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 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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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.

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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

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



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)



On to the running and race reports.


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.


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.



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.


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.


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 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


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:


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



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.



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:


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.


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.


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!


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

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End of Day 1

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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.

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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.

Screen Shot 2017-07-04 at 20.56.25

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.


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

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.


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
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


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.

7 ADAM GORDON HELSBY MV 40 1 1:22:49
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!!!


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

Well done everyone decent turnout as well which is brilliant.


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

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.




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

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



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….

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

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 RC News from 5th to 11th June 2017

Thanks to everyone who has sent in contributions for the blog this week. Please keep sending any race reports, or any other items you want including, to Apologies for the rather late distribution of the blog this week, I’d have sent it out last night if I wasn’t Hotfooting up Moel Famau, …… but you can read about that in next week’s blog.


This week we start with a few reminders and upcoming events:

Friday 16/06/2017 – 6.30pm – A chance to support the Helsby Community Sports Club and win some prizes at Bingo (see the flyer at the end of this blog)


Wednesday 21/06/17 – 7.15pm – Up the Beast – our next counter in the Fell (mini) series. Race HQ is at the Miners Arms, Maeshafn, CH7 5LR – hope to see a few of you there.


Friday 23/06/17 – 7.15pm – Tough Team Race – a great event for teams of 3 hosted by Tattenhall Runners – Race HQ is at Tattenhall Recreation Club, CH3 9QF


Next, a polite reminder from our membership secretary, Tim Palmer:

“Thanks to all of those of you have paid your 2017 subs. If you haven’t paid your subs, please could you do so now because if we don’t receive payment by 30th June, we will assume that you want to resign. If you haven’t received the various emails about subs or have any questions, please contact Tim on email

For those marathon aficionados, we haven’t got enough members to get us two London Marathon places. We are currently just on one 😞. This is the position at Friday 9th so please prompt others to pay and pay yourself.

Kind regards


Racing News

Jim O’Hara’s Paddy Buckley Round – Saturday 10/06/17 to Sunday 11/06/17


Many thanks to Chris Baynham-Hughes for sending in a summary of Jim O’Hara’s epic achievement over the weekend. It was a privilege to be able to join Jim for just part of it. Over to CBH:

“Not sure if anybody else will write in but I just wanted to highlight Jimmy’s heroics on the weekend.

This weekend Jimmy O’Hara took on the Paddy Buckley Round. This is the Northern Snowdonia equivalent of the Bob Graham Round… only it’s universally recognised as being ~1h15m harder! Jim set off from Capel Curig at 10am on the Saturday with Peter Taylor from Tattenhall runners in what was described as atrocious weather. It got worse. By the time the pair got to Llanberis Pete had called it a day and Jimmy cracked on determined to finish.

Max, Chris Collins and Phil Roberts had all supported Jimmy on the various legs with Jim 19055820_1345759598806376_8742422086759971742_oJones, Phil Gillard and myself showing up for the glory leg! What I witnessed was an demonstration of true resolve, grit and courage in the face of some of the worse mountain weather I’ve been out in. Heading over the final leg we were blown about like rag dolls, but at no point was Jimmy looking to quit. I never thought I’d experience wind like I did on the 50th Fellsman where it was easily in the 60’s, but that was nothing compared to this. At one point I was lifted clean off my feet by the wind and dumped 2 metres to my left! I’ve been blown over before, but never lifted up, I’d estimate the wind was ~70-90mph… And Jimmy kept on going.

Being out for such a long time can play havoc with your body. The combination of sleep deprivation and lack of perspective can lead to poor decision making and disorientation. Given that this area is my playground I tend to think of it as being safe, but if it wasn’t for the lightening reactions of jim Jones Jimmy may well have ended up blown off a cliff – jim literally caught Jimmy by his jacket and kept him from being blown off the ridge…. And Jimmy kept on going.
The ultimate benchmark for the fell running rounds is 24 hours, but for me and for everyone else I speak to who have done one we all comment on how weather dependent completion is. The Paddy doesn’t have a 24 hour cut off for completion and I’d challenge anybody in the world to have completed in under 24 this weekend. Jimmy crossed the line in under 30 hours having given everything to it. 99% of people would have given up, but Jimmy’s determination was never dented. A true fell warrior that I’m fiercely proud to know personally. First completion of the Paddy Buckley by a Helsby RC member. James O’Hara I am in awe and I salute you sir!


Blaydon Races – Friday 09/06/17

Debbie Read was up in the North East this weekend and sent in this report from a Friday night event ……… before doing a Parkrun the following morning!

image1Last weekend I spent the weekend in Newcastle with these lovely running buddies of mine from my old club Spectrum Striders. One of them, Mike, is a Jordie and was telling us about the Blaydon Race and it sounded like an good opportunity to have a weekend away.

The Blaydon Race is an iconic running event in Newcastle. It’s on the evening of 9th June every year and it’s a celebration of the memorable day in 1862 when the working classes travelled from Newcastle to Blaydon to have a drunken day at the races. It follows the route they took which these days is mostly dual carriageway.


This year the race sold out in less than 3 hours and there were over 4000 finishers.
The course is 5.6 miles long and this year the winning time was 27:47 with the last runner home just under 1hr 30.”

Bolton Hill Marathon – Saturday 10/06/17

Thanks to Paul Cunningham for sending in this report and reminding us all of the joys and challenges of trail running:

“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”

Keswick Mountain Festival – Saturday 10/0617

Jane Ashbrook sent us a report from the Keswick Mountain Festival which took place over the weekend. Thanks Jane:

“I ran a 25k trail race as part of the Keswick Mountain Festival on Saturday. This was a 4 day event incorporating cycling races, swimming races, triathlons, walking events, talks and music.

We camped in a muddy field and had a fantastic evening on Saturday at the music festival…who one K T Tunstall was so good!

