2012 was a year to remember Red Rose, with the club celebrating its 30th anniversary and many new faces joining. It was also proud to be part of the Preston Guild celebrations, appearing in the torchlight precession and hosting the first of the Guild Series races in May. Club members embraced the rest of the series, turning out on mass for the remaining races. Nearly 80 members turned out for the Run-Preston 10k and supported by a number of club marshals on the course, 37 completed the Preston marathon and 54 the half marathon.
Claire Bunce overcame early season injury to establish herself as one of the leading runners in the region, winning various races along the way including Fleetwood 10, Garstang Half Marathon and Run Preston 10k, and finish 2nd in the Preston Guild Marathon with an impressive time of 3:00:56. She also became the first person in the clubs history to win the treble, claiming all 3 of the clubs competitions. Shane Cliffe and Paula Plowman will also require bigger mantelpieces, picking up 5 awards each.
Ken Addison and Joe Swarbrick battled it out for the club Championship again, with Ken’s early form enough to hold off the challenge later in the year and win him his first Championship title. Ben Donoghue improved throughout the year to compete with the top two in later races and was rewarded with third place. New member Jose Pinon Shaw was Vet 40, and having missed out by only 6 seconds last year, Shane Cliffe got the better of Phil Butler to take Vet 45. Geoff Howarth made a return to the roads and picked up Vet 50, Allan Howard was Vet 55 and Bernard Elkngton showed he has still got it, claiming the Vet 75 prize.
The ladies Championship was comfortably won by Claire Bunce who was first home in all the races she competed in. Last year’s winner Debbie Kirkman was runner-up and Paula Plowman got the better of Julie Thorley to take 3rd place, leaving Julie to claim Vet 45. Wendy Ward celebrated winning Vet 40 by baking everyone cakes (we hope), and Yvonne Johnson picked up Vet 50.
Stuart Roberts made a strong start to the Fell Championship winning the first 3 races, but midyear injury prevented him competing in any further events. Shane Cliffe benefited from this to win the next 4 races and claim first place. Barry Wheeler had a strong year on the fells and managed to hold of Phil Butler and Ken Addison to finish in 2nd place, with Phil claiming Vet 40 and Ken Vet 50. George Fletcher also retained his Vet 60 award for the 3rd year running. Claire Bunce was the female champion and Paula Plowman runner-up, with Sally Cape finishing Vet 40 and last year’s winner Glenda Dobie Vet 50.
The new Grand Prix handicap system proved successful, with a number of runners battling it out if the final race of the year for prizes. With Claire sealing first place prior to the race, Sally Cape put in an excellent performance to hold onto second and Paula Plowman completed the top 3. A tight finished ensued in the men’s competition with Barry Wheeler, Ben Donoghue, Gavin Beetham and Shane Cliffe all with a chance of winning. Injury prevented Shane from finishing race, but he still claimed 3rd, allowing Barry to finish in first place ahead of Ben.
The club had a rewarding year in the Inter Club series’, picking up 11 individual and team prizes. There was strength in-depth in the Vet 45 category, with John Shepherd finishing first, Shane Cliffe second and Steve Whitney third. Joe Swarbrick and Ken Addison continued their dominance of the Vet 55 category, with Joe retaining his title, and Ken finishing 2nd. Claire Bunce added to her club haul by finishing second lady, and Paula Plowman was 2nd Vet 45.
On the fells, the ladies team picked up the team prize that had eluded them for the last couple of years. Strong performances from a team of Claire Bunce, Paula Plowman and Glenda Dobie took 1st place in 2 of the 4 races, and secured Paula first female vet. Unfortunately, the club failed to retain the overall and vets team prizes, finishing runners-up in the overall and Vet 50 categories, but there was more success individually. Shane Cliffe and Barry Wheeler added to their club fell awards by finishing 4th and 6th overall, and claiming 2nd Vet 40 and 1st Senior.
The 2010 / 2011 Cross Country season also proved successful, with the men’s Vet 40 team finishing second in division 2, and therefore gaining promotion to the 1st. The men’s senior team also performed admirably to preserve their status in a competitive division 3. The ladies team were just piped to promotion, finishing third in division 3, with the ‘B’ team not far behind them in 6th. The Vet 45’s had another positive year, finishing 3rd overall.
2013 is shaping up to be as exciting as 2012. With many new members, such as Andrew Pendergast, Steve Baldon, Dave Maudsley, Jill Jefferson, Doug Bryden and Stephen Gore, showing promise this year and we hope to see more of them in 2013. Ben Donoghue will want to breakup Ken and Joe and get his hands on the Championship title and Mark Billington will be after Jose’s Vet 40 trophy. Fred Lynch and Stuart Roberts will be hoping they can rediscover their previous form after their long injury layoffs. The Grand Prix will be winnable by anyone when the handicaps are reset for the new year, and with Barry Wheeler suffering injury, Alan Raby is already eyeing up the prize.
And will anyone be able to catch Claire?