Hello to all you super fit, green vested, lithe limbed, mountain running, road bashing. park running afleets. Hope this round up finds you all well.
We have had a fantastic week of running this past week, and I shall start with the fantastic achievement of our CBH (Chris Baynham-Hughes in his official capacity). He managed to not only win the Marmot24 marathon but he was ecstatic to note he has drawn some fabulous Strava art in the form of a Scottish Highland Terrier! It’s the little things… I shall pass you on to CBH for his report but a HUGE well done Chris, you are an unbelievable endurance runner who it seems, was born with an inbuilt GPS system!
Friday saw me on the M6 heading North to Scotland and the Lowthers for the Marmot24 Mountain Marathon. I was excited, seriously excited in fact as this event had all my favourite things in one:
- Endurance? Check (12 hour version)
- Mental challenge? Check (route selection and tactical selection of controls as its score class)
- Navigation? Check
- Mountains? Check(ish) – The Lowthers
- Night running? Check (My 12 hour stint finished midnight sat/sun)
- Jeopardy? Check (lose points every minute I’m late back and more than 30 minutes = 0 points)
The format was simple, start at 12 noon on Sat and visit as many controls as you can within 12 or 24 hours.
I’d had a firm showing at the Green Green Grass in the week and was feeling good going into and starting the event. Luckily for me this continued throughout and bar 1 control (where I wasted 10 minutes looking for it whilst only a few metres away from it) my Nav was spot on (although still eliciting a cheer on a couple of occasions as I hit them spot on, but wasn’t 100% sure I would J)
The ground was rough but runnable and the climbs were very steep but short; the result being that I was able to run for almost all of it. I had to expand my original route plan several times on the hoof as I was passing through the controls quicker than expected. Things were going very well indeed. The weather was amazing – hot sunshine all day and very little wind – and I felt like I had the place all to myself and only occasionally bumping into other competitors. I was running really well and had run everything so I started to believe I might be in contention by the end of the day.
Running rough ground in the pitch black with a head torch reflecting off sheep and rabbit eyes left me panicking I’d miss the cut off. I’d taken the risk to get the extra points and I’d bagged two additional controls, but whilst I was still running well the lights of the finishing camp seemed very far away as I tried to descend and get back for the Midnight cut off. Terrified of losing hard earned points I sprinted (well, it felt like that) to the finish.
I arrived with 10 minutes to spare having covered 43.7 miles and 10,500ft (I had my GPS in a tamper proof opaque bag to track me: https://www.strava.com/activities/354240917) I took 25 controls (250 points) and 25 minutes later was confirmed as the winner! My first win ever, I was slightly shocked and very happy indeed.
Snowdonia Trail Marathon
Moving on to more mountain off roading, our Mountain Goat mascot, Jim Jones and his side-kick kid, Philip Roberts with a finely tuned Alec Robertson strapped on their trail shoes and hit the Snowdonia Trail marathon in err, you guessed it… Snowdonia.
Honours go to Alec who finished first in his age category. It was a tough race made even harder by the driving rain at the start and finish with only spells of respite in between. The race started and finished in Llanberis and went through Rhyd Ddu, Beddegelert, Nant Gwynant and Pen y Pass before starting the climb of Snowdon at about 20 miles. The climb up Snowdon in the driving rain was a challenge in itself with a risk of body temperatures dropping if you didn’t keep moving. The route was well marked out but it seems the organisers may have made an error when calculating the distance as a lot of people recorded 29 miles on their devices. It was certainly stamina building getting to 26 miles and finding you’re still nowhere near the finish.
Jim Jones Male 80 MV50 5 Helsby 05:47:56 89
Phillip Roberts Male 86 MOPEN 41 Helsby 05:52:30 96
Alec Robertson Male 194 MV65 1 Helsby 06:59:56 238
Green Green Grass of home fell race
A truly stunning evening saw 17 Helsby vests in the Clwydians for the Green Green Grass of Home fell race. Traditionally the route would change each year, but of late had remained the same. Wednesday saw a new and IMO a vastly improved route – an initially shorter climb followed by a very runnable descent and second climb to return to the original route. Stopping short of Moel Famau it headed back down along the notoriously rough and lunatic looking descent.
The unanimous view was that it would have been a far better choice for the Fell mini series than Hot foot as it was far more runnable and a cracking introduction to fell racing. It was clear on the line that everybody thoroughly enjoyed this one. Speaking of which, huge congratulations to both Jen O’Hare and Donna Geer for taking this on. Donna ran with Jane and Jen with Phil which saw all four of them arrive with big smiles on their faces.
Huge thanks to Mario and Joe for their support on the course. First lady (for Helsby, 5th overall), Laura BH certainly attributed her fine descending to the fact that she knew master descender Mario was watching! With three Helsby vests in the top 10 it was certainly a great showing with Jimmy taking the spoils in 4th, Max in 5th and Adam Gordon in stunning form and 10th on the day. Prizes on the night for Janet Robinson and Nesta for second vet 40 and 50 respectively too!
We contemplated these results with a beer in hand whilst the sun set over beautiful Wales, you can do it from the comfort of your own home here:
Sefton Park 5 mile race
Another very well organised race by Mossley Hill AC this year again. As I found out last year it is a very fast flat course with great running from other clubs. However myself and Rachael Holden were there flying the Helsby flag with an impressive 43:49 minutes by Rachael and with myself (Chris Murray) being an exact minute outside of last years time in 34:48. The weather stayed nice and at the end we were rewarded by a medal and a mug although I did read in June that Gordon Ramsay was supposed to be dishing out post race curry however I didn’t see him!
