Ribble Valley 10k
2013 race - Allan Blackwell heads the Chorley team
An enthusiastic band of nine Chorley runners elected to burn off the festive indulgences with a trip to the Ribble Valley for the annual 10KM road race, which was won by Liverpool's Jonny Mellor in 29:12 with former Chorley athlete Luke Betts not too far adrift in 31:40 (26th) - now in the colours of Sale Harriers. Despite near-perfect running conditions, the Chorley team was a little slower than in recent years as many of the club's fastest athletes opted for other challenges this time around.
Even so, there were some stong individual efforts, including Vet 50 Allan Blackwell who led the team home in 43:41. Next back were Michael Hendry (46:40), just ahead of Marie Boyle (46:52) who finished strongly. Then came Phil McCullagh (49:55) who dipped under the 50 minute mark with an excellent run, chopping over 7 minutes off last year's time.
Steven Wilde (51:50) was next, ahead of Janet Barron (52:24), Rachel Gibson (53:10; in her debut over the distance), Jason Riley (57:50) and James Shuttleworth (62:03) completing the team.
A dozen Chorley athletes braved the icy wind and rain to race the Ribble Valley 10K on a blustery morning in Clitheroe. Arguably the Blue Riband fixture on the December road-racing calendar, the event always attracts a class field, and this year's was no exception. Nearly 1,100 runners finished the race which was won by David Bishop of Bristol & West AC in a time of 30:02.
Chorley's stand-out performance came from Jonathan Higson who narrowly missed out on a top 200 slot despite chalking up a superb time of 39:08 (213).
Behind Jonathan came the trio of Bill Beckett (41:35 - huge PB), Hassan Khattab (41:40) - making his 10K debut over asphalt - and Jonathon Burgess (42:09), who were all clearly buoyed by the strength of their recent cross-country forms for the club.
Mark Bond (43:01) bagged another 10K race following his outing at Leyland earlier in the week, and Michael Hendry chipped a few minutes off last year's time with a solid run of 43:55. Jason Riley (46:58) and Stephen Baker (49:30) were then followed home by Jenni Boocock (49:30) with another PB.
Next came the junior athlete James Shuttleworth (57:01), closely followed by the veteran athletes Philip McCullagh (57:11) and Shelley Parkinson (58:08) with a fine run to complete the picture for Chorley.
All in all, a good morning's effort with some strong individual performances and several PBs set in spite of the testing running conditions.
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