Helsby RC blog. Week ending 22/05/2016

Welcome to the weekly round-up. What a week for Helsby Running Club. There has been loads going and it has been great to get lots of contributions in the inbox. I hope I haven’t missed anything!

Please keep sending contributions to helsby-race-reports@outlook.com

Upcoming Events

First, a reminder of upcoming events:

Tonight! Wednesday 25th May at 8.30pm (after the club run) in the clubhouse. ICEFALL Through Adversity to Everest by Alex Staniforth. If you want feeding too, you should have already Leslie know.

Sunday 29th May – Mynydd Myfyr Hill Run. 11.30am Trefonen Village Hall SY10 9DF. This is the next counter in the club mini fell series.

Thursday 2nd June – Deeside Off-Road Grand Prix (race 1) 7.30pm Tata (formerly Corus) Sports and Social Club, Rowley Drive, Shotton. This race is a club counter in our mini trail series.


Walton Park 5 mile

This week’s racing reports start with  a contribution from Degsy, who did the Walton Park 5 mile on Tuesday night.

“The Walton Park 5 mile race is a cracking little 5 miler on paths around Walton Park. As I lined up at the start as a lone Green army runner I was surrounded by liverpool Based clubs mainly the fake green army (Kirkby milers) LRC and Knowsley harriers. Once again I failed to cry green army at the start hooter (sorry Gaz I was too outnumbered) it’s a fairly flat race with a medal and a set of number clip thingies waiting for you at the finish. My time was 31.07 ish (I’m so keen with my reports the official times haven’t been published yet 😉 ). Apologies if anyone else ran this I didn’t see you.”

Thanks Derek. The results are now available and as far as I can see, you were the sole Helsby representative – well done mate. http://www.racetecresults.com/Results.aspx?CId=16418&RId=229

Christleton 5k

There was a fantastic Helsby turnout on Friday night to the Christleton 5k. Thanks to Tanya for sending in the results and race report:

“On 20 May 16 Helsby runners attended Christleton 5K, remeasured two weeks before to ensure it was corrected. A wide variety of clubs attended and proved to be a fast field of runners. The weather was kind and ideal for running. First in for Helsby was Colin Bishop with a fantastic run and first lady, getting stronger by the race, was Jo Lacking. A very ecstatic bunch of helsby runners at the end all with personal bests, all very much deserved.
Colin Bishop 16:49
Colin Thompson 17:08
Adam Gordon 17:25
Gaz O’Connor 18:21
Ian Rutherford 18:37
James Higgins 18:45
Richard Hankins 19:08
Ian Hamling 19:08
Jo Lacking 19:38
Ian Landucci 20:21
Carol Shaw 21:51
Helen Owens 21:59
Jenn Naylor 22:53
Geoff Shaw 24:25
Tanya Downes 24:47
Janet Shaw 28:53 “

Well done everybody, and extra congratulations to everyone who achieved a PB on that course. I believe our Colin Bishop now holds the course record for V55 – brilliant work! The official results, and lots of race photos can now be accessed at:  https://chestertri.niftyentries.com/Results/Christleton-5K-2016

The old County Tops Fell Race

Chris Baynham-Hughes, true to form, identified another new venture and completed the old County Tops Fell Race on Saturday. Thanks for following the excellent write up Chris:

“I’d heard about the Old County Tops race from a few people, but had never really looked into it. All I knew was that it was a classic fell race and that I should give it a go at some point. The race is run in pairs and a friend of mine I’ve met through ultra running (Matty Brennan) asked me if I was up for it; the date fitted so I said yes and thought no more about it. Fast forward to a night before a recce where I sat down to look at the route… my jaw dropped… I wondered what on earth I had agreed to.