Highlight of my weekend was an evening with Jasmin Paris and Nicky Spinks on Friday night…they are so normal and inspirational that I am now convinced that the Bob Graham round is something everyone should have a go at!

25k Jane Ashbrook 2:44:13 14th Female
10k Chris Ashbrook 58:54 52nd Male

It’s a great event for families, however I’ll probably give it a miss next year as I am dying to have a go at the Welsh Castles Relay…..who’s in?”

Some information on the Welsh Castles Relay HERE.

Parkrun – Saturday 10/06/17

We had 13 Helsby runners out at various Parkruns around the country on Saturday. Great to see Colin Bishop and Colin Thompson finishing 1st place in their respective events. Well done to everyone who ran on Saturday. Our club consolidated results can be seen HERE

Calderdale Way Ultra – 03/06/17

A report sent in by Daniel Ryder that just missed last week’s blog. Thanks for still taking the to sent it in Daniel – and well done!:

“I missed the blog last week, but I ran the Calderdale Way Ultra Short Route on the 3rd June. At 28.5miles and 1300m of climbing it was my longest and hilliest run to date.
As many of you know I was lucky enough to go on a trip to Namibia at the back end of May which consisted of a lot of running, biking and hiking. Having returned from doing 12 hour days of exercise to sitting at a desk at work I was feeling rather out of sorts and in a moment of madness spotted the Calderdale Way Ultra which was only 3 weeks away. Plucking for the short route (the long route was 50.5miles) I thought what have I got to lose and entered on the pretense that I wouldn’t have to do much more mileage and could just Calderdaleuse my fitness from Namibia to hopefully complete it. I loved it and would recommend it to anyone! The short route started at 12.15 so that we would overlap with the long route runners who had started at 6am. The late start meant I could actually have a lie in before the 1.5hr journery to Todmordon where the race HQ was. From there a bus took me to the start point, mid-way around the route. The Calderdale way is a way-marked circular route, but like any way-marked walking path it can be quite difficult to navigate at times. We had been warned before the race that a level of navigation was required and that we would be issued with a map and instructions. Having signed up relatively late I hadn’t had chance to recce any of the course and getting lost was one of my biggest concerns.

It was a surreal experience standing with another 60 runners in the middle of a park, with no marked starting line waiting for the organiser to set us off. I must admit we did get a few funny looks from the locals when we arrived and then promptly all spread out into the woods to try and find some cover for a last minute wee. We were set off at 12.15 and I was amazed how quickly the field spread out. Part of my game plan had been to try and stay with a group so that I could hopefully avoid getting lost. This didn’t quite go to plan. The aid stations were every 7-8miles and the first leg of the race was the flattest with a short section along a canal. A 1940’s event with people dressed up made for a very surreal experience. I was happy to leave this section and make it out of the crowds, but this meant the start of the first real climb of the day. I had been running with a girl for a few miles up to this point, but had been thinking of dropping back as the pace seemed too high for me to hold for another 20miles. The decision was taken out of my hands as she powered up the hill where I dutifully dropped into a fast hike and caught up with a group of three guys who were working together. One had the map and one had the gps route on his watch while the third was a clinger on, so I thought it seemed sensible to stick with them to avoid getting lost. We stuck together as a 4 until the 2nd water station at 15miles where myself and the other guy who hadn’t been navigating sped up. This was potentially a bad move as neither of us knew the way. We soon caught up with two people on the long route, who told us that they had got extremely lost at the start and had done about an extra 5 miles! We left these pair when we caught sight of a couple who I had seen at the start and I had overheard them saying they had recced the route. The scenery in this second half was particularly nice and we ran as a four until after the last water station. I was lucky that they stopped me going the wrong way a number of times where way markers where well hidden, but for some reason I felt brave with only 6 miles to go and decided to push on alone. At this point the weather had turned somewhat and the rain had started. The navigation was going reasonably well until I reached Todmordon again and I knew I only had a couple of miles to go. The guy who I had been running with for the majority of the race caught me on the descent into town and we promptly got lost together and ended up trying to ask a local for directions. Unsurprisingly the couple who had recced the course then caught us and pointed us in the right direction! The last two miles had a very steep ascent and descent and the heavens had opened properly at this point, ignoring the sun cream that was running into my eyes and not wanting to stop to put a coat on – I was already drenched by this point I ploughed on and found the finish line. I had finished, and felt surprisingly good! 6hr 20 and 8th female. All in all, a really good day out.

The event was brilliantly organised with excellent volunteers. The atmosphere was brilliant, and I felt no pressure on the day but to go out and enjoy myself. The cut off times were generous allowing 8 hours for the short route. I can safely safe I thoroughly enjoyed feeling none of the pressures I often feel at road races where I want to beat a time. I would say this was considerably more civilised than a road marathon. If you are thinking of trying an Ultra, the short route is a brilliant introduction. The scenery was amazing and I will definitely be tempted to run it again next year, but I may up the anti and try the 50 miler.”

I think that’s it for this week. Hope to see as many of you as possible at Maeshafn on Wednesday for a run Up the Beast!






Helsby round up 29- 5-17 to 4-6-17


Helsby members were running at Chester, Ellesmere Port, Croxteth, Widnes, Delamere and Phoenix park. Highlights include a second place overall for Ian Rutherford and second lady for |Rachael Holden, both at Phoenix park.

Full results for Helsby runners at parkruns are below.

First up is Gaz Boyds report from Escape from Meriden.

At 11.59 last Friday evening Gaz and myself set off on our ‘little adventure’. See for race info. This is a 24 hour race, there is no set route – you decide where to go, you decide when you stop, there are no checkpoints. Basically the winner is the solo runner or pair whom travels the further (as the crow flies). It’s worth noting that CBH and running partner won the 1st Autumn edition.


