For those who do not know about David Staff, he was a young member of Darwen Dashers and at age 17, he was running in the Clitheroe 10K when he suddenly collapsed and died during the race. His death was caused by a rare condition known as Hyperthropic Obstructive Cardiomyopathy. Every year, the money raised from this race goes towards research into this condition.
On to the race itself, torrential rain greeted the runners as came together for the start and it never let up for the rest of the day. On the ascent out of Sunnyhurst Park, Jonny Murphy took the lead, followed by John Horrocks and Robert Cranham. This group were running together until Jonny Murphy decided to push on, leaving the other two trailing behind. Initially, John Horrocks did not follow him and continued at his own pace up the steep ascent to Jubilee Tower. Suddenly, John also decided to up the pace and close the gap on the leader, leaving Robert running in the middle of nowhere. When they reached the tower, the two leaders were neck and neck and Robert was following on some distance behind, with a comfortable lead over 4th place. The positions remained unchanged after the run around the tops before the descent back to Sunnyhurst when John Horrocks took the lead and ran out race winner. It had been a cracking race between those two fine athletes. Robert was still running in the middle of nowhere, being too far behind those leaders to make a serious challenge, but still having a comfortable lead on the chasing pack. And that was how it remained until the end. It was a good performance by Robert and perhaps confirmation that he deserved the club award for most improved runner of the year.
Further down the field, the other Barlicker, Mark Horrocks was having a steady, if undramatic, race. But looks can be deceptive as Mark showed some of the old form for which he is famous and made a top ten finish whilst at the same time, scooping the first M60 prize.
3 Robert Cranham 34:02 (1st M40)
8 Mark Horrocks (1st M60)