Perfect race conditions greeted a bumper turnout of 239 local athletes for the annual Preston Harriers 4-mile Inter Club race.
The starting gun set everybody off to a feisty first mile.
By mile two, Preston Harriers’ Rob Affleck led the race but was put under constant pressure from Rob Danson of Wesham Road Runners, with Gethin Butler and Jason Parker in close contention.
Over the last mile Affleck ramped up his pace to attain an unassailable lead and was rewarded with his seventh consecutive race victory in 20.57.
Butler maintained his high tempo to claim third (21.33), with Parker storming through in fourth with 22.02.
He was followed in by Steve Hallas in 11th (22.33), Andrew Newton was 15th (23.02), Dave Parkington (first MV50, 23.09), Daniel Whitlock (23.23), Paul Lightfoot (23.29), Richard Smith (23.54) and Billy Johnstone (24.00) to ensure a dominant Preston first open men’s team victory.
Harriers men continued to power through the line. Thses were: David Green (24.41), Mark Lee (24.59), Chris Wales (25.04), Kevin Hunt (25.29), Andy Grimshaw (25.44), Peter Cowling (26.01), Steve Townhill (26.04), Stephen Bonsu (26.28), Andy Acklam (26.34), Steve Needham (26.50), Alan Martin (26.54), Alan Appleby (27.00), Steve Mort (27.15), Peter Carter (28.59), Greg O’ Brien (29.05), Andrew Tranter (29.13), John Bradley (30.37), Phil Lakeland (30.52), Eddie Little (32.13), Vince Walker (34.23).
Preston Harriers’ ladies put in a cracking performance with Catherine Slater leading the charge for second lady on the night in a creditable 25.15.
Jenny Gornall pushed through in fifth place in 27.03, and Jenny Parker was seventh (27.18).
Ambi Tipping, returning after injury, came home in 27.50 and Marian Hesketh in 28.57 to match on points with the Wesham ladies but Harriers had to settle for second women’s team on countback.
Creditable performances were also seen from Suzanne McCarry (29.50), Charlotte Rawcliffe (30.16), Vicki Sherrington (32.37), Kate Lakeland (33.08), Felicity Cross (34.49), Louise Gavell (35.11), Charlotte Bellamy (35.37), Adela Nuttall (37.37), Angela Tranter (38.33), Jo Grime (38.36), Helen Boyer (38.38), Lucia Ramirez (38.47), Claire Forrest (39.11), Kari Edwards (41.51) and Sue Wickham in 42.43 to complete the Preston Harriers women’s team.
Post-race refreshments were enjoyed by all at the Vernon Carus Sports club which gave the athletes the opportunity to thank retiring race organiser David Watson for his five years at the helm.
l The British Masters 5K road race championships seems to have found a permanent home within the Horwich Festival of Racing.
And this year four members of Preston Harriers joined the record field of nearly 200 runners.
First Harriers runner to finish was Steve Hallas, who was 25th overall and fifth MV40 in 16.57, and David Watson clocked 17.31.
Kevin Hesketh was fourth MV60 in 18.37, only 26 seconds away from the bronze medal, and the three men combined to form the third overall team.
Marian Hesketh was first WV60 in a season’s best time of 21.03.