Helsby Race News 9-15th Feb 2015

Lots to get through this week, thanks to all for the race reports, keep them coming!

Road Running

Village Bakery Half Marathon
 Our first road counter of the season and a huge 16 Green Army members travelled to Wrexham Industrial Estate to tackle the 13.1 mile distance. 2 laps of an industrial estate is a little uninspiring but this course is all about fast times and with perfect running conditions and a flat course it was a tarmac slappers paradise which ensured PB’s galore from the Helsby contingent!

Go Paul!

Go Paul!

First home for Helsby was Colin Thompson to take the maximum points with Chris Fitzpatrick and Gaz O’Connor following closely to both take a huge chunk of time off their PB’s which bodes well for their London Marathon ambitions in April. Degsy Morris had another stormer to go sub 90 mins and strong running from Ian Landucci and Phil Roberts saw a very competitive mens team on the day. Special mention to Paul Bulmer who, after months of preparation and training, pulled on his running shoes and managed to run a fabulous time of 2:34:09 which is a truly inspiring performance. Paul was running for his charity Alzheimer’s Research UK, full link below, it would be very generous if people could contribute to this charity to support his efforts.

Over to the ladies and Joanne Lacking was in fine form smashing out a 1:33:13 for another PB and taking the chequered flag for the Helsby ladies and maximum points. Helen Owens and Michelle Hardwick were chasing hard and both had a fantastic run to go sub 1:45 and take 2nd and 3rd with Lesley Feakes following closely behind. Well done ladies! Shan McCarthy broke the magical 2 hour mark, but that wasn’t enough so she decided to break 1:59 also. That’s just greedy! Well done Shan, all the hard training has definitely paid off. Donna Geer also had a stormer taking a whopping 11 minutes off her PB, the lady is on fire, especially with that sprint finish in her armour! Rhea Thomas had her first foray into the half marathon distance and although she was a little disappointed with her time I would say that she had a great first race, a half marathon is a difficult one to judge with the pacing so you now have a base to build off and a bench mark to beat next time. Louise McEveley and Claire Morton both ran as guide runners for Paul to tidy up the Helsby pack. Thank you ladies.

Special mention to our Green Army support team in the form of Joe and Mario who were out on course offering us encouragement and support, Louise, Max, Alison Bulmer and it was great to see Adair near the finish cheering us on. Max ditched his running shoes this time to show off his new found love of photography (and tight jeans), I will post some pictures onto the blog in due course, but if you can’t wait till then the official photos can be found here: http://www.mickhall-photos.com

Full Helsby results below:

Pos No. First name Last name Gun time Chip Time Category Pos
17 571 Colin Thompson 01:17:37 01:17:36 Snr Male 8
41 178 Chris Fitzpatrick 01:20:55 01:20:50 Snr Male 22
65 416 Gary O’connor 01:24:00 01:23:50 Vet 45 6
108 398 Derek Morris 01:28:20 01:28:00 Vet 40 22
136 322 Ian Landucci 01:30:29 01:30:25 Vet 50 14
167 319 Joanne Lacking 01:33:13 01:33:02 Vet 35 7
217 494 Phillip Roberts 01:38:06 01:37:47 Snr Male 84
273 426 Helen Owens 01:43:26 01:43:06 Vet 35 10
297 241 Michele Hardwick 01:45:07 01:44:46 Vet 35 12
326 172 Lesley Feakes 01:48:57 01:48:36 Vet 50 3
418 361 Shan Mccarthy 01:59:23 01:58:58 Vet 45 16
433 197 Donna Geer 02:02:23 02:01:59 Vet 45 18
485 569 Rhea Thomas 02:11:06 02:11:06 Snr Female 36
535 75 Paul Bulmer 02:35:03 02:34:09 Vet 55 24
537 362 Louise Mceveley 02:35:03 02:34:08 Vet 45 26
538 399 Claire Morton 02:35:03 02:34:08 Vet 55 8

Full results can be found here: http://cutefruitevents.niftyentries.com/Results/VillageBakeryHalf2015?RaceId=1

Fell Running 

Moel y Ci
This week also saw the first Fell counter of the season. In hindsight a bit of a trek for such a short race which saw only four Helsby vests running, although a very simple drive maybe contributed to the far greater than expected overall turn out… or maybe that was the fact it was £4 for a race, soup and a roll; you be the judge!

