Report from the Villages' Race
The 20th running of the Adidas/On the Run/ Dressers' Arms Through the Villages' race began in very windswept and wet conditions, which added to the toughness of the 8.45 miles course.
Former winners Paul Muller (Horwich) and Steve Watson, now running for Buxton A.C., were amongst the hopefuls in the 260 strong field to take top honours. Paul Muller a winner on 6 other occasions took the initiative after only 1 mile, and dominated the field to finish in 46 mins 39 secs well over a minute ahead of Dave Shaw of Bolton, and third placed Watson.
Lisa Heyes ( Salford ) was first female home in a time of 54 mins 14 secs. Second place went to Joan Jackson (FV45) of Northern Vets.
Local interest surrounded the placings of Chorley A.C. and Harriers.
Dominic Raby (Chorley Harriers) finished 12th overall, with A.C.'s Eddie Reynolds in 17th place. The Chorley A.C. trio of Reynolds, Simon Townsend and Fletcher just placing ahead of the Harriers team.
1st open team home went to Bolton, with Wigan Phoenix taking runner up spot.
The first veteran team went to Horwich, with Atherton S.C. taking unattached team.
The organisers Heapey and Wheelton Village Hall Committee would like to thank Lancashire Constabulary (Wheelton Section), Red Cross, RAYNET, John Schofield, Tony Bolton Sports, Chorley Guardian, On the Run,The Dressers' Arms, Adidas, Sweatshop, and all the marshals, hotpot makers, and all groups who helped make this years race such a success.
Subject to Police approval, next years race- the 21st, will take place Sunday 7 November 2004.
Full results can be obtained from www.ukresults.net
The course begins at The Dressers' Arms and then proceeds up the Harbour, turning right at St. Johns School , before descending down School Lane .
The runners then turn up Twistmoor Lane , past the quarry and down to Abbey Village, turning left on to Bolton Road, past Abbey Village School. Following the A675 towards Preston, competitors turn left up past the Hoghton Arms, before turning left on to Bury Lane .
At the end of Bury Lane runners turn right and follow Railway Road to the end before climbing back up to the Harbour and down to The Dressers' Arms car park for the finish.
The race has often been described by experienced runners as ' eight and a half miles of hell' - but they keep coming back!!!
All proceeds go to the upkeep of the Village Hall.