Firstly a message from Chris Fitz
This years Dearnford Lake Relays are to be held on Thursday 12th July 7.30pm. It opens for entries early April, and will sell out very quickly. It was £5 each last year (£15 per team), presume it will be the same this year.
For those who have not raced it before, you team up as a relay team of 3, someone runs the first leg, someone second leg, and yep you guessed it someone the 3rd leg as well (Sorry I have to explain this as Rachel still struggles to grasp what a relay means). Each leg is 1 lap of the lake as surrounding fields and is 2 miles long.
Once I know numbers we can sort teams, we try and put you in a team of similar paced runners but we will cater for everyone. After the race, it’s a beer and a burger….Bonus!
If interested contact
CBH sent in this report from LLantysilio Fell Race
Weather was decent for our first fell counter of the season at Llantysilio this weekend and the race was well supported by the Green Army (so much so we won a prize for the club with the most entries!) Situated just outside Llangollen, the race starts with a brief bit of road before a stiff climb up to the first top and onto a series of fields and farm tracks.
Between the sweat and tears I was just about able to enjoy the scenery before we headed up and along the fire road tracks to Moel-y-Gamelin. The clag was hanging around the tops on the way there so keeping sight of people ahead became difficult, but made for a great game of cat and mouse with no respite or place to hide. From the top, rather than dropping down to the Ponderosa on the Horseshoe pass the race turns right along a long and fantastic series of well defined single track paths which really make or break the racers. Hoovering up the guys in front on the final climb and along this single track was very positive, but in the end I ran out of distance to breach the top ten. The final section returns to the tarmac for a killer “never ending” finish.
All in all a great race, won by friend of the club Jez Brown of Buckley and the 20 Fell points going to Adam Gordon and Laura Baynham-Hughes – Laura also managed to bag 3rd overall and was first vet 40… again a little bit more distance and that could well have been a second place. Special mention to Emily Smith who was taking on her first fell race. Coming into the finish with a massive smile on her face (and that wasn’t just pure relief). Fantastic work by all the Felsby section of the Green Army – if you’ve ever been tempted or are curious then come along next time and give it a go. There is always a lift, warm welcome and a true sense of freedom to be had.
Results and (lots of) photos can be found on the Helsby Facebook page
The full consolidated results for Helsby parkruners can be found below. Highlights include a win for Colin Bishop at Phoenix and 2nd Lady for Rachael Holden at Widnes
Lets get the notices and messages out the way first of all.
A note from Tim Palmer
Message to all club members who are a Leader in Running Fitness (LiRF)
Over the last few years, a number of club members have successful obtained this Leader in Running Fitness (LiRF) qualification. Unfortunately, some of those haven’t completed the final step of getting the safeguarding (DBS) check. If you haven’t done this, you are not insured as a LiRF. The UK Athletics website says: “To be insured having taken this course [LiRF] it is a legal requirement that you also apply for and gain the relevant safeguarding check provided by your Home Country. The process for this varies between England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.”
However, all is not lost. It is relatively easy to get a DBS check, this can be done online on the England Athletics website with both Jo Farwell and me (Tim Palmer) being able to do the document checks. So it is just a matter of filling the form in online and then arranging to meet one of us with your various documents (passport, driving licence, utility bill, etc). We then can verify these on online and there is no need to send off the documents or copies. The full instructions are available at:
Both Jo and I have recently done these checks for club members, so please feel to ask us questions about it.
Some notices from Jackie
Important dates for your diary :-
Helsby Running Club AGM – Wednesday May 16th 8:30pm after training, in
the upstairs room at HCSC; chips or sandwiches provided.
Helsby Running Club Annual Presentation Evening – Friday 15th June, from
6:30pm at HCSC; a Summer BBQ for all the family (hopefully) followed by
our annual, Road, Fell, Trail, Cross Country & Border League awards +
overall Club Championship+ disco to celebrate too!
Please keep these dates free.
Sadly, Chris Hatton’s wife, Sandra passed away last Sunday after a
number of years of illness. Out thoughts go out to Chris and it was
great seeing him turn up to train last Wed despite a tough week. Funeral
will be early April, TBA. Sandra & Chris marshalled each year at a
number of our races without fail, until Sandra was not well enough to
turnout. I will always remember her settled in by the Motor Museum 4VHM
marshalling spot; with camping gear & stove on the go for hot brews &
handing out lashings of tasty flatjacks!