North Wales Half Marathon
Just two Helsby vests took part in another challenging Run Wales Half two weeks after Chirk Castle. The autumnal conditions arrived in Conwy as forecast with the rain heaviest just before the official off at 11am. Can’t think there are too many races delayed because the tide hadn’t gone out sufficiently but that’s exactly what happened giving runners and spectators alike a further 15 mins soaking on the beach at Beacons in Conwy Morfa.
A great all terrain race ensued, the beach 1st and last mile was incredibly demanding and energy zapping – the hard sand promised in the race blurb didn’t materialise, it was soft mostly, giving way under foot and the dash across the slippery rocks and pebbles was certainly a first for me in a “road” half marathon!
The next 5 miles or so saw good fast flat road running and then came the climbs as we headed up towards the Sychnant Pass. The scenery quickly changes as we enter Snowdonia National Park and the earlier tarmac is replaced with trails and the climb up Conwy mountain summit is reached at around the 8.5 mile point.; the scenery spectacular as you’d imagine.
A hairy-scary decent is then the next challenge. Most (if not all) runners in road shoes struggling with grip down the grassy mountain banks and rocky trails – I managed to do my customary ankle turn in the process. Once back on tarmac with a couple of miles to complete, past the castle and back towards the marina and then the beach for that tough last mile – this time into a now brisk head-wind!
I was quite pleased with my time of 1 hour 39 mins (41st overall, 12th in cat), with only 9 people running sub 1’30 you get a sense of how tough a course it was – certainly not one for hunting PB’s! This then makes Neil Finegan’s 1 hour 31 mins and a top 10 finish overall (4th in cat) even more outstanding – superb running from a man in great form – well done mate!
Would highly recommend this race given the multi-terrain challenges – not sure it’d make the Road Championships counter criteria though – one for the fixtures committee to contemplate maybe!?
Harrock Hill 3
Jim Jones and our 2nd claim member Jamie Dowdall did the Harrock Hill ‘3’ race on Wednesday. This is a series of 4 races held every year. Anyone who’s ran the Parboiled Hill Race will be familiar with the area and at least some of the route. These races are on the Fell Running calendar but a with only around a 1000ft of climb and at approx 5 miles they are good trail races. If anyone is looking for an introduction to off road running, this series would be a good start. So watch out for it next year.
Not seen the results yet but with Jim still nursing bruised ribs and what with Jamie coming back from an ankle injury can’t expect too much!
Weekly results from our local parkruns:
Jen O’HARE:27:05 New PB! Well done Jen!
Colin THOMPSON: 17:58 (2nd place)
Joanne LACKING:21:59 (3rd female)
Ellesmere Port parkrun
News and notes
Calling all Thunder Run runners!
Adidas Thunder Run 24hr
Thunder Run is a 24 hour off-road relay race against the clock ran in teams set in Derbyshire. It is an incredibly popular event with a massive over-subscription every year. The 2015 event has just occurred last weekend and it seems from my Facebook poll that there is sufficient interest in a Green Army attempt on this in 2016. Web registration for the event doesn’t open until October but will literally fill in a matter of hours so we are trying to get organised right now! It is assumed that the event will occur on the same weekend in July 2016 but is currently unconfirmed.
Although teams can be solo or pairs, I am looking for interest in teams of 3+ as follows:
Teams of 3-5 can be all male, all female or mixed whereas
Teams of 6-8 must be mixed
We would set up camp either the night before which is advised (a Friday) or the morning of the race. Once you’re geared up, your first runner will assemble at the start line at 12pm and when the claxon goes, together we won’t finish for 24 hours.
One team member must be on the course at all times during the 24hrs. Runners must complete one full 10km lap before changing over with a team mate but may run 2, 3 or more laps at a time before changeover. The team with the most laps completed when the clock stops after 24hrs will win.
2015 prices and should be used as a guide only for the 2016 event were:
Team up to 5 £272 (£54.40 ea)
Team up to 8 £312 (£39.00 ea)
Further info can of course be found at the Thunder Run website – http://www.tr24.co.uk/
So, are you interested? If so please drop me an email to register your intent. I am going to set the cut off for interest at end of August and call a ‘meeting’ (bar after Wed run) in early September to discuss and agree the team makes ups – our Captains will have the casting vote. Hope that all makes sense.
Cheers Ian Rutherford
Wirral Multi Terrain series
The fantastic Wirral Multi Terrain late summer series dates are released. I absolutely loved these races, probably my favourite local races I have ever ran. Please give them a go, great for beginners too.
Club night out – Friday 4 September
The results are in, from all 6 of us, and I know there are more than 6 going out!
Friday 4th Sept, we’re heading to Chester, think the plan will be to head on down to the Old Harkers (directions to follow) between 7-8pm and then go on a pub crawl, we can either come back to Frodsham on the last train or stay out and find our own way home, it would be great to see some of the new members and old ones as well coming out to see really why you chose to join Helsby RC, you might want to leave come Saturday morning!
Sorry there wasn’t enough interest to organise a coach, but the trains will do a good enough job, hopefully see you all there.