I chose to run this race in Lancashire when planning my programme to race in a different county each month this year.
Last year the race was resurrected after an absence of 20 years and there were 141 ﬁnishers including four ladies I run with locally who had told me how much they had enjoyed the event. This year the race was very well supported with 409 ﬁnishers (a threefold increase in 12 months) and the number of female entrants exceeded the total ﬁnishers last year. I assume the attraction was the athletic built male runners or could it be all those Fireﬁghters? The race started at 10.00am from the Lancashire Fire and Rescue Training Centre on the outskirts of Chorley.
An ideal race HQ as there was ample car parking spaces and canteen facilities for all runners and supporters. The course was described as a two lap undulating country route around the villages of Euxton and Astley. The start and ﬁnish was in the grounds of the Training Centre. The ﬁrst mile took us down the long drive to the main Southport Road turning us left up a gradual climb towards Chorley. The route then turned left after approx three quarters of a mile towards Euxton where we ran on a wide footpath which incorporated a cycle path parallel with the main road. We then turned left at approx 1.5 miles down a very quiet country lane and just after the two mile marker there was a short steep hill prior to reaching Astley.
The route turned right into the village and left back onto the Southport Road to return to the ﬁre centre. This loop was repeated with the ﬁnish some 300 yards beyond the start of the race in the grounds of the training centre. All ﬁnishers received a medal and bottle of water. Entry Fee was £12 (Afﬁliated). All proﬁts went to ﬁreﬁghters charity to support the families of those who have been injured or tragically killed in their line of duty. A very worthwhile cause. Unfortunately, the race was not chip timed, my Garmin showed a ﬁnish time of 48:10 against the ofﬁcial time of 48:19. Maybe I should have started on the front line!! However, the latter is still a seasonal best. It must have been wearing that new club vest !! I ﬁnished 162/409 runners and 3rd in my age group although only 15 seconds between me and 1st over 65 age group. The second ﬁnisher in my group was a John Shaw (no relation) who just beat me by 4 seconds.
After the race all runners and supporters were able to purchase Lancashire Hot Pot and Mushy Peas for a very reasonable price of £2:50 served by the ﬁreﬁghters in their canteen. This was a welcome addition especially as the race was run in a temperature of 3C and proved very popular with everyone including Margie and myself and I actually paid for us both !!! Overall a very well organised race which is beginning to attract a good ﬁeld. Margie decided not to enter the race but enjoyed her weekend away at the Tickled Trout Hotel some 8 miles from race HQ. Later after returning to the Hotel, at approximately 10.00pm, blue ﬂashing lights alerted us to two ﬁre engines below our window. Apparently it was a false alarm. Margie and I thought they were bringing me my ﬁnisher’s medal as there was a shortage due to the increased numbers!