This weekend will also see the first of our fell counters and the second road counter.
The fell race is Llantysilio (AS) 9.9km/6.2m 640m/2100ft, 11am start from Sun Inn, on B5103, Rhewl, Nr Llangollen, GR 179448 (why never a post code for simpleton’s like me????)
The road counter is the Liverpool 10 miler, Pier Head, Liverpool, 9am start.
Also, after the abandonment of the last Borders League race at Tattenhall, this will not be re-arranged, it will be a 6 race series this season not 7. The next race up is Sunday 8th April, in Mold, 11am start. This will be the 1st leg of the Helsby V Felsby competition now as well. A massive turn out is much needed please.
Also, i am pleased to announce that the popular Friday Fun Club is now an official club run, and will be added shortly to the club website for everyone to see. Well done to Ian Rutherford and the regulars for keeping this going. For those who are not on social media, there’s normally a group of 5-10 runners most weeks that turn up at 6am prompt, Friday mornings, Red Brow Lane, Runcorn. The run normally lasts no longer than an hour and is usually around 6 miles, and depending on what racing is going on over the weekend it would normally consist of a hill session in the Firs, or a nice gentle plod around Sunny Runny, Hatton, and Daresbury. Plenty of mustering and all abilities welcome. Message Ian or myself if you have any questions.
Also talking about new runs, for anyone that cannot do 6.30pm Wednesday night club runs as they are just a little too late, then there are folk who have been meeting up at 6pm every Wednesday instead. The 6.30pm start is still the main club run and will continue to be so, but if you feel that you need to set of the little bit earlier than everyone else so you are all finishing at the same time then feel free to join the gang. Both the 6.00pm and 6.30pm groups will muster so anyone new to the runs or club, will not get left behind, we want to cater for everyone at Helsby.
Last notice, Mid Cheshire 5k is on the 27th April, and after this race last year a group of us went for a curry down Frodsham, and we are planning on doing this again. You don’t have to race to be able to qualify to come for the curry so if you want to come along let me know so I can book at table, it will probably be around 9pm ish, email me firstname.lastname@example.org or message me on FB/Twitter.
OK onto a few race reports
Ras y Aran
The three Helsby vests of Jim O’Hara, Phil Gillard and myself braved the cold and blizzards and headed to Bala for Ras y Aran on Saturday. I hadn’t done the race before and was a bit worried when Chris informed me on route it was a tough one!! Now he tells me! It is an out and back race with a steady climb up and a lots of lovely descent on the way back down! Due to the weather we did a shorted route mainly for the safety of the marshals and one I was glad of when we got turned around at check point 1 – not sure I would have fancied another 2 miles up to the summit in those conditions. Pleased we made the trip over and big thanks to Chris and the boys for cheering us on. Also pleased to be 4th lady back and a nice bottle of vino for 1st V40. Good running from the gents. Results http://www.run-meirionnydd.co.uk/results/ras%20y%20aran%20result%202018.html
Also, Just a reminder it is our first fell counter on Saturday at Llantysilio. Would be great to see lots of green vests out on the fells. It is a great race – if you have any questions about kit requirements or route then just ask.
Well done Laura, it was pretty bleak on Saturday, hope Phil has his leggings on and not his short shorts!!
Sue Buck dragger herself away from the sun bed to send this one in
Joe Shellhorn Falesia 5k Race
The Joe Shellhorn Falesia 5k is organized by the group I was running with for the benefit of the many running groups who train in the Algarve at this time of year.
I’m not normally a fan of 5ks, but I was talked into it with comments such as “it’s hilly and they’ve dug the road up for you so it should be right up your street!” So at 4 Euros, I thought I’d give it a go and was glad that I did.
There was a record entry this year with 150 runners taking part. The course is a hilly 2 ¾ laps starting with a fast downhill and finishing on what is now known as Falesia mountain! The event is well-organized with plenty of marshals and support for the runners.
