Don Talbot 1931 – 2017

Honorary member Donald Talbot died on Tuesday 21st November, aged 86. The funeral will take place on Thursday 30th November at 1 pm at Fullwood Methodist Church, Watling Street Road, Fulwood, Preston PR2 8EA.

It it intended to publish an obituary, hopefully in January, recording some of Don’s many achievements.

Chris Holdsworth interview

“Stay humble, don’t get an ego and let your racing do the talking. Work hard but buy regular Dominos pizzas to make up for it.”

James Boult interviews Chris Holdsworth on his return from his Team GB debut at the World Mountain Running Championships in Italy.

World Mountain Running Long Distance Championships Italy 2017

World Mountain Running Long Distance Championships Italy 2017

Chris, so far 2017 has seen you reach some incredible achievements; your performances at the Howarth Hobble and the Yorkshire Three Peaks; Heptonstall Fell Race and Griezdale Trail Marathon course records and obviously your International call up. To what do you owe your success?

A lot of patience, consistent training and not expecting too much too soon, setting achievable goals and steadily working towards them – these then form the basis of working towards a big race or performance. I think it’s important to enjoy your training, if you do then the results will follow. For me it was all about seeing how fast I could run up hills (Strava CR addiction began here), or seeing how fast I could get round one of my favourite hilly routes. I wasn’t overly concerned with results or who I was or wasn’t beating at first, racing was just to enjoy the results of hard training. Enjoy the progress you can make on the things you do enjoy/are good at, and then focus on the things you think you’re not so good at later. Your training will then begin to show consistent progression and you’ll see rare plateaus and more success.

Taking it all back to the beginning then, what first made you start running and who, if any, was your inspiration?

Uncle Breton. I had just finished University and had been running more regularly (2 or 3 times a week) and had done my first parkrun in Leeds, finishing at about the 21 minute mark. He persuaded me to come out running with him and join him on a few of the Clayton fell sessions. The first one of which was up Boulsworth, where he, Neil Worswick and a few others well and truly beasted me! I was struggling to keep up and couldn’t run one step up Boulsworth, but enjoyed it nonetheless and knew fell running was for me!

Snowdon International Mountain Race 2017

Snowdon International Mountain Race 2017

At the beginning of this journey did you ever think you would be pulling on an England vest?

Not at all, I didn’t know it was even possible to run for your country. In fact, I didn’t really know much about anything up until a year or so ago! I try not to think about qualifying for England or GB vests, race wins or who I should or shouldn’t be beating as it can eat away at you and make you not even want to start the race due to nerves! I try to target things like getting certain times, or course records as it not too dissimilar to my training runs then. That way it’s just you racing against the clock and anything else you may achieve is a happy bonus at the end.

What does an average training week in the life of Chris Holdsworth look like?

When training for a big race, most of which are quite long distance these days, I aim to try get up to 70 miles for the week. If I’m struggling with niggles, ailments or fatigue I’ll drop it to 50-60. To break it down, my week would look like:

Monday: steady 8-10 hilly miles (1000ft or more) where I will be trying to push on up or down the hills if my body feels okay after the weekend.
Tuesday: ideally some sort of rep session. This will either be 0.5 or 1 mile sustained hard efforts.
Wednesday: midweek hilly miles – this will ideally be between 12-16 miles and 1200ft – 2000ft depending on the route. Effort will be steady – to hard
Thursday: tempo 8 mile run or hill rep session if I didn’t manage a session on Tuesday.
Friday: rest day – just as important as any other to let the week’s training settle in and muscles recover
Saturday: race day or tempo 13 miles, preferably quick hilly trails or roads.
Sunday: hilly steady long run between 15 – 24 miles depending on the distance I’m training for.

Do you have any rituals you go through before a big event?

Always two big bowls of Frosties cereal, but proper athletes usually go for porridge. Go for whatever suits you and makes you feel light and quick on the day.

Running wise I try to reduce the mileage and quicken my cadence and try to get my body race ready. I will often throw in a run over from Widdop res and push my legs round quickly back down to Gorple to get them firing.

How has your International call up affected your current training regime, and your life in general?

It’s been tough.. I’ve not eased off on my training since January. First I trained for the Hobble, next the Three Peaks, after that it was the call up for England with Sedbergh and Snowdon, and of course lastly Giir di Mont for Great Britain. It’s been a long hard slog to get here with constant training, and mostly it’s my friends or family that are most affected as I will ruin most occasions as I have to get a run in.

