Paul flew the flag for Bolton United Harriers in many of the races and finished 14th overall in the Grand Prix Series. Better still, he won the MV50 overall category in the series after a very close battle, with the presentation evening at Burnley FC’s ground.
He’s pictured here in the final race – Boulsworth Moor FR – very muddy on the top. He commented, “It was far too hot on the day so he ran straight through the finishing line to the beer tent 30 yards away. You can always rely on them at agricultural shows!”