Helsby RC Weekly Round-up 27 May to 2nd June 2019

Hi everyone

Another bumper week of reports this week, thank you so much to everyone who sent one in, it makes our job so much easier and makes the blog a lot more vibrant.

Before we get to the racing news I’d just like to welcome two new members of the blog team, Susan Woodward-Moor and Karen Horsley, please keep them busy with all your great reports. I’m looking forward to reading their blogs over the next few weeks!

First up is Fitzy with a request for a very worthy cause…

“It’s not often I send something out to everyone asking for pennies but if you can spare some £’s that would be very much appreciated. Myself and 2 work colleagues are cycling from out Slough HQ back to Preston Brook, Runcorn on 20th June over 2 days. It’s just over 204 miles and is a very worthy cause/s as we are splitting the donations between NSPCC and CRY (Cardiac Risk in the Young) after a work colleague passed away at just 42 years of age, I’m 42 so this really hit home, he left behind two beautiful boys and a loving wife, and we are just doing a little bit to raise awareness”

https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/russell-proudlock

10k Time Trial

Last Wednesday 29th May saw the first of our summer 10k time trials and we had 14 runners toeing the line, that’s a great turn out and I can’t thank you all enough for supporting our event.

We have decided to move the TT to the Greenway for the summer as it’s perfect for a fast run, flat and traffic free so some PB’s were up for grabs!

The clear winner was one of our newer members Darren Sankey who had a stormer to take the chequered flag in 39.01 and a new PB! Great running mate and I’m sure there’s more to come in the future. Congrats to Laura BH who was first lady back in 43.36, fantastic running Laura!

Anne and Betty both ran the 6k option and both crossed the line in 51.06, well done ladies and well done to everyone else who ran, especially Kai Horsley who had some difficulty at the halfway mark but still managed to run the return leg with Helen.

It wouldn’t be possible without the 10k TT team who were Louise Spruce (results), Tim Palmer (timing), Helen Gillard (timing) and Helen Owens (tail runner), a big thank you to you all 🙂

10k

  1. Darren Sankey 39.01
  2. Richard Hankins 41.16
  3. Chris Lloyd 41.33
  4. Alistair Rough 42.13
  5. Laura Baynham Hughes 43.36 (first lady)
  6. Dave Jones 45.11
  7. Ben Williams 48.46
  8. Sharon Case 51.25
  9. Mike Barnard 53.36
  10. Neil Fergusson 56.20
  11. Karen Horsley 1.05.45
  12. Kai Horsley 1.06.49

6k

  1. Anne Barnes 51.06
  2. Betty 51.06

Cheshire 5k Grand Prix

Report by Debbie Read

“The Cheshire 5k Grand Prix is a series of 5k races around the Lymm and Warrington area on consecutive Thursday evenings throughout May and June.
Having entered the series I unfortunately missed the 1st race at Dunham Massey due to me having a nasty bout of tonsillitis.
This series is part organised by my old running club Spectrum Striders so having taken my last antibiotic tablet that morning I thought I’d give Birchwood a go (well I had paid for it).

Having gone for a gentle trot up the lane the day before -1 mile out and back and it felt like I was running through treacle having not run for 10 days, my “race plan” was to just take it easy, enjoy the lovely route and catch up with my old running buddies.
It was a cloudy but humid evening, 6 Helsby vests turned up and I had a lovely time. 180 runners, winning time was 15:03. I got a pw for a 5k race (just scraped in under 26 minutes), but it was never going to be about the time for me, I was just glad to be back out running a lovely route.

In the pub afterwards having a fish and chips supper I was gobsmacked when one of the organisers gave me an envelope with my age category prize! And no, I wasn’t the only one in that category.

Now decisions, decisions. I’m double booked next week. Do I do the next race in this series at Bowden and hope for another envelope, or, do I do the 1st race in  Deestriders off road series?”

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Well done Debs, cracking run and well done on the age cat win!

Scissett Triathlon

Report by Denise

“Kathryn was at scissett triathlon, which was a tough bike, and run course very hilly and windy.  Kathryn managed to get 2nd in her age group and 9th overall.”

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Welsh 1000m Fell Race

Report by Jake Holmes

“This one was a last minute entry. No plans for any races, about to head off camping for a week and Ben messaged saying he was in and did I fancy it. It was a race I did fancy… sometime… but not now, I was off on my hols. But then I didn’t actually say ‘no’ you see. A couple of days of fish and chips, ice creams and campfires later and I was ready to let the entry deadline slip by when Ben messaged again, he had more work to do to get over an injury and did I want his spot? I’d run out of any excuses, of course I did, and as of last Wednesday I was on the starting list very aware it was a big event to enter on a whim.

