Saturday April 9th saw the emergence of Bolton Harrier’s Endurance Group member Beka Millington as an Ultra Runner. After the group had five debutants the weekend before in the Manchester Marathon, Beka decided to take it up a notch or two and took aim at the 36 mile event. Not only was it 36 miles it was up and down dale with 2,027 metres of ascent and she was out on the moors for over 10 hours and burned 5,213 calories !
The Calderdale Hike has been run by 24th St Paul’s Scout Group since 1979 and the first 3 events were based upon a circuit of the Calderdale Way (50 miles). After the third hike it was decided to scale down the length of the route as the manning of such a large event was proving to be increasingly difficult. It was changed to one of 25 miles and one of 36 miles, for runners and walkers alike.
The routes are changed usually every 3 years, thereby bringing in different parts of Calderdale and the Pennine countryside into the day event which is appreciated by all the competitors. A few years ago the event became part of the Ultra Running Series and it now attracts entries from some of the top fell runners in the country who try to achieve a personal goal throughout the season on some of the toughest running challenges throughout the country. This has increased the entry levels in the runners category thus boosting the income from the hike.
After a long rest and replacing some of those calories an excited Beka said ” despite having run the course in its entirety over the last few weeks, I still managed a couple of wrong turns on the moors so I finished at just under 39 miles. It was very demanding on tough terrain but the weather was on my side (apart from one small snow flurry) and I really enjoyed myself. After my 109k got cancelled a couple of weeks ago, this race kept me motivated. I’ve now switched to another 100k in July so I get a few more weeks to build up strength and endurance”.
Bolton United Harriers send Beka congratulations and best wishes for her next challenge.
2022 New Year Resolutions for Bolton Harriers Endurance members seem to involve living up to the group name and to push themselves harder and further. Ryan Kirkman will be doing his second Ironman, Aidie Costello is training for his debut Ironman and Beka Millington is throwing herself into the Ultra Marathon scene. Lots and lots of the groups weekend Strava runs are showing training runs of anything between 15 and 25 miles.
The Manchester Marathon on Sunday 3rd April had nine Blue Vests entered, with eight of those from the Endurance Group. Five members were running their first ever marathon.
Gary Porteous is the latest member to get the Marathon itch and has been a regular attendee at club sessions and also been busy with his own training. He can often be seen setting off from his Heaton base on a weekend for the hills round Rivington or long road runs to the Chorley area and back. It has all been worthwhile and Gary ran a super race to come back with a time of 3 hrs 31 mins. After a short recovery and some sustenance he said “my training plan didn’t get off to the best of starts as I caught COVID just before Christmas, so I had just over 12 weeks to train, but I stuck to my plan and gradually upped the mileage each week until I was averaging about 40 miles per week. My longest run and the hardest was about 22 miles which was incredibly brutal on the hills of Bolton. But it put me in good stead, and on race day I felt relaxed and and focused. During the race I felt comfortable and maintained my planned pace until about 20 miles , after that I had a bit of a dip, but I dug in and gritted my teeth and counted the miles down. I was so close to a sub 3hr30m. I never thought I would achieve running a marathon when I joined the Harriers, and I have to thank all the coaches and the rest of the group for giving me the encouragement and belief”.
Another Heaton resident and marathon debutant was Dominic Sohor who has made a remarkable recovery from a stroke in 2017. He was unable to speak for some time and left needing urgent hospital treatment. He wanted to show his appreciation for the Royal Bolton Hospital Speech and Language Therapy Department by running and raising money for them in the process. He succeeded and got round in a time of 4 hours 22 minutes. On a better day he would be capable of a much better time and said “I enjoyed the first half but second half was pretty horrific with mega sore glutes, hips and my hands went all tingly. Taking part in the marathon and raising funds is my way of being able to say thank you for my care and hopefully helping others who suffer from Aphasia”.
Chris Toole is another newcomer to the group and the 3rd marathon debutant . This guy works so hard in training and the proof in the pudding was a wonderful time of 3 hours 29 mins.
Andy Gallagher, more of a fell race specialist was the fourth group member attempting 26 miles for the first time. He said “I was slow and steady from the start to finish. I have only had ten weeks to train having stopped running for three months because of knee problems. I decided to run just for the experience and atmosphere which was fantastic.Think I sneaked under 4 hours 45 mins. Well done to everyone else who ran today”.
Scott Sunderland is a much welcome and relative newcomer to Bolton Harriers. Again since joining has been a dedicated attendee to training and has trimmed down his figure to the point if he enters any more road races he had better be careful he doesn’t fall down a grid ! The Land Rover Design Engineer proved he can clock up the miles also and came back with a time of 3 hours 51 mins for his first ever marathon.
