Regular training: Wednesday evening

Latest: we have a growing band of beginners and intermediates …a very welcoming group that looks out for each other and is growing in confidence. Ideal for anyone not wanting to tackle the full distance. Give it a go!

We meet every Wednesday for a 6:30pm start at the Helsby Community Sports Club. We’re now on the summer program of mainly offroad runs — don’t be intimidated, nothing too hard and we have folk of all paces out. Getting started: give it a go. Come and say hello, make yourself known. Something like “Hello I’m new, I’d like to go for a run” should do the trick. More…

Helsby RC News – Monday 14th to Sunday 20th August 2017

Welcome to the Helsby RC weekly Round up. Please keep sending any race reports or anything you want including to helsby-race-reports@outlook.com

Upcoming Events and Reminders

We kick off this week with a few reminders –  firstly an email from Jackie Keasley:

A reminder of our next Interclub Fell Championship counter
In (between Helsby, Spectrum, Warrington & Delamere Spartans).

Wednesday 23-Aug-2017 7:30pm Harrock Hill (nr Parbold) 8.4k / 275m 5.2 miles / 902ft

Message from club member Gareth Boyd – Chester Running Tours

I’d like to invite Helsby RunningClub members on a free 5k tour on the evenings of 22nd and 29th Aug. 7pm start. For info please see http://www.chesterrunningtours.co.uk/

Those of you who are interested should email Gareth at info@chesterrunningtours.co.uk highlighting which date works best for them. We wish Gareth good luck in his new running for all venture.

The 18th NORTH WEST COUNTIES ROAD RELAYS

Last year Delamere this year Blackpool!

Stanley Park Blackpool, West Park Drive, Blackpool, FY3 9HQ
Saturday, 09th September 2017

13:20 Senior Women 3 x 5.2km £15 per team
14:30 Senior Men 4 x 6.6km £20 per team

Club will pay. All runners must be first claim members of Helsby for road running; CLUB VESTS must be worn. County Qualification: Club athletes can only compete in the County Championship in which they are eligible by birth or residence.

Last call for GreenArmy team members please? So far we have Fitzy, Gaz, Col T, Roy & Jane. It would be great to say make up 2 men’s & 1 ladies team. Please let me know asap if you are interested in making up our teams

Thanks & Cheers

Jackie”

***

And a reminder from Phil Gillard regarding the 2017 Fell Relays:

2017 fell relays

The 2017 fell relays will be held in Llanberis on Sunday 15th October, for those of you not familiar with the event it is where all the great and good of the fell running community meet up for a brilliantly inclusive relay race. The format of the event is:

Leg 1 – solo runners – 8.8k
Leg 2 – pairs – 14.9k
Leg 3 – pairs – navigation
Leg 4 – solo – 8.35k

with each runner handing over to the next member of the team.

This year we have entered two male teams and one female team.

Laura has already started organising the ladies team, so ladies if you want to take part, then please get in contact with her 

For the chaps, if you want to take part, please get in contact with me –

There are two pre-requisites for being able to take part:

You need to have all the safety kit – windproof / waterproof trousers and jacket (with hood), gloves, hat, whistle and compass, along with a bumbag or similar to carry it in
A couple of AM races under your belt

There is still plenty of time to get all this together

So, let Laura or I know if you would like to take part in the best fell running day of the year

Phil”

***

Racing News

2 Hillforts Fell Race – Sunday 13/08/17

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A great race report has been sent in by Chris Collins:

“Firstly I will start by saying I’m not normally 1 for blogs nor am I an English grammar teacher but Jim asked me so nicely to do this and I couldn’t think of a valid excuse not to so here we go…

Sunday afternoon,1pm race start and the weather looks good as well as the temperature being near the 20’s. After spending a week in France eating and drinking I knew I wouldn’t have ran if I didn’t turn up. Having done this race before I knew what to expect, low key, great organisation, great atmosphere and on a good day some nice views from the 2 hill tops.

Once registered I spotted Jim Jones, we chatted and he told me how he had raced yesterday. Secretly inside I was over the moon knowing he may be heavy legged made my confidence grow at the fact I could be first home for our club!

Anyway to the race. This course is basically a long climb up to Penycloddiau (where there was once a hillfort) slight drop in altitude before a shorter climb up to the top of Moel Arthur (you guessed it, there used to be a hillfort there too) from there it’s all downhill to the finish.

For anyone who is interested results and a race round up can be found here http://walkrunclwydian.co.uk/2-hillforts-fell-race-2017-results/

Highly recommend the events Joe Cooper and Out-Fit put on regularly, not only do they have a great feel he also does these events to raise money for chosen charities.

Big shout to Jim for turning up and giving a good race after already giving his all on Saturday, I’m sure if he hadn’t of ran Saturday he would have had me!”

Thanks again for the report Chris. It was also great to see Leah there in support and taking photos.

NB Chris Collins was a little too modest to say in his report that he finished in 4th Place and won the MOPEN category! Well done mate!

***

Maesgwm Muddle fell race – Saturday 12/08/17

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Jim O’Hara and myself did the Maesgwm Muddle race on Saturday, Sharon Basford was also along running for Tattenhall, and what fun we had. It was a 10 mile race with some 3800ft of climb. The route loosely covers the Moel Eilio race route in reverse – with a couple of out and back add-ons! The most notable add-on being the first climb and then 20747973_1405593029489699_7589964420039885550_odescent of Moel Cynghorion, which was very steep, grassy and wet. Coming down a few opted to slide on their backsides. I tried it for a while until my sizeable load caused me to pick up so much speed I was worried I might not be able to put the breaks on! Visibility was bad on top, and a few people who didn’t know the route were using map and compass or tagging on to those who knew the route (or had gpx!). This was definitely one of the more technical races regarding descents that I’ve done, with the more experienced fell runners able to make good time on the downhill. It was a well hosted event by Mike Blake of Eryri and a great day out. Not seen the results yet but they should appear on the WFRA site.

***

Parkrun

Well done to everyone who was out at Parkruns this weekend. Phoenix Park runners were shown what Helsby RC are all about when Chris Fitzpatrick turned up for the first time there – and finished 1st! Followed in 2nd place by Ian Rutherford! Brilliant running guys. Our Parkrun cosolidated report is available HERE

***

That’s it for this week. Happy running!

Jim

Weekly Update 31-7-17 to 6-8-17

Reminders

The 18th NORTH WEST COUNTIES ROAD RELAYS

(Inc. Cheshire, Greater Manchester, Lancashire and Merseyside Championships).

Being held at Stanley Park Blackpool, West Park Drive, Blackpool, FY3 9HQ on Saturday, 09th September 2017

13:20 Senior Women 3 x 5.2km £15 per team

14:30 Senior Men 4 x 6.6km £20 per team

Anyone interested please being in a team contact Jackie on

jackiekeasley@btinternet.com
ALL runners must be first claim members of their club for road running;
CLUB VESTS must be worn.

All athletes must be paid up members of England Athletics

This is a new, local race organised by Warrington Athletic Club.

http://tiny.cc/3g5zmy
The Warrington Athletic Club Olympians 8 mile Road Race is now open to entries on the Run Britain website. It’s on Sunday 27th August at 9.30am starting from Victoria Park. it’s in the new Warrington Road Race Grand Prix.

The Run Britain website states it is a 8 mile 2 lap road race on paths within and outside Victoria Park Warrington, starting and finishing on a running track and taking in some of Warrington’s iconic landmarks.

Onto the reports, Ben C sent in this from the Ponderosa Fell Race

We arrived to a wet, foggy and what could have been said to be a miserable setting in the hills of Llangollen for the Ponderosa 2017 fell.
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We could not see anything from the end of the carpark. Still, as always, the runner’s vibes were high as we all set off walking down to sign up with our pennies ready. Took us a good 5minutes… must have been 30 meter, the Frodfather, being stopped by every man and his dog to say hello, “must be some sort of local running celebrity”, “think it’s his tan to be honest”. £4 to run, no kit check, savvy!

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Back to the car we trotted to get suited and booted, “bladdy hell, its gunna be a wet one, is it a coat job?” “You kidding??!! We’re from Helsby, Vests only!!” and there we were jogging up field, vests out for the ladies, high-fiving Joe and Mario whist en route as we headed to the start.

7pm arrived and the runners assembled, 9 of us from team Helsby (Paul Frodsham, Paul Cunning ham, Debbie Read, Christine Roach, Rachel Arnold, The Roberts Due, Jim O’Hara and myself). The whistle blew and off we went,
92 runners started the ascent. It wasn’t a complete nightmare to be fair, most managed to keep a steady pace all the way up. After the ascent, there was a narrow lose stoned bike trail that we had to single line dash across, seemed to go on forever. Everyone eagerly trying to get a chance to pass those in front whilst not falling over on the unstable rocks under our shoes… wasn’t going to happen. By this point the rain had stopped and the low clouds had started to pass.

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The trail final opened up down a descent, runners finally getting their chance to take the person in front of them, others taking a minute to catch their breath, whether it by the ascent or the view of the rainbows over the valley. Either way it was beautiful!

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As we finally winded our way down and around the hill, we meet with Mario once again, warning us that we were about to hit a bog! and didn’t we just. There was no running through this.. runners piling up on one another, struggling to keep their shoes on. Christine fell in, luckily not all the way, but it was up to her knees. My runners are still a wet, mushy mess now at home stinking out the kitchen.

The finish line was there! If we could just make it up this final little ascent. I’d like to think everyone struggled with that last bit. I know I sure did.

We made it! The race was over. We had all managed to get our sorry for nothing, wet, boggy asses over the finish line, all with smiles on our faces!!

The race was won by Michael Corrales (NWRRC) 26.59mins followed by two runners from Mercia Fell Runners, Billy Stirling 27.44mins  and James Craig 28.04mins.

Our own Jim O’Hara came 9th with a time of 29.55. Well Done Jim!!

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I’m proud to say I was only 20 seconds behind the Frodfather with a time of 35.00mins (I thank you) Debbie and Christine were the winners of their categories!! Absolutely smashing it as usual! Much respect ladies!

Over all, for a 4 mile course and the weather leaving us with an ‘orrible stinky bog, it was a tough but enjoyable race.

 

Fitzy sent in this from the Pie and Peas race.

My first race back from injury and really wasn’t sure whether to race or not but what a race to come back to, pies & peas at the end of it. This sells out pretty quickly every year and i can now understand why, held in a lovely little village, which is very tight for the cars to get down and also the runners.

