Saturday, 14th May 2016
The fourth edition of the race was a three horse affair for the men all the way round, as Horwich’s M40 Gareth Booth led from clubmate Dave Jackson (M45) and Bolton’s John Knowles, passing 6km in c.27 minutes. The good footing of the return section saw Booth stretch ahead, taking the line in 37:48.
Less than 20 seconds later, John Knowles claimed his second bronze in four days (following the Haigh Hall 3.7M in the CLGP), as Jackson held off a last-ditch challenge. His time was an incredible 3 minutes quicker than his 2014 completion and as first Blue Vest, Knowles also claimed the Brian Mawdsley Trophy.
Nicky Cartridge was yet again in the mix for ribboned metal, though Laura Lombard built up a 60m lead on the first steep climb to Cheetham Close hill that was not relinquished. In claiming silver, Cartridge improved her time for the third year in a row – nearly 40s to go sub-46. Dave Morrison demonstrated his recent improvement, posting a time five (!) minutes quicker than last year to go under the hour over the 5.7 miles.
Burnden RR’s 15-strong squad was the largest as it welcomed Rob Short back into action after an injury niggle, whilst there were good turnouts from Red Rose RR and Lostock AC. The Northern Masters Championships were incorporated into the race, bringing some storming appearances from wider afield, the pick of the bunch being Hallamshire Harriers’ Dean Furniss (M45 2nd and ninth overall) and NMAC’s Dorothy Kesterton (third overall and F60 1st).
As ever, a safe and slick event hosted by BUH&AC was only possible due to the dedication of the marshals and volunteers at the registration and finish area. Race Organiser Steve Houghton, without the need for a loud speaker (!), reserved special thanks to Jayne Dickinson, Keith Mallinder, Andrew Doyle and Pete Kearney for dotting the uplands of Turton Heights with yellow flags, and Nick Howarth for accompanied field management.
Photos are courtesy of BUH&AC’s Julie Lomax from JulieLomaxPhotography (available FREE to participants).
Video highlights by Jayne Dickinson.