Capenhurst 5k

Another great evening for running and a decent green turn-out. With a lot of talk of ‘fast course this’ before the event, the pressure was certainly on. And there were some fine results, with possibly 4 PBs on the night – not sure. Ian was certainly close to his best times, all set when he was considerably younger (and with more hair?). I got one (albeit a soft one, since it’s ages since I’ve run a 5k, and still short of the magic sub-20). The fast improving Alex shaved some more off his previous. Ed too?

Helsby results:

23 Adair Broughton M 17.36
38 Ian Landucci M45 18.21
40 Alex Fitzmaurice M 18.25
74 Edward Halliwell M 19.50
86 Steve Riley M45 20.15
97 Geoff Shaw M55 20.57
115 Vanessa Griffiths F45 22.08
163 Janet Shaw F55 25.38

Thanks to Joe for team back-up as per usual. Full results at


Race the train

Andy Robinson writes:
On Saturday five of us went to Tywyn on the Welsh coast to race the train: up the valley from the coast and back for 14 miles racing the Talyllyn narrow gauge railway train. The event was a big carnival really, with a salsa band, beer tent and big crowds. As we lined up with 800 other runners at the start Jackie said “Well this is a bit better. This is the fifth year I’ve run this and every other time it’s been pouring with rain and the mud’s been atrocious.” And a minute later the rain started.

The race started through the centre of town, the roads briefly closed to traffic, lined with cheering spectators. Then it was off through the fields parallel to the railway up the valley. I managed to keep up with Jane for the first five miles, but the hill up from Dolgoch station was too much for me and she pulled away from there. On to the turn at the halfway point, then we started back down the valley again following a different route higher up the valley side. More climbing and more mud. A lot more mud. I was very glad I’d decided to wear fell shoes as runners with less aggressive soles slithered around all over the place. There was long frustrating section traversing a steep hillside on a narrow path, too steep and rough to overtake anyone, but then it was back to fields, tracks and finally the road back through the town to the finish. Somewhere along the way the train passed us, and more yells of encouragement came from the passengers, and of course there was more on our way back through Tywyn. I finished knackered as always, having run faster than I’m used to as it’s such a flat course.

I staggered along to join Jane and her family, and the rain started in earnest. It had only rained a bit during the race, but we quickly got cold as we waited for the others. Then Rachel arrived, then Jackie, and by this time I was too cold and had to disappear back to my car to get some warmer clothes on. Sorry for not waiting, Carol! We all met up later over a brew though.

An excellent event, and a good time was had by all. This was the fifth event out of the six in the Trail series. Full results can be found at the following link

Helsby finishing positions and times below.

180th The Train 1:48:05
247th Jane Ashbrook 1.54.49
290th Andy Robinson 1.57.17
478th Rachel Arnold 2.10.30
533rd Jackie Keasley 2.15.03
684th Carol Shaw 2.34.22

Well done to the hardy Helsby runners who raced the train at the weekend. Full results can be found at the following link

Helsby summer series 2010

It’s been a little while since I last updated the current standings in this years Helsby Summer Series.  Since my last post things have moved on quite a bit. We now only have 2 fell races and 3 road races left to complete each of the series. Whilst the overall mens title for both the road and fell series is pretty much decided the rest of the competitions are still up for grabs so make sure you have the last few race dates in your diaries.

Road League table
Roads Aug 2010

Fell League table
Fells Aug 2010

Sandstone trail: end to end

People — with no apologies for length — we have reports of not one but two remarkable achievements. Andy Robinson, our tame distance expert this weekend completed the length of the Sandstone to post a benchmark best time. Showing no regard for vanity, Andy then set himself the task of researching other completion times. Read on to find out if he still holds the record…
Andy writes:

A couple of weeks ago someone posted a question on the FRA forum:

“What’s the record for running the full Sandstone Trail?” Nobody seemed to know. There are plenty of records for the Deeside Orienteering Club Sandstone Trail A & B races (11 and 17 miles), but when I tried to find out how fast people have run the full 33-mile Trail, I pretty much drew a blank. I know there used to be an event organised by someone from the fire service, and some of you will have run in that, but I would think that will have been before the Trail was extended into Whitchurch.

“Surely Helsby RC should have a name or two in the frame” I thought.