We arrived just in time for the heavens to open, and that continued exactly until the end of the race. The race takes you out of the village road of Davenham and onto the trail paths surrounding it, down to the Salt works and what i think was the River Weaver, a bit of undulation and back into the village for a lap of the green and past the finish line.

A few great results from Adam Gordon, 2nd Vet 40 and 15th Overall, 9 out of the top 10 were Vale Royal in a very strong field, and Carol Shaw 1st FV55. All in all 10 Helsby vests out on a thoroughly enjoyable night, and then back to the Legion for the best bit, pie and peas….lovely stuff

Full results here

https://vrac.niftyentries.com/Results/Pie-Peas-5-2017

Jim Jones sent in this from The Peaks Skyline race

On Sunday 06/08/17 I completed the Peaks Skyline race which starts and finishes in Buxton. The route is 29.7 miles long with some 6600ft of climb and takes you to the five trigs of Axe Edge, The Roaches, Shutlingshoe, Shining Tor, Burbage Edge. I finished in 7 hours which was longer than I’d anticipated. But it was my first long run since I injured my knee in the Snowdon race 3 weeks ago. Not being able to run distance or hills while injured but continuing to eat like an ultra runner didn’t help much yesterday. I struggled the last few miles but at least the rain stayed away – and I stayed on my feet for a change. I finished 67th from 105 runners.

parkrun

Helsby runners were in parkrun action across the area. Highlights include a 1st place for Col Thompson at Phoenix Park. Full results for Helsby members are below

http://www.parkrun.com/results/consolidatedclub/?clubNum=1721

 

Thats it for this week. As usual all reports to helsby-race-reports@outlool.com

Cheers

Gaz

 

 

Helsby RC weekly round-up 24th – 30th July 2017

Hello Green Army

Not much going on this week, only the one report, and that’s about a Swim as well. Don’t forget without reports we cannot put much in the blog, send them in to helsby-race-reports@outlook.com. Would be great to get some new writers as well.

As i’m typing this i’m reading on Social Media that Gaz O’Connor (who should have done the blog this week) has just completed the Deadwater Ultra Marathon, 225 miles from Scotland to Wales, running for 6 consecutive days. Sure we will hear about it next week, but I for one want to congratulate you, what an amazing achievement, well done mate.

Park run seen runners out in Bramhall, Pheonix, Chester, Medina I.O.W, Delamere, Shrewsbury, & Widnes. Full consolidated results below

http://tinyurl.com/kvq2x25

Right over to CBH for the only report of the week, Helsby Swim Run club we will be known as soon. (note; i always get a mention in his reports, he must be missing me)

Breca Buttermere
Another weekend, another SwimRun! This time I stayed in the country and travelled up to Keswick for Breca Buttermere. To say the course was ambitious would be an understatement… after 21.9k of running, 4k of swimming over 7 swims, and all the transitions in between, the race heads up from Buttermere to Robinson along for a further 14.5k of the Anniversary Waltz route before dropping down to Derwent water for 2 swims (1500m total) separated by an island hop and a final 900m run to the finish. Phew! Check it out here: https://tinyurl.com/y8ad46k2
This time I was partnered with Tin Wilcock, my long-term partner in endurance sport, and what a privilege it was to spend time out with the him. We’ve done so many races together now, from our first ultra, through mountain marathons to UTMB, to winning the inaugural ‘Escape from Meriden’, I knew I was going to have a great day out in his company.
These days I find I don’t just want to rock up to an ultra unless I get to share it with one of the friends I’ve made through the club or through all my previous events; I see them as adventures to be enjoyed, sure I’ll compete, but that’s not the primary goal anymore, it’s the challenge, the adventure, the beauty and sharing it with friends that makes it for me.
Lining up I clocked Ben Abdelnoor and immediately thought the race was won if he has a half decent partner, there wasn’t much time for such thoughts as we set off and immediately got caught out by a dodgy course marking! Right from the first run I was feeling knackered, but we squeaked over the rollercoaster terrain and transitioned well into our first swim.
Sizing up other swimmers and knowing where other team’s strengths is a really important part of SwimRun, assuming you are racing (rather than just enjoying a day out). We’d decided that we were going to start off well and see how things went. The second swim was 1k and boy was it choppy! We bobbed up and down like corks and it felt for quite some time that we were not moving. Added to this a number of the other team’s ahead insisted on swimming banana shaped routes to the flags which kept making me question whether I was losing the ability to swim straight in the choppy waters; I wasn’t.
It’s the little wins that give you strength. Knowing that others were swimming extra distance, or didn’t have a swim tow rope (Tin and I consider this mandatory kit), spanking people in the swim so they know they must get well ahead in the run to maintain position (Liz and I were on the opposite side of this in Engadin!) bantering with other teams for dropping things repeatedly, or hearing the team argue. Focusing on the bits that are working for you, rather than the bits that aren’t, can bullet proof your psyche.
Every event requires a nemesis to keep things interesting and ours came in the form of one half of a mixed team. He clearly had a problem harnessing his competitive nature and was not only totally out of sync with his partner (and not even remotely interested in adjusting for the greater good) but he certainly didn’t like being overtaken due to dropping his goggles. His reaction was to elbow me out of the way on a narrow path; mine was to try and raise my jaw back up from astonishment. We’re all competitive, but these long endurance events just aren’t the place for that kind of behaviour… certainly not in the first few K. He instantly became a comedy figure and one we’d be quite happy to finish in front of.
Setting off up the climb to Robinson we spent extra time in transition whilst our comedy nemesis and his partner panicked their way through the aid station following our overtake of them in the swim. We suited down, topped up fluids, got fruit and gels in then cracked on. We were soon overtaken by a couple of farmers, one of which was a Sheppard… no prizes for guessing who could walk up a mountain quickest!
The route up is great as it affords competitors with good views of any teams ahead. For the first time in the race I realised that we could now see third place… unfortunately we could also see fourth, fifth and sixth too!
Hitting the ridge line, I realised I had absolutely nothing to give. By the time we saw Dale head we were a good 7-10 minutes behind 3rd-6th and spoke about how happy we’d be with a top ten finish. Dropping from Dale head we could see that one of the teams were really struggling. Their ‘beaten’ body language was set against the beauty of the Newlands valley… Tin got inspired.
Tin chased and I did everything I could to hold on. We finally took them on Maiden moor and put on our best cheery conversational voices (psychology is everything). To our utter astonishment they were still fully suited and wearing caps and goggles on their heads – I was roasting and I was fully suited down, goggles around my arm and cap in hand! The trip out to the Anni Waltz to cheer on Helsby runners earlier in the season left me with a nice bit of knowledge of the best line of Maiden moor; we were running free.
Descending to Derwent water allowed us to pick off another team (triathletes can’t descend Fitzy J) suddenly we were in 5th and not planning on relinquishing it. Hitting the road disaster struck, we’d lost the markers and were off course, a quick backtrack and we managed to finally find them again. To our astonishment we also found our comedy nemesis (much to his dismay). Overtaking them and heading to the final two swims I was confident we could seal 4th.
We… ok, I, had an enormous faff getting into the penultimate swim. I literally couldn’t believe what I was seeing. Thrashing away in the swim were the farmers and the comedy nemesis and his partner. The four teams had been so far ahead, but had taken it in turns to break like wet KitkKats! At this point Tin was wondering what I was doing and I was just making sure nothing was going to need fixing whilst in the water. We set off to the island just ~ 100 swimming metres behind third and fourth.
Arriving at the island I started to get concerned… had I been over confident of our swimming prowess? We hadn’t appeared to take much out of them and Tin was doing his shoe lace up which he hadn’t thought he had time to do before the last swim. I desperately wanted to get moving. We got into the final swim 60+ metres behind the two teams with me stating the obvious, “We’ve got to go balls out on this one Tin!”
The water had got choppy. Waves attacked us from behind whilst I tried to time my stroke so I could surf in on the wave… I don’t believe I ever sussed it! Within the first 200m we’d taken the farmers. Without a tow rope they were struggling in the water, and really struggled with the chop. Just the comedy nemesis to go.
The biggest problem we had on the swim was the concertina effect of the tow rope and the waves. This manifested in me going to breathe, Tin being pulled backwards on the wave and me being pulled underwater by the rope. It was killing me! We exited the water a couple of minutes ahead and Tin confessed to being wobbly – it wasn’t over yet, but I was confident we could walk the 900m to the finish and still snatch third. Job done!
Amazing event, recommended to anybody with a sense of adventure that can swim!
Epilogue – we met our nemesis later at the prize giving (they won the mixed), he introduced himself and got chatting to Tin. Blamed his partner for being so slow and made out like he would have beaten us soundly if it wasn’t for her. There was definitely one loser there this weekend!
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Yet again superb photo’s
Shout out from our Chair Jackie, lets rally the troops

Interclub Fell Championship Counters between Helsby, Spectrum, Warrington & Delamere Spartans).

Consists of 3 races, the first one was last month’s Wobbler. Spectrum are still computing the results for this which gives points for absolute positions, all finishers plus extra veteran points, so everyone counts & the more runners the merrier!

We have a titles to defend as we have won these interclub fell champs every year so far… the remaining races are:

Wednesday 23-Aug-2017 7:30pm Harrock Hill (nr Parbold) 8.4k / 275m   5.2 miles / 902ft

Saturday 16-Sep-2017 11am King John’s Castle (nr Mold) 7.4k / 264m 4.6 miles / 866ft

Let’s retain the title again!

Sure there will be a mass of Green at both events

 

And last of all well done Jane Ashbrook, picture of Jane and Charlie at At the @ActiveCheshire,   pass on your passion celebration for inspirational women in sport

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That’s it for this week, hope to see you all soon

Fitzy 

 

Helsby RC News from Monday 17th to 23rd July 2017

Welcome to the weekly roundup everyone.

First of all I just want to catch up on our Summer Handicap results,  which just missed our round up from last week. Thanks to Phil Gillard for organising this event again and sending in the message and results below:

thumbnail_20170719_202120.jpgHelsby RC Summer Handicap – Wednesday 19/07/2017

“A big thank you to all the helpers; everybody out on the course and in the clubhouse.

Results by position

Results by position

The rain held off for a dry run in good conditions, nice to see Nick getting his nav right for once and new member Ben getting on the podium. My thought for the day; when will Ste Wiggins ever catch his dad?”