Max leading the way

Max leading the way

Max took no prisoners as he immediately took on “one time race leader” status. The difference between the rest of us mere mortals and Max is that he held on to that lead for quite some time – pictured above leading the likes of Matthew Roberts, Lloyd Taggart and Rob Grantham!

Sadly Jimmy was relegated to a spectator due to an injury so Max had free reign at the front. Laura BH was also spectating on child care duty, but was gutted she didn’t bring her kit to bag the 20 points so early in the season. Andy Robinson, Phil Gillard and I panted and puffed at the back in a race which primarily featured the cruelest of gradients – the type you can run every step… just. For those of you that haven’t tried the fells yet I’ll let you into a secret… we walk every now and then! The switch of muscle groups and managing that switch correctly allows for a proper recharge before the next runable section. Check this great little video for a better impression of the wonders that are fell racing. Hopefully we’ll see you at a counter or at the mini series!

Before I get back to the race I should say that Max has been trying to work on his running nickname. He’s tried to get “Mighty Max”, “Max the Magnificent”, “Wonderful Wainwright” and others to stick to no avail. I digress, but Max was well and truly living up to these names as he hit the summit right in there with the race leaders. The views getting to the summit were nothing short of spectacular; including an view of the Glyders from I’ve never seen before – inspiring stuff!

The top sections were narrow single track paths making over taking difficult before the initially steep downhill section. It was at this point Max was gifted a nickname from a fellow competitor. I guess it was fair to say that he was a little frustrated not being able to pass when he christened Max “Downhill Princess”, but through strife comes genius 😀

So to the results, Andy Robinson was very happy in 109th (55.12) although that may have had just as much to do with the high club points accrued in the hunt for the Vet60 title against Super Mario! Phil was beaming with 97th (53:50) and I was chuffed with 37th (45:50) against such a packed field. Our very own Downhill Princess came through to take 7th over all (39:50 ) a full minute ahead of Jez Brown – as a benchmark of success that is kudos indeed! Full results here

Parbold Hill
A splinter group decided to head the other way and take on Parbold hill. No race report so the results will speak for themselves instead! Great to see Helsby Vests out representing the club. Top work to all involved in what was clearly a stacked field. Vanessa also took home the V50 prize and was 23rd Female – awesome stuff!
55th – Phillip Roberts (55.35)
184th – Vanessa Griffiths (1.00.42)
256th – Andy Smith (1.06.20)
313rd – Edward ‘Charlie’ Roberts (1.11.01)

Long Distance Trail & Ultras

Anglezark Amble
Ben Williams can’t get enough of the long stuff right now – has he done more ultras this year than our ultra ringleader Andy Robinson? Here is the report:

I spent Saturday run/walking the LDWA Anglezarke Amble, near Horwich in West Lancs http://www.ldwa.org.uk/WestLancashire/W/2968/anglezarke-amble-2015.html .

Underfoot conditions ranged from wet to terrible, and some moorland sections involved wading through full-on bogs. Because of this a lot of the course was pretty unrunnable, but there was good banter between groups of us as we slid around the hills and moors.

The course starts steeply – Rivington Pike and Winter Hill are climbed inside the first three miles – then becomes more ‘undulating’, with some fantastic downhills in places. Walkers have the option of a 16-mile course, but runners are expected to do the full 24.5 mile course which also takes in Entwistle and then Darwen Tower, before the courses rejoin to cross Great Hill.