Hours prior to the race, we and other competitors (one even dressed as Scoobie Do!) waited in the local village hall – sitting down and trying to chill whilst listening to the rain, queuing for the toilet or eating free tea,coffee and biscuits were the most popular past-times. It’s amusing to see all the runners head off in different directions after the start count down. Despite the rain, spirits were high – that was until 3.5 miles, when we realised that we were heading towards Coventry and not Birmingham. Our plan was to head up to and finish at Chester via canal. We retraced our steps and reached the start line after 1.10 hours of running – not surprisingly no one else was there. Ok – going the right way was finally a box ticked, next was finding the canal. Our plan was to join the Grand Union Canal and join the Shropshire Union Canal. Eventually we found the Canal – not too many wrong turns and importantly stopping off at a 24 hour garage for food supplies. Travelling along the Canal had its pros and cons

pros – safer than roads, better scenery . Canal boat owners are more than happy to provide you with water.
Cons – a mixed range of surface – sometimes making running difficult. The biggest issue in terms of this race – the Canal winds and winds – so you are often travelling a lot more miles when in fact the roads take you on a more direct route. Lesson for next time Gaz.

Running through Birmingham at around 4/5 am on a Saturday was ‘interesting’ – let’s just say we saw the more sobering sights of a major inner city. Any way, then onto Wolverhampton for a ‘pit stop ‘ and cooked breakfast.

By this stage Gaz was unfortunately struggling with ‘old age ‘ – sorry, I meant injury (it was a niggle, not an injury- Gaz O’C), meaning that running for him was difficult. At around mile 55 Gaz decided to call it a day – his injury (niggle!), spending two much time with me (maybe I shouldn’t have asked him about politics at 3am) and the lure of Champions League Final was just too much for him. I decided to carry on for at least another 26 miles and reach Nantwich. Shortly after Gaz and I had split, I decided to stop for lunch (it was my way of getting over the fact that Gaz had gone) . I must say that the pie, chips and pint of Wainwright was lovely:)

To summarise, the rest of the journey didn’t go quickly – canal paths get a bit tiresome after a while. I did get to Nantwich at 8.30pm – completing 79 miles. You could argue – well why stop there and then – why not carry on for the remaining 3.5 hours ! My response – not this time – it was always just going to be a ‘fun’ challenge.

Richard Hankins sent in this report from Deeside Multi Terrain Race.

I believe the Deestriders Multi Terrain GP has been a regular event for many years. It appeared to have come to an end this year with Deestriders struggling for accommodation. However, a few weeks ago they announced it would take place once more. It is a series for four races on the first Thursday of the month that set off from Shotton Steel Rugby Club and head out along the Dee, around some fields, through some woods and along the flood defences before circling round again for a second lap. The total route seems to be just under 5 miles and the changing surfaces do make it a different challenge. With the very late announcement of the event numbers were down, but with 84 runners it still seemed viable. It is a very laid back low key club event with a collegiate atmosphere. From Helsby there was Jim Jones, Steve and David Wiggins and I. Results aren’t published yet, but I finished around 29:30 with Jim a few minutes later followed by Steve and David. Be good to see more green vests at the races later in the series. These are on 6 July, 3 August and 1 September.

Jim Jones ran the Welsh 1000 metre race at the weekend

I did the Welsh 1000 metre race for the first time on Sunday and it was one of the toughest races I’ve done with over 9000ft of climb in 20 miles. Thankfully the sun was shining for most of the day, so navigation wasn’t a problem. There was only a short spell of wind and rain, which seemed perfectly timed to start as I was helped out of a stream I’d fallen into on the climb up to Gribin Ridge. Another first for me was getting stung by a wasp on the ankle as I climbed the side of Aber Falls! Some fantastic views along the way, and the best I’ve ever seen from the top of Snowdon. The race started on the coast by Abergwyngregyn and finished at the summit of Snowdon. The route takes you over the summits of Carnedd Llewelyn, Carnedd Dafydd, Glyder Fawr and to Garnedd Ugain before the final push to the Snowdon summit. I had hoped to complete it in 6 hours but finished 83rd in 6:38.

Just in case you are one of the half dozen or so people in the western hemisphere that Fitzy hasn’t told about his triathlon, he’s also thoughtfully written a report about it too.

I tried my hand at something a bit different this weekend, and most of you won’t already know about it as i kept it really low key on social media, so thought i’d send in a quick report about it. I’m just hoping all 3 events make it into the “running” news this week.

This was my first crack at an Olympic distance triathlon, and I’ve had some fun along the way training for it, uploading photo’s of me and my wet suit on our travels to FB, and keeping everyone amused along the way. Strangely, i was not nervous at all, even when we got down to the transition area in Grosvenor Park, Chester, where you rack your bike up and see how much some people spend on this sport, and there i was racking up my BMX.

Time to get the wet suit on, down to the river Dee for a quick briefing, jumping in thinking it would be freezing but surprisingly quite warm. I was really disappointed in myself that i didn’t shout “green army” on the start line but if i had i may have drowned as was trying to start my watch, whilst treading water, and feared the worst that the lady next to me might dunk me, as she had already warned me to get out of her space….charming! The hooter went off, and the scramble for best positions started, swimmers knocking into you and tapping your feet, made me feel really uneasy for the first 200m or so. I managed to calm myself a little and got into my rhythm and slowly made my way up the river 850m, before turning around and coming back down 650m whilst swallowing a fair bit of the River Dee, to be greeted by the family cheering me out the water. I didn’t hesitate to use my running strengths and knocked one poor bloke out the way as I sprinted up to transition after saying sorry to him.

You go through what you will do in transition time and time again before the race. Well my master plan didn’t work as i forgot to start taking off my wet suit on the way to it, which meant nearly 2 and half mins later I  finally managed to come out and onto my bike. I really do feel this is where the race is won or lost, some of the bikes on show where mighty impressive, but then again, it’s the athlete you put on the bike I suppose as well. Well my bike was carrying me and my “Guinness Belly” so i needed to push my legs very hard. My mate who did it, caught me up within the first 5 miles after being a good few minutes behind me, we then managed to stay together for the next 20, heading out of Chester towards Wrexham Ind Est, and turning back around to head back towards the Sandy Lane end of Chester for a quick finish through the City Centre.