Results by time

Results by time

Summer Handicap 2017

Summer Handicap 2017

 

Reminders

Turning Up Competition (TUC Cup)

The trial of our new in-club competition starts on Tuesday 1st August and will be running until  31st December 2017. You will be awarded points when you race for the club.

All you have to do to get credited points is make sure that we know you have ran (wearing a Helsby vest) or supported at a race. You can make sure we know by emailing helsby-race-reports@outlook.com

Race reports will be very welcome but not obligatory for you to be credited points – we just need to know about the race you have completed or supported. Parkruns are not included but we will award a point for anyone getting a PB at a parkrun, if you let us know about the PB.

The aim is simply to accrue as many points as possible which will be awarded as follows:

1 point awarded for any UKAA, FRA or WFRA recognised race.
1 point awarded for other ‘notable’ races
1 point awarded to members organising or marshalling at a Helsby RC event, and therefore unable to race.
1 point awarded for turning up and supporting Helsby RC at a race – even if you are not running yourself!
1 point for achieving a PB at a parkrun.

 

Green Green Grass of Home Fell Race – Wednesday 26th July 2017

Our next club Fell and Mini-Fell Counter is oat 7.30pm Wednesday 26/07/17 from the Golden Lion, Llangynhafal, LL16 4LN

 

Club Championship Tables

A note form Ben & Suzanne Fletcher that we have updated the club championships road/fell https://helsbyrunningclub.wordpress.com/2017-road-and-fell-champs/

Racing News

Northumberland Coastal Run – 23 July 2017

Thanks to Geoff Collins for sending in the following race report from the Northumberland Coastal Run:

For the second time in three weeks I find myself in the North East of England again. This time for the Northumberland Coastal run organised by local running club Alnwick Harriers. Alnwick of course is much better known for its famous castle and garden, which featured in the Harry Potter films. The Northumberland Coastal Run recently won a Bronze award in the Half Marathon category at the ‘Race of the Year Awards 2017’ held at the O2 in London!

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This multi terrain race starts on the beach at Beadnell, a former fishing village, not so quaint now with a large number of new houses built there. The locals call it Gosforth-on-Sea as most of the houses are second homes for the better off in Newcastle! The race finishes on the beach at Alnmouth. Its a bit longer than a half marathon just under 14 miles. A very efficient fleet of buses take the runners to the start from Alnmouth. This year I ran with two friends, Carl also a colleague from work (a former Frodsham Harriers member), and Jill a friend and former colleague from Newcastle.

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But the real ‘race’ started in January to secure one of the 1200 places. You only have a matter of a few hours and anxious moments spent on the computer before it sells out!

The scenery and views of the coastline are stunning. This race has three quite long stages on beaches so is very tide dependant. But this year there was a lot of rain before the race, and the forecast was for more on the day. In fact the weather here was a complete contrast to that other members of the Green Army were enjoying in Snowdonia! But hey ho a light northerly wind was blowing – great when you are going south!

The first 2m takes you along the beach up over the sand dunes to Newton links. The beach was very wet, there are some small rivers to cross. it’s not long before I’m wet from the waist down and now it’s raining too. Then there is a short section of tarmac road to get you past the rocky headland of Newton Point and down into Embleton Bay. Now a longer section of beach run. As the bay curves the shortest route takes you very close to the waves!

Then it’s up the dunes again as you climb the coastal path towards the ruin of Dustanburgh Castle. I couldn’t believe just how muddy and slippery it was this year. Now I’m regretting my choice of footwear – road shoes! Past the castle there is a bend in the path. Everyone slows down keeping left. Then I pull off a real masterstroke of opportunity, a clear area to the right beckons. I go for it. Too late I realise it’s a just a muddy drop. I can’t stop and pretend I’m skiing without the skis as I lurch from one side to the other. An alternative explanation is I made a mistake. Somehow I’m still upright at the bottom having past 6 or7 runners.

Then you drop down to the village of Craster where they smoke Kippers. A sign says roughly half way that’s encouraging! Out of Craster it’s climbing up the coastal path onto the

headland again. Then there is a long section of path some of it very muddy, I’m starting to look and feel like I’m on a cross country run. It’s hard going underfoot when your feet are slipping so much. Why didn’t I put trail shoes on?

Then the route takes you to Boulmer the site of the now closed Search & Rescue helicopter base. Finally you’re down onto the last section of beach at Foxton. Now it’s just 2m to go curving past Marden Rocks before you can just make out the finishing arch on Alnmouth Beach. Lots of rocks seaweed and breakwaters need to be negotiated or jumped as you race to the finish.

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The support from the Alnwick Harrier marshals and spectators is really good, and one runner I spoke to even knew our Gareth Boyd what a small world! In fact this is a well organised race with a very nice t-shirt at the end, even a choice of colour, would you prefer blue or black? Spectacular scenery all the way, it’s even better if the sun is shining. I loved every minute of it. I will be back next year. Shame about the weather and my poor choice of footwear.

The results (990 finishers)

1st Ian Harding 1h 12m Morpeth Harriers.

1st lady Jane Hodgson 1h 25m Morpeth Harriers.

394th Carl Hayes 1h 54m.

464th Geoff Collins 1hr 59m Helsby RC.

772th Jill Young 2h 18m.

Parkrun – Saturday 22nd July 2017

Delamere was popular this weekend with 9 of the 14 Helsby park runners turning up there on Saturday. Well done everyone. Our club consolidated  park run report is available HERE

I think that’s it for this week. Please keep sending your reports into helsby-race-reports@outlook.com.

Thanks,

Jim

 

 

 

 

Helsby RC weekly round-up 10th July to 16th July 2017

Hello Green Army

First of all apologies to Carl Pratt, your Tour of Merseyside report got lost in the trash folder, so it’s main billing this week.

I took part in the tour of Merseyside again for the 4th year running. 6 races in 7 days.

Sunday: Southport half marathon
Monday: thurstaston multi terrain 10k
Tuesday: Walton cycle path 10 mile
Thursday: otterspool 5 mile
Friday: knowsley X country 10k
Saturday: Wirral coastal 10 mile

15 minutes slower than last year but i did learn the art of negative splits for the first time. I see how it work now. Nice to do a bit of overtaking near the end of the races.
No mad rock festivals or holidays over the summer this year and starting to train properly again to get back to a decent pace. Still it was an awesome week and signed back up for next year. 400 places sold out in 2 hours. Nice t shirt and geeky stats attached

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helsby 2

Well done Carl, it’s one that i would love to do but i keep missing out on the registration.

One of the most popular races of the year is also one of our shortest, Over to Geoff Collins who sent in a report for Dearnford Lake relays

Last week’s Dearnford relay race proved to be a really exciting and worthwhile evening out. ‘That’s a long way to go for a 2 mile run’ was a comment made in our car on the way down. Nevertheless the scenic lakeside location of this event, together with the efficient and friendly organisation of Whitchurch Whippets made this a ‘must do’ event. Fortunately the flock of geese around the lake scarpered before the race started.

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There were lots of opportunities to cheer your team on while you weren’t running. Helsby had no less than 4 men’s teams, 2 ladies teams and one rather interesting mixed team, more about that one later. Helsby C men’s team included Roger Michell, Davyds dad in it. Also great to see one of our new members Katie Lord in one of the ladies team. Now Katie has a green vest there is no stopping her, having done The Druid fell race the day before!

Fortunately Roy managed to have a complete team together in the end, I know this had been looking doubtful at one stage.

My team was the mixed team. ‘Coming Ready or Not’ or the dream team as it became known on the night. In the team were two 15yr olds, my son Jonny and our family friend Amy (Amelia) Batchelor making her debut appearance in a grown up race. ‘Dream’ summed up my aspiration to expand their experience and involvement in running as part of their Duke of Edinburgh award.

On the night there were some fantastic performances: Helsby A, Colin Bishop, Colin Thompson, and Danny Rider finishing in 5th place in the men’s team. Helsby B Ian Rutherford, Ian Hamling and Paul Frodsham finishing in 13th place 21st overall. The Green Flyers, John Whitehead, Roy Gaskill, Ben Crosley, 19th place 46th overall. Helsby C Davyd Michell Roger Michell Paul Cunningham, 21st place 54th overall.

The competition was high where did that Olympian for Sale member who did a 9m 49s lap come from?

For the ladies Helsby JJR team, Jo Lacking June Swift and Rachel Holden finishing in 3rd place 38th overall. Helsby Ladies B Shan McCarthy, Rhea Howard-A, Katie Lord, 13th place 93rd overall.

helsby 4

Coming Ready or Not – The Dream Team

So Coming ready or Not, frankly not ready for me, to be honest running a fell race the previous day maybe not a good idea, even less so when you take one of your team out for a speed session.  A day earlier I find they go a lot faster than I can!  I knew I wouldn’t be the fastest in my team, Jonny beats me by 11 secs.  Seconds count in this race.  But our team star on the night was Amy, on a roll having been first lady finisher at Chester Parkrun the previous week.  Amy beating Jonny by 12 secs!  Amy secures our own team prize and got the coveted chocolate bar, She also ran the 3rd fastest lap time of our 7 ladies.  Coming Ready or Not finishes in 23rd place in the mixed teams, 60th place overall.  Not bad for two 15yr olds, one only just old enough to enter the event and some old guy!

As always we were grateful for Joe and Mario’s support not forgetting Jane’s fantastic refreshments.  Many thanks for supporting our young team members.

Geoff Collins

Cracking report Geoff, thank you

Danielle Ryder has been up to another crazy challenge

Race to the Stones is a 100km race from Chilterns to the North Wessex Downs along the Ridgeway which is said to be the oldest path in the UK. The race is set up so that you can race it non-stop, walk through the night or stay in an overnight basecamp and complete the 100km over two days. I plucked for the two day option and managed to talk a friend who went to Namibia with me into the challenge aswell.

We both absolutely loved the weekend! We started early on Saturday morning near Lewknor in Oxfordshire with staggered start times to spread people along the route, registration was easy and we handed our overnight bags to the assigned waiting truck and towed the line. The km’s ticked down easily as we set off at an easy pace in the rain which persisted for the majority of the morning but with the weather warm I didn’t get the rain coat out. The first day had us working our way through wooded areas with some single track, passing through the middle of some amazing corn fields and weaving our way along the Thames. Mid way camp appeared at the top of a climb after just under 7 hours on our feet and over 700m of elevation for the day. Mid way camp was amazing, limitless food including pasta, fajitas, cake, free massage, yoga sessions and hot showers. After picking up our assigned tent numbers which were extremely spacious compared to my recent mountain marathon experience, and our bags we headed for the showers, a massage, round two of food and a relax in the sun. At this point I couldn’t even imagine carrying on non-stop for the 100k! Day 2 started dry and we set off at around 6.30am.

