Club Captains Reports

Ladies captain report 2014/2015 by Jane Ashbrook

What a year the ladies have had! We have 11 new lady members (49) and are frequently getting bigger and bigger numbers attending training sessions on Monday morning, Monday evening and Wednesday evening. A number of new runners have competed in their first Parkruns, 10k’s, Borders Leagues, cross countries and fells this year. Hopefully with some encouragement and the introduction of the mini fells we’ll see even more ladies braving some races this year…it’s really not as scary as you think!

Massive thanks to Joe and Mario for their overwhelming support and encouragement, to Colin for the introduction of the Wednesday time trials and 20milers to test us out and to our fantastic chair Jackie and the rest of the committee for all their hard work this year!

Individual achievement of the year must go to Jayne Joy who achieved outstanding success on the fells last summer. Building on a great performance at the Inter counties cross countries in May last year she went on the win numerous fell races and earn herself an international vest coming 3rd in the Karimor Home Counties International in June and 7th in the European trials later in the same month. We are so proud of her amazing achievements and after a really tough end to the year including illness and injury we wish her our very best and a speedy recovery in time for some fells before the summer is out…I for one am missing her big smiley hugs at the end of the race!

Cross country: It was always going to be difficult to replicate the winning success of last year particularly with Tracy Entwhistle from Warrington injured and our own JJ out for most of the season. BUT the troops came good and came a brilliant 3rd team overall out of 13 teams and the top three teams were very close in the end. Each year the field gets bigger and stronger so I think we can be really proud of our performance.

Borders League: Thanks go to vice-captain Carol Shaw for co-ordinating teams for these races. Ladies came a respectable 4th in Div 1 with Joanne Lacking placing 3rd in the individual senior ladies and Carol Shaw winning a very closely fought V50 battle…fantastic stuff! Some other great results to mention are Emily Smith and Rhea Thomas were 13th and 16th respectively in the overall standings and Shan McCarthy 8th in the V40 and Vanessa Griffiths 5th in the V45.

Fell relays: In October we joined the mens and mixed teams to compete in the British Fell relays championships. Jayne, Vanessa, Laura, Jenny, Rachel and I battled the wind and rain to secure a very respectable 27th out of 45 female teams.

Other achievements: There have been many other fantastic achievements this year, sorry if I’ve missed any off but here’s a little list of my favourites from early 2015!

Joanne Lacking: VLM 3:18:25…just brilliant!

Donna Geer: HM 2:01:59 (that’s a whole 20min faster than 2014!!)

Shan McCarthy: HM 1:58:58 (10mins quicker than 2014)

Jo Farwell: 10k 51:05 (an impressive PB after a long lay off with injury)

Emma Barnes: 5k 26:52 (over 30secs faster than 2014)

June Swift: 5th Lady in her first Borders League appearance, looking forward to next season!

It has been an absolute pleasure to captain such an amazing group of ladies this year and I am so proud of all of your personal achievements over the season. Thanks for your continued support of my endurance sessions and beginners groups and helping to ensure that Helsby remains a friendly and inclusive club with something for everyone.


Mens captain report 2014/2015 by Colin Thompson


My first year as Captain (or Captain Marvel as Phil R calls me 🙂 and what an honour it has been, I hope I have done a reasonable job since taking over the reins last year. I had some big shoes to fill when Adair stepped down (size 12’s I believe) but I have tried to carry on the good work he did for the club over his 8 year reign – and I seem to have come in just at the right time! Helsby has done fantastically well in all disciplines of racing this year. This success is all down to you guys who turn up to training each week, enter the races and put in maximum effort.

A fantastic year and with more runners and increasing enthusiasm really highlights the current success of Helsby Running Club. Great to see an array of new faces and the energy they have given to the club as well as the fast times that are now being produced. Helsby are definitely on the map and a force to be reckoned with!

Increased numbers at track on Monday nights, with different training plans and similar to last year we have had a consistent winter training session on Monday nights at Castle Park. Thanks to Head Coach Joe and Vice-Captain Mario as always for committing their time, knowledge and support at training and races. They are always on hand to answer any running related questions and their knowledge is invaluable.

Thanks also goes to Jane Ashbrook for offering alternative sessions on a Monday to offer members a variety of training options.


What an amazing year we have had on the road. With some fast new members joining this year they have really injected an energy into the team and as a result the more established members have had to up their game which is really starting to show with some superb PBs on display from everybody.

We’ve had a magnificent 10k time of 34:20 ran by our top vet Colin Bishop (which is still the fastest in the UK this year by far for his age group) which also must be one of the quickest 10k times by a Helsby runner for many years. Further up the field we’ve had an array of sub 20 5k and sub 40 10k times which is the bench mark for most club runners.

More and more members are using parkruns each week as part of their training and rightly so. Look after those 5k and 10k times and the rest will follow. A lot of success here with many Helsby wins, 1-2 finishes and lots of PBs. Keep it up chaps!

Also a very successful spring marathon season with a few of our runners breaking that much sought after sub 3 hour target time. One of the most astonishing things here was the ease CBH went from fell runner to road geek, even resorting to posting Garmin splits on social network sites! Chris Fitzpatrick led the charge with a 2.50 time at Manchester, a big PB for him and 12th fastest time in Cheshire this year. Well done guys.

The men’s team also won the recent Mid-Cheshire 5k event which was a great triumph and shows the strength and depth in talent we have in the club currently. I must add that this race had some of the best clubs in the North West present (Liverpool Harriers, Knowsley Harriers etc.) which makes this achievement even more remarkable!