Anyway, my mountain marathon partner Chris was coming up for the weekend, and we needed a challenge, so Saturday morning saw us driving the short distance to Acton Bridge station, then taking the train to Whitchurch (changing at Crewe). We walked across town to the sandstone arch that marks that end of the Trail, stripped down to our running things & set off across the road and down the alleyway opposite just after 10am. We picked a good day for it actually: cool, with almost no rain. We were carrying about 2 litres of water each, plus a supply of Thornton’s Fruit Jellies (to be eaten at the rate of 4 each per 45 mins).

It’s a good run. Five minutes in and you’re running on the canal towpath in pleasant surroundings, giving an easy warm-up. There were plenty of boaters to wish good morning, and some of them even replied.

You follow the canal past the original end of the Trail at Grindley Brook and on to leave it at Willeymoor Lock. Here starts my least favourite part of the Trail, across farmland for a few miles to Larkton Hill. It’s not bad though, quiet paths in the main. At Larkton Hill you reach the start of the A Race route and the glorious switchbacks over the hills to Beeston – great running, and it didn’t seem nearly as intimidating as it does in the race. This year I’m going to walk up that first hill in the race and see what difference that makes…

Psychologically, the hardest bit of the run for me was keeping going past the end of the race route, knowing there were still miles to go.

My head was saying “but this is where you stop – what are you doing?”

We were both getting pretty tired by this time, and running up Manley Road felt hard. By the time we joined the Wednesday night route at Commonside we had both about had it, and I then had to break the news to Chris that we still had to climb that hill in front of us. He wasn’t impressed. We staggered on, Chris had a cramp attack climbing the Baker’s Dozen steps, then we hobbled down to the Bear’s Paw to lie down on the cobbles. It was about 10 minutes before we could sit up again, but eventually we made it to the bar for a pint, and I phoned Nicola to pick us up.

A great day out, and I’ll do it again some time. Did we set a record?

No. Chris Baynham-Hughes may have done though. He ran it last month in a much faster time, and I’ve not yet found anyone who’s done it faster.

Here are the completion times I know about:

John Rowlands – 7:00 approx – S Cheshire Harriers (06/06/2010)

Chris Baynham-Hughes – 5:29 – Helsby RC (24/07/2010)

Andy Robinson – 6:12 – Helsby RC (14/08/2010)

Chris Vardy – 6:12 – Norfolk OC (14/08/2010)

I’ll try to maintain a log of completions, so if anyone else has done it, please let me have your time and the date you ran it. Incidentally I’ve also asked Tattenhall whether any of their members have run it, but no-one’s owned up to it yet.

Andy Robinson

The thread on the FRA forum Andy mentions is at (you don’t need to be a member or register to look).

I know the club has a long history of involvement with the Sandstone in it’s different guises. There are stories I know of from Mario, Joe, Vanessa and Mike S, at the very least. It would be great if we could get the details down here on the blog, before we all get too confused to remember!


PS Chris Baynham-Hughes adds:

Whilst we wait for Tattenhall to post times, I am basking in what I am sure will be short lived glory on the FRA forum. My experience was very similar to Andy’s and I’d recommend it for anybody looking for a really long training run or challenge. I had been talking about doing it for a long time and following a chat with Andy about his long distance shenanigans and the training he did for these runs I figured I just needed to go and try it. My theory was that I should at least get to Delamere and given that I know the way home from there I thought I’d be stubborn enough not to give up (but if I had to then my wife wouldn’t be too cross as she wouldn’t have to drive for hours to pick me up). As a result, when I reached the end of the superb Sandstone trail race I felt good as I knew I could make it from there; naturally I immediately took a wrong turn and ended up having to go off piste to get back onto the correct path, but hey, these things happen after 25 miles.

I had a glorious day to run, but made a few rookie mistakes. Firstly I wore a new pair of shoes (I’d run 1x10k in them a couple of days before). Running through Andy’s favourite fields my feet got soaked with dew and I soon felt a hot spot appear, so I stopped to tape my foot up. 5 minutes later I was back on the trail, slightly disappointed to leave the magnificent view I had whilst stopped. The run itself really is quite spectacular in places and for those that think running the whole thing end to end is nuts then I really recommend running it in stages. I also took a few wrong turns and didn’t take enough fluids with me – leaving me to beg a terrifically miserable café owner for some water (she showed me a level of distain I have never experienced before).