Debbie Read was also flying the flag for Helsby and was first FV60. Well done Debbie
Welcome to this week’s round-up. It was a very busy weekend of racing for the Green Army, it’s great to see so many of you out and about racing. Before the news Jackie has sent in a quick reminder regarding the Sport Relief Fun Run…
It’s for all ages and abilities so come along and join the fun & raise money for Sport Relief & our nominated local charities (suggestions welcome). Have got a number of volunteers and helpers on the day but for the full set could do with 4 more, please let me know if you can help asap email@example.com
Report by Gareth Boyd
Got up at silly o’clock last Saturday for a short drive to Waverton. Registered and was welcomed by a friendly ‘Green Army’ face – Mr Ben Williams (who was kindly volunteering throughout the day). No fancy dress this time – not for ultras 😉 but made sure that I appeared on the front of starting line for race pics 😎. 6am the race started and I made sure that I held an easy pace, not going off too quickly and dying half way around. The 1st 5/6 miles are run on road and then you join the canal – after this it was basically like playing ‘can you spot an area of ground which isn’t muddy! ‘ I kid you not – it was like cross country but approx 40 miles of it 😲😳.
At approx 25 miles we reached Helsby Hill and I was greeted by Betty and Steve (cheers guys) – great to see you guys. We then headed over to Frodsham Hill and then in Delamere.
The last 10k runs along yet another canal – a muddy canal of course. At this stage most of us were keen to get the race over and done with – I managed to pass a number of runners and finish in position 57. I actually had to pass the finish line twice, as 1st time around, the official camera wasn’t around 🙄. The reward – ok, the usual t-shirt and a lovely burger and hot drink. Awaiting office results but think my finish time was 10.40 hours. Worth noting that Charlie Sharp smashed the course record by 20 mins – now 7.12 hours #wow . Unlikely Charlie, however, I didn’t fall during the race 😎
Gaz’s catalogue pose!
Report by Fitzy
Sunday seen me travel down to Stafford to take part in my marathon warm up race, a 3 lap, 20 miler along the country lanes of Knighton. This race formerly known as the Stafford 20 attracts a lot of people like myself, who are looking for a long distance race which is ideal preparation for our spring marathons, mostly Manchester or London. It was pretty much near perfect running conditions, a bit overcast and nice and cool.
If you haven’t already heard , because I’ve not really talked about it much, I’ve given up drinking since new year, and I am following a 14 week plan and so far so good, not missing one session, and following the high mileage this plans sets you, and I’m reaping the rewards at present, although there are a few downsides but I’ll make up for that come April 8th.
I had heard from a few club members that the course had been moved to a new location but the country roads where pretty much the same and were undulating with some long climbs. The first mile and a half was all down hill, so I set off at my marathon race pace and was happy with the first 3 miles, until I hit the first hill which you could see the top of as well in the distance. It was nothing too bad but a long drawn out climb is in my opinion worse than a short steeper climb. Once over the top, it reminded me a lot of the 4VHM course, lots of ups and downs, but nothing too bad. My pace held on to my average needed and lap 1 ended with a big steep climb back up to the club house and past the car park, the very same car park that after 2 laps of it David Madders thought, nah, I’m going home after passing his car one too many times for his liking a few years back.
Lap 2, more of the same really, held onto the pace quite well, was starting to bank a few seconds on each mile, for them to be clawed back on the climbs, but all along I was thinking if I can do this on this course, then I should be able to hold out on marathon day, as Manchester only has 150ft of elevation on the whole 26.2 miles compared to 700ft on 20 for this course. The last lap seen me overtake 6th, and then 5th who had come to a stop with cramp, finding myself finishing in 4th but 1st MV40 home, earning a nice £25 voucher and a crisp £10 note. My finish time was 2 hours 3 mins and 25 secs. A very enjoyable day out and more importantly it’s now given me the confidence going into the marathon in just under 4 weeks time and I feel full of confidence. I cannot wait to crack open that first beer on 8th April, just hope it’s a PB victory beer.
