Yesterday morning, hundreds of people took part in the Preston Guild 5k race, the first in a series of Guild races that will take place in the city throughout the year.
In total, 741 runners completed the race on Avenham Park, with amateurs and enthusiasts rubbing shoulders with seasoned athletes around the challenging course.
The senior race was preceded by the junior equivalent for runners between the ages of 11 and 17, which began at 10am. Parents, some of whom would later be running the same course, could be seen cheering on their children from the sidelines.
As the 11am start got nearer, crowds of people began to gather underneath the bridge to Miller Park and all the way up the path towards Avenham Park’s main entrance. After the countdown, the Mayor of Preston, Bobby Cartwright, fired the pistol and the front runners shot off up the hill, followed by the the rest of the runners who could only emerge as the crowd began to thin out.
It’s thought that all the runners finished the race, and the marshalls reported that there were no injuries or problems in either the senior or the junior race. Fortunately, the terrible weather which spoilt the Chinese kite festival a week earlier, stayed away, at least for the duration of the race.
Below we have listed the top 10 finishers in the senior race. All of the finishers and their times can be found on the Preston Harriers website:
1. Thomas Carson, Bolton United Harriers – 0:15:37
2. David Rigby, Preston Harriers – 00:15:48
3. Robert Affleck, Preston Harriers – 00:16:24
4. Gethin Butler, Preston Harriers – 00:16:31
5. Jason Parke, Preston Harriers – 00:16:56
6. James Hilton, Wigan Phoenix – 00:17:19
7. Paul Freary – 00:17:37
8. Andrew Vause, Garstang R.C – 00:17:44
9. Martin Gaughan – 00:17:59
10. Jonathan Bridge, Blackburn Harriers – 00:18:13
The top 10 was made up largely of runners from local club Preston Harriers, but first place went to Thomas Carson of Bolton United Harriers.
Although he didn’t know much about Preston Guild itself, Thomas was full of praise for the race and the city: “It’s the first time I’ve raced in Preston this year, and it’s just absolutely fantastic to come here and win. It will give me a real boost for the rest of the season”.
Ben Crook, 22 and Sarah Ashcroft, 23, who are both from Chorley, decided to take part in the race as a way of preparing for the marathon later on in the year.
Ben said: “Today’s race was fun, I really enjoyed it as it’s a good route. I’ve always wanted to do a marathon so I decided I would do all four races in the Guild series. I only started training a few months ago”.
Sarah is keen to get involved with more Guild events as well: “I’m part of a belly dancing group which is taking part in the processions during Guild Week, so I’ll be around for that.”
Preston born Kirsty Henshaw, founder of Dragons Den-backed business Kirsty’s, was at the race. She said: “I don’t consider myself to be an avid runner although I do run quite regularly, primarily for stress relieving purposes”.
“I live near Avenham Park so I am very lucky to have such a beautiful space close by to run in. I am also a member of OzoneFit UK who operate out of the park as well, so I can be found running there most days”.
As a Prestonian, Kirsty also understands the importance of the Guild: “I am going to be running another of the Guild races, most probably the 10k which will be the very first time I have done it!
“I vaguely remember the last Guild, my mum and dad got married in the middle of it. I was only young so the memories are vague. I am very much looking forward to the rest of this years events”.
Did you take part in the Guild 5k yesterday? We want to hear what you thought of the race, so please leave your comments below.