Runners stride out for tough villages race

Runners set off for the Through The Villages race
Runners set off for the Through The Villages race

Thick fog added to the challenge for runners taking part in the 32nd Sweatshop/Dressers Arms Through The Villages race on Sunday.

It lived up to its reputation as a tough road race, with the 8.45-mile course taking in some of the difficult hills around the West Pennine Moors.

More than 300 runners set off from the Dressers Arms in Wheelton and followed the route through Brinscall, Withnell and Abbey Village.

First across the finish line in 47 minutes 18 seconds was Preston Harriers’ Rob Affleck, who finished 22 seconds ahead of second-placed team mate Gary Pennington.

Nine-times previous winner Paul Muller finished the race in 10th place, making it the 26th time he had finished in the top 10.

The men’s team race was won by Burnden Road Runners, with Darwen Dashers in second. Darwen also won the veteran team competition and Chorley Athletic And Triathlon Club were second.

The first woman to finish was Blackburn Harrier junior Liz Greenwood, finishing in 54 minutes 31 seconds, ahead of Darwen’s Joanne Nelson in 54 minutes 47 seconds.

The women’s team race was won by Darwen Dashers, with Swinton Running Club just one point behind.

Medals were presented to all the finishers and hot pot and other refreshments were served afterwards at Heapey And Wheelton Village Hall.