The occasion was the West Lancs. Championship, and clubs from as far away as Blackpool and St. Helens were competing. The course, in grim weather, comprised a three mile lap, most of which was snow-covered and frozen, with at least a mile of ploughland and rough going.
The junior race, run over 51/2 miles was won by junior national steeplechase champion Brian Craig of Blackpool. He won by some 60 yards from Wallasey's Ron Barlow, who was running against doctor's orders. It makes one wonder how he will go when he is fit, as the course was certainly hard, and took some going to finish at all. Pete and Dave White in 7th and 8th places helped to clinch matters, especially over the last two miles when, running together, they passed several flagging competitors. Tony Townsend in 14th position assured Wallasey of victory though he can do much better. Brian Woolford (31st) is showing a great deal of improvement since his demob, whilst I am positive Kevin Mather (34th) and Phil Townsend will run better on flat fast courses, as they have not yet the natural strength (or brute force and ignorance!) required for the heavy going.
In the senior race over some eight miles, I felt sorry for Wallasey's two solitary representatives, John Lynch (28th) and Vince Bayliss (44th). The ground was by then churned up and sodden, whilst the weather had taken a distinct turn for the worse, added to which they had no team to support. All in all, I think they are both to be commended for starting and admired for finishing.
The youths' team did not gain any prizes but it must be remembered that, compared with some of the lads they were up against, they were only novices and should do much better when they have the necessary experience. The team was B. Chalton (13th), J. Young (14th), W. Morris (35th), D. Noble (39th) and K. Williams (44th).
The same can be said of the boys' team - P. Thompson (29th), D. Mollineux (32nd), A. Seagrove (39) P. Davies (41), D. Shepherd (42) and J. Wheelwright (44).
Today the club travel to Rhyl to comPete in a 6 mile road race from Rhyl to St. Asaph. With any luck we should bring back at least one set of medals and perhaps an individual prize or two. Members are reminded of the Northern Championships next week at Bingley, where the course is reputed to be 'a killer'.