At long last the first club event of 2018 arrived, the postponed club duathlon. Originally scheduled for the first Sunday of February it was one of the many victims of the dreadful winter and as such was held on Good Friday, when 28 members took to the start line of a race comprising two 5k runs through the walkways of Pimbo and five laps of the Pimbo road race circuit on the bike. Adam O’Shea set off quickly and was the early leader but it soon became apparent that it was instead a three-way battle for the win between Kevin Dudley, Gez Roberts and Dean Golba on his new Giant Trinity. Dean was the only one to go under 34 minutes for the bike leg and looked as though he might take it, but Kevin put in a remarkable final run to seal the deal ahead of Gez and Dean. David Gaskell actually came close to taking the final podium spot continuing the Thatto Cycles Trinity connection with a very strong bike split and good run performances came from Andy Devaynes and the unfortunate Emma Austin, who was sadly destined not to finish. This left things wide open for the accolade of first female home and in the event it was won by Carole James who overcame a sizeable deficit after the bike course to take the victory. Notable age group performances came from Andrew Gaskell, Paul Austin and Steve Williams, the latter undoubtedly looking forward to another year of attempting to qualify to represent Great Britain. It wasn’t a purely multisport Friday either as Diane Taktak took on the first of two races she would enter over the weekend as she ran the ever popular Salford 10k, and recorded a time of 1:03:21 just missing the top 600 on a day when the first five elites were all under 31 minutes.
Easter Saturday always sees the appearance of the Parkrun tourists and one would shape the outcome of the Stadt Moers event in Whiston. Adam and Robert O’Shea used the event as a recovery run after their heroics the day before and were rewarded with top 15 finishes, Adam even using his excellent powers of recovery to nudge into the top 10. Meanwhile Robert Chesters tried to chase down a Lancaster and Morecambe fell runner and while the pair were evenly matched on the paved sections, the runner from up north had that bit extra in hand on the technical sections and took the flag in 17:50, with Robert still managing 18:08 on his first trip to the multi-terrain venue which is popular with cross country leagues and cyclocross riders. The club also appeared at their usual haunts of Ormskirk and St Helens, Callum Bishop collecting yet another top-8 at Edge Hill just six seconds away from his PB in less than ideal conditions while Liz Spensley finished 206th in just under 34 minutes. Meanwhile at Victoria Park Paul Austin got one over Kevin Dudley after the previous day’s racing as he cracked the top 40 in just over 24 minutes while Kevin came home just over 90 seconds ahead of Mike Gregory. For once we had an entrant at Croxteth Hall, as Neil Wallace cracked the top 100 finishing in just under 27 minutes.
Easter Sunday dawned, as did April Fools’ day, and two events took centre stage with the Ulverston Triathlon kicking off the Epic Events season and the Hale village 5 miler offering a party closer to home. Mark Turner was on a road trip to the South Lakes venue as a comeback race. He was quickly into the swing of things flying both in and out of the pool looking particularly purposeful as he set off like a true pro with blue (not suede) shoes already in his matching blue Boardman on which he posted a very fast time and while unable to really push on the run course as much as he would have liked a top 30 was still a fine reward. Meanwhile the Hale 5 mile road race has become a popular replacement for the old Runcorn bridge event which clearly cannot take place in a day and age when you have to register to cross. Instead, over 500 people took to the roads of south Liverpool including seven from the St Helens Tri/Isabella Rose Foundation collaboration with some choosing to run in fancy dress. Four came from team Forber with Bethany following up a breakout first quarter of 2018 with a top-250 placing aided by Michael the Tiger (yes really) while Molli was accompanied by Christine Forber and the pair finished together in a time of 52:47. In addition, two St Helens Tri entrants ran in costume with Kevin Dunbar finishing just twenty seconds ahead of Jennifer Miller, while Diane Taktak not only had enough energy after Salford to come in just four seconds adrift but also to go for a bike ride with daughter Sarah afterwards on the back of a long run home! The secret seven rounded off a three-part weekend full of surprises at every turn with excellent performances coming at the club duathlon, the Knowsley Parkrun and the Ulverston Triathlon. The month of April includes many signature races including the postponed Oulton Park Duathlon and the London Marathon while the evening bike time trials kick off, Southport CC hosting their season opener at Tarleton this coming Thursday while the Tuesday evening TT’s begin on April 17th.