Gin Pit double marathon report March 16th-17th 2013 by Dave Madders

 Race Report Gin Pit Trail Marathon 16th & 17th March by Dave Madders


This weekend, 2 members of Helsby running club, Gareth Boyd and Dave Madders embarked on their first double marathon attempt at the Gin Pit Trail marathon near Leigh Lancashire.

Having both ran marathons previously with pb’s of 3.28 and 3.46 respectively, the distance was not an unknown. What was unknown to both of us was how the body reacts to running the same marathon again the day after when you’re still aching and hobbling from the day before.

Described by the organisers as 11 miles of canal tow  paths, 9 miles of trails ( derived from former railway lines but essentially extremely muddy bridleways ) and 6 miles of roads, the course sounded picturesque and perfect flat running conditions. Unfortunately the extremely wet  weather the previous few days meant a lot of the bridleways and tow paths were flooded and extremely muddy meaning extra effort required in the energy sapping mud!

A very muddy course!

So day  1 saw 39 runners tackling the marathon, Gareth and I adopted a steady steady approach and ran all but the last mile or two together with Gareth finishing in 4 hours 46 mins and me shuffling in closely behind in 4.54.

The following day both of us registered and lined up at the start line alongside 33 other plucky runners of whom only 23 were attempting the double.

If anyone had seen my attempts to get down the stairs for breakfast on Sunday they would not have believed I was about to endure another marathon, yet a funny thing happened, when the gun went and we got running my body seemed to accept the fact that I’m crackers and was putting it through more punishment and instead of shuffling 9 min miles along the drier parts like yesterday, Gareth and I were actually  ‘running’ along at 8 min mile pace!

After ten miles or so I put the ipod on to numb the pain and Gareth and I went at our own pace but both reached hallway point some 10-15 mins quicker than the previous day!

The second half saw us both improve dramatically over the previous day and Gareth ‘sauntered’ home in a very impressive time of 4 hours 13 mins.

I should have been close behind him, however, my sense of direction wasn’t as good as my running on Sunday and I took a wrong turn along the trails 200 yards from the finish! I did an extra 1.5 miles which the organisers kindly didn’t charge me for, but remarkably despite my mishap I finished in 4 hrs 52 mins still 2 mins faster than the previous day.

All 23 runners who attempted the double completed it with Gareth 14th and myself 18th. Looking at the results I’m amazed at the winning double time by Phil Ecclestone of Horwich RMI Harriers who completed both marathons on that wet and very muddy course in a cumulative time of 6 hours 28! Remarkable!

Astley and Tyldesly road runners also put on a half marathon on the Sunday along the first 13 miles of the course in which Helsby running club member Ivan Davies produced a very creditable time of 1 hr 34 minutes. Great time on that course Ivan!

As this event is only 30 minutes away from our club I’d recommend it to anyone wanting a friendly and low key event marathon or double marathon. The organisation was incredible with friendly marshalling and 4 excellent feed stations and despite my navigational mishap which was due to tiredness and stupidity, I must say the signposting along the trails meant the course map and directions provided at the start were never needed with arrows sprayed on the ground/mud at every major turn. The organisers had even mountain biked the course on Sunday morning re-establishing the arrows after Saturday nights heavy rain

One of the few non industrial picturesque views on the course. Worsely village after aprox 9 miles

Canal tow path at aprox 16 miles

Bridge at halfway checkpoint.

For Photographs please see attached report in pdf




Helsby weekly round-up March 16th-17th 2013

Hi all

Another busy week for Helsby members, (hence it taking a while with the weekend round-up). A very active running scene in the northwest and Wales it seems.

For the early risers it was once again the Saturday morning Delamere Park 5k Run which saw another good turnout for Helsby with 9 out in force, and with Steve Riley leading from the front.