The terrain on the second day was more open with some stunning vistas opening up on the higher ground of the North Wessex Downs. Unfortunately the kms did not disappear as nicely today. I had started to get a pain on the outside of my foot with about 6kms to go on the first day which was only an issue when walking or running. The pain had not gone by the Sunday morning which made for a long slog of a day and numerous popping of pain killers. I still loved the day and seeing the sign for 5k to go before dropping down a long descent and doing a lap of the Avebury stones was brilliant. The sense of achievement of having covered 100km on foot over the two days was amazing and we even managed a sprint finish to overtake two women we had been zig zagging all day.

The pace was slower with more walking but we still completed day 2 in under 8 hours with 600m of elevation which I am really happy with. The event was brilliant, extremely well organised with excellent food stations (I came away with more food than I took), volunteers and medics and it had a really inclusive feel with the mix of runners and walkers. You also got copious amounts of free photos – most of which were not very flattering unless you like a grimace. I would highly recommend. Now I only need to try and heal my foot so I can do some more.

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No runner takes a decent photo if you are running hard, well done Danielle

Now i’ve been told by Gaz that if it’s not just running it shouldn’t be in the blog, so here’s a Swim run report from our CBH just to annoy Gaz, it’s also a cracking read and the photo’s aren’t too bad either

Rockman Swimrun – Lysefjorden, Norway.
Two weekends, 4 flights, two swimruns. So last week was Engadin where my race partner Liz and I qualified for the Otillo world swimrun championships, but this is the race I’ve been looking forward to all year. Rockman totally grabbed me last year. Iconic bonkers start jumping from a ferry into the Fjord for a 900m swim complete with jelly fish before heading up, up, up to three more swims and a run to Preikestolen standing at 604m. This is what it looked like:
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On the way of Preikestolen I managed to slip on a 45 degree rock and my legs went completely from under me. Sliding uncontrollably towards a 10-12ft drop I managed to angle my body towards a tree and break the momentum from my fall. As I got up I realised that I’d managed to retain the fist full of sweets I’d just got from the aid station. Professional! Cracking on from there I slipped again and landed hard on my big toe which is suspected to be broken… not good less than 10k into the race! Some extremely technical running across simply the most stunning landscape followed along with another cheeky swim and more of the same until the first big Fjord swim (1600m).
Laura had come out to spectate and have a long weekend in Norway so as we entered this big swim I did my best to shout a “No Goubunku” out so Laura would know it was us. Only seconds later I was chuckling to myself as it would have just sounded like a sad middle aged man trying to reclaim his youth to those nearby and a muffled noise to those on the boat. Liz and I have finally got our tether to the right length and with Liz using hand paddles this time we seem to really hid our swimming stride. Slow over the seaside sprint we came to Songesand and Laura. At this point we lay in 5th position in the mixed (a category that has become the most competitive of the lot this year – 4 out of the first 10 finishers were mixed).
Fitzy would have loved the next bit… road; around 7k of it! As we ground our way up the never ending hill all I could think about was the waffle lady. When an aid station is cooking fresh waffles on the side of the road for you, you know you’re in a fantastic race! Dropping down to the 1700m Fjord crossing I lost my cap, but it didn’t stop us nailing the crossing in just over 30 minutes. The Fjord was meant to be ~11-13 degrees, but it didn’t feel so cold this year… we knew we had colder to come.
The next section is a 750m climb up 4444 steps. It’s brutal. A gel, a bar, two electrolyte drinks, a water and a redbull and we were sent off with a further two gels in our wetsuits by the overzealous marshals. Frankly I was off my face on sugar. Getting to the top we could see a group of three teams ahead. Our speedy Fjord crossing had put us in 4th mixed team and with the first of three swims at the top down we were going well. The next aid station was manned and we asked if any of the teams ahead were mixed… they were… 8 minutes ahead. Game on.
The second of the two 9 degree swims complete we were on the dragon’s neck. A wonderfully runnable rock section. A slight nav error added and extra swim for us, but we could see the team ahead and were closing. By the end of the final swim (7 degrees) we were just 5 minutes behind. A stunning bit of single track trail and a steep sometimes technical descent awaited. We were refusing to go quietly into the night, despite not being able to see them.
Popping out on the final bit of technical descent I spotted them. We increase the pace and dropped Laura who had been filming. In total stealth mode we were taking chunks out of them until they broke out onto the trail and she looked up. “We’ve been seen Liz, just go!” We dropped like stones and hit the trail, switchback after switchback we were gaining and I knew they were ours for the taking. We crossed the line with huge grins and a 4 second advantage.
Podium? Don’t mind if I do!
Wow, another thing to add to the bucket list i think 
 

Park run seen runners out in Pheonix, Chester, Delamere, Ellesmere Port, & Widnes. Full consolidated results below

http://tinyurl.com/kvq2x25

And last of all, a very good mate of mine Colin Havey, is organising a comedy night down at the club, put this date in your diary, as he will have some of the best acts on the circuit coming to Helsby to make us LOL! Friday 10th November, it will sell out pretty quickly i reckon so watch this space and i will keep you all informed.

That’s it for this week, keep sending in the reports it makes our job so much easier

Happy Running

Fitzy

 

Weekly round up 11-7-17 to 17-7-17

Firstly a reminder from Cybi Striders about their 5 mile race at the end of July.

Please find attached details of our 5 mile race in Holyhead on Sunday the 30th of July. This is now a measured course.

We would be grateful if you could share this information with your club members.

We have also set up an “event” on our Facebook page if you would like to share it on your club’s Facebook.

Thank you

Elen (Club secretary)

cybi

 

On to the running and race reports.

parkrun

Helsby runners were in action at Phoenix, Chester, Delamere, Wepre and Widnes parkuns. Highlights included second places for Ian Rutherford and Col Thompson at Phoenix and Chester respectively.

Full results for the week are below.

http://www.parkrun.com/results/consolidatedclub/?clubNum=1721

 

Richard Hankins sent in this from The We Love Manchester 10K

The We Love Manchester 10K was an excellent event for those with an interest in urban geography. Starting and finishing at the Manchester Athletics Stadium next to the Etihad Stadium the venue is an excellent example of culturally lead regeneration. Being from South Manchester I have an inherent fear of driving north of Piccadilly as I’ve heard many tales of the terrible things that can happen to your car or, God forbid, bike. So, I took the tram – an excellent example of a modern urban light rapid transit system that has extended access to the labour market for many. Upon arrival I eventually found my way into the venue (this was a little challenging due to confusing signage – a trait that continued once inside). There was also the challenge of getting passed the toilet queue which had unhelpfully formed across the only corridor that the organisers were allowing you to use to get to the start area. This resulted in some delays for people getting in and a delayed start to the warm up and race…but it wasn’t really a problem.

Once outside the Arena is an excellent venue. We started on the track running approximately half way round before heading out to see what this part of Manchester has to offer. Initially we passed through a modern commercial area, then into an area of post-industrial decay before ending up in a transitional zone of abandoned terraced housing. This gloom was eased by some modern industrial units before we repeated some of the course in the opposite direction. For those of us used to the relatively maritime climate of the Cheshire Gap we all got the opportunity to experience an urban heat island – with temperatures soaring almost from the moment we set off. As a result it felt tough out there.

The course was relatively flat with some steady inclines and a couple of bridges. Roads were wide, closed and well marshalled. The race finished back at the Arena after a series of loops around the site which got my little oxygen deprived brain confused. We had a good turn out from Helsby with seven of us running. Colin T led the field home in 15th, I (eventually) followed him in 40th place and 1st vet 45. Jane Ashbrook took the female vet 40 prize next. Other outstanding performances included Jim Jones in 6th male vet 50 and Carol Shaw 2nd  female vet 55. A pretty impressive run of results for a little Cheshire club.

mangrap

 

Colin Bishop sent in this about the Northwich 10K trail run

While Sunday saw lots of green army head off to Manchester I decided to stay nearer home a head over to Carey  Park in Northwich for 10k trail run. The route took you out around the back of Marbury park, Lovely views of the lake on such a lovely summer morning. Bacon butties ale on a bale friendly atmosphere The gauntlet laid down for anyone to break the course record 37. 29 I think it was, in with a chance I thought until the long legs of a Vale Royal runner appeared on the start line? he knocked nearly two and half minutes of the record so had to make do with 3rd with what I thought was a respectable 37.33
Glad to say I interrupted a potential Vale Royal 123 finish. 1st Vet though
One to think about in the future

Jay Bradley ran the Tatton 10K on Sunday

Race report – Today I was fortunate enough to run the Tatton 10k courtesy of a free place offered to Helsby RC. It was a fantastic race to help kick start my training returning from injury. The start time was an early one – 8:30am, but what could be more satisfying on a beautiful sunny Sunday morning? The course was incredible, running through the pictureque Tatton parkland. It was slightly undulating but a relatively fast course, perfect for a PB. This was actually quite a small event with only 350-400 runners, reminiscent of a park run really. At the finish line there was a very nice medal, free flapjacks, a herbal tea drink and a very nice sachet of almond butter. Parking was straightforward and the atmosphere was lovely. I would thoroughly recommend.

 

Neil Finegan sent a report from the Offas Dyke 17 mile race

A new event for the local calendar, with Denbigh Harriers putting on what was an outstanding 17.5 mile route from Llandegla to Bodfari taking in most of the peaks of the Clywydians and following the Offas Dyke trail.  It was an exceptionally well organised race – a brilliant small race atmosphere on a hot July day.

Meeting at Bodfari, the bus to the start in Llandegla gave us the chance to take in the views of the hills which we would later be struggling over.  The route has over 3,000 foot of climb on mainly trails.  It is a race which is open to anyone looking for a challenge – Jez Brown from Buckley is a superb runner on any terrain and he took first place in a fantastic 2:11, followed in second by a Denbigh runner Tony Wood. .But there were generous cut offs for those taking it slower, with the last runner coming in at just under 5 hours.