Going to a city for the weekend? I’ll have to get my run in first. Friends wanting to drink on Saturday? Sorry, I can’t.. Have to do a long run the next day or have a race.

My friends and family put up with my schedule all the time and I thank them a lot for it. Most of all my girlfriend Sophie, who has heard me moan about every niggle imaginable, put up with me being away for countless hours whilst I run, and me always telling her we can’t do something with friends or family because I have to stay fit and/or go for a long run. I couldn’t be the runner I am without someone supportive like her.

How has your coach, Chris Singleton, influenced your running?

He has helped push me out of my comfort zone and made sure I’ve kept on schedule to meet race goals. I pretty much used to just do tempo runs everyday, but he’s helped introduce a little structure that has benefited some of the aspects I was weaker at.

I have never been a descender, but at the recent Snowdon race I was one of the quickest back down. Evidence that the coaching is working and I’m moving in the right direction!

What is your biggest goal?

If I can compete regularly at the top end of the sport I’ll be very happy when I look back at what I have achieved. However, if I was to answer the question properly, I’d have to say a win at one of the UKs biggest mountain races would be up there. Another goal would be to finish in the top three of the English fell championships.

We all have favourite events, races we look forward to more than any each year; what is your favourite race and why?

Has to be the Three Peaks for me. There is no other race like it and the atmosphere is brilliant. It will be a race I will hopefully come back each year to and see if I can chip away at my personal best time.

Three Peaks 2017

Three Peaks 2017

What is your best race to date, and what is your best running achievement so far?

A running theme here, but possibly this year’s Three Peaks race! I wanted to break the sub 3 hour mark, so to finish sub 2:55 and in 3rd was very unexpected. I’m also pretty proud of breaking Morgan Donnelly’s record at Lowther Trail last year and Marcus Scottney’s CR at Greendale marathon this year.

I think a question we all want an answer to is; do you still get nervous when you line up waiting for the start?

Absolutely.. If you’re not nervous on the start line then I don’t think you’re taking the race seriously! Anyone and everyone can be beaten on the day, so you have to be focused and mentally prepared for the race ahead – the nerves are a by-product of this!

Is there any member, past or present, that you look up to in the club, and speaking of clubs, what made you pick Clayton-le-Moors Harriers as your club?

We are blessed with a lot of legends at our club thanks to its long and illustrious history. When I first joined the club it was clear we had a very successful period with a lot of these members now competing as successful veterans in their respective categories. The one most relevant in influencing myself and how I progress through attempting to try and seek similar success would be Garry Wilkinson. He has been there and done it all, competing in the same fell and mountain races as I’m currently doing, many for the first time. I’ve still a lot of work to do if I want to achieve the same level of success as he did!

As I mentioned above, there are so many club legends at Vet level in Clayton to look up to, from the likes of Garry, John Roche, Martin Brady, Dave Scott, Kieran Carr, Geoff Gough, Jean Brown, Wendy Dodds and many others, but I admire any of our current senior and junior members looking to push and better themselves.

In terms of why did I join the club? For me it was due to a family member running for the club, as well as another family member (my sister) previously running for the club, it meant it was the only club I’d heard of at the time! I think we all just fall into the clubs we are at, but the important part for me is why do we stay at the club. Personally, I am at Clayton-le-Moors due to our history of being a club that predominantly focuses on fell running competitions. Many of our members have won some of the biggest Fell and Mountain races in the country, but this hasn’t happened in some time. I would like to help put Clayton’s name back up there in the results and help Clayton compete regularly at the top end of these races again.

Inter Counties Fell Championships Moel Eilio 2016

Inter Counties Fell Championships Moel Eilio 2016

The right gear is essential; what is your choice of gear for the big race?

The right gear is very important. Wearing something that even slightly irritates you or feels wrong whilst racing can massively affect your result… I can think of manly occasions where I’ve worn the wrong shoes (or even the wrong shorts!) and felt it’s added minutes to my time at the end of the race. However, we are all different and one man’s holy grail pair of shoes are another man’s idea of hell.