One man who won’t be falling down grids is Mark Garner. Mark is out of the Barney Rubble mould, strong as an Ox and represents the Blue Vests in all sorts of events and distances including Fell races. Mark kept up a really steady pace and completed in a respectable 4 hours 4 mins. He has already entered for next years marathon.
Chris Byrne is also a member of Bolton Triathlon Club and has proven stamina in these events. He went round in his usual strong and steady style and finished with a time of 4 hours and 4 mins matching Mark Garner.
Thomas Gore always runs with a smile on his face and arrived at the finishing line with a big cheesy grin acknowledging yet another super run in 3 hours 21 mins. Another who is a really versatile runner and just loves to run and represent the club in lots of events.
Phil Hardman was the solo representative from Dave Shaw’s group and is a battle hardened warrior in these events. He never seems to get out of bed for anything less than a half marathon. He stormed round in a time of 2 hours 48 minutes and was in the top 500 of over 14000 runners.
Sunday 3rd April saw a glorious Spring Morning for the annual Trotters 5 hosted by Burnden Runners.
Bolton United Harriers sent a strong contingent down to Smithills and dominated the race with 6 Blue Vests in the first 11. Tommy Harrison was outright winner for an impressive third time and Harriers also won the Men’s Team Event. In addition they also had first Female Home in Heather Brown.
Ever modest Turbo Tommy Harrison said after his 28 mins 44 secs victory “I was happy just to get a run out again and it was a nice confidence booster. I thought I ran a well-controlled race and paced it as I had planned. I got pushed along by young Callum Brooks for the first 2 miles before edging away up the hills. The highlight for me was receiving the team prize with young Callum and Rhys. As we had other runners not far behind those two It shows the club has plenty of depth, and hopefully sets us up to command the Central Lancashire Grand Prix series this year. I now have plans for a solid Bolton 5k and will then see if I can pinch a 5k PB at the Mid Cheshire at the end of April”.
Newcomer to the club Callum Brooks was second Harrier home and 4th overall in a time of 29 mins 39 secs. Callum has only just migrated up to Dave Shaw’s impressive stable of runners. His improvement this year has been astonishing and it looks set to continue. Dave has high hopes of this young man. Callum was delighted with his first race in his new group “I am really enjoying the new more intense sessions at the club and have had a lot of support from Dave. As regards the race I just tried to enjoy it and stay with Tommy as long as I could. Tommy is a class act though and obviously he did pull away from me. I aimed to get under 30 minutes and was comfortably under so am well pleased. I have got the Bolton 5k coming up soon and will be aiming for a PB in that”.
Rhys Francis was 5th overall in a time of 30 mins 58 secs and can only improve. He is looking to get back to his form of 2020 when he had the Bolton 5k pinched from him by 1 second by his team mate and winner of this event Tommy Harrison.
Joe Grisdale ran his usual strong and steady race to gain a top 10 finish. Newly qualified coach Jordan Brophy just behind him in 11th after a blistering start.
‘Always the bridesmaid, never the bride’ most certainly does not apply to Heather Brown. She continues to take up where Laura Lombard has left off with yet another first lady finish. This young lady who is soon to be married to team mate Will Tomlinson put her wedding plans on hold for a day and ran a super race of 32 mins 54 secs. She was more than a minute quicker than the second lady home and said “really chuffed with first lady in first CGLP race and first time I have ran that course. Safe to say my quads will be feeling it for some time! Great to have the sideline support from coach Dave Shaw and my soon to be husband Will”.
The ever dependable James Rideout was first back from Harrier’s Endurance group in 36 mins 30 secs, with 4th overall lady Rachel Bailey just behind. The final three ‘elder statesmen’ Blue Vests were Nigel Brodrick in 37 mins 48 secs, Gary Jones 38 mins 42 secs and Ken Fowler who ran his usual consistently good race as second Veteran 65 in a time of 39 mins 21 secs.
Hop Farm Paddock was the venue on Saturday 19th March for the English Schools’ Cross Country Championships. Big crowds flocked to the venue on a beautiful sunny day for the 61st running of the event and 6 age and gender related races. In her first National competition and a field of 400 plus athletes Bolton Harrier Scarlett Thompson ran a distance of 3000 metres across Kent farmland, She finished in a very commendable 211th place. The top athletes from this race will go on to represent England at the next international event.
She had competed at the Greater Manchester Championships at Heaton Park in February in horrendous wet and muddy conditions and had finished 10th to gain selection for her county and the English Schools’ event.
The Canon Slade pupil said “I love it at Bolton Harriers and have been there since I was 6. I like my coaches Ian and Rick and just love the training sessions at the track on a Tuesday. I also like the social side of training and the new friends I have made. Apart from school and Bolton Harriers I train with Bolton Triathlon Cub as well as swimming for Bolton Metro at county/regional level. I have also represented my county at Trampolining”.