Full results are here:
Report by Darren O’Connor
I attended the loggerheads 10k trail race on Saturday morning and it was good to see fellow Helsby runner Mike Barnard in attendance too. The 10k route was 2 x 5k laps around loggerheads Country Park which involved hills, technical descents and a quite large leg busting stair climb. I have to admit, I found the course challenging – particularly the stair climb which zapped my legs (queue laughs from the fell runners) However it was a lot of fun and catered for all abilities including the option to do a 5k loop and even run with your dog if you wanted. I finished in 17th place overall so could be worse. For me, this race really highlighted the difference in running on trails compared to roads and should serve as a wakeup call if I’m going to have any hope of getting round the Causeway Coast trail ultra in September!
The Howarth Hobble
Report by Ian Rutherford
Sandwiched between two beautiful spring days, the unrelenting rain-spray of the M6, M65 en-route to West Yorkshire kind of set the tone for the what was in-store on this particular Saturday. Observing the roadside snow drifts didn’t do much to uplift my cheer as we meandered through the hills towards the pretty village of Haworth. In the car was the entire Greenarmy cast, hill runner extraordinaire Max Wainwright himself (asleep in the back of the car), driver Ben Crossley and googlemaps navigator my good-self. That was as much navigation as I was prepared (or qualified) to do for the rest of the day I can assure you. Arriving in good time for registration and set-up we made our way to the start line in the main street (note they made us start at the bottom of the steep hill). Just shy of 400 runners (and probably a handful of hiker-walkers) assembled in the rain and heavily overcast conditions, though light winds and mild temperatures in truth didn’t make it feel too bad at all if I’m honest.
Max had already hooked up Buckley’s Jez Brown and Ben and myself wandered further back on the start line to do some last-minute faffing with our kit. At around 8.10 we were off and the slow trot up the cobbled hill began.
The course is a 32-mile anti-clockwise loop from / to Haworth over the West Yorks and East Lancs hills taking in sizeable towns of Todmorden and Hebden Bridge. Total elevation for the course is approx. 5000ft.
Things get interesting and picturesque quickly as we run alongside the vast reservoir at Stanbury. The terrain is already demanding and within the first few miles everyone is already wet-footed and soaked through. The slippy rock makes running at any speed difficult but given the number of already steep climbs this became less of an issue and some yomping had already begun.
Ben was finding the terrain much easier underfoot and made light-work of the climbs; he even had time to take some excellent pics. We found ourselves chalking off the miles efficiently enough, going through the checkpoints and securing a quick biscuit. At roughly the half-way stage we observed some supporters/helpers one of which carrying a sign indicating hotdogs and sure enough around the bend, on top of the moor was Checkpoint 4 with tables laden with hotdogs (and veggie dogs), soup, tea etc. Very welcome. At this point mine and Ben’s elation was quickly curtailed, seeing Max, fully clothed and if honest looking somewhat off-colour. It was obvious his race had finished. After ensuring he was okay and that his lift back to Haworth was happening, Ben and myself plodded onwards.
We were both moving well and constantly picking up people, taking comfort that we were definitely going the right way. On one of the faster downhill sections, I had my customary fall and with Ben’s first-aid help managed to bandage my knee up sufficiently. We lost around 10 mins in doing so.
The most significant elevation is ‘backended’ on this course, with two huge moorland hills, Stoodley Pike being one of them with its ghostly monument poking through the mist and lots of cobbled-road coming in to Hebden climbing up to Heptonstall. Ben took a shot of whiskey at the check-point just before this, the biggest climb, at roughly 20 miles, me, I went for a cheese and onion pasty.
Both tired now and hearing that the penultimate checkpoint had ran out of water didn’t go down well and Ben, now flagging a tad, demonstrated his resourcefulness in taking water from a trail-side spring. Replenished and perked up, we tried upping our pace with minute on, minute off running / walking these final very steep climbs. The most significant snow drifts were evident on these final moors just before re-entering Haworth, knee-deep in places.
A final push, both running well, we made it back to the finish clocking an unremarkable 6hours 48m finishing in joint 167th but it was chalked off and with huge grins we got some refreshment and joined a snoozing Max in the car.
For the record this year’s winning time is an amazing 4hours 33m by Ken Sutor of Cheshire Hash and Buckley’s Jez Brown (who a lot of us know at the club) was a brilliant 8th in 4hours 59m.