Now jumping off the bike and straight into a 10k run, whilst your having a few issues with stomach cramps was not a pleasurably experience, maybe i did take on too much of the River Dee, jelly legged and feeling like i wanted to walk, i managed the first lap and although it was tough i could have pushed a little harder on the run, but I seemed to be overtaking most people now including BBC news presenter Louise Minchin who i see is a fully paid up member of Chester Tri. 3 laps of the park (Handbridge Park I think it’s called, i should have asked Boydy and was very surprised not to see him out and about on one of his tours, but then again i think he was still running around Coventry with Gaz), and over the bridge back along the water front and back out again.

The event was brilliant organised by Chester Tri,  great goody bags, t-shirt, towel and loads more, and extremely well supported, it was like a bit of a carnival atmosphere, lots of family and friends in attendance and was a great day out. I would really recommend this event to anyone wanted to do something a bit different than our normal “running” races we do. I ended up middle of the field and under the 2hrs 45 i had set myself before the race so was off to the pub in a pretty happy mood.






That’s it for for this week.

As usual all race reports to



Helsby RC weekly round-up 22nd to 28th May 2017

Hello Green Army

Some serious mileage gone on this week, mainly at the park runs, but some good reports come in this week, go get a brew, take a seat and enjoy.

So first of all lets welcome new club member, Katie Lord, welcome aboard, hope to hear you shouting “green army” at a race soon. Maybe we could also do a little feature in the blog in the near future on new members and what their interests are, and maybe for the new members we can do little feature on existing members and their interests. Let me get back from my jollies and I will sort something out.

Tim Palmer has asked me to remind everyone of the below.

“Hopefully you will have received an email about paying your subs giving the amount and a link to pay. If you haven’t, please contact Tim Palmer on If you have, please can you pay as soon as possible. If you have and have paid, thank you very much.”

 I have now signed up again and it was very easy to use, brilliant work Tim, thank you

A quick message from Jackie;

Last weeks AGM went well and was well supported. Thanks to those who were able to come and for the many suggestions and comments about our club.  Full minutes will be circulated soon but the two most important highlights are:–
Our new club constitution now allows the club to nominate Honorary Life Members. So congratulations to Joe Beswick and Andy Smith on becoming the first life members for services to the club
and your committee for next year are:-

Chairman      Jackie
Secretary       Phil
Treasurer       Jo
Men’s Captain – Colin T, assisted by Paul F & Chris F
Men’s Vice captain – Mario
Ladies’ Captain – June
Ladies’ Fell Captain – Laura
Head Coach – Joe
Press Officer – Carol S
Social Secretaries – Dave and Lesley
Half Marathon Director – Laura
Assistant Half Marathon Director – Michelle
HCSC Representative – Betty
Border League Co-ordinators – Chris F and Vanessa
XC Co-ordinators – Janet R and Paul F
Sandstone Trail Organiser – Ben

Sandstone Trail Assistants – TBA
Webmaster – Steve R
Stats – Donna and Ian L (with Ben and Susanne Fletcher taking over)
Welfare – Jane A and Ivan
Calendar Co-ordinator– Tim P
Kit Co-ordinator – Donna

            Blog Writers – Colin T, Chris F, Jim J, Gaz
Cheers and thanks and welcome to another year of HRC and the #greenarmy!
Also if anyone would like to help us do a blog or 2 or just a guest appearance every now and again let us know, it would really help us bloggers, send in your name to
Sandstone trail race director Ben Williams doesn’t get to run our favourite ultra, so he decided on a crazy 100 miler instead, thanks for the report Ben.  
For anyone I’ve not already bored to tears, I did the LDWA 100 mile event – actually 102 miles, and almost 11500 feet of climb, right around the North York Moors. The event started at noon on Saturday and entrants had until Monday morning to complete, with no stops longer than two hours allowed. I entered as a runner, but to be honest was reduced to walking from about 40 miles. The checkpoints were brilliant as always on these events, and were particularly welcoming overnight.

I was expecting a mental as well as physical challenge, and there were some ups and downs. I’d set a target time in my mind, and when it became clear that I wasn’t going to achieve it I felt like giving up. But then I decided that as I was halfway round and was physically ok, I may as well stick it out and I’m glad I did, even though I was reduced to walking. Of the 509 entrants, 151 retired so I’m glad I had the mental strength to keep going. I finished just as darkness fell on Sunday night.

Walking through Saturday night, and seeing first light up on the moors at 3am was amazing, as was walking through a thunderstorm. Some of the climbs up through moorland were brutal though.

Massive thanks to Serena who supported me all the way and looked after me when I finished, and massive respect to Ste Wigs who had to pull out at 25 miles through illness but turned out on Sunday to support me.


Back after his motorbiking travel Richard Hankins got stuck into the Manchester 10k on the back of the terrible atrocities the week before. 

The Great Manchester Run is according to Wikipedia the third largest mass participation sporting event in the UK (after the London Marathon and the Great North Run). It is also very much a corporate events with live TV coverage and an elite race alongside the mass participation event. I have to say it is the opposite of the sort of races that I prefer, low key, low price, club organised events. However, a group from work were running to raise money for the Christie Hospital so I joined in this year.

It turned out to be a poignant event for Manchester coming at the end of a terrible week and in some ways representing the city’s resilience and return to normality. The organisation is stunning – the whole south of the city centre is taken over and largely pedestrianised. Armed police were everywhere (they had been drawn from across the UK). With in excess of 30 000 people running it is necessary to marshall them into different waves. In this respect I was lucky, I was in the first wave and was able to secrete myself very close to the ‘Fast Club Runners’ who were starting at the very front. To do this however, I had to be lining up on the start line 40 minutes early which was ok on a warm dry day. At the start there was an enthusiastic applause for the emergency services followed by a very moving minutes silence. Some guy then read an annoying poem before we were off.