Here’s my kit:
1× Salomon S-Labs 6 (for me they are the best all-rounders at taking on all conditions)
1× shortest of short shorts (let those thighs free!)
1× buff cut in half for head (keep my mane out my eyes and protect my ears from wind damage and tinnitus)
1× buff (when cold to protect wind pipe)
1× pair of long socks (I damaged my shin a few years ago and gave myself shin tendonitis and can no longer run without)
1x ladies small fit Clayton vest (I like it snug and close fit to avoid wind blowing it about)
1× Karrimor bum bag (they’re cheap and have a good fit – if I break them shoving too much in I can easily pick up another)
1× Mountain Fuel gel (for long distances, not available yet but are a brilliant product – look out for it soon!)
1x Mountain Fuel soft flask filled with Mountain Fuel Blackberry flavour (for long distances, easy to carry and can keep supping all the way round – easy to shove back in bum bag after)
1× OMM jacket. (Haven’t been able to try all brands as they can be quite expensive. This jacket is a great fit and works well.)
1× small ladies cheapest of cheap water proof pants. (It’s rare you’ll need to wear them, so as long as you can fit them on in case of emergencies, make sure you have a pair that fold away small so that they don’t take up too much space.)

What is your favourite discipline and distance and why?

My favourite distance is around 10-15 miles over undulating runnable trails between 1000-2000 ft of climb. This is due to what I have on my doorstep running around the likes of Boulsworth, Widdop and Hurstwood. I am now more interested in becoming adept at more technical longer distance mountain running, so I have to leave the comforts of gorple road and try push myself on harsher, steeper fells.

Hopefully if asked the same question is a year or so, I’ll be answering 20+ miles of nasty technical mountain running!

Do you have any regrets so far?

I often think ‘should I have tried getting into running sooner?’. If I had though, I don’t think I’d have achieved all that I did before I began running. I started at 22, I’m now at 26. I’ve had to work very hard to get where I am but I have plenty years left to achieve more yet too.

The one thing I do regret is not looking after myself properly. Battering myself everyday has led to many niggles over the years. Not wanting to see any decline in my progress, I often trained through these injuries, often making them worse and now I live with many long lasting issues.

The worst came last year when I first injured my hamstring. Firstly I gave myself hamstring tendonitis, which moved up into my hamstring, which then moved up into my glute/hip and injured my piriformis. This all happened whilst training for a marathon and the three peaks. Afterwards, it all calmed down, only to get redamaged two months later at the start if August. I carried on racing and training, but kept getting intense pain on certain terrains on my lower back/hip area.

One day after a speed session, I got up from my chair after sitting down for a couple of hours at work and I couldn’t walk or stand up straight. Nothing particularly went, my body just packed in and I had severe sciatic pain constantly. It turned out I had damaged my SI joint, which is the bit between your hip and spine. This is the joint that takes all your impact when running, so when this goes the impact now goes through your glute, piriformis, groin and hamstring. I had intense pain for months and had to take 3-4 months off racing whilst I healed.

I now live with chronic sciatic pain that I have to manage everyday through strengthening and conditioning it, as well as regularly self-massaging to relieve the pain and regular sessions with Garry.

I regret not putting in the time to strengthen my core and punishing my body each day without letting injuries heal up properly. It’s no excuse, but after running 15 miles in the dark and rain, the last thing you want to do is come home and do some stretches and strength moves for half an hour..

Nonetheless, it’s very important and should be apart of your training!

Do you have any advice or training tips for new runners or other members of the club?

For new members, don’t worry about PBs, speed work, hill climbs or anything like that. Just get out and enjoy your running for 20-30 miles a week. Learn what terrains you like running on, what times of day you like to run, what distances you like/don’t like and build yourself a solid base of fitness. After 6 months to a year, once the habit of running regularly has become your natural state, and then start to think about how you can begin to improve yourself. This way, your body will be conditioned to run regularly and can the manage increases of demand in your training.

For current members my advice is this. No one is naturally talented at running. Yes, some of us start at better levels of fitness. Some of us are just naturally better at hill climbs/descending on technical climbs – but when it comes to plain running, talent is not the reason someone can run a 16-17 minute 5k. It’s because they have put in the time and effort to be that fit and quick. If you’re in a 10k and someone wins it in 31.00 minutes, or 35.00 for ladies, just know that if they can do it, so can you. You just need to put in the right training and the same level of dedication as the winner of that race. Over time, you’ll be exactly where you never thought you could be. It’ll hurt the same, but you’ll be quicker!

How do you like to train?