Please find a link to the Saturday parkruns below. Well done to everyone who ran, especially our Bish with a brilliant win at Phoenix Park!
That’s all this week folks, thank you so much for all the brilliant reports, it makes our job a lot easier and gives a bit of variety to the blog each week. Please keep them coming, the email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Did anything happen last week? I’m a bit late with the blog this week as I’ve stepped in while El Capitono is taking a well deserved break. I had thought I’d have loads of reports in the inbox but it seems the weather was too rough for road-running last week. So a few of us had to take to the fells where a bit of snow added to the fun.
Pipe Dream Saturday 3rd March 2018
The snow didn’t put off 4 Helsby from entering the 13th hosting of the wonderful Pipe Dream fell race in Dolgarrog. This is one of my favourite fell races even though I never do well on it. It always reminds me of the 90’s video game of the Mario brothers running along the pipes. The race starts with a steep climb up steps along the pipes and you then follow the pipes over the fells for a while before descending back to Dolgarrog via fields and a wooded area, which can get a bit tricky underfoot. A relatively small field of 47 turned out this year, and we all appreciated the decision of the organisers to go ahead with the race in what could have been quite testing conditions. All went well on the day and everyone came back. Helsby were represented by Max Wainwright (4th), Chris Baynham-Hughes (16th), Phil Gillard (39th), Jim Jones (40th) and Katie Louise stepped in to help out with marshalling on the day.
And fantastic cakes were provided by the Dolgarrog Community Centre.
The weather seems to of had an impact on park run numbers at the weekend too. We still fielded 7 Helsby runners across various park runs though. Our consolidated club results are HERE
A warm welcome to Jake Holmes who has recently joined the club. Looking forward to running with you Jake.
That’s all for the short blog this week. If there happens to have been a road race not cancelled in the area, please send me details at email@example.com and I’ll update the blog.
Notices/Reminders ****Tattenhall Border League race on Sunday is off due to the weather*****
How about getting your family to join in this fun event down at Helsby Community Sports Club on Sunday 18th March afternoon.
Please let me know asap (firstname.lastname@example.org or facebook) if you can supply someone to marshal, only looking for a dozen and they are all close to the club as the route consists of loops of the football, tennis, bowls & rugby pitches.
Also if anyone is First Aid qualified and can be on stand by on the day please let me know. It should be a much quieter day than the Four Villages & much warmer!
Onto the races
Consolidated parkrun results for Helsby members are below including the first place finish by Col Thompson at Phoenix https://tinyurl.com/kvq2x25
Steve Riley sent this in from Darwen
A first for me – a night time fell race. Jamie D’s home club, Darwen Dashers puts on the most excellent Dark Un. Jamie signed me up for this, telling me how utterly great it was …and then realised he’d double-booked himself. Not a bother though, I lined up with work colleague Dave and combined the evening with a meeting nearby. I was pleasantly surprised to sign in and pick up the race number from an old school friend and former Darwen President – small (fell-running) world and all that.
So this was head-torch race on the moors above Darwen. Starting downhill through the woods to spread the field out and then a long steady climb, passing a couple of ghosts (marshalls), up onto the moors and into the wind, a mobile disco playing Beach Music, a mix of tracks, frozen grass, tussocks and the occasional not-so-frozen bog. Pretty good run for me – 24/72 over around 5m/800′ climbing. Dave came a brilliant 8th (I let him beat me, to avoid a difficult annual review). Crisp air, ice, brilliantly marshalled, finish in the pub, free crisps. What’s not to like?
Benajmin Crossley sent this from Clwydian Sheeptracks Fell Race
Sunday 25th February, The Sun was out, the skies clear, the temperature below zero, possibly the most beautiful day of the year so far. Or so it felt for the 70+ runners all bouncing round the fields, wrapped up in thermals, ready to take part in the first Clwydian Sheeptracks Fell Race. Green army runners being myself and Jimmy (Bucky) O’Hara.
Runners were handed a map each and it was left to them to navigate their way round the 17mile 27KM) unmarked course.. and depending your choices, this could be longer with more or less ascent to stretch your legs over. In my case I covered bob on 17mile with 3,528ft climb. Did I nail the navigation with a perfect route choice? Some people may think so.. my legs certainly did not. As I’m sure most are aware covering distances like this is always tough.. but when its off road and trail that 17 miles feels more like 30, a bottle of tequila and a kick a teeth.