The route had 3 water stations – which given the July heat were greatly appreciated.  The organisers made everyone run with at least a litre of water and this turned out to be very good advice as the combination of the climbs and clear blue skies (24 degrees without the usual Clywydian breeze) meant that it was an exhausting race.

Overall, I really can’t recommend the race enough.  It would be a fantastic addition to the trail running series and if the event grows in popularity then they are already considering adding a shorter “B” race option. Great value as well – the entry fee of just £10 plus £5 for the bus to the start.

My own race was eventful.  “Follow the Acorn markers and you can’t get lost” was the advice at the start.  A couple of miles in I managed to take a diversion – following a local runner thinking he would know the way – but we were soon back on track thanks to a local walker.  Due to a little fall at about halfway and a bit of a groin strain slowing my progress over the many styles, I took the second half of the race at a more leisurely pace, struggling to get over the styles, and finishing third.

The provisional date for next year is July 8th.

 

Chris BH was at the Otillo Engadin Swimrun….

What a weekend! I kicked off this year’s swimrun season with a stunner in the Engadin valley of Switzerland (St. Moritz area). The scenery was utterly beautiful, the water in the lakes clean enough to drink and the whole set up pretty much immaculate. It was the first time I’ve been to the valley and I know it won’t be the last!

This year I’ve teamed up with Liz Barker and we’d set our hopes on getting into the Swimrun World championships (self-titled). The original swimrun came out of a drunken bet: to swim and run along the Stockholm archipelago. Having failed to get one of the highly prized places through the normal entry system (which sees only a handful of placed given out) we had to win a place through qualification. This meant being in the first three mixed teams not already in the race.

Otillo

Engadin sported the world champions in our category as well as several other sponsored teams. We were certain that two had qualified already so we knew we needed to come in the top five. It was our first outing though and with the DBR in my legs and a 22 hour Charlie Ramsey round in Liz’s legs just 2 weeks before the race we certainly weren’t making life easy for ourselves.

The entire race we played cat and mouse with another team who were a minute or two quicker over 600 metres in the swim. Given that the penultimate swim was 1400m it meant we really needed to get ahead. We were quicker on the downhill (particularly where it was technical) and over the course of the event we’d managed to turn the uphill and flat to our advantage too.

With 600m to go on the long swim my heart sank as not one, but two mixed teams started to edge past us. We managed to hold them off for 300m and then I switched direction to try and draft the faster swimmers, eventually exiting the water at the back of the three, but all together. Liz and I immediately set off running whilst the other teams stopped to grab a coffee from the aid station. On the 400+m ascent up the mountain we never stopped working; the second pair managing to just about keep pace. We hit the aid station and grabbed a few things expecting to head downhill only to find we’d miscalculated where the aid station was… it was halfway up! Finally hitting the top we blasted the downhill looking to put 2 minutes on the team behind to give us a chance of exiting the final swim first… the race was on!

As we’d headed up the final hill a thunderstorm had broken out. Arriving at the bottom for the final swim we had already put our caps and googles on, zipped up and were ready to get in… the storm had meant they had re-routed the teams and so we had to run around the lake instead. However by this time we were well over 5 minutes ahead (unbeknown to us). All we had to do was polish off the final 3k to the finish.

Otillo

Finishing we were told by the couple ahead that we were 5th!! They also said they were in Otillo… I asked an official to be told that I’d have to wait until the prize giving to find out. Post race meal and beer tasted fantastic. Liz and I had worked really hard throughout the roughly 6h and 15m we’d taken to complete the course. In the end we were around 40 minutes behind the winners of our category and 1 hour behind the male pair that won the overall event. This was a huge surprise and I’m thrilled to say we were rewarded with the second of the three places in our category for Otillo in September. Next up is Rockman in Norway where we would have needed to win overall to score a place in Otillo. It’s nice going into Saturday knowing we’ve got a place and can just enjoy what is the best single day race I’ve ever taken part in…. Rockman awaits!

 

Thats it for this week, as usual please send reports to helsby-race-reports@outlook.com

Cheers4

Gaz

 

 

Helsby RC News from 26th June to 2nd July 2017

Hi Everyone, and thanks for the reports and contributions this week. Please keep sending them in to helsby-race-reports@outlook.com.

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Frodsham Downhill Run 2017

Before the past week’s racing news we have a few reminders and a brief from Phil Gillard on our upcoming Summer Handicap:

Reminders

Thursday 6th July 7.30pm – 2nd Fixture of Deestriders Off-Road Grand Prix – £5 on the night (if not already entered the series) at Tata (formerly Corus) Sports and Social Club, Rowleys Drive, Shotton

Sunday 9th July 9.30amUKFast We Love Manchester 10k is our next Club Road Counter at Etihad Stadium, M11 3FF

Wednesday 12th July 7.30pmThe Druid is our next Club Fell and Mini Fell Counter at the Druid Inn, Llanferres.

 

Summer Handicap

“Ladies and gents,

The date for this years summer handicap is Wednesday 19th July. It is open to every club member and if you run on the hill on a Wednesday evening, you are more than qualified to enter.

For those of you who are not familiar with the event, we meet at the club at 18:30 as normal and then jog on mass through the quarry to the car park at the top of the quarry. Handicaps are then given out with the faster runners setting off after the slower runners, so that everybody should cross the finish line at the same time 😊

The route is straight up to the top of the hill, down the other side and then back to the quarry car park via Middle Walk, the joy of this route is that you get to do it twice with the finish being at the end of your second run along Middle Walk. Following everybody finishing, then we all toddle off back to the club for a BBQ organised by Dave and Lesley.

I can now envisage that you are all chomping at the bit to get involved, so this is what you need to do:

  1. If you want to run, send me your latest 5k or 10k time by 14th July – 
  2. If you want to marshal / help out, please let me know and I will assign you a position / job
  3. If you want to come to the BBQ, please let Lesley and Dave know via email

If you have any questions, please let me know

Phil”

 

Racing News

 

Robbie Webster’s Wobbler – 28/06/2017

Thanks to Chris Baynham-Hughes for taking the lead on yet another successful Wobbler and sending in the following report:

“Despite the miserable conditions 100 wobblers turned out last Wednesday to take on the now infamous Robbie Webster’s Wobbler. Prior to the event I’d had a message from Robbie’s daughter saying how Robbie would be so proud of the race – made it a really special year to hear such kind words. Robbie’s nephew and his son also ran which was a fantastic honour to have them there.

The race doesn’t happen without the fantastic club support and marshals – thank you so much to all of you that came out to help and make the event so special… especially in that weather! Huge thank you to all the cake bakers too.. I’m not 100% sure on the end amount raised there, but I’m waiting to hear from Robbie’s daughter as to whether they have a chosen charity for the money to go to. We had fewer people back this year, no doubt as people wanted to get dry and warm!

The race itself was not without mishap and controversy this year. Despite the directions of “keep to the main path and go straight until you reach a marshall or clear signs” was mis-interpretted by a penny lane runner leading the race on the first ascent which resulted in him taking a 270 degree turn off the path. Our very own Steve Riley found himself as the “one time race leader” as a result! Thankfully there were no more mishaps and the end result was a fair one.

The results are up on the blog – 2017 RWW page. No team trophies for us this year… we need a full house next year!

Thanks again.

CBH.”

 

Saunders Lakeland Mountain Marathon, Loweswater – 1st & 2nd July 2017

We had a few Helsby ladies taking on the mountains over the weekend. Thanks to Janet Robertson for sending in this report:

“Three teams comprising of Rachel Arnold & Janet Robertson, Christine Roach & Danielle Ryder (Carrock Fell Course) and Sue Buck & friend (Wansfell Course) travelled to the Lake District to take part in the Saunders Mountain Marathon. This two day event involves navigating around the Lake District carrying camping kit, fuel, stove and food. It was very hilly. And very steep. And very long. Rachel once again demonstrated her superb skills as a navigator. Virtually none of the first day involved paths and we were treated to varied and ‘interesting’ terrain, including some entertaining river crossings. Conditions at the overnight camp were extremely wet, but despite the persistent rain, tents were pitched and we settled down to a delicious meal of beanfeast and noodles. After a surprisingly restful night sharing Rachel’s bed of wafer thin bubble wrap (having had some technical issues with my balloon bed) the four of us were off again, finishing the two days of the Carrock Fell course in a total of just over 12 hours. Now I will pass over to Sue for her perspective on her first mountain marathon….

This was my first mountain marathon and I decided to walk it , mainly because I wanted to practice some navigation skills and I didn’t want the pressure of running as well, so I asked my friend Lorna to partner me. Lorna isn’t a runner, but is ex-military so she can navigate.

We did Wansfell – the shortest of the classes. Still quite tough though in my opinion!

Day 1:

Highlights:

Weather was glorious until about mid-afternoon.

We didn’t get lost, we found all the controls and the routes we’d picked.

I did navigate for at least half of it and helped with some of the rest 🙂

Cup-a-soup is just so good when you are wet and cold.

Lowlights:

Weather turned just at the moment when the ground underneath got technical with a particularly nasty, steep and technical descent off Gale Fell. Best option was to slide down on your backside and try to avoid the rocks!!

Wearing walking boots and not fells shoes, particularly on a steep muddy, bracken path where studs would have just been great and where the water went over the top of my boots so I was walking in a puddle for about an hour.

Adventure food – who puts peas in spaghetti bolognese??

Not having dry socks – no idea why, but at least I had some plastic bags! It was irrelevant the next day as almost immediately my feet were wet as we had to ford a stream!

No camera – will try to remember that for next time!

Day 2.

Highlights:

Weather was mostly dry all day and therefore we had views 🙂

Finding control 6 a lot more quickly than we thought – Lorna was convinced that it was going to be difficult, but it wasn’t in the end down to her navigation skills.

Finishing it without missing any controls!

The food at the end!

Lowlights:

I didn’t do much navigating and left it to Lorna.

Tiredness caused us to make at least 3 mistakes that probably cost us about 45 minutes.

We took forever to find control 4 – we both thought we were somewhere other than we were on the map, albeit on the same fence line, but luckily we found it eventually. Jackie’s words of wisdom about ‘knowing exactly where you are on the map at all times’ were ringing in my ears!

The last steep ascent through a muddy forest!

I thoroughly enjoyed it and I would like to do another one with the intention of running some of it

Screen Shot 2017-07-04 at 20.35.07

Before

Screen Shot 2017-07-04 at 20.40.36

End of Day 1

Screen Shot 2017-07-04 at 20.43.42

Rachel’s delicious cooking yum! And so well presented …”

 

Chevy Chase Fell Race 01/07/2017

Geoff Collins sent in the following report about the Chevy Chase Fell Race – Thanks Geoff:

“Misadventure in the Cheviots – Race Report Chevy Chase Fell Race – Sat 1 July.