During the week I try to train straight after work, especially in winter! Rather than come home and potentially talk myself out of going for a run, I’ll do it before I even get back in the comforts of my warm home.

I often train alone, but hopefully in the coming months I’ll be training with a few more of my Clayton teammates now that I’m able to change up my training a little with the summer of international racing coming to an end.

What do you do to relax / how do you spend your downtime?

Not a right lot! By the time I’ve worked, ran, come home and eaten, it’s usually around 8.30pm so there’s not a lot of time left to do anything. I’ll have to tidy the house, do the washing, prepare tomorrow’s dinner and by the time that’s done it’s time to go to bed! At the weekends I’ll have a few (many) beers if I’ve raced on the Saturday, ready to run hungover on the Sunday.

Outside of running, who is Chris Holdsworth?

In my day job I am a Graphic Designer for a Horticulture company based in Trawden. Before this I studied Fine Art at Leeds College of Art and gained a first class degree. I had a particular interest in sculpture – even winning a national award and prize money for one! Sadly I can only seem to focus on one thing at once – so art is out, running is in…

Harrier over Pendle 51kbTell us an interesting fact about yourself?

I designed the most recent incarnation of the Clayton-le-Moors Harriers badge and also designed the pattern on the orange buffs for the FRA Relays held at Pendle two years ago. For the newer members who possibly won’t remember, I was also the Weekly Round Up writer before Adrienne!

What are your lifetime PB’s?

Current PBs are:
5K: 16:24
10k: 32:31
10 Mile: N/A
Half Marathon: N/A
Marathon: 2:37:11

I haven’t raced a 5k since 2014 and a 10k since early 2016 as I have been focussing on fell and trails, but I will have to give a few road races ago to see how I fare!

Any comments / final thoughts?

The biggest tip I can give is to stay humble, don’t get an ego and let your racing do the talking. You’ll only have egg on your face if it all doesn’t go to plan.

On a similar note, don’t reveal your goals (unless asked nicely in an interview by James Boult). Things can go wrong and plans can change. Keep your cards close to your chest and the pressure is lessened.

If you begin to say I WILL achieve this or that, or I WILL do this or that time, then you are putting unnecessary pressure on yourself trying to meet everyone’s expectations.

Lastly, reward yourself and reward yourself often.. Don’t overdo it with a slab of cake every three mile dog jog you do, but if you restrict yourself too much with diet and social events, then it’ll just get on top of you and will become unenjoyable. It’s just a hobby for us all at the end of the day, so work hard but buy regular Dominos pizzas to make up for it.

Finally, Hendon Brook course record?

Haha, I don’t know about that. Tom Cornthwaite has set a phenomenal record on that course, and many other top runners have come and had a go and fallen very short. It’s one of my favourite races and a course I do regularly in training, so every year I can race it I’ll be racing my hardest. That being said, I’m still the fastest man ever up Lenches (Strava official, nothing else counts) and I’ll take pride in that!

Monica Shone 1926 – 2017

Monica, age 91, died on 7th August from complications following a hip operation. She had been a member of Clayton since 1984, and in 2011 was awarded honorary membership of the Club in recognition of her considerable sporting achievements.

Born in Cardiff, South Wales, Monica qualified as a PE teacher and quickly showed her talent for sport, playing lacrosse for Wales, and captaining the Sussex ladies’ cricket team. Her love of the outdoors led her eventually to take up rock climbing, skiing, sea kayaking and mountaineering, becoming an instructor in both Scotland and Wales.

Coledale Horseshoe 1985

Coledale Horseshoe 1985

Monica took up running relatively late in life after operations on her toes, and despite having several marathons and road races under her belt, quickly discovered that fell running in her beloved outdoors was preferable to pounding tarmac. She competed at all distances on the fells including races such as Pendle, Ben Nevis, Snowdon, Fairfield, Langdale Horseshoe, Coledale  and many others. Monica was an enthusiastic club member and enjoyed being part of the Clayton ladies’ teams for the Coast to Coast and Ian Hodgson Relays.

Monic transferred her running talent to cross country and track, and was successful at short and middle distance races, gaining many wins and medals in her age group, breaking records in both Britain and Europe, and competing well into her late 70’s.

Wendy Dodds, Linda Lord and Monica Shone in 1992 on Seatallan, near completion of Monica's Joss Naylor Traverse.