The cloud base was too low to allow any views at all, in fact the Winter Hill mast was virtually invisible even from 50 yards away! I became a bit ‘navigationally challenged’ coming off Darwen Moor, in virtually zero visibility, and had to use my compass in anger for the first time (and Google Maps on my phone, never write off modern technology 🙂  ) . Luckily I found the right path though.

I timed the run at 5h 44 min. My official time somehow is 5.38, but these aren’t the kind of events where time desperately matters anyway.
As usual with LDWA events, there were well-stocked checkpoints and a hot meal included at the end. And all for about seven quid!

Oh, and a quick gear review… a chap running behind me near Entwistle slipped over in the mud, slid a good few metres on his bottom, dusted himself down and announced ‘f’in Hoka trail shoes – don’t bother’. I guess that’s as good a field test as any 🙂

Funnily enough Ben I remember doing the Peris Horseshoe with friend of Helsby Jeff McQueen wore a pair, there were some great photos of him barefoot carrying them 🙂

Park Run

dc5d115e-df2f-4dfa-939b-3346c85b1a0fAll the action described above did nothing to stop the Green Army taking on the local Park Runs. Results below – well done to all!




Warrington parkrun
Pos.    Gen Pos.
17    17    Carl PRATT    Helsby RC    00:21:25

Delamere parkrun
4    4    Colin THOMPSON    Helsby RC    00:17:48
69    11    Ellen HARRIS    Helsby RC    00:24:28
102    15    Louise MCEVELEY    Helsby RC    00:26:29
118    97    Stephen WIGGINS    Helsby RC    00:27:54
117    96    David WIGGINS    Helsby RC    00:27:54

Ellesmere Port parkrun
4    4    Neil FINEGAN    Helsby RC    00:19:33

Widnes parkrun
1    1    Colin BISHOP    Helsby RC    00:17:20
6    5    Ivan DAVIES    Helsby RC    00:18:59
8    7    Adrian JACKSON    Helsby RC    00:19:47
14    13    Alfie GRADY    Helsby RC    00:20:50
18    17    David MADDERS    Helsby RC    00:22:03

Full details here

Upcoming races and reminders

Sun 22 FEB. 10am
Name: Birchwood (XC Counter)
Birchwood Forest Park, Warrington
Further Details: Here

Chips! oh, and a 45 minute film about Steve Birkinshaw’s incredible Wainwrights run last summer. Well worth a watch. 8:30 Wednesday at the club. Let Dave and Lesley know if you want chips.

Helsby Race News 2-8th Feb 2015

Welcome to this week’s racing news. We have fells, cross country and Park run updates. Please remember to send all race reports to


If you are in a race then a brief report will be fantastic, if there are other people from Helsby there then please decide amongst yourselves as to who will submit a report.

On with the news!

Fell Running 

Wadsworth Trog
The relentless Jim Jones has been at it again, here’s his report: The 19.5 miles I did possibly a little bit more than I should have done due to a navigational error between checkpoints 11 and 12 on the featureless Wadsworth Moor (I should have trusted my compass bearing instead of following the handful of runners in front who also went wrong!)

Weather conditions were good. It stayed dry and hill fog that had threatened to descend only appeared for a couple of miles. The good visibility was in contrast to the conditions on the ground. The recent rise in temperature made for varied running conditions as we ascended and descended along the course. Ankle deep snow in a few places but mostly wet muddy and treacherous in places with thick ice – the grazes on my knees and elbows being testament to this.

An enjoyable but tough course, particularly the climb on the last mile and what turned out to be a sprint finish around the cricket pitch as someone tried to pip me at the post.

71st – 3:33:00 – that’s a fair old distance there Jim!

Long Mynd Valleys Race
Phil Gillard and Jimmy O’Hara took to the long and mynding road! 7 miles of glorious sunshine, crunching through the snow, followed by 4.5 miles of gradients that only the Shropshire hills can provide.

