The past three weeks have been largely dictated by the weather with Parkrun cancellations aplenty meaning that we were only represented at one event on consecutive Saturdays (two longer Sunday races notwithstanding) before something of a rebound two days before Christmas. On 9 December the mixed terrain course in Ormskirk was the only local event suitable to race on and Wesley Brown made the most of it, finishing 13th and fourth junior in under 22 minutes. He was joined at Edge Hill by Tony Waine who was just edged out of the top 40 but still beat the 25 minute mark, while Laura Banks and Paul Brown both finished inside 28 minutes just over 30 seconds apart. Tony was our only runner the following week in Corby, Northamptonshire and he was rewarded for the long trip south with a top-35 result on a day when over 100 braved the slippery conditions. It was a similarly icy morning that had greeted Diane Taktak and Kevin Dunbar at their respective races the previous Sunday as the Longridge Lions 7 miler and Tatton Yule Yomp 10k took place. Diane was rewarded for her tough slog round a hilly course in deepest Lancashire with a fine time of 1:07:58 just a week after running the Stockport 10 while Kevin was on fine form in Cheshire as he placed a terrific 14th less than a minute away from the top ten in a time of 42:28.
The park runners finally enjoyed a decent Saturday morning two days before the resents were unwrapped as 23 December brought rather more hospitable, even mild, conditions. On home turf Dominic Byrne got round Edge Hill in 21 minutes just three seconds away from a top 20 placing while Joseph Duffy finished less than 90 seconds in arrears, and at Knowsley Adam O’Shea put in a brilliant performance on his Parkrun debut to reach the podium in 20 minutes Robert O’Shea was rewarded for his strength work during the cross country season with a fine run to eighth place. It was also a good turnout in St Helens where Kevin Dudley placed seventh in 20:37, Mike Gregory was 73rd in just over 26 minutes and Paul Brown finished 107th around half a minute shy of his PB. Others chose to mark the beginning of their holidays by venturing further afield, Tony Waine continuing his travels finishing four places higher than the previous week with a good run to 31st at Brierly Forest on his 125th Parkrun while Oliver and Chris Murphy were out in force at the Omagh event, the pair finishing inside 24 minutes just under 45 seconds apart. Two more Parkrun dates are on offer with many venues holding a race on Christmas morning while Saturday 30th is the final opportunity for a 2017 PB and a marker to take into the 2018 racing season, while New Year’s Eve sees the Ribble Valley 10k incorporating the Northern Road Racing Championships take place in Clitheroe.