Great work from Andy Robinson revitalising and continuing with the Sandstone Challenge and seeing it develop each year in an event that gets consistent good praise. Some excellent running from Helsby this year saw a number of new PBs. Well done to all who took part and thank you to all the volunteers who gave up their free time to help the event run smoothly.

Borders League

Great news this year, if you haven’t already heard the Helsby men were 2nd in Division 2 after a closely fought battle with West Cheshire AC all season. A massive well done to all the guys who turned up to the races and fought hard for those valuable points.

This means the men will be promoted to Division 1 which (I have been reliably informed) hasn’t happened for around 15 years, so a huge well done chaps, let’s keep the momentum going into next season where I strongly believe we can compete with the best teams in the top Division.

Well done to Colin Bishop for 1st in his age category this season, he finished well ahead of 2nd place this year.

Thank you to BL Co-ordinator Adrian Jackson for his hard work and rallying the troops for each race. Sadly he’s standing down this year so a role is up for grabs.

Cross Country

Helsby men’s team were once again running as partners with Lymm and Warrington. Some good efforts saw us finish 4th from 14 teams. Great result and I’m sure it’s something we can improve on next season but we need the runners. We also had some participation in the L&D league which was good to see. Well done to Adrian for finishing top of the Helsby XC championships, one of the most improved runners this year I think you will agree.


The fells have always been very popular with Helsby RC and we still get a big turn out at the races. Hopefully this will continue with more runners trying something new out of their comfort zone. Jimmy O’Hara pretty much dominated last season but with Mighty Max now in the mix and Phil Roberts improving rapidly it’s going to be an exciting season. Also with the addition of the “Mini-Series” (new this season) we are hoping for some of the newer runners to try their hand at the hilly stuff.

Last year saw our third inter-club fell championship which overall went down well. The races for the inter-club trophy are suitable for anyone who does the normal summer hill run. Congratulations to Helsby for their second successive series win.

British fell relays was another success in October with some strong running from everyone involved. Helsby men’s team finished a brilliant 83rd from the 187 open teams in the event. Thanks once again to Phil Gillard for his team selection and continued organisation of this event.

Thank you to CBH for organising the Wobbler again which is gaining in popularity each year. This year promises to be even bigger so we need a good turn out and members to offer their help and support. Helsby won the team award again last year, well done to all those who took part.

Tattenhall Tough Team

It’s on again in June. (Teams of three). Helsby always do well at this. Worth thinking about teams now. I know a few teams have entered already so let’s get it sorted.


These September races are popular with the club and are a nice warm up gig for the XC season. Helsby Men’s ‘A’ team were 13th last season which is an improvement on the previous year but hopefully we can improve more on that this year if we get the numbers.

There is also a four race multi-terrain summer series at Shotton, Deeside. Just ask if you want any more info on this although I don’t think this has team results.


We also had a few members embarking on some epic ultra races. The Ring of Fire took place last September and we had 4 Helsby runners (Fitzy, CBH, Ste Wiggins, Phil Roberts) crazy enough to take on the challenge. For those who are unaware of this race, it’s a 135 mile coastal ultra marathon around the perimeter of Anglesey, not for the faint hearted! I believe Ste Wiggins is returning this year for another go, he must be a glutton for punishment!

Other notable races have been Gaz O’Connor embarking on the epic Centurion ultra race (100 miles) and had a fantastic first foray into the ultra long stuff and also new member Chris Murray completing the Continental 12 hour relay solo. Andy Robinson seems to be at an ultra every week too. Well done guys!

Race reports

A lot more people are writing race reports which is great to see. It adds a bit more variety to the blog each week and it’s nice to get a personal perspective from the race. So thank you to all those who contributed this year and hopefully this will continue.

Blog & Media

A big loss last year when Adair stepped down from doing the round-up each week, it left a daunting task for his successor! It was suggested we do a share of the news each week so the onus wasn’t on the one person, therefore Gaz O’Connor, Chris Baynham-Hughes and Helen Owens all came on board which I think you will agree has worked well and gives the news much more variety each week. More use of Mail-Chimp too which gives the news a more professional look. Thank you Chris for suggesting this.

A big thanks to Steve Riley as he does a lot of work behind the scenes with the blog, Helsby website, Twitter and flickr too. Steve also answers many of the clubs emails and is always encouraging everyone, a great asset to the club. Also the Facebook page is getting a lot of use now and is good for information to be quickly posted out to members.

Thanks to Ian Landucci for maintaining details of all runners at our club counters and keeping a points record which is vital for the awards ceremony we can enjoy.

Thank you to CBH for taking the time to co-ordinate the electronic race calendars this season which makes it much easier to load the club counters onto your phone/tablet or computer calendars.


An idea is to have a Sunday training run, maybe 10am each Sunday. The 20 mile time trial went down well not long ago so maybe we could use the Greenway. This could just be an informal run and the beauty is you can turn back at any point along the route depending on how far you would like to run. Something we can discuss.

The 10k TT was introduced last year and has had a steady following since. I am happy to continue with this over the summer, or maybe we could have a break and use it as part of our winter training program? Another one to discuss.

Club records would be good to have on the blog but would take some time to find and collate all the data. Any volunteers?

Any other ideas, thoughts or issues then please let us know and send me an email or please bring comments to the AGM.

That’s all folks, hope you have enjoyed reading. Once again thank you for all your hard work this year and long may it continue! Any questions then please email or ask at the AGM.


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