At over 35 miles and 11,600ft of climb the bald stats are enough to concern anybody, but add in the sheer volume of rough ground, contouring, insane descents, bogs and river crossings and it is a genuine test of stamina. The race itself came in waves, the final 3 miles were absorbed by teams trying to chase us down and we weren’t prepared to given an inch… the ridgeline to Coniston old man and back was punctuated by breaks in the clag and incredible views; shadows dancing over ancient valleys, real wow moments… the run through the valley between Scafell pike and the beastly climb up to the Coniston ridge line was all about the bog – falling hip deep into a bog generated an initial panic before I remembered to lean forward slowly and patiently raise my leg as I “swam” out of it. As I escaped the clutches of the bog I heard a loud cheer from behind my misfortune found the attention of friends we’d overtaken earlier (good times)…. Getting on and off Scafell Pike itself was simple insanity mixed with the odd bits of panic as my leg went in and out of cramp just as I needed precision to climb down the wet crags in one piece… From Helvellyn to Angle Tarn was totally rough and totally exhilarating; the wind battered us with horizontal monsoon-like rain leaving us with the narrowest of vision – dare we look at all. I find in the mountains that wind is the most deadly for the mind and that the line between exhilaration and frustration is very thin; the direction and blend of rain and underfoot conditions meant this was just about kept in check and thus made for one of the most enjoyable runs I’ve had in a long time, I felt completely and utterly allive. The trip over to, up and subsequently down Helvellyn was all about control, not going too fast but keeping in contention, picking the best lines, eating well and keeping hydrated.

In summary it was one of the best races I have ever done. The paired element means you enjoy an incredible journey with a good friend. Like I’ve mentioned above, the race just keeps on giving – with several fast water crossings appearing out of the blue there was always something new to put a huge grin on your face and really feel like you were on an adventure. The old school organisation was faultless and gave a feel to the race that commercial exploits just don’t grasp or achieve. Put simply, if I can only do one race a year… this has to be very high up the list of contenders.

In the end we raced in to the finish in 8:34:16. I’ve no idea where we finished, neither is it of any consequence to me. Sometimes it’s about the event, the journey, the experience and the camaraderie – this turned the dials up to 11 on all four counts.


Excalibur Trail Marathon

So whilst CBH was galavanting around the Lake District, fourteen of us took on one of his ‘training runs’. l enjoyed reading the following report from a road-runners perspective sent in by Chris Fitzpatrick. And the results show that you don’t necessarily have to run off road all the time to be able to do well in these events. Gaz O’Connor did a PB at Christleton the night before this! Over to Fitzy:

“14 of the green army headed up to the Clwydian range on Saturday to take part in the Excalibur Marathon, described by some (Ben Williams) as the toughest UK marathon, although CBH has already spoken to me about this and just laughed at me (he’s hard-core though). For those like myself this was a bit out of my comfort zone, I’m used to doing the odd occasional ultra-marathon, and I also consider myself a good marathon runner, but I did not realise this would be as tough as it was.

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We arrived at race HQ in Moel Famau car park, registered, done our kit check and then went and sat back in the car as it was lashing down, Phil Roberts then gave myself and Gaz a lesson in what kit we should and should not have, obviously his kit was better than ours he quite quickly pointed out. The rain then stopped right up until 9.30am, right on cue for the start of the race, the heavens opened, and continued to rain probably for the next 2 hours. I had been a bit nervous before the race on the navigation, but rest assured this course was excellently marshalled and excellently signposted, even myself who gets lost around a 400m running track found it quite easy.


I had not prepared myself for some of the climbs this course had to offer, and even more so for the descent on the other side of these massive hills, which was why whilst typing this I am still in a lot of pain, road running just does not prepare your muscles for this type of event. Once the rain started to clear up a bit, you could see why so many people love walking/running up here, the views were spectacular. Mile 11 we were greeted by a marshal who said “up that way please” for the next 15 minutes (yes a 15 minute mile on my garmin, unheard of!) , I managed to run a mile up hill, whilst a few competitors ran past me, how they ran up it I do not know. All through this race there was very rarely a flat bit of the course, you were either going uphill or downhill. Eventually I reached 20 miles and had been forewarned by CBH that there is a gradual incline for 2.5 miles and not to stop running, at this point your body is screaming at you to stop, I didn’t stop and was greeted with a bit of tarmac at the top of the hill for my reward, only to be told by the checkpoint helpers I had another massive climb to make up part of the course we had earlier come down. GREAT!