Screen Shot 2017-07-04 at 20.52.25

I almost didn’t write this report, nows a good time to take the dog out if you’re expecting another worthy tale of an epic PB. There isn’t one. But then I thought no it’s worth telling this story. Sometimes things don’t go to plan but it’s still worth having a go.

This year was the 61st Chevy Chase fell race. The Chevy Chase is a 20 mile race through some of the finest scenery in Northumberland giving runners the opportunity to ‘channel their energies into a rewarding and demanding personal challenge’ say the organisers. Finest scenery maybe, I would say more like 20 miles of hell in a peat bog! The route takes you deep into the heart of the land of the ‘far horizon’ which is code for you’re never going to get there!

You summit both Cheviot 2,676 feet and Hedgehope 2,348 feet. Total climb is 4,000 feet. Its organised by Wooler Running Club who take over the youth hostel as the race HQ.

I’m the first to admit I’m a road runner really not a fell runner. But I have always wanted to have another go at this having done it once 20 years ago.

The route is entirely unmarked you chose you own path and there are 7 check points. The weather up to two days before the race was very warm and dry, but 48 hours of rain soon changed all that. At least on the day it was dry and sunny with perfect visibility.

Armed with all the clutter you must carry for a fell race, I felt like I was embarking on some major expedition to a faraway land. Starting on the road to Wooler Common 227 runners set off immediately its uphill from the off. Soon you are on the fell which was indeed very wet and muddy.

I followed the runners towards the first checkpoint at Broadstruther so far so good. Then towards Cheviot Knee next check point. The climb is unrelenting towards Cheviot checkpoint 3, which seems to take forever to get to. All the runners are well, not running now everyone is walking. There is a fair headwind but the views are spectacular. I reach the summit in 1hr 51m. I’ve no idea if that’s good or bad but I’m there. So far so good no need to look at the map or the other clutter of paper I’ve got. Famous last words.

Now over the summit comes the first bit of descent. I follow the other runners over a stile and towards the edge of the summit. The view down into the heather covered valley was astonishing. Astonishingly steep that is. People hesitated at the edge there were cries of despair. Some were jumping down and falling over. A guy shouted ‘this is how you do it’ and promptly launched himself off like he was on a slide on his backside. Everyone followed, there was a mass of bouncing rolling and falling bodies’ down the hill, accompanied by screaming and howls from people in pain. So this is fell running eh? Eventually you try and regain your footing I kept falling over. The heather is soft I started not to care if I fell over anymore, I ‘got bits of vegetation inside my shorts. Bottom of the valley is Harthope Burn a watercourse in I go and scramble up the other side on all fours. A female runner tries to overtake me and loses her grip and careers back into me, so fell running is a contact sport then? We apologise smile and carry on. But then the climb starts for Hedgehope it’s a case of trying to find firm ground there isn’t any. It’s very wet on the ground I don’t care anymore. I reach Hedgehope after 2hr 54m. At this point I remember there are cut off times on check points. To my alarm I realise I’m only 16m ahead of the cut off at Hedgehope. That’s a bit tight really not much room for error.

Now the next two decisions I make would alter the whole outcome of my day. I need a toilet stop. Still runners in front so I wait until they are out of sight over a small hillock. Then I continue where are the runners in front now? Nowhere to be seen. Time to get the map out. Where’s the checkpoint? It’s not marked on the map, the point I’m at is just off the map copy. I fumble for the bit of paper with checkpoints on. Where exactly am I, the clocks ticking, must make a decision, quickly, cut off times. Harder to think when you’re getting tired. Head left its going down I speed up. A walker is coming towards me, ‘that’s an interesting route your taking he says’. Is he joking? Which way is Langlee Craggs I gasp? Up there he points back to where I’d come from. Then the awful realisation struck me I must be at least 400 feet lower and gone the wrong way. 10 minutes to go I retrace my steps it’s really hard work. I’m never to going to make it. So after a few expletives I contemplate what to do, retire? Carry on? Try to regain the route missing the check point out entirely? But of course I knew what the penalty would be. I turned my watch off.

I regain the route towards Brands Corner checkpoint, I pass it they don’t notice me. Then I head along a path close to another watercourse think it’s called Hell Path. It’s very rough and eroded and lots of overhanging vegetation, slip here and you’re in the fast flowing river nice. At this point I teamed up with a lady runner from Elvet Striders (from Durham) who looked like she needed a bit of encouragement. We ran together for the last 4.5 miles to the finish. This was probably the best part of the race for me. Partly because it was the end, and my companion was quite engaging and seemed to appreciate my sense of humour. We had a bit of a laugh. Jokingly I said I’ll chase you to the finish then, amazingly we both had enough energy to do that.

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Interestingly there were 29 non finishers, who retired or missed checkpoints seemed a lot, out of 227 starters I though. Still I got the t-shirt and the cakes at the end.”

Frodsham Downhill Run 02/07/2017

A massive congratulations to Elliot Michell for completing the Frodsham Downhill Run, and well done to Dad Davyd for sending in this report:

“On Sunday I did my best run of the year, this wasn’t because it was the furthest or fastest, it was because it was my eldest sons first race. Elliott is 4 1/2 and has been asking to do the downhill run for at least 6 months, so much so that he’s been practicing on every bit of downhill pavement between home and school. So the big day came on Sunday and we duly arrived at Forest Hills for registration and picked up our numbers. It was great to see some familiar Green Army faces and have a chat even if pre race nerves seemed to have kicked in for Elliott. The race starts at the memorial on the top of Frodsham hill and at 12:30 we were off, we set off at a good pace but were being overtaken my loads of children sprintingimage-2 past. Not panicking we kept moving well and we soon started to overtake people who had set of way too fast, Elliott was running really well and you could see the determination on his face to catch and overtake people. By the time we got to Howey Lane and a mile had gone past he was starting to get tired, but his determination kept him going, we entered castle park and again it was great to see the Green army marshals cheering everyone on. We rounded the corner and spotted the finish line and my wife Kate cheering and he put on a sprint finish and crossed the line ahead of me in a cracking time of 12:30. He looked shattered but the smile on his face was priceless, I was so proud of him to run the whole way without a break and was amazed at the the amount of competitiveness in him already.
Big thanks to everyone from the club who said well done and chatted to him, despite his shyness I know he was very happy.
David”

 

Parkrun 01/07/2017

Saturday saw 9 Helsby members participating across 5 different parkruns. The most notable results coming Phoenix parkrun where Colin Thompson and Ian Rutherford finished in 1st and 3rd places respectively. Well done Guys! Our Club’s consolidated results are available HERE

 

Turning Up Competition (TUC Cup)

Finally for this week, just a brief heads-up on a competition we are going to trial from 1st August to 31st December 2017 where you will be awarded points when you race for the club. I’ll be sending out an email in the next couple of weeks to let you know about it but here’s a summary.

The aim is simply to accrue as many points as possible which will be awarded as follows:

  • 1 point awarded for any UKAA, FRA or WFRA recognised race.
  • 1 point awarded for other ‘notable’ races
  • 1 point awarded to members organising or marshalling at a Helsby RC event, and therefore unable to race.
  • 1 point awarded for turning up and supporting Helsby RC at a race – even if you are not running yourself!
  • 1 point for achieving a PB at a parkrun.

All you have to do to get credited points is make sure that we know you have ran (wearing a Helsby vest) or supported at a race.  You can make sure we know by emailing  helsby-race-reports@outlook.com

Race reports will be very welcome but not obligatory for you to be credited points – we just need to know about the race you have completed or supported. Parkruns are not included but we will award a point for anyone getting a PB at a parkrun, if you let us know about the PB.

 

That’s it for this week. Thanks again for the reports that have been sent in.

Jim

Helsby RC weekly round-up 19th to 25th June 2017

Hello Green Army

Very very busy week, would be wouldn’t it eh Gaz. So here we go.

Tim Palmer has asked me to include this, so before anyone thinks a certain blogger is trying to blow his own trumpet….think again 🙂

Fell & Road standings as at 29 May 2017 are available at:
Thanks Ian Landucci has done on these.
Club Counters
I know that we all have very busy lives, but we have noticed a drop in the numbers attending club counters, both for Fell and Road. Any ideas at all to improve these numbers, i’m happy to collate the information and feedback and then go back to the committee to discuss. Email me your thoughts, be honest, i wont mention names if that helps but would love to hear of you the club members if we can help improve what races we take part in. My email is fitzpatrick_chris@hotmail.com
Cheers
Laura has given us a date for the 4VHM kick off meeting on Monday 24th July 

It is that time of the year again when thoughts turn to January and the ESSAR 4 Villages Half Marathon, which Helsby Running club organise. There will be a kick off meeting on Monday 24th July at 8pm at Helsby Sports Club (after Monday night track session). If you would like to get involved in this year’s race then please come along to the meeting. We will be discussing plans for the race (provisional date is Sunday 21st January) and it is an opportunity to share any ideas on how we can make the race even better! Look forward to seeing lots of you at the meeting.

Many thanks Laura

Like your Music, anyone fancy a Helsby RC night out? have a look at the below. A message from the Sports Club

Hi all, please find attached the poster for helsfest, could you all circulate this with your members. Also include that if any members wish to purchase tickets I am offering a discounted price of £10 for members if purchased through me at the club 🙂
Also I am in need of some volunteers for the day for some general marshalling duties. If anybody is interested in helping out on the day please let me know, the club will benefit hugely from the alcohol sales of this event.
Many thanks
Chloe

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Stand up Carl Pratt for the first race report of the day

In unusual circumstances I asked my wife Ali if we could go to the in law’s caravan in Rhyl for a night on Friday. The catch was the fact that North Wales half marathon was on the Saturday morning! How convenient! I planned the race as an ideal warm up leading up to Southport half next Sunday, which kicks of the 52 mile tour of Merseyside over the course of the week. Anyway the half marathon on Saturday was a lot smaller than I expected with only 137 runners.

A strong tail wind on the way out allowed a nice sub 4:20/km which if kept up would have led to a sub 1h:30 and a pb. However we all know what happens next! The final 6 miles was directly into the 15mph headwind and cut my pace down to 5:00-5:30/km. Good for training but kills the chance of the time you want.