Tony Valentine and John Knowles have both ran with distinction over the years for Bolton Harriers. Their sons Marcus Valentine and Nathaniel Knowles now look set to follow in their footsteps.
A fine dry morning greeted youngsters from North West schools to the Abbey Village Daffodil Doddle on Sunday 13th March. From Abbey Village School an out and back scenic trails course taking in Roddlesworth Reservoir beckoned the young athletes.
Marcus led from start to finish and came home in a brilliant time of 6 mins 58 secs and said “I really enjoyed the flattish out and back course. It was a fast start and I managed to set off in front and held my position throughout. The training at Bolton is helping greatly and I feel I am improving a lot compared to my school mates because of my Harriers membership. I am now on a par with some members I was well behind when I first joined. I have been doing Parkrun with my dad and he has helped me a lot. I think I can go even faster than my dad though in a couple of years or so ! I have entered the Bolton 5k this coming weekend and then will be testing myself against some good runners in the Northern Championships”.
Nathaniel Knowles was 5th in this race in 2020 and came home runner up this time a full minute quicker in a time of 7 mins 30 secs. Delighted with his showing he said “it was a really good race and I could see Marcus leading and had two more runners in front of me in the first half of the course. I managed to pick those two off on my way back to the line. Training is great at Bolton Harriers and my dad also helps me a lot. We even did a recce of the course together before the event. My dad was a good runner with the club and I want to follow in his footsteps. I particularly like cross country races and will be entering as many of those as I can this season”.
Alex Preston was third harrier back in overall 8th position and is another making great improvement. He recorded a time of 8 mins 7 secs and was a minute and 20 secs quicker than 2020.
Coach Gwylim Jones was proud of the way all the Blue Vest youngsters ran but also pointed out the club had Emily Wood as 2nd girl in the race and 13th overall. He also wanted to mention Rosie Prendergast as the club’s youngest entrant at the age of 7.
Bolton United Harriers would like to congratulate and thank the following 23 athletes for their efforts: 1st Marcus Valentine 2nd Nathaniel Knowles 8th Alex Preston 13th Emily Wood 14th James Lombard 16th Mathew Wood 23rd Max Preston 24th Edward Jones 25th Elliott Molineux 27th Mike Ndlovu 30th Charley Marsden 31st Freya Lombard 39th Abigail Mcshane 42nd Frankie Wood 44th Daniel Mcshane 46th Isabella Whittle 47th Rose Blaney 54th Cerys Jones 60th Aoife Waldron 61st Olivia Coker 62nd Tyler Kizilkaya 71st Rosie Prendergast 92nd Jasmine Greenhalgh.
The club would also like to thank Coach Gwylim Jones and his daughter Lindsay for their attendance and all the other parents and family members for getting the kids to the race and their support.
Saturday 26th February saw a Bolton entourage of coach Dave Shaw, family and friends heading down the M6 to the Utilita Arena at Birmingham. They were travelling to support our very own Jonny Kay taking his place in the UK Athletics Indoor Championships. The UK’s top track and field athletes had gathered with national titles and places in the GB team up for grabs ahead of the World Athletics Indoor Championships in Belgrade.
The Heaton Hotshot was in good spirits and in a confident frame of mind. He had been working well in training sessions at Sports City Manchester and had ran 1200 metres in 2mins 56 secs and had two 600 metre runs at 1min 27 secs pace under his belt. He felt in his best ever shape going into the weekend.
“For the semi-final I knew it was going to be a tough ask to get a final spot. It had four guys in it who had achieved world standard of 3 mins 37 secs. George Mills took it on after a conservative start at the 700 metre mark and stretched the field further ever lap thereafter. I was able to stay with him but the final lap turned into a real scrap and although I had been nudged back to fourth spot I had achieved a pb of 3:45:51. This was more than 3 seconds chipped off my previous best. I was really pleased with that and It proved to be more than good enough for a place in the final the day after”.
“On the Saturday evening I had dinner with friends and managed to get a good nights sleep. I woke up though still feeling really tired as I had put so much into the semi-final. I found I just didn’t have the legs in the final to cover all the moves and finished seventh in a time of 3:53:01. I have to be really pleased with the weekend though and basically being 7th in the UK at the moment is a major positive. The first three guys were all professional athletes and it feels really good to be mixing in with that level now. The time I ran in the semis gets me into the British Championships. If I can do 3:45 indoors potentially with the 4 second rule I can get down to 3:41 outdoors on the bigger tracks. Hopefully then as training progresses I can aim for sub 3:40. I am going to rest up this week and then myself and Dave are really excited to get back on with the training plans. Can I thank my Coach Dave for everything he does, my dad David for all the travelling he has done up and down the country with me, and my mum Joanne and the rest of the family for their support and encouragement.”