Horwich were able to muster 3 teams to run in this year Pennine Bridleway Relay, a Fell Relay run in pairs over five legs around the Mary Townley Loop of the Pennine Bridleway.
Fears that the relay would not go ahead due to heavy snow were not realised, but a very cold and still morning made the underfoot condition a bit tricky with widespread ice patches around the course.
Senior Men :
The Horwich Open Senior Men lead the way with the conditions obviously suiting the Leg 1 pairing of Darren Kay and Gary Priestley, putting the team in the lead at the first changeover and smashing the record time for the leg in the process. The Leg 2 pairing of Richard Haworth and Alastair Murray were thankful for the time in hand as they knew they were up against some class runners and would need every second to hold onto the lead. This they did, handing over to Stuart Edmundson and James Kevan, but only 45 seconds ahead of Salford. The battle with Salford would continue all the way to the finish, with Salford taking the lead by the start of Leg 4. It was left to the vets of the team to secure the victory. A fantastic run by Martin Jones and Martyn Bell put Horwich back into the lead, and extended the advantage over Salford, as well as setting the fastest time of the day for the leg. Brendan Bolland and Mick Green ran the glory leg, doing just enough no doubt, setting the 3rd fastest time of the day for the leg and bringing Horwich home to win with a full 59 seconds to spare after nearly 5 hours of running.
Senior Ladies :
Thanks must go to all the ladies who participated in the relay, despite many suffering from injuries, lack of sleep and illness. It was a fantastic team effort from all. The first leg runners, Geraldine Walkington and Emma Perrin started the team off well on this cold but lovely day and handed onto Suzanne Budgett and Angela Allen for leg 2, the longest leg. After such a good start, it was up to myself and Sue Hayes to cover the 9 miles of leg 3. Sue, who was in good running form, enjoyed a well deserved rest at the top of the hills while she waited for myself to catch up. We had an enjoyable run over leg 3 and handed on to a waiting Lesley Fisher and Karen Murray for leg 4, who obviously had a fantastic run and gained a 38th quickest leg time for their leg. They handed onto Margaret Huyton and Mary White for the final leg, who also had an excellent run bringing the team into the finish in 58th position (out 91 teams) and, if I’ve calculated it correctly, 5th Ladies Team out of 12. Well done all!
(report by team captain Rachel Metcalfe)
Vet Men :
The Horwich representation was completed by the men’s vets team. I don’t have many details or first hand accounts from the day, but with a few different faces stepping forward to represent the club, they put in a solid performance finishing 37th team overall, and 7th in the vets class. The team was as follows – Leg 1 : Pete Ramsdale and Barry Allman, Leg 2 : Doug Fleming and Gary Chadderton, Leg 3 : Steve Jackson and Graham Schofield, Leg 4 : Mark Collier and Gordon Stone, Leg 5 : Tony Hesketh and Neil Wrigley.