Even at the front I spent the first 500 m stuck in traffic – with some runners comically out of place. Its is not a pretty race, taking in Old Trafford and Trafford Park but it is pretty flat and fast. There were bands, DJ’s and an excellent and enthusiastic crowd along the route – it made running an experience. The finish on Deansgate was also thorough planned and executed. I ran a PB at 39:09, Carol Shaw came in at 59:52 and Damion Baker at 57:10. As a Mancunian I was pleased to be there this year and to be part of Manchester’s response to terror – if mega events are your thing this is probably as good as it gets. Personally, I think I still prefer the Sutton 6!

Congrats on the PB Richard

Over to CBH to give us a little report and then a bigger report about the dragon’s back race which he actually took 5 days off work to complete….nutter! You choose which one you would like to read, I’ve had to read both for spell checks!!


Little report

Did the dragon’s back last week. It also afforded me the honour of raising over £2k including gift aid so far for Head Injured People in Cheshire (they helped me in my recovery).

I was rather concerned about this one given the impact it had on me last time, putting me in A&E the next day for x-rays and suspected stress fractures to both shins. This time day 1 was changed; it took me 10 hours rather than over 15 which had an enormous impact. By day three I was confident enough to race. The heat wave made life very difficult out there for many; resulting in a drop out rate of over 50% (standard for this race!) however I managed to finish running and could not be more pleased over all.

 Day 1 highlight: Crib Goch… and the fly through below me in the Ogwen valley of a Hercules and 2 hawks

Day 2 highlight: Running off Diffwys with Neil Talbot… and the Rhinogs, never forget the Rhinogs

Day 3 Highlight: 4 strawberry splits for £1 … and racing the second half

Day 4 Highlight: Running it all… and the slush puppy in the pub at the end of the day

Day 5: Highlight: Running alongside and keeping pace with Jez Bragg whilst eating a pork pie… Running it all

 I was 20th overall, had an amazing 5 day journey and still feel quite spritely! I can’t recommend the race enough, tough, you need to prepare, but now very much doable. Who’s up for 2019?

Big report

Dragon’s Back 2017.

Last week I went out for a bit of a run across the spine of mountains in Wales known as the Dragon’s Back. This is a 5 day event which is roughly 200 miles in length, 2 Everest’s in climb and, more importantly, descent, over rough terrain. In many places the mantra of ‘think like a sheep’ rewarded me with a better trod than the purely rough ground alternative.

 This was my second time taking on the DBR having completed in 2012. 2012 took everything I had to finish and I am not convinced I ever really recovered properly…. But there is something about this race that just grabs my attention and draws me back in. Starting the race I didn’t know if my previous experiences would be a help or a hindrance; mentally knowing how much further there was to go, not needing to finish, etc.

 Day 1 – Conwy to Nant Gwynant (Via the Carneddau, Glyderau and Snowdon ranges)

We started off from the Castle in Conwy after a stirring wake up by the local male voice choir. A few familiar faces appeared including Jimmy O’Hara, luckily we bumped into Jimmy early on and it was great to have the support. The conditions appeared to be great for running, but turned out to be deceptively close and really difficult to cool off.

 Naturally we all started out too fast, having felt like caged animals for the last 24 hours. I finally managed to catch up with Carol Morgan (a good friend of Fitzy and me from the Ring of Fire, plus I ran a good chunk of UTMB with her) and we spent the day together. Coming off the Carneddau we were treated to an air show as a Hercules flew below us through the Ogwen valley followed by two hawks; it was as if the organisers had put it on specially for us.

I was feeling really out of sorts. Food was going in ok, but not great, my temperature had been worse, but wasn’t great either, plus the lack of water had left me dehydrated despite carrying two litres with me. This continued across the Glyders and I decided to take a slightly different line to Carol to Pen-y-pass which cost me 5 minutes. By the time I caught Carol we were half way to the base of Crib Goch on the PYG track. Scrambling up was a real highlight, but sadly the ridgeline was clagged out. Didn’t stop me running with a huge grin and taking out two further competitors who were clinging onto the ridge.

 The technical running continued but I arrived in camp following a few frustrating errors that cost me at least 15 minutes and I’d dropped a further 10-15 by slowing up on the final bits. I was thrilled with the day though as I’d expected 12 hours and had done it in just over 10. To put this into context, 2012 had taken me over 15 hours as the course was different and had 1000m more climb as well as extra distance.

 Day 2 – Nant Gwynant to Dolgellau via the Moelwynion and Rhinogydd.

We awoke from our tents to find clag from ~150m; with it forecasted to continue I chose not to put on suncream or take my sun hat. Running out from the camp I passed Caroline (3rd overall) and we ran together through the clag over Cnicht and to the base of the Moelwyns, then took different lines before linking up again as we crossed to the Roman steps and the start of the Rhinogs. By this time the weather had changed and was scorching…. So much for the forecast.

 I continued to really play with the mountains, some lines worked, some didn’t, but I didn’t care as I had one of the greatest days in the mountains I have ever enjoyed. A clear day in the Rhinogs is a pleasure indeed; as I ran off the final summit (Diffwys) with another friend, Neil Talbot, I kept trying to tell myself I still had a good distance to go, but my head wasn’t listening. By the time I arrived at the camp it felt like I’d done an extra day! A wash in a cold stream was transformational though… as were the salty chips with mayo!

 Day 3 – Dolgellau to Pumlumon; via Cadair Idris, Tarrens and Pumlumon.

