Sun 3 Sept 2017 On an overcast morning, 172 runners assembled on the main street outside the Royal Oak for this tough undulating road race organised by Garstang Running Club. There was a good turnout of Harriers as this was one of their road running championship races and several of them were doing the race and the distance for the first time.
From the start the race goes out through Bonds and Catterall turning left into Stubbins Lane and on past Claughton school and church. As the bulk of runners were going along Sandholme Lane near the junction with Ray Lane a tractor rally followed the same route as the race until the entrance to Barnacre Lodge. The exhaust fumes from the tractors and their close proximity to the runners on the narrow lanes made for uncomfortable running for some. In the later stages of the race the rain added to the runners’ woes.
First Harrier home and race winner was Rob Affleck in 1.14.19. David Rigby was second but in Salford colours, then in 7th was Simon Collins in 1.22.07, and 36th was Neil McDonald in 1.33.07. Peter Cowling was 40th beating a close rival in a time of 1.34.20. Darren Kinder on his first half marathon and nursing a hangover came in a creditable 1.38.40 for 49th place. Alan Appleby was next, 75th in1.44.51, followed by Kenny Gawne (senior), 97th in 1.54.44. First of the Harrier ladies was Sarah Wilson in 117th in 2.00.45 impressing with a superb finish (mum and dad were watching). She was followed by Daniel Higgins (he had been watching the fell runners from the top of Helvellyn the previous day). He posted 2.08.13 for 139th then Julie Tyrer on her second half marathon was 148th in 2.12.04 and not far behind her was Sue Wickham, 153rd in 2.14.00.