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Ribble Valley 10K

31 Dec 2107, Clitheroe The 2017 road race calendar came to a close with the Ribble Valley 10K which, this year, was selected as the Northern Athletics 10K road race championship, taking runners on closed country roads on the outskirts of Clitheroe. The hilly race always sells out and attracts a strong field of runners at the front. In amongst a high-quality field, to pick out just a few names, the 2017 edition included last year’s winner Marc Scott, Olympic triathlete Jonny Brownlee and Preston Harriers’ own Paddy Dever in the men’s race and Laura Weightman and Beth Potter in the women’s race, all of whom are GB athletes. The weather was bright but windy with occasional strong gusts which slowed the pace of this year’s race but, true to the reputation of the race as a fast event, many runners still registered new personal bests regardless. There is keen competition at the front of the field in both men’s and ladies’ categories with Harriers’ Helen Clitheroe holding the ladies record of 32.30 and the men’s record standing at 29.10. Only two managed a sub 30-minute time on the day, possibly due to the wind on exposed parts of the course.

The early pace was set by St Helen’s runner Matthew Crehan before his efforts took their toll and the main race lead pack moved away and controlled the race thereafter. In the final couple of kilometres, Scott made his move and took the race win in 29:37 ahead of Brownlee, Richard Horton of Shaftesbury & Barnet and Dever (30:03) respectively. With Horton not being eligible to count towards the North of England championship, Dever took a hugely respectable bronze. He also helped Preston to the Northern 10K team prize along with Andy Benson (31:04) and Nathan Dunn (31:14- also finishing 1st junior male). The women’s race was won in 32:31 by Weightman, beating Potter into second and Stevie Stockton of Leeds AC in third.

35 Preston Harriers finished the race with several winning age category prizes. The winning men’s team were followed in by Matt Wigelsworth, Richard Smith, Tiarnan Crorken (3rd junior male), Benjamin Preddy, Alex Venables, Kevin Hunt, Lee Foley, Alan Durney (2nd v50), Alex Waddelove, Darren McDermott, Kenny Gawne, Colin Shuttleworth, William Johnstone, Kevin Hesketh, Alan Metcalf, Steve Needham, Alan Appleby (2nd male v70), Marian Hesketh (1st female v60), Steve Mort, Victoria Duckett, Emma Essex-Crosby, Vicki Sherrington, Olga Wiggins, Kenneth Gawne, Julie Tyrer, Gareth Whittaker, Tracey Yates, Sue Wickham, Linda Roberts, Judith Deakin (2nd female v70), Deborah Whittaker and Tracey Young.

This race also marked the beginning of the 2018 club road race championship with a grand total of 32 Harriers turning out for this East Lancashire classic with Patrick Dever, Andy Benson and Nathan Dunn taking top points in the men’s open category race and Marian Hesketh, Victoria Duckett and Emma Essex-Crosby taking top points in the open female category. The top points in the vet categories went to the following harriers; Kevin Hunt and Victoria Duckett (vet 40), Alan Durney and Sue Wickham (vet 50) and finally Kevin Hesketh and Marian Hesketh (vet 60).

The next two races are coming up thick and fast with the Inskip Half marathon on January 21st and the St Annes 10 miler on January 28th. Good luck.

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