Wendy Dodds, Linda Lord and Monica Shone in 1992 on Seatallan, near completion of Monica’s Joss Naylor Traverse.

Perhaps Monica’s most notable achievement, and the one for which she would wish to be remembered, was her successful crossing in 1992 of the newly devised Joss Naylor Lakeland traverse, 48 miles and 17,000’ of ascent, across the Lake District mountains in sub 24 hours.  She was the first woman to complete the Traverse, and at Joss’s suggestion subsequently took on the mantle of co-ordinator of the event for the next 20 years, a role which she carried out diligently and enthusiastically.  Such was her dedication to this task that Monica would drive from her home in Anglesey to the Lake district  and back again in a day to ‘meet and greet’ potential Joss Naylor contenders at road crossings to cheer them on their way.

Monica, a legend in her own lifetime, had many varied talents and was an inspiration to all those whom she met. She will be sadly missed by her many Clayton Harrier friends, her husband Colin and family.

A few of Monica’s many achievements include:
1st L60 London Marathon 1986, 4hrs 14m – record
1st L65 Snowdon Marathon  1991, 4h 51m
World Masters fell championship 2005 Silver Medal W75 (Monica was then 79 yrs old)
1st L60 Langdale Fell Race  4h 02m 1986
British vets XC – wins in her age group in 1981, 1985, 1987 & 1993.
World record on the track at Potsdam as W75 in 2002, 400ms, 88.17seconds.
First lady of the Joss Naylor Lakeland Traverse, 13th June 1992.

For FRA members there’s a fuller profile of Monica’s life and achievements in the next issue of the FRA magazine.

The funeral will be held on Tuesday 22nd August, 1:30 pm at Bangor Crematorium.

Linda Lord

Annual General Meeting – 25th September

Notice of Annual General Meeting
7pm Monday 25th September
The Woodman Inn
129 Todmorden Road

The Annual General Meeting (AGM) is your opportunity to influence how your club is run as well as ask questions or raise concerns. AGM documents.

At the AGM the committee post holders for the coming year are appointed together with the posts of President, Ladies’ Captain and Men’s Captain.  Any member can stand for a post subject to them being proposed and seconded by another member at least 14 days before the meeting. If you are interested in standing for a post and would like more information about what’s involved, please contact me.

The AGM also allows members to put forward proposals for consideration and voting. Proposals for the AGM must be seconded by another member and submitted in writing to me at least 14 days before the meeting.

John Wilcock

Junior vest appeal raises £2000

Great idea, happy to help”

“I hope the recipient of the vest wears it with the same pride I have always done over the last 40 years”

“Why do good ideas always cost me money?”

“Hope this donation helps out to keep our younger members at the club”

“I think this is an excellent idea to encourage the younger members to enjoy sport in the same way that I always have”

Just some of the positive comments received following the recent appeal to our members aged over fifty to donate the £15 cost of a vest to our junior section, writes treasurer Peter Browning. What a fantastic response too, wildly exceeding my best expectations, with a wonderful total of £1652 being raised. Gift Aid will bring the total to over £2000.

This sum will ensure that all new junior members will receive a free brand new club vest when they join the club, or get a free club vest when they outgrow their original vest. The appeal is not closed and if anyone of any age wants to make a donation, they can still send a cheque payable to “Clayton-le-Moors Harriers” to my home address at 22 Fordside Avenue, Clayton le Moors, BB5 5TH.

Many, many thanks indeed for the wonderful generosity of everyone who donated, and who showed their faith in the future of our great club.

On behalf of all current and future junior Clayton members Briony Holt, who lives in Laneshawbridge and attends Colne Park High School, writes: I’d like to say a massive thank you on behalf of the Clayton juniors and myself for the monies donated by the vet 50’s.

Peter Browning, new member Harry Wharton age 9 from Worsthorne, and Briony Holt

Peter Browning, new member Harry Wharton age 10 from Worsthorne, and Briony Holt

We have benefited in the past from funding given by Clayton, such as being able to train at multiple places like St Peter’s Centre and Burnley Athletics Club, and also having our England Athletics registration paid for, as well as races. This has given the juniors an opportunity to vary their training which has led us into different aspects of running.

From a personal point, over the five years of being part of Clayton, I have taken a great interest in fell running which is something I hope to continue and progress into my senior years. The junior coaches have had a big influence on me in the way of advice given on races to suit my strengths and style, which is something I appreciate greatly. With the continued help of the coaches, I hope to make the Great Britain squad for fell running as a senior.

