THE new Grand 10K at Aintree starts and finishes at the Main Grandstand and is run entirely on the inner tarmac road of the race course.
An attractive proposition for the dedicated road runner and Liverpool Pembroke Sefton star Kirsty Longley who received a special invitation.
She did not let the organisers down as she sped to 38.09 which suggested the course might be slightly over the distance.
Sixth overall she was 5 minutes clear of the next female. A generous prize plus a bottle of champagne ensures Kirsty will be putting this in her diary for next year.
At Blackpool’s Stanley Park the best in the North gathered for the early season road relays.
The club’s Under 15 girls exude a strong determined presence and although slightly off the pace did enough to suggest they will be noticed this coming cross country season. Morag Molyneux handed over 12th in 11.43, Charlotte Mawdsley (13) was on 12.09 and Jess Gonzalez-Green brought the club home 15th in 13.11.
After an encouraging performance the previous week in the North West Relays it was a bit down to earth for the Senior Men as they came up against some superb competition from all over the region.
Ryan Blackwell led on 39th with 22.23, James Loftus jumped a couple of places to 37th with a smart 22.02 and Warren Turner did even better going to 33 with 22.47.
Sean Kirkbride’s 23.14 produced a similar result and the club was 29th. Thereafter unavoidable absences were bound to take their toll and despite sterling efforts from Kyle Nicholls (32) with 23.41 and Rob Parkinson with 25.06 the club ran out 42nd.
The really good news is that at 20 Sean is the oldest member of the squad. There will be plenty more to come from this group of young bloods as the year wears on.
Team Manger, Charles Gains was delighted that the club also fielded a B team, another encouraging sign.
Rob Bland (64) ran 23.58, Mike Bride (75) 26.05, Bernie Murphy (75) 25.04, David Reece (75) 26.55, Danny Gilbody (75) 25.53 and Robbie Wood anchored on 69th with 26.24.
There will be a break now as the first of the cross country encounters does not begin until the end of October.