Horwich Harriers is known as a fell running club and this season’s crop of the hardiest runners is positively blooming, especially in the veteran categories.

Top of the pile, so to speak, was Ian Conroy’s stunning victory in the Vet40 category at the Casamanya Extreme Vertical Race, in Andorra.

Described by the organisers as “only for the bravest”, the starting shot in the main Square of Ordina follows a less known, wild direct path to the summit of Casamanya. Raced slightly over 5.5km, as the race series name would suggest it is a steep vertical race of 1,440m ascent. Conroy endured a gruelling 1hr 7mins 18secs to finish 17th overall. The race is well known for the bell ringing at the finish line signalling the competitors’ run ending.

Closer to home, and following a very successful Cake Race for Horwich runners, they were at it again for the fifth event in the Run the Moors series, at the somewhat prosaically named Knowl Hill, which may be to lull runners into a false sense of security as the race is a challenging six-mile 1,300 feet of ascent, with an up-valley and down-dale circuitous route around Naden and Greenbooth reservoir before an all-fours scramble onto the moors.

Despite the somewhat unseasonably weather, Helen Macdonald (Vet 40), Alison Mort (Vet 45), Dan Gilbert (Vet 45) and Nick Kelly (Vet 55) brushed off the conditions and all took first in their respective age categories.

While not penning news running reports or college assignments, the continually improving Sam Fairhurst finished in a fine third place overall and Sandra Kelly was third-placed female. Matt Fawthrop finished in an excellent sixth place overall, mere seconds ahead of Gilbert in a closely-fought inter-club battle between the two.

Kevin Newall was 28th and second Vet 50. The Garys - Chadderton and Porteous - were third Vet 60 and eighth Vet 55, respectively. Completing the team was Chris Charnley as ninth Vet50.

The Harriers also scarpered off with the men’s and ladies’ team prizes. The series now moves onto the more intriguingly named Eddie’s Revenge at the end of the month.

In parkrun, Robert Jackson sought new adventures at South Manchester Park and predictably finished from a sizeable 297 field of runners first in his age category in a fine 18:41.

Lynn Smith was 104th in 39:28 at Pennington Flash, while Lawrence Pinnell was 87th in a symmetrically timed 27:27. Racking up more parkrun miles, the Middletons trekked to the Welsh-English border for the Severn Bridge Parkrun were Jason placed 126th (26:55) and Janet 174th (30:06). Gillian Smith travelled away from the comfort of Haigh Hall to accept the delights of a wind challenged Morecambe Prom Parkrun and in a large field of 372, she placed 242nd in 32:21.

Parkrun display of the week goes to Grace Freary with a second overall lady and first junior personal best of 21:10 at Peel Park. Also at Peel was Sean McMyler - 40th overall in 20:39.