Sunday, 21st February 2016
Bolton’s CL5K got underway at 5.30am for some, with that fine drizzle that gets you wet (is there any other type of rain?!) failing to dampen the enthusiasm. The volunteers that enabled another amazingly slick and safe event to be carried off by the Club deserve special mention, first and foremost. With names too numerous to highlight individually, organiser Nick Howarth praised the efforts of the all who erected (and dismantled) the course, manned the car-parking, staffed registration, marshalled, and aided in the finish area with de-chipping, water and mementos. Truly a fantastic effort – without your assistance, these races would not be possible.
Further acknowledgement of the contribution of volunteers was given at the race start, with new Central Lancashire Grand Prix Chairman Paul Carroll publically thanking the outgoing Mark Emmett (Chairman), Garry Baines (Secretary), Andy Coates (Treasurer) and Chris Greenall (Results Coordinator) for their services to the local running scene over the last few years.
Now the traditional CLGP season curtain-raiser, the CL5K has grown swiftly in popularity since its inception in 2011. This year, with pre-entries having more than doubled to 320 a week before the race, there were fears that the limit would be reached, leading to some disappointment for CLGP club members on the day. Thankfully, these proved unfounded, but it was very close with only 20 spaces remaining! And so the race started with a record turnout under overcast skies but dry conditions…
Tom Carson marked his return to a Blue Vest in the CLGP with a sterling silver medal in a time of 16:39. Level-pegging at the halfway mark with Horwich’s eventual winner Chris Farrell (15:52), the defending champion was clearly a little below his 2015 standard (39s slower), though his focus on triathlon training for GB representation in Lisbon in May perhaps explains this. Bolton’s Karl Darcy, still finding his way back to full form, completed the podium in 16:44, just 1 second behind his time of last year, though the weather’s effect on the terrain underfoot in the second kilometre didn’t help. Frazer Jardine, fresh from qualifying to represent Greater Manchester at the Inter-Counties XC, was the third counter for the men’s team (14pts) that saw off Leigh (33pts).
In the women’s race, Nicki Cartridge (20:29) gained a podium with a style that oozes class and could certainly be in the mix for the overall title this year if she completes the required seven races. Lindsey Brindle made it double individual victories for Horwich with a dominant display (19:34) whilst NMAC’s Helen Whitby was second. Cartridge was joined on the winning women’s race team (25 points) by leading F50 Cathy Flitcroft, pushed all the way by Jackie Price of Astley & Tyldesley (who finished a close team second with 27 points), and junior Rachel Bailey, who transitioned well to this open level of competition for the first time. It was especially pleasing to see Bolton’s women’s team both grow to 17 and lay down an early series’ marker – only one point separates them from the league leaders of Burnden Roadrunners, and a strong podium is the target for 2016.
Bolton’s A Team (first 10 counters) featured Scott Crompton, building up to the summer’s Ironman, being sandwiched between juniors Declan Toomey and Mathew Walker, an under-the-weather Chris Povey closing the gap to M40 rival Tim Campbell (A&T), and the M45 victor Simon Dally. Bookended by Simon Walker, returning after a year’s sabbatical, it took an early season lead with 97 points to Burnden’s to 372. The CLGP B Team, which comprises competing clubs’ next 8 runners (i.e. positions 11-18), was led home by exciting junior prospect Lewis Aldred who had the standout performance in holding off newcomer Dominic Gavin. Dave Hanson put 18 months of injury hell behind him to contribute to the collection of 265 points, which again marked a convincing win over BRR’s 562.
Bolton’s vets once again got the season off to a flyer with 63 points, but Burnden’s squad (a barely believable 78 of them!), weren’t far behind on 75 points and they clearly promise to mount a stronger challenge in all formats this year. Eric Ranicar and David Tomlinson stormed to M65 and M75 wins respectively, whilst James Rideout (M55) and Ken Fowler (M60) picked up seconds. The Northern Masters competition, held in tandem with the CLGP, numbered 61 entrants.
Amazingly for a hosted race, 55 of the 328 finishers were home runners. Dave Flitcroft and Paul Mills also celebrated their return after long injury layoffs and, with a new season underway, there was an influx of new faces in Stephen Bonney, Laura Nicholls, Lee Petch, Feysal Nagi, Clare Derbyshire and Alice Baxendale. Ellie Forrest and George Shepherd also stepped up from the junior ranks, the latter excellently shadowing Mercedes Mercer around the course. With several big names missing through injury and illness, and many honourably choosing to assist the event’s staging, the omens are good for a CLGP Double sextuple!
BUH&AC times: Tom Carson 16:39; Karl Darcy 16:44; Frazer Jardine 17:39; Declan Toomey 17:58; Scott Crompton 18:05; Mathew Walker 18:09; Andrew Crickmore 18:20; Simon Dally 18:24; Chris Povey 19:03; Simon Walker 19:10; Lewis Aldred 19:23; Dominic Gavin 19:30; Chris Topping 20:07; Nicola Cartridge 20:27; David Hanson 20:26; Anthony Warham 20:28; Daryl Bentley 20:37; Ian Gregory 20:38; Peter Kearney 20:45; James Rideout 20:55; Stewart Brierley 20:59; Stephen Bonney 21:05; Peter Walker 21:12; Ken Fowler 21:50; Dave Flitcroft 21:52; Cathy Flitcroft 21:56; Paul Mills 22:04; Adrian Costello 22:22; Rachel Bailey 22:51; Eric Ranicar 22:46; Stuart Parsonson 22:56; Mercedes Mercer 23:23; George Shepherd 23:18; Olivia Kearney 23:43; Donna Cooper 23:47; Georgia Greenhalgh 23:53; Simon Thorne 23:56; Andrew Barrow 24:10; Cecilia Woods 24:57; Hannah Edwards 25:16; Adrienne Fisher 25:17; David Morrison 25:20; David Tomlinson 25:53; Deborah Flitcroft 26:17; Alex Donnelly 26:29; Sara Green 26:44; Laura Nicholls 28:48; Lee Petch 29:01; Feysal Nagi 29:00; Andrew Gallagher 29:06; Gerard Tucker 29:20; Ellie Forrest 29:40; Clare Derbyshire 29:44; Jane Lim 31:47; Alice Baxendale 35:14