As the longest run I had ever attempted by a good 8 miles I learned a lot about the psychology of running such a distance. Being determined to finish meant that I went into survival mode very early on and shuffled my way around and beat myself up mentally for doing so. Now I know I can complete the distance I think it would be easier to break the race down into sections and run rather than shuffle. I’d certainly be able to enjoy it more if I ran it again as I know I can do it; I’d certainly do more prep and I’ve no doubt that I will do it again at some point. Of course at the end of the run you are also conveniently placed to load up on carbs; my preference is for the Guinness flavoured ones.


Great Warford 10 road counter results

Hi all

A warmer than expected morning for the six Helsby vests at the Great Warford 10 Mile Club Counter Race.

A brilliant performance by Alison Meakin secured her 1st place in her category so big congratulations to Alison in what was a strong field due to this race also being a Cheshire Grand Prix event.

Looks like Alison even had time to smile for the photographs! See link below.

Helsby positions and times as follows:

17th  Adair Broughton          1:00:48
81st  Ian Landucci             1:07:58
103rd  Alex Fitzmaurice        1:09:48
131st  Jane Ashbrook           1:11:18
148th  Geoff Shaw              1:13:54
272nd  Alison Meakin           1:28:57

Helsby were also 7th male team out of 19 team with 167 points

17  Adair Broughton
68  Ian Landucci
82  Alex Fitzmaurice

Full results are available here:

Please note that this coming Wednesday is the Urenco 5k held by Ellesmere Port Running Club at Capenhurst


Ponderosa fell counter – results

Wednesday night saw one of the Clubs more popular ‘fell races’. The Ponderosa Hill Race. Direct link to results can be found here:

Helsby positions and times as below

13th     Adair Broughton           28.56
16th     Chris Baynham-Hughes 29.40
19th     Jim O’Hara                   30.35
35th     Ian Landucci                 32.35
54th     Jane Ashbrook              35.23
64th     Phil Gillard                    35.56
70th     Alec Robertson            36.35
103rd   Jackie Keasley             41.45
111th   Robbie Webster           45.21

With what was a record turnout of 118 runners to make their achievements all the more spectacular, two Helsby runners enjoyed their place on the Ponderosa Podium in 1st Place.

Well done to both Jane and Alec continuing the impressive winning streak. If I am not mistaken I think both these runners have now had two victories apiece in two races!

Joe gave some great hillside support as always, noticing how tightly the Helsby front runners were packing at the top of the first climb. It looks like next season will have some very close battles in the fell races. So please come along and be a part of it!

When  photos become available of the Ponderosa I will post an edit on the Helsby blog. Comments and thoughts always welcome!


Wirral September multi-terrain series

Hi all

Please find attached the email and circular for this great series of races in the wirral commencing in September.

All courses are interesting and varied and even if you can only do one race please turn up as they are the last midweek races you will be able to do before the onset of autumn.

I’m sure we’ll also do very well as a team if we have enough people turn up. If there are any more questions then do not hesitate to ask.


Fellow Runners

It is fast approaching that time of year again when we race around the Wirral in our annual MT race series.  So on behalf of the committee I am
pleased to announce this years venues:

1. Tuesday 7th September 1900 hrs start
    Royden Park Visitor Centre, Frankby
    (organised by Pensby)

2. Tuesday 14th September 1900 hrs start
    Thurstaston visitor centre, Wirral
    (organised by West Cheshire)

3. Tuesday 21st September 1830 hrs start to StebDerby Pool, Harrison Drive,
    (organised by Wallasey)

4. Tuesday 28th September 1830 hrs start
    Cherry Orchard, Arrowe Park, Wirral
    (organised by Steve Saunders and Birkenhead AC)
Organisation and rules will follow the same format as previous years and
the race fee will remain at £1 per race.

Prizegiving will take place after the last race in the Cherry Orchard PH.
Food will be provided.

Please remember that these are closed races in which all athletes should be club members. (guests will be allowed at the discretion of the race organiser). All competitors are to wear club vests/ T shirts.

In order to assist with the administration please can each club confirm their Race Series Representative along with their email address by return message.  I will then send out last years runners details for each club for update and inclusion of new runners.  This is vitally important for the smooth running and speed of results so please assist me in completing the
information as soon as possible and before the first race.

Can each club please supply at least one marshall for each of the races to assist in the running of the race reporting to me before each race.

See you all in September


Steve Saunders
Birkenhead AC
Chairman Summer Multi-Terrain League

Pie and Peas Results – Club Road Counter

Hi all

Please find attached a link to the recent Helsby Road Counter the Pie and Peas Race. Photos of the night can also be accessed from the link.