Day three starts with a stiff ascent to the Cadair ridge, but is certainly an easier day mountain wise…. It makes up for it in extra miles instead. Again the morning saw the ridgeline clagged out, but this time I had made sure I put on my cream and sun hat ready for the afternoon. The heat had been intense from early on Tuesday and the mercury was set to rise again… boy did it!

 I was lucky to catch an error from Penygadair early enough to mean it only added ~10 minutes to the day, but crossing the ridge was noticeably easier than I remembered it. That first day in 2012 had really taken its toll, so running this freely was a real delight. Once again I’d hooked up with Caroline by accident at the start, but we proved to be a really great partnership once again. With the Tarrens down all I could think about was picking up a Solero in Machynlleth. I was to be disappointed.

 Arriving at the petrol station to find there were no Soleros was a major blow, but 4 strawberry splits for £1, 3 bags of jelly sweets and a coke sorted me out. I discovered the key to distance running in the mountains is actually just running happy. My friend James ‘Pup’ Harris had shown the way on day one; nipping into the Café on Snowdon to get a can of cider for the technical crossing to y llywydd. That’s an approach I think Fitzy would be happy to adopt.

Having lost Caroline due to spending too much time finding and eating food I eventually left the drop bag point with my stereo on and the bit between my teeth. Getting into a rhythm I nailed the remaining trail section. Catching Caroline and Wouter (the flying Dutchman) then shooting past and really pushing it. I’d started to race.

 Day 4 – Elan Valley & Drygarn Fawr

Having arrived at the finish spent the night before I had failed to take care of my camp admin. Starting day 4 I realised I was going to be off the pace. My good friend I’d known since meeting and sharing a Bob Graham round in 2012, Carwyn had been forced to withdraw from the race with a torn calf. I was gutted for him. The race means so much to him I was actually lost for words as I knew everything would sound trite. His running partner Sam had asked to start with me so I naturally obliged.

 The mercury was pushing upwards again and I was struggling in the heat. It’s my least favourite of the days as the ground is tough and there aren’t really any mountains. Wide open spaces give plenty of time for contemplation and I was feeling a little sorry for myself. Still managed to nail the few lines that I knew and Sam really pulled me along the ‘10K road time trial’ at the end of the day. Finishing next to a pub and a river was a huge winner… especially when they serve slush puppies. My order of a Slush, a coke and a shandy went without a bat of an eyelid – clearly standard in these parts.

 In the evening a huge blow was dealt as time ticked on and Pup had not appeared. He finally arrived in bits. He’d had a similar injury to the one I’d suffered in 2012; his shin just refusing to play ball anymore. Day 5 was starting with a trip to the hospital for him to x-ray for a suspected stress fracture. Bad times.

 Day 5 – Carmarthenshire and the Black Mountain

Day 5 had been absolute hell for me the previous time. With both shins in agony I’d refused to give it in. I’d spent the first part to the drop bag almost entirely in tears. I had not looked forward to this bit at all as 30% of the day is on road and was pretty bland in my memory. How wrong!

 It was another scorching day and my word was it beautiful! Stopping in Llandovery for a coke, Feast ice cream, two pork pies, a bag of space raiders and a huge bag of jelly sweets cost me at least 15 minutes as I got caught behind an old lady doing her weekly shop… it was worth every minute. Getting back going and trying to catch up with Sam I demolished the feast, space raiders and pork pies whilst miraculously managing to keep pace with Jez Bragg. We subsequently leap frogged each other until getting to the beautiful Usk reservoir and the drop bag.

 Finding myself able to use Jez as a target pacer was beyond a surprise, but the week had taken its toll on him too in the form of knee tendonitis. Eventually the elastic snapped and Sam and I finally summitted onto the beautiful Black Mountain ridgeline. It’s a home run into the finish from here; it’s a very long one, but you know you’ve finished – it’s the victory lap. Even the serious heat didn’t detract from the beauty, although that was boosted by an ice cream van and two ice creams (one for each hand). It did leave me with cause for alarm as I sensed a national crisis in Wales… I’d been to a petrol station, a local super market and an ice cream van and none of them had stocked Soleros. It’s a scandal brewing, that’s for sure!

 In the end I was 20th, not that I was ever concerned about my finish position. My aim had been to finish with more dignity than last time and to be able to run all the way. I’m pleased to report that I absolutely accomplished my mission. The perfect end to the best running holiday anybody could have.

Once again more than 50% had failed to finish despite the route being known in advance, the first day being a 1/3 less and everybody being issued with a GPS trace prior to the race. It’s fair to say this race eats its young, but I’m yet to find anybody that has entered and not become deeply entranced by the challenge. 5 days of the best mountain running around. Perfect organisation. Incredible experience and camaraderie… it deserves its legendary status.

A little video from day 1 

This gives a flavour of day 1:

I think you will all agree CBH is pretty good at this ultra stuff, but so are his reports, and now everyone understands why i constantly moan about him saying he talks too much whilst out running with him. Total respect, although a Guinness would be my choice not a cider!



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

That’s all for this week folks, happy running.

Helsby RC News from 15th to 21st May 2017

Welcome to the weekly round-up and thanks to anyone who has sent reports in this week. Please keep sending  any contributions to

I know that everyone’s thoughts will be with families and friends of those affected by Monday night’s terrorist attack in Manchester.  There are a couple of Manchester events included in our events race calendar below, which the organiser’s  website currently confirms “will go ahead as planned “.

We also have our next club Fell and (mini) Fell Counter listed this weekend. Mynydd Myfyr Hill run is a good route for those of you wanting to try out fell running.