Just recently at the awards presentation, you may have witnessed the success of our junior team. This is down to the junior coaches and the continued support of the seniors.

Thank you again for the donations of over £1600; from all of the juniors at Clayton, we really appreciate it!

Junior Vest Appeal Donors
Don Barton Christine Egerton Alan & Carol Life
Richard Bellaries Mike Farnworth Pete & Linda Lord
Peter Billington Andy Firth Harry Manning
Steve Biscomb Steve Fish Dug McCallum
J Stan Bradshaw John Francis John McGonagle
Kath & Martin Brady Mick Frost Doug Munroe
Roger Brewster Kitty Garnett Dave Neild
Peter Browning Karin Goss Ted Orrell
Kieran Carr Geoff Gough Alastair Patten
Ron Chappell Mick & Jackie Green Jeff Pickup
Martin Clark Ian Hargreaves Keith Prosser
Susan Clark Paul Healey Andy Robinson
Alan Clarkson Paul Hesketh Frank Saddington
Simon Clarke Jim Hickie Tony & Donna Scott
Sarah Clarke Bob Hirst Don Talbot
Peter Costello Brian Horrocks Keith Thompson
Roger Dewhurst Dave Horrocks Harry Walker
Wendy Dodds Andrew Howarth Andrew Walmsley
Andy & Nic Dugdale Anita Jones Brian Wildman
Pete Dugdale Jim Kenyon Martin Ritson
Mike Eddleston Gerry King
Runners, marshals & officials of the 2016 Tour of Pendle  5 anonymous donors

Wanted – Race Organisers

The club wants to appoint Race Organisers for the Hameldon Hill Fell Race, the Towneley Park 10k Road Race, and the Greenway 5k Road Race. All these races are part of the Pendle & Burnley Grand Prix series.

Each Race Organiser has overall responsibility for a race. This involves obtaining the necessary permissions before the race, and managing a team of helpers responsible on race day for route marking, registration, marshalling, timekeeping and results. Although each race already has an established team of helpers a key part of the Race Organiser’s role is recruiting more helpers. Assistance is available with the organisation of the separate Junior Races that are included with each of these races. Advice and support will also be available from the 2016 Race Organisers Paul Healey (Hameldon Hill) and John Roche (Towneley 10k and Greenway 5k).

Our race organisers usually find the role rewarding and so remain in post for many years. If you think that you could by become Race Organiser in 2017 for one of these three races please get in touch with any committee member.

Special General Meeting – 5th December

Notice of Special General Meeting
7 pm Monday 5th December 2016
The Woodman Inn
129 Todmorden Rd
Burnley BB11 3EX

Junior Subscriptions
At the November committee meeting the Treasurer recommended that the annual subscription for junior members be increased from £4 to £12. The committee supports this recommendation and is proposing that this is achieved by adopting the following change to our membership structure.

As the Under 23 subscription is currently £12 it is proposed to remove the Under 18 (Junior) membership class. Thus all Junior members will become Under 23 members with an annual subscription of £12.

If the proposal is approved for current Junior members the annual subscription due on 1st January 2017 will be £12.

In accordance with the club’s constitution a Special General Meeting (SGM) has been called to seek approval for this proposal from the membership. All members are entitled to attend the meeting and speak on the matter which will conclude with a vote. Only members aged 16 and over are eligible to vote on the proposal. Members who are eligible to vote but cannot attend the meeting may cast their vote via proxy by notifying me at least 72 hours before meeting. Full details of the rules around proxy voting are set out in clause 11(g) of the constitution.

I would also ask that if you are planning to attend the meeting that you let me know in advance so I can be sure there is enough room to accommodate everyone.

Please feel free to contact me if you need any further information around this proposal or the SGM. A statement from the Treasurer will be provided at the meeting, and is available on request beforehand.

John Wilcock

SGM Agenda
SGM Proxy form

Valerie Lawson 1942 – 2016

Devastated, shocked, disbelief, writes President David Scott. Words cannot adequately reveal my emotions when, on returning from holiday on Thursday, 22nd September, I had a phone call from Richard to say that Valerie had died at two minutes to three that afternoon.

