welcome to the weekly round up. There’s loads of good stuff to read this week! Before the racing news though – a brief message from Jackie Keasley:
“A big thanks to all who turned up at last Fridays Presentation Evening, BBQ & Disco. Well done to all those who got awards. Here is the final list + an updated list of all the winners over the years since 1980!
There’s plenty to run for this coming 2019/20 season with lots of trophies up for grabs!
Leadville Heavy Half – Saturday 15th June 2019
First of the cracking reports this week has come from across the pond by Danny and Danielle Ryder. Over to Danny:-
Just before leaving for a couple of weeks holiday in Colorado, Danielle make the mistake of forwarding me a link to the Leadville Heavy Half which was happening on the middle weekend of our trip. I instantly took this as a request to sign us both and duly did. We spent 6 days running and mountain biking in Boulder, Co trying to acclimate to the 1,600m elevation of the front range.
In the week leading up to the event it was announced there would be a change to the traditional route. Following a year of record snow fall which had still not melted, it was decided that 1000+ runners post holing up and down Mosquito Pass was not desirable (or particularly safe).
Following a straightforward sign on and a coffee in the busiest coffee shop in a few hundred-mile radius I made my way to the start line. Having never run at this altitude before and not knowing quite what to expect, I found a spot a few hundred runners from the start line.
The race began up a tarmac road with a steepening gradient before joining an old mining road. I tried to keep a sensible effort up this first climb, my lungs felt surprisingly good but my Achilles both burned. I think this was due to the deceptively steep gradient. After around 2 miles of climbing there was a short but welcome descent before joining a wide road climb. There were some fantastic alpine views here and warm sunshine to take my mind off the thin air. A turn off the road led to a loose double track descent where I seemed to be making good ground. Now the warm up was over and it was time to make the 7km climb to the turn point at 3,542m.
I put my head down and focused on my breathing and moving, resisting the urge to “just walk a little bit”, knowing I would never start running again if I did. Around 1km from the high point and I started to see the lead runners on the descent! I kept moving and finally hit the turn point. I was relived and also nervous. I ‘d coped better than expected so far and now had around 10km of descending ahead of me. The descent down the main climb was great. A wide rocky track, at a nice gradient. The support from runners on the climb was great. I had been keeping an eye out for Danielle as I descended, but was taken by surprise when I heard her cheers. She had obviously warmed up from the start and had removed a few layers.
I rejoined the tarmac road for a short climb, before descending the earlier climb. Road descent dispatched and now off the road and onto a climb, which earlier as a descent had offered such relief. Not so now…
Run, walk, run walk, I dragged heavy legs over the top by any means. Over the summit and a fast 2 mile descent to the finish. First descending the dirt mining road and then a left, back onto the tarmac. Finish line now in sight but so far away. Around 1 mile of die straight tarmac descent has never felt so long. Over the finish line in 2:06:09, and now time to find water. I had taken one water bottle with me, which I had rationed all of the way around. I was later told that the aid stations were really good, but I don’t know. I’m not sure what it is about pinning on a number, I had never intended to run so hard.
I watched Danielle finish the race, way ahead of her anticipated schedule, so I was glad to have gotten there early. The post race food, support and 2 beers each (to go as we had a long drive ahead of us) was fantastic (and all included in the entry fee). A quick walk around the stalls and up the main street and it was time to go and find some thicker air.
I would definitely recommend this, or I’m sure any of the other Leadville trail series races. Just be sure to make a longer trip out of to acclimate. There is plenty to keep you occupied in Colorado whilst you do.
Danielle View Point:
After an early wake up call and a hectic dash to the start line with a couple of minutes to spare (I had to wait for Danny to get back from the coffee shop before I could join the toilet queue!) I stood nervously near the back of the crowd waiting for the start. 2 years previously we had both struggled to walk down the main street of Leadville feeling really sick and with headaches due to the altitude, so this was going to be about survival for me.
The climbs are relentless and it didn’t take me long to join the middle of the pack runners starting to hike. I must learn to do this quicker, but I am happy to say it was the downhill I enjoyed and managed to pick people off. The front runners came past at an incredible speed (albeit they were going down hill at this point) as I hiked to the turn around point, and I was surprised to see Danny descending well when I was just past the 9.5k point. He was definitely in the top 20 at this point.
