The hills are alive with music at the Sam Shoebottom 10km, Chorley, February 4th

In the absence of a photo of the Chorley start, here is one from down the road at Leigh Harriers, the year 1959! Can you spor and name two internationals in the line-up?

Dave Evans reports:

Grey clouds greeted a field of 8 aspirants keen to test their fitness in a live race following two virtual months of solo activity. Thanks to the goodwill and personal intervention of Eric Crompton we were able to hold the race from our Chorley headquarters. Sent on their way by a rock band who were sharing the changing facilities, a number of our squad were sorely tempted to stay behind such was the quality of the ageing quartet, some distance into their veteranhood !

Sailash’s new warm-up routine

Despite the coolish conditions our hardy compadres set off in good heart and after the initial rollercoaster opening mile passed Eric Horwill, our chief timekeeper, in very creditable times as follows:- Roy Gunnett 11:05, Martin Payne 11:07, Greg Smith 11:38, Sailash Shah 11:41, Glyn Jones 11:45, Joe Hardy 11:03, Pat Evans 12:33 and Andrea Lennon 13:44.At this point the course heads for the sky for nearly half a mile and as the walkers then descended downward, positions started to establish themselves and the race proper had begun.

Martin on a brighter day

At the 5k turnaround, Martin had snatched the lead and recorded a fairly steady 35:09. In his wake Roy had hung on to the second slot with a steady 36:31. Exactly one minute later the slight figure of octogenarian, Glyn Jones, swept past Eric Horwill recording 37:31. On his tail was Greg Smith with 37:47, Sailash Shah 38:02 and Joe Hardy 38:50. A little while later Pat Evans on 40:13 reached halfway but having declared in advance that she would only do 5k stepped off the course.

The return journey for our walkers was exactly the reverse of their outward sojourn with more down than up, an incentive for sure. Andrea Lennon, our super 80-year-old, had set out in the race but missed the final out and back section nevertheless maintained a decent rhythm but fell short of the full 10k distance.

Super Andrea

At the finish, the timekeepers were somewhat surprised to see Martin Payne coming home within 69 minutes but obviously helped by the better balance of ups and downs. The second-place battle was very close with comparative youngster Roy Gunnett just pipping Glyn Jones by 5 seconds. Joe Hardy and Sailash had a mini battle with the former getting his nose in front. Greg Smith lost “his action” at 6k but nevertheless completed the course thinking about his handicap points.

La Bamba in rehearsal – much appreciated

The Entertainers

The post-celebrations were accompanied by a very talented group of musicians who were practising while we were on duty and would not have been out of place at a pop concert. Once a good musician, always a good musician. Thank you, gentlemen.

Race result

  1. Martin Payne 68:03
  2. Roy Gunnett 73:20
  3. Glyn Jones 73:25
  4. Joe Hardy 76:05
  5. Sailash Shah 76:37
  6. Greg Smith 88:48
  7. Andrea Lennon 64:28(4.4 miles)
  8. Pat Evans 40:13 [5k]

Handicap result

  1. Glyn Jones 65:25
  2. Martin Payne 65:23
  3. Roy Gunnett 65:50
  4. Joe Hardy 66:05
  5. Sailash Shah 67:37
  6. Greg Smith 74:48
  7. Andrea Lennon (4.40 miles walked)
  8. Pat Evans (5k walked)
The Chairman addresses the members

The post-race meeting flagged up a number of issues including the Centurions 100 mile at Middlesbrough on August 19/20th and the BMAF champs which would look to be held in Bolton on 18 June 2023. While the 100 has been booked the BMAF champs are still being negotiated.

Thanks to Greg Smith for the unusual post-race images.

PS If you want to relive the entertainment provided by the La Bamba tribute band they can be found at

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