By David Jones

DESPITE Coronavirus putting paid to lots of sporting events at the weekend the Bolton 5k got the green light to go ahead.

The rearranged Central Lancashire Grand Prix fixture was dominated by Bolton Harriers running on their home course. Harriers provided the first three finishers and had seven runners in the top 10.

With the Wilmslow Half Marathon cancelled at the last minute the Leverhulme desk had a flurry of morning entries for the much shorter race.

Spectators were treated to a desperate sprint to the line between Blue Vests Tommy Harrison and Rhys Francis with Harrison prevailing. Francis, an aerospace engineer, just could not find that extra bit of throttle to propel himself to victory.

Last week’s longer Roddlesworth Roller trail race had seen Declan Toomey triumph with Harrison just behind.

“I think it being a shorter distance this week helped me as I have been doing lower mileage whilst managing this injury,” said Harrison after going one better.

“As for the race myself and Declan decided to try and go sub-16 minutes before the start, so we set off at that pace.

“The pace dropped a little as we kept fighting for position during the second mile along with Rhys Francis, who definitely looked the strongest of the three of us at that point.

“I knew my tactics before the race began. I knew if I was going to beat Declan I would have to go early as he would out-pace me in a sprint finish. So I upped the pace with just over a mile to go. Declan fell away with about half a mile remaining, but Rhys had stayed with me.

“I knew once we were on the track I would win if he didn’t pick up the pace before last 250m, which he didn’t, and I still had a bit of pace in my legs and used that to pinch the win.

“I thought my race tactics were perfectly-executed but still disappointed to have not run a sub-16 minute time.”

Francis said: “I’m more than happy to lose out to a team mate who is in great form and my 20-second PB was a lovely surprise.

“It’s nice to see the training coming together and hopefully I can improve the time again this season.

“To get the team win shows the strong training group we have at Bolton and hopefully we can go on to perform well in future events.”

Mark Wolstencroft came home in fifth and first in his age group. He was closely followed in a fabulous run by first junior Jason Scaife, who had won the Daffodil Doddle the week before.

Scott Crompton and Chris Povey (first vet 45) continued their fine form and completed the seven Blue Vests in the first 10 to finish. Ken Fowler was also first vet 65.

The men didn’t have it all their own way. The first lady home was the rapidly-improving Rachel Bailey who has had a brilliant year and looks set to continue filling up her trophy cabinet.

Molly Philbin, a new recruit to the Endurance Group at Harriers, came in first junior female.

Bailey, Ryan Kirkman, and Scott Bracey all clocked 5k personal bests again showing the strength and the quality of the training in Adrian Costello’s Endurance Group.

Congratulations must go to Gail Harrison and the team of volunteers and marshals for putting on such a well-organised event, particularly having to rearrange from an earlier date.

Results: Tommy Harrison 16:07, Rhys Francis 16:08, Declan Toomey 16:26, Mark Wolstencroft 17:46, Jason Scaife 17:50, Scott Crompton 17:55, Chris Povey 17:57, Dominic Gavin 18:18, Christian Pickford 18:22, Stephen Bonney 18:35, Rachel Bailey 19:04, Matt Atkinson 19:07, Ryan Kirkman 19:26, Jack Heggie 20:09, Scott Bracey 20:20, David Chrystal 20:23, Richard Scaife 20:32, Ken Fowler 22:02, Molly Philbin 23:28, Linzi Jones 26:31.