I had hoped to finish within 4 hours due to the altitude and elevation gain and was really happy to come in 3:17:17. Unlike Danny I hadn’t pushed myself ridiculously hard, and had taken full advantage of the 4 aid stations and took some photos on the way! Having finished and had the obligatory finish photo taken, Danny found me and I quickly pressed him for how well he had done. He hadn’t even checked – 15th!
Port Sunlight 10K – Sunday 16th June 2019
Thanks to Richard Hankins for sending in this report from the Port Sunlight 10k:
This was the second year in a row the Port Sunlight 10K has been in the club road counters. It is a BTR event and like all their races it is well planned and executed. We were lucky, heavy rain overnight subsided and by the time of the race it was warm and dry with a little light wind. The start is by the village green next to the Lady Lever Art Gallery. On the green there is a bag store and various vendors: it is a really nice setting. The course is two laps of a rather twisty course around this historic village. There are four ‘turns in the road’ where you run around a cone: not ideal if you are chasing a time, but a limitation of the site.
There were ten Helsby runners out, including Kate Mann who was completing the event with her Dad on father’s day. June Whitehead, six months after the birth of baby Olivia came 9th lady overall in 44:02 – a great achievement. Helen Owens, fresh from her marathon adventures finished first vet 40 in 46:35. Janet Shaw was a commendable 3rd in the Vet 65 age group. Strong performances throughout. Good to see Gaz O’Connor back on the start-line after being side-lined by injury. Be fab to see a good turnout to the next road counter: Halewood 5K on 6th July…it’s free, what’s not to like!
Oh, and did I mention I got a 10K PB….
Next we have a couple of reports, one from Jackie and one from Geoff, that came into the inbox after last week’s round-up had already gone out:
Scottish Mountain Marathon – Saturday 8th to Sunday 9th June 2019
The weekend before last saw 4 Helsby runners make the journey up to Loch Carron, just North of Kyle of Lochalsh in the Scottish Highlands for the inaugural Scottish Mountain Marathon. This new race was organised by Ourea events headed by Shame Ohly, the organiser of Dragons Back, Cape Wrath Ultra and many more toughies! Shane offered to take on this Spring Scottish MM, after Martin Stone stepped down from organising the Lowe Alpine Mountain Marathon after 20 years of amazing races! It was always going to be a hard act to follow.
Chris & Max whizzed up in a van for the weekend, I was already up there & Rachel caught the train from Helsby which dropped her off at the small request stop of Attadale, 50m from the event centre. The area is locked inbetween the big mountains of Mullardoch, Strathfarrar & Torridon so the views were always going to be excellent. The weather was kinder than forecast except for those still out beyond mid-afternoon on Saturday when the heavens opened delivering large cold hailstones which very quickly made even minor streams fast flowing & deep causing a few crossing problems. The checkpoints have descriptions such as knolls, cairns, boulders, stream, lochans etc. The hardest ones to find are re-entrants (defintion “reentrant appears on the map as a U or V shape in the contour lines, pointing back into a hillside rather than sticking out of the hill (as would a spur)”. We have always found these the most difficult to find even when you are very close to them. Needless to say both days were packed with them! The good news is we have now got over our phobia of finding them!
Rachel and I steadily made our way around the dozen checkpoints each day. The going was tough as there were plenty of ups and downs interspercing the huge areas of tussocky boglands. We climbed a Corbett each day but the routes avoided the munroes. Not sure whether that was good or bad as it would have been nice to get onto the higher rocky ridges and avoid the boglands. The overnight camp was very wet as the river rose & looked more like yet another bog rather than a camping field. Arriving back after 9hrs 33mins, exhausted, wet & cold it was great to be greeted by Chris & Max (who had done the short score which is 5 hours of running, so they were well rested by this time) who squashed us into a sligtly drier spot near them & kindly put our fiddly tent up as we looked on shivering. A quick change into dry clothes & hot soup & food to warm us up, whilst it continued to rain outside, made us both feel more human. Rachel did better than me though, recovering enough to emerge from the tent when it stopped raining and wander around chatting to folks & comparing notes on the day. Whilts I lay horizontal, unable to move & chat!
