Helsby RC News from 14th to 20th November 2016.

Thanks everyone who has sent something to the inbox this week. There’s been loads of good stuff going on with Helsby RC. If anything there anything that needs adding please still send in to helsby-race-reports@outlook.com and we’ll add it to the blog and or the next round-up.

Dates For Your Diary

After-run talks and London Marathon draw  – A brief reminder from Jackie:

“This Wed after training it’s meant to be Chris BH talking on his Mont Blanc Ultra plus our London Marathon Draw. Unfortunately Chris has been called away with work. BUT Dave Feakes has kindly stepped in at the last minute to talk again on his cross channel swimming exploits. A lot of folks missed Dave’s amazing talk and have asked for a repeat so here’s your chance. Please let Lesley know  if you are coming along then we can order the right number of chips.

Thanks to those who have already let me have their London rejection slips. If you have not already let me know please bring slip on evening or email me. 

Hope to see you there!

Cheers

Jackie”

Sandstone Trail Challenge 2017

The 2017 Sandstone Trail Challenge is on Saturday 6th May. Entries open on 1st December, and the link to enter is HERE. Its expected to fill up very quickly so be sure to set yourself a reminder if you want to secure a place.  We’ll need plenty of volunteers on the day, and if you can help you’re welcome to run the Marshal’s Event which will probably be on 1st May.

Liverpool & District XC Fixture 2

This coming Saturday 26/11/16 at 2pm – 2nd Race in the Liverpool & District XC League at Sefton Park

Racing News

Penmaenmawr Fell Race

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Thanks to Tim Palmer for sending in the Penmaenmawr report:

“Due to liberal use of Helsby RC excuse book (including: I would prefer to run 90+ miles in 24 hours as the crow flies much it along the A41 and I have a sore ankle so I will go and set a PB and win a Parkrun instead), the eight Green Army runners who turned up for the Penmaenmawr Fell Race was fewer than those who entered. The race takes its place as the finale of the North Wales fell season; although a BM, it has a bit of everything – steep climb to start, a bog halfway round, a lovely runnable section looking over the Conwy valley and a steep single track finish; and then free soup and a bottle of beer. The weather was kind (sunny intervals).

The Helsby results were:
10th – Jim O’Hara – M Open – 1:21:21

27th – Phillip Roberts – M V40 – 1:30:30

35th – Tim Palmer – M V50 – 1:33:55 – 6th V50

45th – Laura Baynham-Hughes – F V40 – 1:37:09 – 5th Lady; 1st V40

54th – Jane Ashbrook – F V40 – 1:40:13 – 8th Lady; 2nd V40

95th – David Feakes – M V50 – 1:52:10

119th – Lesley Feakes – F V50 – 2:02:32

120th – Debbie Read – F V50 – 2:02:48
Thanks to Vanessa, Joe and Mario for their welcome support half-way. An excellent race – I would recommend it to everyone.

Tim”

Escape from Meriden

Thanks to Chris Baynham-Hughes for sending in a great write up on his awseome antics over the weekend:

“Escape from Meriden
It was a simple but cracking concept. Start in Meriden (centre of England), wearing a tracker you have to escape as far away as you can (as the crow flies: @Jim Higgins – that’s the shortest distance between the start point and the end point :D) and it’s all tracked by Live GPS updates. No support thumbnail_15135928_10154831326098933_344765914849607950_n-1from the organisers, no set route but that’s what made it more interesting for spectators. Competitors would earn different rewards based upon how far away they got:

  • 0-30 miles = Paper
  • 30-60 miles = Silver
  • 60-90 miles = Gold
  • 26 leagues (90 miles) or above = Black

I ran my first ultra with Tin Wilcock back in 2011 and we’ve had so many adventures together since. This seemed a good excuse to have a good catch up and thus we put in an entry and took a typically disorganised approach to the event. We had two choices, either go for the 90 miles, or draw something rude on the tracker with our GPS trace (we imagined people watching saying, “where are they going!!! Then slowly realising as our juvenile activity became clear).