The group all started together but as we approached Moel Famau the group split, up and over or round leading to check point 1. I took the round and as usual went all in at the start so was blowing out of my **** by the time I reached the first check point.
The group at this point then really started to sparse, so if you were planning on following the heard and hoping for the best you were out of luck. I soon found myself on my own, scrambling through brambles, up and down the valleys searching for the sheep tracks. Luckily the brief practise I have had in navigation, mostly theory work in my bedroom with printed off maps and my cheap compass paid off. I think once you get your head round that, and how to bring the contour lines to life then it soon makes sense (a little help of a friendly Garmin letting you know how high up you are does the trick also)
Every so often I’d stop to take a breath and enjoy the scenery. I was blown away with how clear you could see Snowdonia and Snowdon as i came across the top of Moel Dywyll. This is what really does it for me. You don’t get the same felling of freedom with such beautiful surroundings when your focusing on fast pace concrete slapping (no offence to the road runners). There is just a sense of clarity and peace I get from running trails, fells, hills. It’s an adventure not a race.
Feel like I’ve rambled a bit here so I’ll bring it to an end. The race took us from the start in Cilcain over to the carpark below Foel Fenlli stretching out to Penycloddiau and then some, then back to Cilcian, including a final climb up the steps from the cattle grid at the bottom of Moel Arthur up to the top of Moel Llys-y-coed.
In total it took me 4hrs with Jimmy completing it in 3hr22. It was a testing but highly enjoyable race to grit your teeth and get stuck in to, which I would recommend to anyone keen on off trail running. Winning male and female were Neil Talbott (Ambleside AC) 2hr28 and Hayley Evans (Buckley) 3hr08. Full results
Fitzy sent this report in from Village Bakery Half
Not sure how to follow on from Phil Tomkinson’s report from last week, so I will definitely not talk about my massive PB, I promise 😊 So just a short report from me.
What a cracking day for racing Sunday was for our 1st road counter of the season, ok yes it was Baltic, ok yes there was a little bit of wind coming in from Siberia apparently, but at least it wasn’t right in your face, actually every corner you turned it seemed to be across you. 10 of us made it over to Wrexham’s finest industrial estate, which actually isn’t as bad as people make out, there’s plenty of country lanes to navigate around with most of them seeming like they are down hill, few laps past the Cornflakes factory, and then back up the slight incline at the end and a very well supported finish, to be greeted by someone giving out free Welsh cakes, rather than Bara Brith, what’s happened to the Bara Brith? It’s the only reason I turn up!
Anyway, less about me, i said i wouldn’t talk about my needs. It’s a definite PB course, very flat but that slight incline really does catch you out at the end of 13.1 fastish miles.
PB’s galore from what i could work out on social media yesterday, plus a few tears, and some not so glamorous photo’s eh Rachael. Richard Hankins, Peter Rodriguez, Kate Mann, Rob Hough, Rachael Holden, and Gary O’Connor (best of 2018 anyway) all PB’d , sorry if I have missed anyone off the list, if I have you didn’t brag enough about it like me, ooopppsss sorry like the others did on social media! https://tinyurl.com/yamzlafn
Debbie Read sent in this from XC
Sunday saw the final cross country race of the season, and what a beautiful morning it was for running. Although it was the driest I’ve ever known the course at Birchwood, it still didn’t disappoint with the almost knee deep mud in places and of course the infamous “Julian’s Lake”.
Due to it being half term and The Village Bakery half marathon it was a very depleted Green Army that turned up and with the exception of youngster Gareth the army were all in their 50’s and 60’s. That didn’t stop us though – we did ourselves proud – ladies finishing 7th on the day and an incomplete gents team finishing 15th.
Overall Helsby women finished 3rd out of 21 teams in the league and the gents finished joint 10th out of 21. Well done to all the runners who contributed throughout the season.
Spikes washed and drying ready for next season.
And finally, reports that from hereon the 25th of February will be a national holiday named “Fitzys PB Day” have yet to be confirmed.