Sun 7 April 2019, Darwen Rarely has a group of people travelled over to Darwen and had a good time. But this is exactly what happened with the five Harriers who braved 1,350ft of elevation over 13.1 miles at the Darwen Heritage Half Marathon on Sunday (April 7th). It was the second of the half marathon counters in the club’s road championship.
Cool but not cold temperatures made for good running conditions on the day as the five set off to tackle the kind of course profile you usually see on the fells, with long drawn out and occasionally steep climbs and descents the order of the day. As popular as this race is, being held in a week which saw runners from across Lancashire running in the mid-Lancashire interclub, county and national fell championships and the 12 and 6 stage national road relays probably reduced the strength of the field somewhat. As such Preston’s Simon Collins found himself contesting a podium finish from the off and as the field became stretched, he made good use of the hills to build up a healthy gap between himself and the fourth place runner before going on to finish strongly to secure 3rd place in a time of 81:22. The next Harrier home was Stephen Young, running his first half marathon in over three years, who took 12th place in a time of 87:41. He was followed in by Andy Whaley, who despite running the race as his final long training run ahead of the Boston marathon went on to win the Vet-40 category in a time of 95:30 and combined these three took home the men’s team prize on the day.
Not to be outdone Ashraf Kazee (1:47:02) and Alex Proffitt (2:32:40) both proved that hills are no barrier to running a good time as they both took several minutes off their half marathon PBs, ensuring that all five Harriers left Darwen feeling very pleased with themselves.
The next two counters in the road championship are the highly competitive and fast Mid-Cheshire 5k (April 26th) followed by Lytham interclub (May 2nd).