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Racing News:

Latrigg Fell Race – Wednesday 17/05/17


It is great to see Andy Smith back running in the fells after what seems a lot time off with injury. Looking forward to running with you again Andy, and thanks for sending in this report:

“After grumbling the previous week about excessive amounts of climb in a short fell race (blog passim), last Wednesday saw me heading to Keswick after work in search of more ascent in a shorter distance. With 950 feet of climb in 2.4 miles, at least the Latrigg race has the decency to describe itself as a category A fell race.
The race starts in Fitz park and heads out along the stony track heading towards Skiddaw. Shortly after crossing the A66 overbridge, you leave the stony track and climb steeply (very steeply) through trees, eventually breaking out on to the fellside to be rewarded with fine views off to the right of Derwentwater leading away to Borrowdale and ahead to the ridge line of the Dodds and Helvellyn, basking in the glow of warm evening sunlight. Plenty of time to enjoy the view as the climb continues to the summit of Latrigg. Top reached and it’s turn for home and an impossibly steep descent.
Latrigg is one of the classic lakeland fell races and the course record is still held by the legendary Kenny Stuart from the 1980s. I wasn’t going to be bothering Kenny’s record any time soon, any battles I would be enjoying were going to be right at the other end of the field. However, a long way in front of me Finlay Wild from Lochaber was having a serious crack at Kenny’s record. Finlay’s wining time of 17:28 was the fastest the course has seen for many years, but still didn’t come close to scratching Kenny’s time of 16:37. Kenny himself was in residence back at the club house to help handing out prizes at the presentation.
I wasn’t quite last, and at 32:13 even snatched a handful of seconds of my previous time. To be in the presence of one of the great heros of our sport, and to bear witness to a serious challenge on one of his long standing records was an honour. A spot prize of three bottles of locally crafted beer completed a perfect evening in the fells, all combining to make for a very memorable return to fell running.


Christleton 5K – Friday 19/05/17


Friday evening saw 10 of us take part in the Christleton 5k, which was our 6th club road  counter. It was a glorious summer evening and there was great support along the way, with at least as many Helsby members cheering us along the route as there was running. Christleton is a fast course and some great times were had. Chris Fitzpatrick was first back for us in 17:06 followed by Richard Hankins in 18:54. I managed a 5k PB of 20:08 while Carol Shaw and Janet Shaw both came first in their categories.

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Old County Tops – Saturday 20/05/17

old county tops 2

Thanks to Steve Riley for sending in the photos and following report from the Old County Tops long distance event:

“Jim O’hara and I ran the Old County Tops on Saturday, a long distance event in the Lakes linking Helvellyn, Scafell Pike and Coniston Old Man. I say ‘ran’, I expect Jim and old county topsTattenhall’s Peter Taylor (it’s a pairs event) ran quite a lot. We trudged a fair bit and were not far off DFL – I had a bad day, got my food and drink wrong and was pleased to get home intact. Hadn’t appreciated how much rough, boggy ground there was and long stretches of bad weather made it stiff upper lip territory (nearly 30% drop-outs). I ran it with my boss Dave Haygarth from Rossendale – probably one of the worst kind of team building exercises you can do 🙂

Jim and Pete had a really good run and came in around 20th.


Excalibur Trail Marathon – Sunday 21/05/17


There were 10 of us who participated in this race last year. This year, it was just me! I felt I had a bit of unfinished business with this race, as last year it was my first long race after returning from an injury. This year, the day stayed dry and started off pretty pleasant in the Clwydians but became really humid and then hot as the sun broke through later. I drank 3 litres of water while running but was still dehydrated and cramping up at the end. The free sports massage at the end was great for the cramps though. This year saw a slightly amended route with the race starting and finishing at the lower car park of Moel Famau. This resulted in something of a ‘sting in the tail’,  as the last mile now includes a climb before dropping back down to the finish. I had hoped to sub 5 hours but was about 2 minutes over. A good result though as still about 15 mins faster than last year, and I finished 20th overall.

Chester Half Marathon – Sunday 21/05/17


Ten Helsby vests were in the Chester Half Marathon this year, with some cracking results again. Jane Ashbrook seems to be keeping her form from London with a 3rd place category finish. Great results from Chris Collins and Neil Finnegan too, who both had a top 50 finish. Well done everyone!

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Parkrun – Saturday 20/05/17

Despite it being such a busy racing week, Helsby still put out 13 runners across 6 different Parkruns on Saturday morning. Some great results that can be viewed in our club’s consolidated report HERE

I think that’s it for now.


Helsby RC weekly round-up 8th May to 14thth May 2017

Hello Green Army

A bit of sad news to start the blog this week. Former club member Albert Berry, 73 years young, passed away earlier this week. Lots of lovely comments have been posted on the Facebook page and we want to send our thoughts to his family and friends. A sub 30, 10k runner in his prime Albert was a very talented runner, but very modest at the same time. He made everyone new to the club very welcome on club nights, and he loved the social pint and a chat afterwards. He will be missed.

Albert’s funeral will take place at 1pm on Wednesday 24th May at St Michael’s R C Church, St Michael’s Road, Ditton, Halton, Widnes WA8 8TF, and afterwards at St Michael’s Rooms.


Some good news now, our very own Joe Beswick has been given Honorary Membership of the Fell Runners Association, both for his running exploits in his earlier years and now his support. This is another achievement to put on his running CV, very well deserved Joe, be sure to congratulate him if you see him, I’m sure he will tell you a few stories about his exploits.

 A message from Betty

Mersey Weaver District Scouts are fundraising their way to Norway for the world’s northernmost jamboree in the Arctic Circle, The Helsby Community Sports Club, have teaming with up to organise a Fundraising family fun day on 3rd June

Our fun day on 3rd June Helsby Community Sports Club is shaping up to be a great day. Alongside the family fun fair, climbing wall, and birds of prey display from LORD of the WINGS, children’s soft play area, dog show with Vets Helsby and vintage tractors, Go Ape have confirmed they will be attending with a couple of instructors and swegways, there will be demonstrations from Deva Cheerleading Academy – Chester and, Filipino Eagles, Childrens Martial Arts, face painting from Party Faces, lots of community groups have signed up to have stalls, the sporting sections from the club will be providing taster sessions, there will children’s story telling with SHOUT OUT BOO 2 and lots lots more

Scouts Helsby Family Funday

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

Geoff Collins sent in a report on the Thurstaston Summer Multi Challenge race 9th May.