It was so hard to believe, as Valerie had said to us just before Jill and I went away that we must come to lunch when we returned. Someone, who had been part of our lives for over 50 years and who had known our children since they were born, had died so suddenly and unexpectedly.

Capable, efficient, caring and a wonderful cook, as those know who have been lucky enough to go for a meal for four or a buffet for 30, are just some of the many words that could be used to describe Valerie.

Val Lawson at the Podium 5k on 10th September 2016. Photo David Belshaw

Val Lawson at the Podium 5k on 10th September 2016. Photo David Belshaw

On my 2nd Three Peaks, she had taken Jill into her care and round the various points as they supported Richard and myself. Many years later she started running, joined Clayton, trained harder and went on to race all over the country winning many prizes. When Jill retired she persuaded her to take up running, join the Wrinkly Group and then Clayton. I had never succeeded in doing any of those things.

I first went to Tuesday night training at their house in 1965 when Richard and I would run to meet John Calvert for what became an eyeballs out effort. Afterwards I would go back to their home for coffee and biscuits. Over the years numbers gradually increased until after buying more and more mugs, Valerie was catering for up to 20 runners crammed into every corner of the house, with seemingly effortless efficiency.

Most of you will have come across Valerie when buying Clayton clothing, the sale and organising of which she had conducted with her usual efficiency having been Marks & Spencer trained! Or perhaps when she was distributing numbers at Mid Lancs races and sorting out those who had lost or forgotten their own number.

We had several holidays together including the 1970 Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh where we saw Ron Hill win the marathon. In recent years the four of us have had two railway holidays, travelling across the USA from coast to coast, and one through Scandinavia. On those trips, Valerie and I would often laugh to each other, that as Jill and Richard carried all the money and passports, should we have lost sight of them in the crowds, then Valerie and myself would not only have been stateless, but penniless as well.

So many memories over more that 50 years. Valerie was a wife, mother and grandma amongst many other roles and she will be sorely missed by many people. I know that her death will leave a huge hole in our family as well as her own. Our thoughts are with them now and over the coming weeks and months.

The funeral will be held at 12 noon on Friday 7th October at Burnley Crematorium.

Mick Raine 1944 – 2016

Mike passed away in the hospice on Friday 2nd September, aged 72 years, supported by his wife and son. The funeral will take place on Monday 12th September at 11.20 am at Burnley Crematorium.

Bob Mitchell, a good friend of Mike’s, writes: Mike joined the harriers in 1976……(just before I joined!)  He was very helpful indeed to me in my first couple of years with the harriers, guiding me around the training routes and taking me to lots of races as I didn’t own a car until I had been running for a couple of years. We travelled to races as far afield as the Edale Skyline in Derbyshire, the Three Peaks in the Yorkshire Dales, the Borrowdale and Langdale races in the Lake District and many more too.

He came to the harriers through his passion for the outdoors and his love of rock climbing. Mike has maintained life-long friendships with his climbing friends, a number of whom also joined the Harriers and they have all been members of a mountaineering club called the ‘NORI Club’…..The club name speaks for itself! (For those who not aware of the name – it is associated with the Accrington Nori Brickworks). They have continued to have weekend meets at various climbing huts in the Lake District.

Since joining the harriers in 1976 his preference of course was for fell running but he also ran in many road races and cross country events too. I can recall seeing him on TV crossing the line in the second, (I think it was), London Marathon to be run. Although Mike never attempted the Bob Graham Round he manfully set up fixed ropes on Broad Stand on the descent of Scafell Pike for my attempt and for several others in the 1980’s.

I think Mike’s best performance in a race was at the Three Peaks Race in the mid 1980’s where one year he ran a superb time of 3 hours 15 minutes, well in front of the rest of us!

Mike, his wife Susan, and myself organised the original Great Hameldon Hill Race in 1979 and for three more years to 1982 before we had to suspend the race due to the building of the Accrington Easterly By Pass which cut through the course. (Of course after the road was completed Paul Healey dutifully took over the organisation in 1986!)

As injuries and advancing years crept up Mike started watching Accrington Stanley in 1999 and had been a season ticket holder for many years since. He was well known on the Stanley Fans Web forum as an astute observer of all things Accrington Stanley. He used the web name ‘REDRAINE’.

Mike had battled bravely with serious illness for around the last nine years but always remained positive and bubbly. He did his best in his efforts to continue to live a busy life. Mike was much loved by his family and friends and will be missed by all those who were close to him.