For full results please see

18th       Steve Riley                   21.21
23rd       Vanessa Griffiths          22.17
24th       Dave Feakes                 22.18
27th       Carol Shaw                   22.44
39th       Lesley Feakes               25.00
51st       Ian Hilditch                    26.04
58th       Jo Farwell                     27.55
81st       Roz Jones                    36.27
86th       Jane and Charlie          45.03

Some great performances if you look at the records. Thanks to Steve Riley for pointing out that Ian Hilditch is a category record holder!

A few hours later and a few more miles away a hardy group of Helsby vests began the Llantisilio fell race in North Wales, start and finish at the Sunn Inn, Rhewl. This race has been a club counter before and is organised by Tattenhall Runners. It was a good day too with even a hint of blue sky on occasion along the tops.

It was another superb win for Jayne shortly after her cross country efforts and shows her consistent as well as improving quality in the North Wales fell scene. Jayne wasn’t too far behind Chris and Adair at the final climb, with Chris himself having a strong run and by rights should actually have been first home for Helsby if it wasn’t for misdirection within the last few hundred metres of the race. Good runs by Janet and Andy gave us five out for Helsby in a field of 86 runners.

Thanks to Joe and Mario out on the course in support.

12th       Adair Broughton                        61.04
16th       Chris Baynham-Hughes              62.21
25th       Jayne Joy                                 66.07
64th       Janet Robertson                        78.41
77th       Andy Smith                               90.41

For a short race report and full results just visit the Welsh Fell Runners website at the link below

Pete Douglas and Alistair Tye were both out taking pictures on the day

Sunday saw the Liverpool Half Marathon with four out for Helsby, another great run by Ben saw him knock a full five minutes from his PB, also joined by Laura and Clare in achieving their half marathon PB’s too. Derek was first home for the club (you’ll have to introduce yourself to me Derek as I’m not sure who you are!)

1186th                Derek Gallagher                        1.43.58
1855th                Clare Miller                                1.49.18 PB!
2047th                Laura Baynham-Hughes         1.49.06 PB!
2686th                Ben Williams                             1.54.29 PB!

Full results for Liverpool Half and link to photographs please see link below

St Patricks Day also saw Roy Gaskill run at Tatton Park for Age UK in the ‘Wrap up and Run 10k’, in what he thought was a road race but turned out to be a multi-terrain event incorporating quite a few muddy fields. After slipping a few times a determined Roy still managed a brilliant 28th in a field of over 600 runners with a time of 43.21, one of the performances of the weekend!

28th       Roy Gaskill       43.21   

Please see the event website and full race results from the links below

I have received a brilliant race report by Dave Madders regarding the Gin Pit Double so this deserves it’s own web article on the blog which can be found on the Helsby Blog shortly

In brief, Dave and Gareth did a marathon on Saturday and Sunday with excellent times to boot. Please take a few minutes to read how they got on. 23 runners attempted the double, Gareth’s and Daves positions were 14th and 18th. Brilliant achievement guys and well done from all at Helsby

Full results and other information here

Sunday also saw the first event in the long trail series, the Heptonstall Fell Race. Andy Robinson secured what was a tough 20 points, thoroughly earned and in his words “I won’t call it an easy twenty points though. A great race, finishing up a very steep climb from Hardcastle Crags up to the finish in Heptonstall.”

For full details and results on the Heptonstall race please see the website below

123rd     Andy Robinson 2.51.16

Please note the next Long Distance Trail counter is the Baslow Boot Bash on Saturday 8th June.

This is a friendly 26-mile LDWA event on paths and tracks in the Peak District, with both runners and walkers.  A good introduction to longer events, it’s a personal challenge rather than a race.  I had an email yesterday (18 March) saying it is filling up, so if you want to run this one, get your entry in asap.  There’s a 15-mile option as well, but the club counter is the full 26 miles.  Car sharing would make sense

Please see official website for more details

Castle Park training still ongoing at 6.30pm Mondays and we’ll update as soon as we switch venues to the track sessions at Helsby High School

Keep on running