By this point Mr “I’ve got better kit than yours” was catching me up and Phil soon over took me as he looked really strong going up the last hill on Moel Famau. We both descended back down to the finish line a minute apart, well done Phil, finishing in 8th and myself in 9th overall. Big mention to Andy Robinson, 1st MV60, Steve Riley, 2nd MV50 and Lesley Feakes 3rd FV50.

A great day was had by all and there was a bonus at the finish line with a beer van at the event. I would definitely recommend more of us doing this again next year, as they also offer 10k and half marathon options.

See you all soon


Thank Chris. I’d just like to add that it was brilliant to see Mario and Joe out on the the course giving their support again. I think I must of seen them at least 3 times at different points in the race :-). Helsby results are below:

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Run for the 96 -5k

A truly worthwile  event was attended by Claire Louise Miller on Sunday and she has sent in the following write-up:

“Today, Sunday 22nd June I took part in the 2nd year of the run for the 96, which is a 5k run in memory of those who lost their lives at the Hillsborough disaster, obviously with this year being the year the families got the justice they fought so hard for this was always going to be an emotional day.

The likes of Alan Kennedy, Pat Van Den Hauwe, Rafa Benitez and sinbad from Brooke were there to show their support along with some of the families of the 96 including Margaret Aspinall who made sure she hugged, kissed and thanked every runner that passed and she was even giving out medals and kisses at the end, very emotional day.

The course itself was a cracking 5k, if a little short my garmin recorded a finishing time of 25.57 however there were a few bottlenecks and a lot of weaving and overtaking walkers, prams etc. Would be interesting to see this course as a parkrun as it is really quick but today was more of a fun run if I’m honest.

Medal, goody bag and a t shirt were good and the race was organised by BTR so it was very well organised.”

Well done Claire and thanks for sending in the report. For anybody wanting  to know more about this event or wishing to support it in the future, the website is well worth a visit:  http://www.btrliverpool.com/#!run-for-the-96-5k/c1em3

Sunderland Strollers Pier to Pier Race

A bit further North! Geoff Collins was also racing on Sunday and has sent in the following excellent report with photos:

Screen Shot 2016-05-25 at 09.23.07“A visit to one of my favourite parts of the country, the North East. Few people outside the North East know about this brilliant 7m race put on by Sunderland Strollers. It’s a multi terrain race. It starts on the beach by the South Pier at South Shields. Sea Road nearby, is the famous finishing point for the Great North Run.

The route heads South East up over the sand dunes onto National Trust headland known as The Leas. At this point the 1128 runners can follow either of several footpaths towards the cliffs at Marsden Bay. The day was perfect for this race. Sunny not too warm, light westerly wind, good visibility, and dry underfoot. Just one water stop by Souter lighthouse at the half way point. The route follows the coastal cliff top path as it winds its way up, and down towards Whitburn Bay. The views are spectacular as you travel over a variety of surfaces underfoot.

Screen Shot 2016-05-25 at 09.24.04Further on past Parsons Rocks and yet another lighthouse, you enter the prom at Seaburn near Sunderland. Tempting as it was, I didn’t stop for ice cream. Time for a final push of speed! Finally with the lighthouse and pier at Roker Point looming into view ahead, you drop onto the beach for that final sprint to the finish. 

First male finisher was Andy Burn 37m 15s (Jarrow & Hebburn AC), First Lady finisher Alyson Dixon 41m 29s (Sunderland Strollers). I was the first (and only) finisher for Helsby in 57m 17s.

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The goody bag with baseball cap, number belt, handmade glass lighthouse medal, chocolate and crisps all for £21 I thought was excellent value!

Geoff Collins”


And as if the week was not busy enough …………. we had 10 Helsby members participating across 6 different Parkruns on Saturday! Well  done Colin Bishop for finishing 1st at Widnes and to Laura Baynham-Hughes for being 2nd lady to finish at Delamere. Our consolidated club results can be viewed  here

Thanks for all the contributions this week. Please keep sending them in to helsby-race-reports@outlook.com

keep on running 🙂