My mother would never have forgiven me so we figured the canals would be good and running home would broadly do it. Our route broke down as:

  • 26 miles to the start of the Shropshire Union canal at Wolverhampton (mixture of road and canal)
  • 30 miles on Shropie to Market Drayton
  • 30 miles to Chester via roads including the A41 from near Bickerton
  • Parkgate road out to West Kirby

We arrived with 15 minutes to go before the start and many competitors in orange Tyvek jumpsuits. At first I thought it was a big fancy dress, then realised that they were giving them out to us ‘prisoners.’ As we congregated at the monument signifying the centre of England there was a real buzz about the place; wondering where everyone was going. It was at this point that Tin produced a couple of paper print outs for our maps – about 26 miles squeezed onto A5 and scant detail. 5 minutes down the road the buzz had gone, I felt for the people that had entered solo, this was thumbnail_15085647_10154831326153933_5217354026377493793_ndefinitely an adventure for two.

Troubles:
I’d not been able to load the .GPX file that Tin had sent me – not even to my computer, so there was something wrong with it. I wasn’t too concerned as Tin had got it onto his Garmin, but as we were about to start it hit me how ill prepared I was to navigate home. We did head off in the right direction, but following a breadcrumb on a garmin is not ideal. I managed to pull out some detail from the maps, but when the Garmin showed and critical error and then started making patterns on the screen it looked all over.

I’d already had a near miss having slipped off an icy wall, but this time I found myself approaching a hooded figure at 3 in the morning to ask for directions. Naturally I startled him, but in his words that was because he thought I was “some kinda Power Ranger!” We got our directions and thankfully my suggestion of taking the batteries out for a while to ensure there was no residual charge and getting away from the glitch in the track seemed to help and we were back in business on the GPS. In hindsight we simply would have had to have stopped without it.

Al Fresco
A 24 hour run requires certain bodily activity; so when Tin announced he needed to find a bush I helpfully pointed out some decent cover. He opted for an alternative and went about business. In the interest of efficiency I decided to find cover too and emerged only to find that the building next to the bushes I’d first suggested was actually the Police station. Good job it was about 2am!

Tow Path
I expected the route to be simple once on the canal, but not only were we cursing the ice, we almost went miles off course as the canal split. It looked like the only way was over the bridge, so that’s what we did, but luckily Tin caught that we were off the breadcrumb and thus saved us miles! From then on every bridge was treated with suspicion!
By the time we got to Market Drayton we were exhausted, blood sugar was low and we’d had enough. The mud on the tow path was more than we’d expected and we’d some how added an extra two miles so just when we thought we were there we found we were literally miles away. We talked about stopping because we were no longer enjoying it and I suggested we rewarded ourselves with a slap up Morrison’s breakfast – no expense spared!

15128897_10154831326103933_1029144013566730052_o-1
Shoes off:
Coke and a breakfast did the trick, but we got a few funny looks. Tin instantly took his shoes off to air his feet and I did the same. We looked so dishevelled that nobody dared to approach us. Refuelled and back on it we set off feeling nearly new. We knew we needed to keep our blood sugar up and that the coke would wear off quickly and we got our heads down to get through the miles. It was all road from here.

Working hard:
I’ll not lie, this was one of the hardest things I’ve done. We really worked at it, against the clock, breaking the adventure down into sections, concentrating on average pace, ensuring we fuelled well. After a 40 minute stop, refuel and change in Chester we dragged our aching corpses out the door and painfully started out for the final 20 miles. By this stage I couldn’t really eat, so when our awesome support crew appeared part way down Parkgate road with Pizza I was gutted I just couldn’t stomach it.

We battled through the miles, working together, pushing how long we ran for before rewarding ourselves with a walk. By this stage we’d had a few texts urging us on (thanks – you know who you are) and then one from Laura saying that team 89 had dropped out, so it was down to us. We didn’t give a monkeys about over all position, it’s not that kind of race, we just wanted to get the 90 miles… but as confirmation that we were going to win it filtered through I’d be lying if I said we weren’t chuffed. We’d worked incredibly hard as a team and physically supported each other throughout; it felt like we’d really earned this one so a trophy to add to the converted black medal was just the cherry on the top.
thumbnail_15181698_10154831326148933_754304432728469102_n
Not finished yet:
We crossed the 90 mile mark and carried on to the beach at West Kirby. Our support crew for the final section had been Wallasey’s own Richie Webster who just happens to be a lifeguard in his spare time. He’d been responsible for Hilbre Island for some time and nipped back home to get into his Land Rover whilst we started out across the beach to the island. Don’t try this without back up in the dark! Befuddled Tin started drifting off course heading out towards Wales instead. Luckily Richie started flashing the full beams and beeping his horn and after a few minutes we finally caught on and turned to the island. Sadly the tide wasn’t far enough out for us to go beyond Little I, but mission accomplished, much confusion caused on social media and driving back across the sand to the marina was a pretty satisfying feeling!