Clearly a stacked field with Jimmy coming in 75th (34th in Cat) – 2h22:58 and Phil Gillard taking 17th in his age category 118th overall in 2:37:48 Excellent work chaps!

Whilst staying with friends in Settle Harriers, I was persuaded to do one of Helm Hill’s Kendal Winter League races, Fairmile, on Sunday 9th – their website describes it as:

“This race is a real beauty and a personal favourite. A classic horseshoe on the edge of the Howgills it’s around 2.5miles long with 1400′ of climbing. From the start the race climbs steadily through the bracken with the incline increasing gradually towards the first summit. First timers might get caught out by thinking that they’ve done all the climbing at this point (I did!), but the race route drops down into a col before climbing steeply up to cairn at the second summit. At this point you swing round to the west, take a deep breath and throw yourself into the long descent. If the ground is hard you’ll feel this in your legs in the morning. There’s a tricky little river crossing to negotiate at the bottom, followed by a flat run into the finish. Once you’ve done Fairmile you can start calling yourself a proper fell runner.”

As they say, it is a proper fell race. Most of the first mile is uphill at 1 in 4….and the average uphill gradient was 1 in 5 The weather at the bottom was thick mist/cloud but up on the summits, it was glorious sunshine. I finished in 39:31 – 81st of 108 and about 14 minutes behind the winner – see here for results 

If anyone is in the area, I would recommend this race series – although it is probably too far to make the journey from Helsby.

Cross Country

Beacon Country Park
A fantastic turn out and it has been suggested that it was the loudest “Green Army” shout so far as the Helsby mud lovers took to Beacon Country Park. Colin Bishop was first home in 9th place overall, followed by Colin Thompson in 19th and Jim Jones in 55th. In the Ladies it was Jane Ashbrook who took the Helsby spoils (10th lady overall) followed by Laura Baynham-Hughes and Venessa Griffiths in 16th and 17th respectively. 14 runners in total, see the full results here

On the day this saw Helsby men in 4th and Helsby Ladies 5th overall in the team event. Series standings have the men in 4th, but the Ladies are in 3rd overall! The next race is at Birchwood on the 22nd, it’d be great to beat the turn out and the Green army cry, so take the plunge and have a go!

Park Run

Rhea Thomas stormed around to take 10th lady over all just 26 seconds ahead of Shan who took 12th Lady.

Colin Bishop shot round in a tightly foughts race to take 3rd place, Janet Robertson also took 3rd placed lady and Louise McEvely took 6th lady.

Ellesmere Port
EP saw Neil Finegan romp home in 4th with a sub 20 minute run around a slippy course – Ben Williams slid into  take 20th male.

Widnes saw the greatest turn out for Helsby Alfie Grady, Carl Pratt and Dave Madders in 16th, 21st and 28th for the men and Carol Shaw, Donna Geer and Emma Barnes in 2nd, 9th and 13th.

Well done to all runners, remember, take care of the 5 & 10kms and the distance takes care of itself. All results are here: http://www.parkrun.com/results/consolidatedclub/?clubNum=1721

Upcoming races and reminders

Jackie sent out a mail via Jo with all the
Sat 14th Feb 12pm
Name: Moel y Ci (Fell counter)
Postcode: LL57 4BB
Further Details: http://www.fellrunner.org.uk/races.php?id=3636

Sun 15th Feb. 11am
Name: The village bakery half (Road counter)

Wednesday 18th February – Steve Birkinshaw’s Wainwrights Film
Spend just under 45 minutes with this heart-warming tale and you’ll enjoy inspiration, true grit, pain and extreme endurance all wrapped up in stunning cinematography, mind blowing views and beauty. This award winning film documenting the incredible journey Steve Birkinshaw took as he attempted to beat a Joss Naylor record by visiting all 214 Wainwright tops. An incredible feat of physical human endurance, sleep deprivation and an insight into the highs and lows of distance mountain running.