2013 seemed to be the year of injury for many runners, with a number of club members being ruled out at various times. Participation in races was up, with large numbers of runners turning out for the club. Stu Cann, Paula Plowman and Ben Donoghue were regulars, turning out at the majority of events, and though he struggled with numerous injuries towards the end of the year, Barry Wheeler managed to compete in all 36 club races.
The prize list includes a number of new names, as well as some old ones, along the regulars.
Ben Donoghue ended Ken Addisson and Joe Swarbrick’s dominance of the championship, improving on last year’s 3rd place to be crowned champion. An early year injury to Joe gave Ken the advantage, establishing an early lead over his rival, but an unfortunately timed holiday at the end of the year allowed Joe to come back and take second place, with Ken finishing third.
There were still plenty of prizes to be won heading into the last race, with Mark Billington doing enough to finishing 5th overall 1st Vet 40 and Stu Cann capitalising on Dave Maudsley’s injury finish 6th overall and claim 1st Vet 45. Phil Darwen was the unlucky man at the top, finishing 4th overall but not being in a vet category. Phil Davidson got the better of last year’s winner Geoff Haworth to win the Vet 50 prize, Dave Hooton returned to action to win Vet 55, George Fletcher was Vet 65, and 19 years after his last award, Cliff Utting was Vet 60.
With Claire Bunce out because of injury, Debbie Kirkman returned to winning ways picking up the ladies championship. An impressive year for Jill Jefferson led to her finishing second overall, picking up many race prizes and the Lancashire 5 mile championship V55 award along the way, and Janine Needham finished 3rd. Paula Plowman did enough to claim Vet 45, and Wendy Ward was Vet 40 winner again.
After spending 2012 out with injury, Fred Lynch returned to win the Grand Prix. A consistent year from Allan Howard saw him finish was second, and Ben Donoghue was third. There was a tight finish in the ladies competition, with only 1 point separating Sally Cape and Ann Wallworth heading into the last race, but a broken foot ended Sally year and allowed Ann claim first place. Paula Plowman finished in third place for the second year running.
On the fells, Ben Donoghue proved he was just a good as on the road, fishing just ahead of Fred Lynch to claim the title. Fell expert Geoff Haworth added another trophy to his collection, finishing 3rd overall, 1st Vet 50, Stu Cann was 4th and 1st Vet 40 and George Fletcher continued his streak retaining the Vet 60 prize for the 4th year running. There was limited participation from the ladies this year, with Paula Plowman winning, and Sally Cape finishing second.
Unfortunately there were no interclub team prizes this year on the road or fell, but there were a number of individual prizes. Ben added 8th overall on the road and 1st Senior on the fell to his collection, and Joe Donoghue got the better of Preston Harrier’s George Green to win first Junior. Ken and Joe continued to pick up prizes in the Vet 55 category, finishing joint 2nd in the road competition. Joan Gouldthorpe was Ladies road Vet 65 and Fred also picked up the 2nd Vet 50 fell.
Although there were no prizes won in the 2012/2013 cross country season, all teams performed admirably in their respective divisions, and with a bit of luck will be challenging for promotion again this year.
2014 will hope to see the return to fitness and form for the injured runners, and maybe the return of John Shepherd. Ben will likely face strong competition from Duncan Anderson for the Championship, and with a number of runners changing vet categories, there may be a few different names on trophies next year. Margaret Lodge will challenge the ladies for prizes, and Pita Oates has her eye on the Grand Prix when the new handicaps come out.