Seven Helsby runners entered the race this year up from two last year, but sadly we had no ladies this time. Wirral and Merseyside clubs were well represented among the 194 finishers but not many from the Cheshire clubs. Weather conditions were much better than last year with a nice sunny evening and dry conditions. However Colin and myself managed to get an age category prize!

This is a really cracking good multi terrain race. Just £4 to enter starting in the same place as the September one by the caravan site. The usual shuffling backwards, forwards and sideways to allow cars past took place before the race could start. The course takes you towards the slipway down onto the beach and back to Heswall rather than Caldy.

There is just over a mile of running on the beach which was quite wet in places, I think for me this was the best bit of the race glorious in the setting sun and the views across the Dee estuary. Just before the sewage works you head off the beach on a track and climb up to a narrow road past a few houses heading towards Broad Lane. This continues as you cross the Wirral Way on a bridge heading up towards The Dales the next off road section. The unwelcome sight of steps going up comes into view! Then it’s a bit of a loop round the wooded Dales before yes you guessed, more steps going down again! Back to the road and onto the Wirral way finally onto the grassy headland dodging the rabbit holes to the finish. I was frantically trying to catch Tim on the closing stages of the race.

Many thanks to Christleton High School Art Dept for the photo


1 Phil Robertson Wirral AC U30M 34.01 the winner

11 Colin Bishop Helsby (1st 055M) 37.37

44 Davyd Michell Helsby U40M 42.45

57 Jim Jones Helsby O50M 43.48

103 Tim Igoe Helsby O30M 48.41

110 Geoff Collins Helsby (3rd O60M) 49.35

138 Chris Morgan Helsby O60M 53.19

139 Chris Igoe Helsby O50M 53.27

Geoff Collins


Bargain at £4 if you ask me.

Debbie Read sent in a report for The Llangollen 10k trail race

The Llangollen 10k trail race was recommended to me by a running buddy who did it last year – I’m passing the baton and recommending it to you.

The most beautiful 10k trail run in the UK is the heading on their website, and while it is undoubtedly very pretty, personally I’d class it as a multi terrain as there’s a fair bit of road in it.
“Welsh undulating” it starts in the sports field next to the Dinas Bran Leisure centre starting field and after a lap and a half of the grass running track we headed out past the leisure centre, UP the first stretch of road (having done the fell race last week I was starting to worry) then back DOWN into the sports field and DOWN onto the canal, ALONG for a couple of kilometres. Then it was UP a lane, OVER a bridge, UP a track, ALONG a track. At this stage the leaders were starting to pass me on their way back to the canal. UP a field with long grass, AROUND the field (grass still long – hard work I can tell you). DOWN the field onto the track – my turn to pass those on their way up, ALONG the track, DOWN a lane and back onto the canal (drink station) After a couple of kilometres and seeing the car park and hearing the finish on the other side of the canal we passed the 9k sign “that can’t be right” said the bloke doing battle with me but it was – OVER the bridge, UP onto the sports field, UP onto the road, DOWN the road to the leisure centre, back onto the sports field and 300 metres on the running track to finish where the Town Cryer rang everybody across the finish line.

Limited to 500 runners (sold out with a waiting list), a well organised, well marshalled race.

debbie read

Just the mention of Dinas Bran would scare some of us off doing this, but I must admit stunning scenery in this neck of the woods.

Good to see Andy Smith back running after a lengthy spell out with injury, Andy sent in this report

Whitehaven Habourside 5k

My word, is nothing flat in this corner of western Cumbria ? For those of you wondering how much ascent you can get in 5k road race, the answer from the Whitehaven Harbourside 5k is in excess of 200 feet ! On a sunny, but somewhat breezy, spring evening last Tuesday, 136 runners of all abilities lined up on the cobbles of the harbourside in Whitehaven. This gives a nice flat, fast, traffic free start to the race…

Now Whitehaven sits in a natural bowl on the coastline, so once off the harbour, the only way out is up.  After half a mile round the harbourside the steep climb begins past the distinctive Candlestick Chimney, one of the last few remains of Wellington Pit.  This is a sufficiently steep climb that the race needs two lead bikes : one to the foot of the climb, the second taking over when the leaders reach the top. The path snakes round the Candlestick with engraved flagstones underfoot lamenting the passing of the pits which had brought so much employment to the area, whilst also acknowledging how hard and dangerous the work was.

Climb over and the runners are rewarded with fine views over the Irish Sea with the coast line carrying on to St Bees Head (starting point of Wainwright’s Coast to Coast route). Our curent focus is a little closer to hand in the form of the preserved pit head winding gear at Haig Pit Mining Museum, which forms the half way mark and turning point. One 180 degree turn around a traffic cone, and we are heading back the way we came. This time with views to the north and the wind farm off the Galloway coast, across the Solway Forth, just visible in the distance. The evening sunlight just catching their sails. Somehow, the steep descent back to the harbour didn’t seem to give as much back to tired legs going down as it had extracted from them coming up and once back on the cobbles of the harbour it was the usual story of just trying to keep it all together in the last half mile of a tough 5k as I sought to sprint to the finish. With that 200+ feet of climb in the early stages, this was never going to be a PB cpurse, so I’m happy with a finishing time of 23:26 and 47th position. The winning times were 17:38 for the men, 20:42 for the ladies.

All in all, a fun little race. Traffic free round the harbour and over cliff top paths and surprisingly scenic, given that apart from a handful of preserved remains, there is no other evidence in the landscaping of the industrial past of this small coastal town. Definitely one to keep in my diary for next year.


Sounds like a great 5k, but where are you mile splits mate?

That’s it for this week, bye for now