News October 2001

LPS 14th at Northern 6 stage Road Relay
This years northern 6 stage was held in Sunderland and just 6 runners made the long trip north along the A1 to represent the club. Once again illness, injury and apathy ruled the day with many preferring to stay at home to watch the England match. The 4 mile course at Silksworth was reasonably fast, but with a punishing climb into the finish and a severe headwind on the second half of the course, it was far from easy. Nathan Vengdasalem (20.11) had an excellent leg to bring the team home in 14th place. This was all the more impressive as Nathan had to contend with stomach cramps throughout the second lap. Alan Woods (20.54) pulled the team into a top 10 position on the second leg with an excellent run despite the wind on the course picking up considerably. Bernie Murphy (21.52) continued in his rich vein of form by running even faster than Woodsie to bring the team into 8th. These three excellent performances virtually guaranteed our qualification for the National event in 3 weeks. Nevertheless the remaining runners still had a job to do and each played their part. Sammy Rashid (21.42) showed what a valuable member of the team he is by maintaining the clubs top 10 placing despite running much of his leg with his shoelaces undone ! Mark Bleasdale (22.47) performed solidly as usual and the anchor leg was left to Jim Eden (22.17) who bought the team home in 14th place qualifying comfortably for the National. Credit goes to those athletes who turned out to run and special thanks to Robbie Wood and Charlie Gains for making the trip to support the runners.It remains to be seen how the team at Sutton Coldfield will take shape but each of the runners at Sunderland made a strong case for inclusion. Nevertheless, it would be nice to have a few athletes on the sidelines ready to step in the event of illness or injury. Hopefully Tom Snape and Jon Rice can shake off injury and stake a claim for a places
Report Jim Eden.
6th October 2001
Kiera fastest as U/17 come home 6th
LPS sent team up to Carlisle for the NoEAA young athlete relays. Best performance was from our under 17 ladies who cme home 6th with Kiera Vogel running the fastest leg for them. Our under 13 girls also had a good performance with a solid 10th place. The under 15 boys came 12th. The under 17 men came 7th with Michael Rimmer being 10th joint fastest in the age group.
7th October 2001
Graham Cairns 3rd at Sandstone Trail
Running only his 3rd competitive race of the year Graham Cairns showed he still has his old touch as he finished 3rd in the short(9 miles) race, at the 25 running of this popular event. Graham who is only one day away from his 45th birthday was first O/40. Not to be outdone Gill Darby also picked up the ladies O/40 prizes. Robbie Wood manged to come 10 and Richie Webster not running quite as quickly as last year was 28th.
7th October 2001
3 in first 6 LPS take team title at City of Liverpool 10k
In a record field LPS picked up the team event with 3 in the first six to see off a strong challenge from Liverpool Harriers. Lead home once again by Nathan Vengdasalem in second place backed up by in form Bernie Murphy 4th & John Kilbane in 6th place. Joey Parkinson just missed out on the counters finishing 13th. Mark Bleasdale just held off Graham Cairns in 25 & 26 place and with Jeff Mason in 29th spot made this a good day for LPS. Interesting to see that a M McLoughlin!!! finished in 42.
14th October 2001
Courtney wins Reebok , LPS take all the male team races in Mid Lancs & L&D at Sefton Park
Courtney Birch returned to Sefton Park to win the junior  ladies event in the opening Reebok fixture of the season. In a combined senior and junior event Courtney was 7th overall and 1st junior. Backing Courtney was Cheryl Lucas 70th and Gill  Darby 79th. LPS male athletes made the best of the mild weather, on a course which cut up as the afternoon went on.
Team titles in all the male section of the Mid Lancs plus wins in all but one of the L&D  The under 17 men won the overall team race with 3 in 21. Ben Jones (non-scorer) lead them home in 14th followed by Alan Stewart in16th and Chris Watson in 21 leaving UK age record holder Michael Rimmer to close in the team in 27th.
Under 17 Ladies Laura Davenport 41st & Amy Potter 54th ran well in the mud in the under 17 ladies race. Under 15 Girls a full team in the under 15 girls saw Nicki Bear lead us home in 14th backed up by Erin Halsall 28th, Anna Caunce 55th and Mega Singleton 79 Under 13 Girls Jane Walmsley 42nd. Rachel Roberts 51st and Helen Quirk all ran well in the girls event
A Good day for LPS.
14th October 2001
Disappointment at National six stage
As always Sutton Park, that oasis of green parkland in the midst of the urban jungle known as Birmingham was the location for the National 6 stage road relays. Birmingham, the city that gave us cultural icons such as ELO, Black Sabbath, Jasper Carrott and the Balti curry, once again played host to the nation’s top athletes.
The course over 5,847 undulating metres is a tough one but in stark contrast to the previous years gales and heavy rain, this year turned out pleasant – chilly with   sunshine and a reasonable headwind. First off for LPS was leg one specialist Nathan Vengdasalem (18.10) who gave 100% as always in a very strong field. Nathan brought the team home in a very respectable 25th position and handed over to Bernie Murphy (18.47). Bernie, enjoying his best form for some time ran well to keep the team in the top 30 places. Afterwards Bernie said that he had felt rough all the way and, though disappointed by his run, Bernie will be encouraged to note that last year he took more than 20 minutes on this course! Next up for LPS was hometown boy Sammy Rashid (19.10) now a key member of the 6-stage team and one of a  swiftly diminishing group of Birmingham City FC season ticket holders. Sammy, who always seems to run well in the relays, brought the team home in 34th position. What was particularly impressive about this was that Sammy was still shaking after a harrowing train trip through Birmingham surrounded by Aston Villa supporters. Club captain Jim Eden (19.58) was on fourth leg. Jim, whose training had been restricted since the Northern event with shin soreness and was therefore in even worse shape than usual, ran as hard as he could but could not prevent 4 runners coming past in the later stages of his leg. He handed over Mark Bleasdale who ran his usual steady reliable leg and handed over to our anchorman in 38th position. Cometh the hour, cometh the man. Once again it was Robbie Wood (22.54) who had helped the club out of a tight spot at the 12 stage in April who answered Jim’s extremely late plea to run. Robbie showed a loyalty to the club that would put many of our other athletes to shame and brought the team home in 49th position.
This race marks the end of a 6-stage season, which the club will want to forget. How is it possible that a club with our membership struggled every time to find just 6 available athletes? Thank heaven for the handful of runners who gave their time each race, as, without them, LPS would have not entered a team in any of the 6 stage races this year.  One or two runners were injured all autumn and this could not be helped but where were the others? All of us enjoy relaxing at weekends and any one of the athletes who did turn out for the club could have found something they would have preferred to do on a Saturday afternoon. But being in a club surely implies some level of commitment to that club and at the moment the number of runners demonstrating that commitment can be counted on one hand. If things don’t change we will not have a team for the 12 stage relays.
Finally thanks are due to Bernie, Nathan, Sammy, Jim, Luke, Mark, and Alan and, last but definitely not least, Robbie for their efforts this autumn.
Report Jim Eden
27th October 2001
Girls turn out at Young Athletes relays
LPS turned teams out in all three age groups of the girls events at Sutton Park. Under 13 girls came 31st Under 15s came 23rd with Niki Bear 9th fastest overall. Under 17s came 21st Full report to follow I hope.
28th October 2001


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