Sunday weather was a repeat of Saturday but without the heavy rain with even longer stretches of bog. I managed to sink into a black one upto my thighs, but fortunately manged to get out still wearing both inovs. Rachel did the same a few seconds later into a green one. Another 7hrs 30mins running on Sunday & we finally made it back to the base camp. A quick wash in the river, cuppa & meal, then Bill drove us to our overnight stay in Glasgow on a most beautiful evening passing through spectacular scenery of Glenshiel, Ben Nevis, Glencoe, BlackMount, Lomond. The next morning we checked the results & were a bit upset that we were in the list as dnfs with mis-punches. We occured in two classes, class B on the Saturday & C on the Sunday, hence the error. Despite emailing them about the error they still 10 days later have not corrected it, which is a bit insentitive for us as we know we both checked & punched every point! A post race email sent to all competitors came in last week from Ourea and we were kind of made up to appear in it! Heres the photo of Rachel punching!
Well done to Chris & Max who finished 2nd in their short score class, trailing the small margin of 20 points out of 560 over the 2 days.
Geoff Collins has sent the next great report that just missed last week’s round-up. Thanks for the write-up Geoff:
Edgworth 10k Reservoir Challenge – Sunday 9th June 2019
“Last weekend I headed off to the very pretty village of Edgworth, about 6 miles north of Bolton in Lancashire to run a race I’d never heard of and never personally entered. The Edgworth 10k Reservoir challenge was a Christmas present from my daughter.
Edgworth 10k is a trail race around two reservoirs, the Wayoh, Turton and Entwhistle. Quite a small event put on by a private events company. The area was absolutely stunning with beautiful views in all directions. I met up with Emma & her boyfriend and we walked round part of the Wayoh reservoir to get a feel of the place. Ideal weather conditions sunny and dry too, unlike the previous day.
It was amusing to see it was sponsored by my employers and their logo was on myrunning number!
Just 256 runners took part. Strangely the greater majority of them were unattached
runners not club runners. There weren’t many older runners there either. The race start was on the Dam wall near the Black Bull pub. Loud music was being played, together with a local fitness instructor going through a warm up routine. Seemed a bit at odds with the peaceful rural location.
The dam wall was quite narrow so I got myself quite near the front at the start. But the finish was on the opposite side of the reservoir, I didn’t go and reccy that before the race.
Off we went quite quickly along the wall, and headed off up the trail uphill through the trees. The trail surface was a mix of hard gravel, to mud many puddles and lots of tree roots. Lots of other people were on the trail, going in all directions but it didn’t really cause any problems. There were steps up and down to negotiate too, as you go in and out of the trees. I soon realised this wouldn’t be a PB course, but it was so enjoyable to run.
I sensed I was still quite near the front of the race, I hadn’t been overtaken by many people. I seem to go slightly better on hilly terrain relative to others, who go faster than me on the flat. The support from the marshals was amazingly encouraging all the way round. There were lots of bridges to cross, and a bit of flat tarmac by the second reservoir. You run round this before going back a short distance the way you came (steps down instead of up), before crossing over to the first reservoir but on the opposite side. You gradually climb up giving views over opposite side to the outgoing route.
Time to push hard on the last section and sprint to the finish. I reach the last marshal position. ‘Up the hill into the field turn right and head to the finish’ she yells.
What? My heart sank, it was a field of wet slippery grass with a nasty right turn and what felt like a mountainous climb to the finish. I looked like a strangled Rhinoceros taking its last breath, as I spotted Emma shouting well done dad!
The winner Daniel Shaw did it in 37m 37s. I was 60th finisher in 53m 43s, and 2nd M60 out of 13. 1st M60 was only a minute ahead of me. I recommend this race, with a medal and t-shirt if anyone wants to try it next year. After the race we headed to the excellent Strawberry Duck at Entwhistle for lunch.”
Well done to all Helsby members who took part in a Parkrun on Saturday. Please find the the consolidated Helsby RC results below.
That’s all this week folks, thanks for all the great reports. Please keep sending them to the Helsby RC inbox at firstname.lastname@example.org.