The stats:
111 miles covered. 11 hours and 10 minutes. 1st place. Only team to get over 90 miles.

Learning points:
Coca Cola is your friend. Ensure you’ve got a backup GPS. Don’t even think about doing this one alone.”

Combe Crawler

From CBH’s 111 miles  to my 8! On Sunday 20/11/16 I ran in the  ‘Combe Crawler’ hosted by Ilfracombe Running Club in 15181512_731329050348533_9061065067655436711_nNorth Devon. The race starts and finishes at Marlborough Park, the ground of Ifracombe FC, and is eight and half miles with some tough climbs and stunning views of the 15170872_1152144251501246_2808751442595209276_n coast. With gales the day before and the day after the race, the weather gods smiled down on us for race day. Loads of water and mud on the ground, but no rain or wind for the race!  The route is mostly off road but there are a few bits of tarmac running and good runnable trails. It goes through the grounds of Watermouth Castle and along the coast of Watermouth Cove and into Hele Bay. There’s
then  a tough climb up Hillsboro and then back down into Ilfracombe before the final climb back up to the finish With 1700ft of climb its a tough, fast race. I finished 16th overall and won the Vet 50 category for a cracking trophy. Full results and more race info HERE

Athens Marathon

Helsby RC have been on tour again! Tanya Meredith sent in this fab sport after visiting Athens. Well done Tanya!

“Athens Marathon, The Authentic.

The marathon race was created in 1896 to honor the legendary run of Greek messenger Pheidippides from Marathon to Athens. On 13th November, remembrance Sunday, 18640 runners boarded buses at 0515 and we made our way up to Marathonas. From the journey up there I could see that is wasn’t going to be a race that was easy on the legs but one that would be easy on the eye.image1

On arrival at Maratonas we were directed into the small Olympic stadium to warm up. Sitting in the stands you had an amazing view over the mountains and looked down on runners from across the world all warming up. Amongst the masses were the elite runners doing laps of the field, intermingled with other runners, you got the feeling of inclusion and acceptance that everyone there was equal.

On talking to other runners old and young the consensus was that they were not there for a specific time but to become one more person in the history of the route, to be able to stand tall and say “I’ve run Marathon”. The sense of occasion was only heightened by the sight of the Olympic flame burning brightly from within the stadium, bringing it home as to where I actually was.image2The route itself is very kind on the legs for the first 10k, we ran around the mount where the torch lighting ceremony takes place before any Olympics and then head out on the road to Athens. From 11k to 32 K it was a strength sapping incline with a 20m down hill thrown in for good measure. I knew from this point that this race was not one for a PB but to soak up the occasion and significance of the route and the race. The support along the course was amazing, children handing out olive branches and high fives joined sounds of Bravo and Greek music blasting out along the way. The last 10k, thankfully, was downhill and I made the most of this by getting my fastest miles in to ensure a strong fast finish.

The last mile is solid with supporters, which makes for a very emotional finish; running into the Panathenaic Stadium was an unforgettable experience. To run in the footsteps of the great marathon runners and athletes of the Athens Olympics surrounded by cheers was breathtaking.

I am now amongst the finishers who can say that I have truly run in the footsteps of Pheidippides and completed the “authentic marathon” .”

Tatton Park half marathon!

Now over to Neil Finegan for his really interesting review on the inaugural Tatton Park Half:

“A new race comes with risks attached. You never know how good or bad it will be until you run it. Be prepared for the most negative race review ever (is there a prize for this?)

The only positive thing I can say about this race is that it made me realise what a fantastic and professional job we do with the 4 villages. Sundays run at at Tatton Park was a masterclass in how not to organise a race.

