The Neil Alderman Trawden Celtic 7

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I'm writing this report with a tinge of sadness but a huge amount of gratitude to everyone who ran, walked, supported, organised and contributed to the fund raising event in Neil's memory.

As I put pen to paper the current amount raised for Neil's favourite charity Pendleside Hospice stands at an amazing £2,520.

A brief history for those that didn't know is that Neil passed away age 57 just before Christmas 2019 after a short illness. Neil had played football for Trawden FC in the past and was a long-standing member of Trawden AC, which was formed from the football team.

The Trawden Celtic 7 race was originally a training run for the football team before becoming a fixture in the Pendle & Burnley Grand Prix. In recent years the original route changed to create the Trawden 7 race in its current form.

It was a fitting way to remember Neil and a great thank you goes out to all those ex and current Trawden Celtic and Trawden AC members and their families who turned out to remember Neil and support the event.

The virtual race took place over four days and Costa del Trawden didn't let us down with some fantastic hot and sunny weather, it must be true the sun always shines and it never rains on Trawden Recreation Ground.

The racing itself was also hotly contested and in the ladies race Molly Ralphson led the way all weekend with a great time of 51:28 with Jo Perry 56:17 in second place and Fionnuala swann in 3rd place in a time of 56:56. Molly enjoyed it that much she went round three times over the weekend.

The leaderboard in the men's race changed hands several times as the weekend went on. Sam Watson 46:12 led on the first day, Jon Cleaver 42:13 took over the lead on the second day, and Alex Mason eclipsed that with 42:01 on the third day. Thomas Corrigan, who must have been sat at home watching the results come in, decided to enter at the last minute on the final day coming home to take the win by 4 seconds in 41:57.

Well done to Tom, a fitting winner with a great performance. Tom's dad Nigel was a footballing team mate of Neil's in his playing days. I don't proclaim to be an expert but running below 6 minutes per mile over 7 miles, including nearly a two mile uphill climb, is pretty impressive to me.

On a more personal note I ran twice, firstly in my pre-booked slot on Friday morning, I was originally running with Gillian but, after a fall running on the old railway lines to Skipton the week before, was still injured. Ian Hothersall stepped into the slot to keep me company, in a socially distanced way of course. We ran an unimpressive but totally enjoyable 1:13:25 with the highlight of the run the call of the curlew and lapwing on the top part of the course and the stunning beauty of Wycoller Dene in the summer sunshine.

My second run was providing support to a long-standing friend of mine, Simon Evans, on Saturday evening. Simon is a Reuters Sports news correspondent and has a blue tick on twitter (have you made it when you have a blue tick on Twitter?). He has just taken up running and seven miles was the furthest he had ever run, we managed to get round in 1:29:06. I'm still waiting for his run report to appear in the athletics section of the Daily Telegraph!

Overall 120 runners took part from 14 different running clubs, with 25 runners unattached. There were 33 female runners and 87 male runners.

It was great to see Neil's daughter Lucy take part in the race with a very creditable time of 1:01:56, along with Neil's nephew Stuart. Neil's family all turned up to give them and the event their support.

Special mentions go to Steve Whittaker of Hope Technology Ltd, a life-long friend and colleague of Neil. Hope kindly provided the main raffle prize and several spot prizes. Fellow Hope employees and workmates of Neil who ran in the event along with Steve were Paul Oldham, Sam Watson, Ashton Payne, Matt Rushton and Will Weatherall.

Another special mention goes to Paul and Samantha Hesketh of PH Electrical, again life-long friends of Neil, who provided all the winning prizes and also the PH Electrical employees who also took part in the race.

Finally, a huge thank you to Jamie and Roxanne McIlvenny.

When myself, Paul Hesketh, Steven Whittaker and Edward Lee discussed trying to organise a race in Neil's memory little did we realise how hard work it is to organise a race in these strange times, and we owe such a debt of gratitude for the time and effort put in by Jamie and Roxanne.

In memory of Neil, for Susan, Lucy, Joe and Family.

David & Gillian Greenwood

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