First up, a quick mention that the Borders League starts on Sunday, 13th with the first race being held in Caernarfon.
“Shout out to anyone thinking about coming to Caernarfon on Sunday for the first borders league race, it would be great to see you there. Yes it’s a bit of a hike to get there, but don’t think “we’ll be ok plenty will turn up” we need absolutely everyone possible to turn up, I’m a little worried we are struggling for full teams right now, so the more the merrier
Post code is LL54 5RP, full details on the Borders league website, sure if anyone wants to car share post Facebook and people can meet at the club. If any of the Felsby crew want to help us out it would be really appreciated, perfect prep for the relays a week later.”
Hopefully see you all there, Fitzy
Three fabulous race reports to share this week, from Geoff Collins, Trevor Lewis, and Ben Tumilty, thank you all.
First Geoff and the Race Report for Carlam Ceiriog Canter Fell Race, 5 October.
This was our last club fell counter race of the year, with just five of us from Helsby of around 40 runners. A race where Helsby took away two age category prizes. Glyn Ceiriog is a small village about 3.5 miles south west of Llangollen. The race starting and finishing at the Canolfan Ceirog Centre. This was a good facility with a café, sports hall, decent toilets and plenty of parking spaces. Lots of lovely cake soup hot drinks too.
It did mean there was a bit of tarmac either end of the race. Once through the village the route takes a very rough eroded unmade ‘road’ steeply uphill into the Berwyn mountains. This seemed more like a river bed in places, judging by the amount of water coming down it!
Clear of the unmade road, across a proper tarmac road, and then we continued uphill on what looked more like a moorland fell. We were aiming for the 1834 feet high Vivod Mountain. I’d been told the views would be good. Unfortunately the weather front was moving in quickly no views today. There were stiles too, one near the mountain was a bit awkward which seemed massively high. A short descent back down before the path before a left turn takes you out over the heather moor slowly descending. Sue really enjoyed this bit! It was really hard work forcing your way through/over the deep tufts of heather. It got better though, some really fast bits over good ground through fields. I think this is where the race gets its Canter name from.
A final descent down the steepish hill side under the trees back to the tarmac to finish. I liked this 7km race a lot.
At the time of writing no race results yet, but the Helsby finishing order was;
Adam Gordon 4th (first male V40)
Sue Buck (first lady V50)
Race report from Abersoch Half by Trevor.
“A friend who lives just outside Abersoch said she was planning to run this race this year as part of a ‘Triple Crown’ series of races.
The Triple Crown consists of a 10k & Olympic distance triathlon, which usually take place in Abersoch in May & June. The trio of races is topped-off with a Half Marathon that usually runs in September. You can enter all 3, 2 or individual events in the series. I often run Warrington HM in September but couldn’t last weekend so, over a few drinks (when a lot of rash decisions are made) I had my arm twisted by my friend.
I’ve learnt my lesson well with Welsh Races. If a lilting voice from the valleys tells me ‘Its not so bad you know; it’s gently undulating’ I interpret that as ‘it’s full of massive hills and you’ll probably need oxygen at the end’.
Therefore I put a lot of hills into my training & also entered Helsby’s hilly Half Marathon road counter in Conwy in early August to help prepare.
I’m so very glad I did.
If anyone knows Abersoch at all the route took in a start on Lon Pen Cai down the road from The Vaynol Pub & Zinc restaurant. The route then took in traffic-free B-roads down to Sarn Bach. After the first 3 miles there was a sharp turn to the right at which point a challenging sea breeze met you full on. There followed some steep ‘ups and downs’ up into Llanengan.
There were some turns towards ‘Hell’s Mouth’ – a popular spot for surfers. There was a gruelling rise at miles 6-7 towards Llangian after which the course performed a ‘figure of 8’ looping back to Rhydolion, back towards Llanengan through country roads that at mile 12 took you right past Abersoch Golf Club complete with Saturday morning golfers loudly cheering you on which was a bit surreal as golfers normally prefer a quiet atmosphere on the greens but it was great motivation nevertheless.
Arguably the toughest part of the race came at the end. There was just under a mile of running on Abersoch beach, the sand was hard work but the worst aspect of it was having to run perpendicular to about 20 wooden beach walls/groynes.
Depending on how much sand had drifted alongside them this meant having to hurdle a height of between a 1 to 2ft to get over them.
Essentially the run to the finishing line was a ‘beach steeplechase’.
The run consisted of a small field of only 260 runners I managed to come in at number 38 in 1h 41” which I was delighted with in the conditions.