As always it was a good turnout for Helsby with ten runners braving the windy night on what is a 5mile Multi-Terrain course which includes a nice run along the River Weaver and a small climb about a mile from the end just to test the legs. One to consider for next year folks! Although they did run out of veggie pies this year, the Helsby contingent, on Joe’s advice, can heartily recommend the chips.

Once again, thanks also to Joe for support on route.

Helsby Runners placings and times below:

12th     Adair Broughton    30.20

32nd    Alex Fitzmaurice   32.34

45th     Ian Landucci    33.34

75th     Geoff Shaw   36.02

77th     Andy Robinson 36.09

117th   David Feakes   39.17

159th   Jackie Keasley 41.28

178th  Ian Hilditch 42.43

187th  Lesley Feakes  43.15

211th   Janet Shaw        44.44



And Congratulations to Adair who won the Mens V35 prize


Gyrn Gallop Fell Counter Results

Hi all

Please find attached the results for the recent Gyrn Gallop Fell Counter

Looks like all the Helsby runners managed to find their way around too which is a bonus! Two top ten positions and two prize winners which is a fine day for Helsby running club. A close battle for the full 20 points on offer also, with Jim and Chris battling it out all the way round. Well done to Ian for winning his age category and also to Alec who ran superbly to achieve his first prize in thirty years of running. Be sure to congratulate Alec and Ian when you see them.

Helsby Runners and placings as follows.

7th       Chris Baynham-Hughes            48.38

8th       Jim O’Hara                   49.04

15th     Ian Landucci                 51.50   1st Male v45

30th     Alec Robertson            57.29   1st Male v60

32nd    Phil Gillard                    57.49

For some photos of this event and prizes just follow the link below

Enjoy your running

Next fell counter is the Ponderosa a week today



Comedy evening on the fells

Green green grass of homeLast week’s Green Grass of Home race provided a hugely entertaining finish for bewildered border runners. A popular mid-week race, the Green Grass keeps everyone on their toes (with consequent aching calves) by changing the route every year. This year was a tough one.

Hardened fell runners and experienced mountain folk that we are meant that few had bothered to memorise the map beforehand, preferring the normally reliable strategy of “it’ll all work out somehow”, with a small side order of “there’s always someone to follow”, for those of us accustomed to the more sedate end of the field. Thus we set off.

There was some climbing, some more climbing, a bit of traversing (some friendly marshalling from stalwarts Joe and Mario), a bit of descending, a bit of godawful flogging through featureless gorse, bracken and tussocky grass. Even the sheep had more sense than to provide us with a trod to follow here.

The blessed relief of the end of this section saw more open ground and wishful thinking led to many runners seeing what they wanted to see and following a path leading gently over the brow and hence down to the finish. Those of a more pessimistic nature glanced up the steep and unpleasant hillside to see the telltale sign of a flash of marker tape. We accepted our fate and turned up the climb.

We climbed and climbed some more. Eventually there was a narrow singletrack path leading almost levelly up and across the hill. Away from the finish. We were almost too tired to run on level ground here. Eventually we found Joe. Again. Nice that someone from the club was enjoying himself. More climbing. More pathless featureless difficult ground. Then a descent. A steep one at that, lots of ankle snaffling vegetation to worry about, or not, depending on your descending prowess. Eventually we popped out on the stony track we’d left some 45 minutes earlier on the ascent and a fast drop to the finish. Where we found the slack group looking remarkably fresh having been back for some time. The realisation began to hit as it became clear what had happened. Most people were remarkably relaxed about the confusion, I only heard a couple of cross voices. Everyone had a nice run after all. Just some people chose to cut the race a bit shorter.

Martin took the sage decision to swiftly reclassify the race into ‘short’ and ‘long’ versions, generously giving two sets of his always-amusing prizes.

The moral of the story is to never, never underestimate the hills. They can be cruel and unforgiving. Always be prepared for the worst and follow someone who know where they are going.

Helsby long (5m/1800′):
16 Steve Riley 53.01
29 Phil Gillard 59.15
30 Alec Robertson 59.27

Helsby short (4m/1400′):
9 Adair Broughton 37.04
15 Jim O’Hara 39.56

Nice try lads 🙂

Results and pics on the wfra site.
Thanks to Al Tye for the pic of Phil and Alec above and for Martin Cortvriend for taking it all on the chin.