Firstly there was the parking chaos. At 8 in the morning I was 0.4 of a mile from the car park to start my race at 9:35. I eventually parked at just after 10! The problem seemed to be that the organisers tagged a 10k run onto the event (starting at 9) which overloaded the roads nearby. It was a real shambles with inexperienced Marshals not helping.

So I eventually started the race – 30 minutes late and having to battle through the crowds of headphone wearing runners. Then came the next issue – a poor course full of dog legs to stretch the distance out. Narrow paths with cones down the middle to separate the runners going in 2 directions, made over taking near impossible. Then the conditions underfoot would go from path to woodland trail, to roads full of potholes full of water. It’s such a beautiful park but about 1/3 of the race was spent running down a road near a housing estate instead of inside the grounds. And if you were running the half like me, you had the fun of 2 laps of this chaos.

The course was also poorly designed – having to cope with the 2 different events and now with the added pressure of lots of runners starting at random times. The majority of the Marshals were completely disinterested. I had a few occasions where I had to shout at them “which way?” Then there were the big cycling groups also using the narrow paths oblivious to the race going on around them.

So you finished in a muddy field with a nice shiny medal but thinking that there are much better ways to spend your £22 and time. The tannoy announced my “fantastic clock” time of 1:44 (versus my chip time of 1:23). Having spent the race weaving past runners, I was surprised by that at least.

Definitely would not recommend this one for next year.”

Thanks for the heads-up on that one Neil, it makes me feel like running in the hills!

Rachel Holden and Joanne Lacking also braved Tatton Park for the 10k event. Full results can be viewed HERE.

Conway Half Marathon

And now over to Geoff Collins who seems to have fared better with the organisation of the Conway Half:

Race Report Conwy Half Marathon 20th November 2016

This year was the eighth Conwy half marathon, seven of which I have run previously. Although this has been a club counter in the past it wasn’t this year, there were just two Helsby runners Paul Roberts & myself Geoff Collins. I think both of us were surprised to see each other there. Overall race numbers were slightly down this year with just 2,408 finishers.

Driving towards Conwy the weather conditions improved considerably leaving the rain and cloud behind for much dryer, warmer and brighter conditions on arrival. Ideal conditions for running really with little wind. The area does seem to have its own micro climate. Driving to and parking in Conwy was an absolute doddle unlike a certain place elsewhere. There are plenty of cafes and tea shops for a warm drink and a decent toilet before the race!

Voted as one of the top 5 most scenic half marathons in the UK by Runners World, I must admit this is one of my favourite races. But then I’m always happy at the seaside! There are fantastic views over the coastline, the Deganwy estuary, Anglesey and Snowdonia. The race starts and finishes on the Old Quay just below Conwy Castle. This year they altered the course keeping us off the flatter coastal footpath because of too much sand. Instead the route followed the road from Deganwy into Llandudno. This isn’t so flat but it’s not too hilly either!

From Llandudno the route heads past the pier up towards the Great Orme. There were a lot of spectators near the pier. One of the Warrington RC runners amused me as he turned to the crowd and said ‘its very quiet round here’! Which certainly provoked a lot of very loud cheering.

Then the hard bit starts, the climb round and up the Orme. The gradient does easy off a bit before the final slightly steeper bit before you reach the highest point after the Rest & Be Thankful Café. It’s always worth taking a look at the scenery, not just the tarmac in front of you.

Rounding the Orme views of Snowdonia open up as you start the steep descent back to Llandudno. At this point I’m joined by Val from Chester Tri Club, who lives close to me in Chester. It made the last part of the race more interesting as we pushed towards the finish. That was fourth race this year that’s happened on!

It would be good to have this race as a club counter next year!

Results

1st Russell Bentley Eryri Harriers 1hr 09m.

Paul Roberts Helsby 1hr 41m.

Geoff Collins Helsby 1hr 50m.

Geoff Collins”

Parkrun

Despite all the racing going on Helsby still managed field 12 athletes across five different Parkruns, and with some cracking results!  Well done to everyone but just a special mention for Colin Thompson and Phil Tomlinson placed 2nd and 4th respectively at Warrington. Consolidated results can be viewed HERE.

****

Well I think that’s all for this week folks. Hope I’ve not missed anything. Keep on running!

Jim

helsby-race-reports@outlook.com

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