It’s not a PB course by any stretch of the imagination, I’d suggest you add 5-10mins to your time for a flat HM.
The standard was high with lots of local running clubs represented; the were some hardened, experienced ‘mountain goats’ competing and as an indicator, despite the hills, I didn’t observe a single runner slow down to walk at any point.
I arrived in Abersoch on the Friday night & the race HQ was adjacent to the Vaynol Pub and registration was quick and easy. There were plenty of runners milling about Abersoch on the Friday night easily distinguishable by us carrying our race numbers and t-shirts and quite a few including myself having (non-alcoholic I hasten to add) pre-race drinks in The Vaynol Pub so there was a real buzz about the place and some really good chat. After driving straight to Abersoch from work on Friday afternoon combined with the sea air I slept like a log.
The weather report predicted a sunny 23 degrees for race day and it wasn’t wrong, it was very hot.
This was mitigated by a sea breeze which was noticeable at various points particularly near Hell’s Mouth and also along the beach. There was also a high hedge line along a great number of the roads so there was a good amount of shade throughout.
The Half Marathon was preceded by a children’s 2k race on the beach and lots of families competed so there was a fabulous atmosphere.
To summarise; Abersoch Half Marathon is hilly, it’s well-organised, the setting is stunning and the locals are really friendly. It’s a quiet, almost sleepy race, it’s well-marshalled with ample water stations.
It’s a 2 and a half hour drive each way from Helsby/Frodsham so an overnight stay is probably required if you don’t want to be groggy & car-shaped on the start line. I would highly recommend this race and will definitely run it again in the future”
Our third race report comes from Ben and his first marathon – well done Ben, great achievement.
Chester Marathon, 6th October
I’d been umming and ahhing about my first marathon for well over half a year. About 10 weeks out, I had a look at Chester and I got lucky – someone looking to pull out transferred their place to me for the starting price.
10 weeks of quickly upping my mileage, a bruised foot, and a week’s holiday in Lanzagrotty later, race day arrives and I start to brick it. A longest training run of 20 miles – just another 10K to find at the end of that; no biggie, right?
After what felt like hours of waiting, we set off from the revised starting point. The first 6 miles were into a ridiculous headwind. Fabulous. I ran the first 9 miles with a friend a little slower than me who started to struggle at this point, so being a marathon novice I thought it a great idea to try and “make up time”. What followed was 4 miles at a decent pace, and then 9 miles of running in treacle, having to do that funny-looking power-walk thing because I was knackered, and miles I can’t begin to describe – most likely due to subconsciously blanking them out of my mind to pretend they didn’t happen!
It got to a little over 3 miles from the finish; heading back into Chester, “it’s just a parkrun now Ben!” I repeated to myself. Turns out, a parkrun is hard work after over 3 hours of running…
I got to just under 2 miles out and my legs started to convulse – swinging between stiffening up and turning to jelly. I had to ring Lauren to make her talk to me so I didn’t stop. They’re not wrong when they say the last few miles are hell – particularly when the organisers kindly stick what definitely felt like a massive hill at the end of it!
4:13:37 chip time. That in itself is something I’m massively pleased with; but more importantly I’m on the marathon board, and ready to take on the next one – but maybe not for a few months yeah?
Finally a request from Fitzy for those who took part in the DIRT relays: a short survey, and the possibility of winning £500 vouchers
I’ve been asked by Forestry England to circulate this survey to your team members please.
Below is some information for your event participants to encourage people to complete the survey and also to go on your social media. Please see below.
“Thank you for taking part in our survey. The information you provide will really help us to develop and improve your forest experience. The information you provide will be analysed by the Forestry England research team to explore the types of activities people undertake, their motivations for being physical active and the benefits they gain from outdoor physical exercise in a woodland environment. If you have taken part in a group, please forward this survey to other members..
This survey usually takes 3 mins to complete. By completing the survey your email address will be entered into a draw to win a £200 Go Outdoors voucher, with 5 runners-up receiving annual membership to their local forest. Terms and conditions apply.
Your email address is required in order to submit the survey. It will not be used for marketing purposes but it will be used to contact you about the competition and follow up survey after which it will be deleted. We will not share your contact details with any third parties. By providing us with this information and submitting your email address you are consenting to us using it for the purposes described above.”
Please find the consolidated Helsby RC results for last week’s parkrunners, well done to all, as well as those who volunteered on Saturday.
That’s all folks, this blog comes alive through your contributions, so thanks and keep the reports coming.
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