1:37:29 and a 17th place overall finish. So happy enough with that. Whilst here I’d like to note that I’m still doing a fair bit of running but being a new dad has taken priority and most of the training is done early in the day so don’t get a chance to do many club training sessions these days. Might have to get over Wednesday though to break the trail shoes back in for the 2nd and 5th leg of next weeks tour of Merseyside!

Good luck with the “Tour” Carl I know a lot of us wanted to do this

Blogger Jim turned back to his natural habitat in the hills of Wales instead of the tarmac of Cheshire

I don’t know whether Max Wainright has sent a race report in, but he did well on the V3k Ultra on Saturday, finishing 23rd in just 9hrs 20 mins. Renowned as being one of the toughest races in the UK, the V3k Ultra takes in all 15 peaks in Wales that are over 3000ft and covers a distance of around 34 miles. I did the V3k Ultra last year and it was indeed one of the toughest things I’ve done, I had signed up for it again this year but decided to transfer to the V3k Half instead. My race started at Ogwen with a climb up Pen yr Ole Wen and was about 13 miles along the less technical terrain of the Carneddau. I finished the V3k Half in 7th place at 3hrs 5 mins, but I felt like a bit of a fraud when I found myself running alongside some of the lead runners of the Ultra who had already been out there for 6 hours before me!  I’d recommend the half to anyone wanting to try what is still  tough terrain, but without the more exposed climbs of Crib Goch and Tryfan.

Great work chaps, if I could navigate it’s one i would love to do

Tim sent in this for Moel-y-Gamelin Fell Race

After the hot and sunny weather of the last week or so, the drizzle and low cloud at the top of Horseshoe Pass came as a bit of surprise on Sunday, but made for pleasant running conditions (compared to the heat) although less pleasant for the marshals. The race manages two ascents of Moel y Gamelin and Joe is right – the last one is a stiff climb. 

It was a small Green Army turnout of 4 for this fell counter; thanks to Joe and Mario for their support (twice for the slower Helsby runners!) at the far end. There was also a brief appearance of Jim O on a bike just before the start.

 Where we lacked quantity, we made up for with quality with two top 10 finishes (Adam in 7th and Neil in 9th) and a category win for Adam. The race winner, Lawrence Eccles (Penny Lane Striders) finished in 1:13:56 and there were 49 finishers.

POSITION NAME CLUB CATEGORY CAT/POS TIME
7 ADAM GORDON HELSBY MV 40 1 1:22:49
9 NEIL FINEGAN HELSBY MV 40 3 1:25:12
27 TIM PALMER HELSBY MV 50 7 1:40:58
39 JIM JONES HELSBY MV 50 11 1:49:11

 At least Lawrence didn’t take you the wrong way!!!

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www.facebook.com/SteveJefferyPhotography

LBH sent this report in from one of our latest Fell Counters

Wednesday night saw the postponed Up the Beast race, one of our Fell counters and part of the Mini Fell series.  It was very hot and humid with a big storm threatening at the start of the race. 9 Green vests had made the journey to The Miners Arms in Maeshafn and we were pleased the start was through the shade of the woods. This is a cracking race, just over 4 miles with about 1500ft of climb. I honestly only really remembered the first climb from last year – I must have blocked them out – so the other 2 were a bit of a surprise! Also I didn’t get lost this year (no Froddy to follow!) Great running from Felsby on the night, well worth the trip on a hot summer’s evening.

 Helsby Results

1st in 38.40 Lawrence Eccles from Penny Lane Striders (he didn’t get lost again)

6 Max Wainwright

14 Adam Gordon

30 Laura B Hughes (1st lady)

40 Phil Gillard

41 Jane Ashbrook (4th lady)

44 Jim Jones

46 Davyd Michell

58 Rachel Arnold

68 Paul Cunningham

 Full results at http://www.wfra.me.uk/

Well done everyone decent turnout as well which is brilliant.

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Davyd decided to run on Fathers day, whats that all about?

On fathers day last Sunday I took part in the British Masters 5k championships. This is a race for anyone over the grand old age of 35 and a member of there area masters club, in our case that’s the Northern Masters Athletic Club. The race takes place in Horwich just outside Bolton and is part of their festival of sport, so there is races of all types going on from an open 5k race to under 8 children’s cycle races.
The Masters race has its own independent race although we are combined with the race walkers who started 3 mins ahead of us runners. The course is a 3 laps of the town centre on closed roads, the course is not known as a quick one due to a smallish drag up to the finish which by the time you reach the final lap and finish at the top feels much tougher than you might expect. The weather on the day was hot and humid and made for tough going despite the short distance. 144 competitors took to the line with the oldest being over 80 and as expected, being the masters champs, the field was of high quality. This was confirmed by me just managing to outsprint a V70 to the finish in 20:29…and finishing in 63rd position.
It was great to be part of another big race on closed roads with a good astrosphere, especially as my Dad was also competing in the walk. Results are on the attached link
http://bmaf.org.uk/results/res2017/BMAF5k2017.pdf

And its worth looking at some of the times and ages, some are very impressive, like the winner of the V70 category running sub 20 minutes!..

Thanks Davyd

I’m sure Davyd has told me his Dad has a 10k PB of 36 mins….walking, not running! Amazing!!

El Capitano headed over to Liverpool for one of our road counters

Our 8th road counter at the Penny Lane 10k on Sunday saw only 2 Helsby runners turn up to fly the green army flag, myself and Richard Hankins. A shame as this 10k ticks all the boxes, perfect club organisation by Penny Lane Striders, cheap entry fee and a nice route along the Otterspool Promenade with a small trail section to keep things interesting enough. Maybe the clash with Tough Team was to blame as the fell counter also suffered a low turn out too.

My legs were pretty heavy after the TTC on Friday but after a quick warm up the old legs loosened up and I was ready to go and surprisingly achieved a course PB (35.35) and 11th place. Very happy with that one! Richard showed he is going well with another sub 40 run (39.34) and 48th place. Well done Rich!

Rich seems to be at every race we do these days! well done guys

Friday night seen the green army go over to Tattenhall for the Tough Team Challenge. no report for this one but what a night, mens team coming in 1st, well done to Col, Bish and Danny, showing the 2nd placed team how to run as a team and not individuals, the clue is in the title, and the ladies team coming in 3rd, well done Jane, Alison, and Jenny, brilliant work and by the amount of smiles i seen at the top of the railway, everyone had lots of good fun.

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Park run seen runners out in Pheonix, Ally Pally, Delamere, Ellesmere Port, Widnes, & Birkenhead. Full consolidated results below

http://tinyurl.com/kvq2x25

thank god thats over, that’s it for this week, bye for now

Fitzy

 

Helsby Update 12-7-2017 to 18-7-2017

First up some reminders.

Andy Smith sent in a request for volunteers to help with the Frodsham Downhill Run:

Sunday 2nd July is the Frodsham Downhill Run date. This is a popular family fun run and part of the Frodsham Festival in the Park.

Helsby Running Club have historically helped out in managing the finish area and results for this event and we have been asked if we can do so again this year.

A few volunteers to help set up the finish area in Castle Park before the race (from 10:30 onwards) and to help manage the finish (race starts at 12:00) would be much appreciated.

Drop me an email or IM me on facebook if you can help – thanks

Tim Palmer would also like to remind those who have not paid that the 2017 club subs are due ASAP.

Onto the running….
Parkrun

Helsby runners were out in parkruns at Warrington, Phoenix Park, Ellesmere Port, Wepre, Chester, Delamere, Widnes and Croxteth. Highlights include a 2nd female for Adele Croxton and 3rd place for Ian Rutherford, both at Phoenix Park.
Full results for Helsby runners are below
http://www.parkrun.com/results/consolidatedclub/?clubNum=1721

Paul Cunningham sent in this report from Bolton Hill Marathon

It all started when Fitzy shared a Time2Run Event on his timeline  – The Iconic HillRunner 50% trail 50% country roads sounds enjoyable – with a bottle of Budweiser in hand I paid the nicely priced £32 to enter.
The morning of the race the heavens had opened and blessed us with  perfect running conditions – stood on the start line drenched –  bang the race had started – I felt really good the first 400m until I came to the base of the first climb – Jack must have dropped his hill beans here as the road seemed to disappear into the clouds – to some of the crazy sorry elite members of the Green army this might not have been such a test but for me this 4 mile climb turned into a mental battle  -the first couple of miles on road then onto trail –  up onto Winter Hill – the views from up here are meant to be quite spectacular on a clear day – this morning due to low cloud cover visibility down to approx. 20m  – carried on running upstream as all the ruts full of flowing water onto the West Pennine Moors past White Coppice down onto Anglezarke Reservoir – the course is lollipop shaped so when I reached mile 10 the leader was at mile 16  – Impressive piece of long distance running I thought and the leader was running well too – at the half way point I stopped for some photo opportunities ankle deep in the overland flooding hoping to try my hand at some trout tickling – running through Rivington pike into Barn Bridge Village and back for the return leg – the rain had now stopped and I started to really enjoy my surroundings – between miles 19-22 it’s now uphill and a slow slog up to winter Hill  – now I could clearly see the telecoms tower which this morning I run past and could not see due to the low lying cloud cover – I did walk quite a bit of this section of the race as walking seemed faster than running  – well couldn’t run so had to walk is more like the truth – the one thing that kept me going was I knew I had a nice downhill finish  back into Moss Bank Park – I finished in 5hrs 13 min 80th overall of a small field of 125 – today I found out that I really do enjoy the trail side of running it just feels so right – my hardest test to date and look forward to my next running challenge – Bolton Hill Marathon is a cracker

Danielle Ryder sent in this report of her Namibia trip

A few people have asked me about my Namibia trip and Fitzy suggested I wrote something for the blog, so here it is. Following CBH’s lead I have written a short version and a long version which includes all the blood, sweat and tears.

I was lucky enough to be offered the opportunity to go the Namib Desert for a 6-day endurance event organised by my work at the start of May. I was 1 of a 30 strong group who would take on the 5-day challenge.

Short Version
Day 1 – 35km cycle
·         Tail wind and easy terrain so lulled into a false sense of security
Day 2 – Half Marathon followed by 55km cycle – 12-hour day
·         Run through the Messum Crater was a breeze, cycling into a horrific headwind in the relentless heat was brutal
Day 4 – Summit Brandberg and Hike down – 12-hour day
·         Around 2500m elevation, technical scrambling, carrying water and gear for 2 days, getting lost for 2 hours and making top camp in the dark
Day 5 – Marathon followed by 35km bike – 12-hour day – 47°C
·         Brutal marathon in 47°C. Broken! Bike through a dry river bed and rocky descending is not my idea of fun.
Day 6 – Half Marathon followed by 70km bike – 12-hour day
·         The hardest day coupled with my best experience. Upset stomach, back of the pack, tears and elation.

Final descentRunning through Messum crater

Long Version

Day 1 – 35km cycle

Day 1 was set up to break us in gently. After travelling for over 24-hours, 2 international flights to make it to Windhoek International airport and then a short flight on small single prop planes (the biggest being a 10 seater) we found ourselves near the coast at Cape Cross. We were given our mountain bikes which we would use to cover the majority of our mileage. A gravel road a tail wind and only a few short sections of hard sand with deep ruts found us at our camp site with time to spare before nightfall. We were all lulled into a false sense of security.

Day 2 – Half Marathon followed by 55km cycle – 12-hour day

The first 12-hour day of the trip. On paper this was meant to be a relatively easy day which would see us reach camp at the base of Brandberg Mountain at about 3-4pm, well before sunset at 6pm. So with this in mind we set off on the half marathon at 6am as it was just getting light. As we ran through the Messum Crater, this was our first taste of being in the desert and feeling the isolation, but also of the soft sand! The scenery was insane and the miles quickly ticked down with water stops every 7km.  The run seemed to be over before I had even realised, with some clouds mercifully keeping the heat at a manageable level. The finish line of the run was the other side of the Messum Crater, the land stretched for miles and you could just see the Brandberg mountain looming in the distance. Following a short stop for water, food and a change into cycling gear we all enthusiastically jumped onto our bikes which had all been laid out for us. My enthusiasm did not last long! Lots of deep soft sand and the most brutal headwind saw us all crawling along. Somehow I had ended up in the front group and struggling like hell to stay on the back wheel of the guys in front. Luckily the guys were gentlemen and kept dropping back to tow me back on. The first water stop was meant to be in 15km, but the heat and wind was breaking us. I had run out of water within 7km and was struggling badly. I definitely had lost my sense of humour at this point as I just tried to hold myself together and carry on. We were taking that long that one of the vans had to come and find us with emergency water and electrolytes. At the stop I managed to recover sat in the shade of the van but promptly refused the offer of going off with the front group and dropped back to the second group to start again. Luckily the wind died down as we carried on and the terrain got slightly easier, still soft sand but with more stretches of gravel and rocks which meant we could speed up slightly. The heat was relentless though and the first stretch on the bike had hit us all hard. A number of people had been pulled off by the medics and forced to go in the van. At the lunch stop we knew it was going to be a real effort to make it to camp before sunset at 6pm but we set off with a determination to try and make it. It was a hard slog but I pulled into camp as the sun was setting behind the Brandberg Mountain. I was on a huge high as I collapsed into a chair with a G&T.

Day 3 – Hike up Brandberg Mountain – 12 hour day

After a brutal day 2 where the desert threw its worst weather conditions at us we were up and ready to leave camp at 6am to climb the Brandberg Mountain. Brandberg Mountain is big, and we would be climbing around 2500m while carrying 7.5 litres of water, roll mat, sleeping bag, and enough food for two days. It was safe to say my bag was heavy! I didn’t really know what to expect when I set off, but the climbing was hard. It was definitely a scramble for virtually the entire climb, and I found myself hiding in whatever shade was available whenever the opportunity arose. The terrain was challenging and the group found itself relying on each other to push or pull each other up and over rocks. We made it to the lunch stop at about 2pm where we found some pools which were filled with water from recent rains. The sun was really high in the sky at this point and shade was hard to come by. I found myself hiding in a small cave as I hunched over trying to eat. Unfortunately, just before lunch our guide had twisted his knee and was unable to continue. He would camp at the lunch spot with a number of the team who didn’t want to go any further. We had been warned it was still a 4-hour hike to the summit. Having been given rough directions we set off trying to follow the cairns. Fast forward two hours, huge boulders, lots of vegetation, cut to ribbons and a few tears we found ourselves back at the lunch stop having got properly lost! At this point a few more of the group decided to stay and camp after we were warned that we would likely be reaching the top camp in the dark. We set off again after getting our guide to give us better directions and walk us some of the way. We made good time and were lucky that the guide who had been with the front group came back to find us (I should point out at this point that the front group had made the top base camp and had summited). The head torches made an appearance but we made it to the top camp just before 7pm without getting lost again.  The mountain was beautiful and far greener than I expected due to recent rains but it definitely took no prisoners. We camped with the first group on the top of the mountain and had steak which one of the guides had carried up. Belly full, I found the flattest bit of rock I could find and promptly fell asleep under the stars.

Day 4 – Summit Brandberg and Hike down – 12 hour day

Having not made the summit the previous day we set off at first light (yes another 6am start) without our packs to make the 1.5hr ascent to the actual summit. Now this was extremely technical terrain and basically straight up, but the view from the top was incredible. We soaked in the sunrise atop the highest peak in Namibia for a few minutes before we sadly dragged ourselves back down to the top camp, collected our bags and started our descent. It was going to be another long day! We made good progress and took a detour to see some extremely old cave paintings. The terrain meant that it was difficult to move very quickly once we passed the lunch stop so it was no surprise that it was just before 6pm when we made it back to camp to a warm welcome from the rest of the guys, and not forgetting a cold gin and tonic! It is safe to say the mountain was brutal, with steep drops and stifling temperatures but I made it all the way and even managed to get a few photos to go with the memories.

Day 5 – Marathon followed by 35km bike – 12-hour day – 47°C

The marathon was ridiculous! One of the hardest things I have ever done. We set off as a group to the first water station at 7km with a walking start to break in the aching bodies. The going was slow, again with very soft ground underfoot and by the half-way point it had become apparent that we needed water more often, so a van started stopping in-between to offer more water. It was a slog! The heat was relentless, the wind had picked up and sand was being blown around at times and I was broken. Sitting down at the water stations was a bad move as my legs struggled to get back to a standing position. I was reduced to a walking out of the water station before being able to force myself into a shuffle which just about resembled a jog. The relief when I made the finish and the lunch stop was overwhelming and dropping into a chair in the shade of a van was bliss. It took 7 hours of battling to complete the marathon but we still had 35km of biking to go. Food and water was consumed before we were hurried on to get changed and get on the bikes. We had been given the bad news that the “road” (I wouldn’t have called it a road!) we were planning on taking had been washed away, so instead we had an 8km slog down a dry river bed which only had soft sand! Now I definitely lost my sense of humour. I was knackered and near the back of the group on my own, fly’s kept buzzing around my head and I’m not going to lie quite a few expletives were coming out of my mouth as I tried to wave them away and not fall off the bike. It would have been hard if I hadn’t just survived a marathon! The joy of reaching the path out of the river bed was quickly gone when I saw the terrain – an extremely rocky 10km descent. All I am going to say is after some swearing, tears, pushing and eventually some pedalling I made it off the descent. A nice gravel road was all that was between me and camp, so powering on I managed to catch and overtake some of the others and made it into camp as the sun was setting, which was no surprise by this point – why break a habit! Camp this evening was at the Save the Rhino trust so we had permanent long drops which was a huge luxury! We were also told that the temperature had peaked at 47°C today!

Day 6 – Half Marathon followed by 70km bike – 12-hour day

Day 6 was to be the last day of exercise, and everyone managed to drag their weary bodies out of camp at 6am sharp. I had had the joys of the physio standing on my thighs the night before which meant I could actually move but found myself wondering why I hadn’t let her do my calf’s as well (Obviously forgetting the agony and swearing involved at the time!) We had been warned that today was going to be long and the stops short to make sure we made it to the end before nightfall. We set off on the run at a decent pace but I soon realised I wasn’t going to be able to maintain it. An upset stomach wasn’t helping but luckily at the 14km water stop there was somewhere I could hide! The pace was slow but I was determined to finish. We had started the day running through an amazing rocky valley called the Ugab rock formations before the ground opened up again, you could see for miles and we were faced with more soft sand and some hills! We saw loads of animal prints which was motivation to keep moving, but there was no way I could out race anything today. I finished the half totally spent and slumped into a chair, before being told to get changed and get on the bike as we needed to keep moving. Again, my moral took a beating and I was definitely at a low point as we set out on the bikes in the hilliest terrain we had had. The km’s went by extremely slowly and I found myself right at the back of the pack. I just hoped that getting to lunch and having a decent amount of food might give me some life back. We saw springbok and zebra in the distance and lion prints but luckily no lions! Just as we were getting close to the lunch stop we saw a black Rhino which was amazing. Getting off the bike and walking closer as it walked away from us was an added bonus. At the lunch stop the only way I can describe myself is broken and we still had 50km to go! I tried to eat as much as possible but I struggled to get much in and unfortunately the stop came to an end all to quickly for me. Dutifully I got back on my bike and was quickly right at the back of the pack again. I was going to finish but I only had one speed and that was that. I found myself getting to the water stations just as everyone else was leaving which is the most soul destroying thing in the world and I am not going to lie I did shed some tears. Stubbornness kept me going and no one was brave enough to suggest I get in the van! I somehow made it to the last descent of the day where everyone re-grouped to finish together. We were warned It was going to be rocky and then turn to extremely soft sand but the end was now in sight! I survived the rocks and made it to the sand only putting my foot down a couple of times but the view was the perfect ending to the trip. Sun setting behind the mountains with the grass swaying in the breeze either side and views for miles gave me goose bumps. I somehow made it to the finish having cycled past the Doras crater towards the Huab river and promptly broke into tears!

Day 7 – Homecoming

We had been treated to a luxury lodge for the last night and sleeping in a proper bed was bliss. After a short safari drive where we saw gorillas, ostriches, springboks and lots of elephant prints (but unfortunately no elephants) we had a 36-hour journey home.
The trip was an insane, amazing experience which really pushed me to my limits. We were looked after extremely well and only had to get ourselves from A to B as everything else was taken care of including the camp, food and G&T’s! I experienced some major lows but I think these made the highs more intense. It really is unbelievable what your body can achieve! I just need to find the next adventure now.

 

That’s it for this week, as usual please send race reports to

helsby-race-reports@outlook.com
Cheers

Gaz