A day in Snowdonia’s never a bad thing though, just get round it, enjoy the scenery and check another great race off the list. I hadn’t run for 10 days and had been sleeping in a tent for the last four of those so there are reasons I wouldn’t be at my best, so that’s fine. I got to Llanberis for 7am plenty of time to get registered before getting the bus back to the coast of the start. The friendly face of ever present Jim Jones was one of the first people I saw, lining up for his third straight year – fair play Jim!. He then promptly squashed my “I’m tired because I’ve been camping” excuse when he shared he’d just driven back from Cornwall about 11pm the night before and had probably had about 3 hours of broken sleep at best. Double fair play. Jim went on to finish despite all that and ticked off an impressive hat trick.

I said to myself I’d keep this write-up shorter but we’re two paragraphs in and not at the start-line yet! Sorry folks, here we are again.

If you don’t know the race, it starts at the coast and finishes 20ish miles later at the top of Snowdon heading over the 4 other 1000+ metre mountains in Wales.

80 or so of us lined up in a field next to the A55. Standing there with just a couple of marshals and two portaloos to suggest there was a race on, it felt like quite a thing that we’d be at the top of Snowdon before crossing the finish line.

Someone had given me the heads up that the first climb is tough. Soft ground and the biggest ascent of the day to the summit of Carnedd Llewelyn. He wasn’t wrong. Initially I didn’t feel too bad, but as soon as it steepened I was struggling. I was conscious the cloud was low, visibility was dropping and the train of runners ahead was quickly spreading out. I pushed hard to keep runners in sight and make getting to the first checkpoint easier. I managed it, we came out above the clag and the view was HD again as I got to the first checkpoint – always a good one to tick off.

This first stretch was a sign of things to come for the day. Not the weather, the rest of the day was good and clear, but how hard the profile of the route was. Pretty testing all the way, long steep ascents and descents meant not much time for stretching the legs out and running with much rhythm. You’d be hiking for what felt like forever to get to a summit, dib at the control point and then start descending for just as long.

Hard going but some incredible views. Coming down from the Carneddau, Tryfan came into view – I was very grateful it topped out at 917m and so we could just admire it from the base rather than it being on today’s list to climb. Instead we headed up… and up…. and up… to Glyder Fawr via the grade 1 scramble of Gribin Ridge. I’m no climber so was looking forward to getting that section behind me. It was easy enough in the end, one step at a time, didn’t do too much looking back down mind. It put us onto the dramatic landscape of the Glyders and the third of the day’s 5 summits.

The long, steep, tussocky descent to Pen y Pass car park was another tester. Plenty of chance to go wrong on route choice with the mountain dropping away steeply in places which would really slow you down. Luckily a runner just ahead knew it well and picked a good line which gave me something to aim for.

Only the Pyg track to go.

It was packed! We’d spent the day off footpaths and on less popular mountains and there couldn’t have been a bigger contrast. It was a long way up (bit of a theme here) but add to that a lot of skirting round people and it made it hard. On the other hand, there were spectators (!) and so a few ‘well done’s and ‘great work’s gave little boosts to the moral every now and then.

Take a right at the top for the fourth summit of Carnedd Ugain (not far) and double back to head to the finish at the top of Snowdon.

I finished in 6h31mins – 61st out of 84. (So that ruins my theory from last race then, where I thought the Welsh fields might be easier than the Lakes!)

A really great route. The sea felt a long time ago (well it was to be fair). Looking forward to having another go next year with a bit better prep!”

 

Mynydd Myfryr

Report by Tim Palmer

“Sunday 26th May saw 9 of the Green Army at the 25th anniversary race of Mynydd Myfryr a short fell race from the village of Trefonen. Ben Williams, Neil Finegan, Phil Gilliard and Kevin ran; Tim & Jenny Palmer marshalled and Helen Gilliard, Joe & Mario supported. Neil finished 4th and got the Vet40 prize and Phil got the Vet55. Both Joe & Mario had run in the first race (25 years previously) with Mario finishing 2nd”

Race for Life 10k

“Susie Woodward-Moor ran Race for Life 10k at Temple Newsam in Leeds on Sunday 2nd June with daughters Flossy and Molly. It was great so be part of a race that’s all about well being as well as raising money for cancer research. The race started at the front of the main house and took us up and down some quite tough hills around the rolling parkland, through woods then across playing fields back into the park for a wonderful noisy celebratory finish. For the first time men were taking part in the event too which has made it more inclusive… lots of them wearing pink tutus. I would recommend this as a great family race that you can still run at a challenging speed if you want to https://raceforlife.cancerresearchuk.org/ Like most organised races they now have a policy that aims to reduce plastic waste asking you to bring your own water 💦 which is great.”

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Wincle Trout

Report by Rebecca Tate

“Jason and I ran the Wincle Trout race on Saturday, it’s one of the prettiest fell runs with fields, woods, sandy tracks, ridges with amazing views, a river crossing (knee deep) and this year a chasm to go through. The route changes every year rotating between three different farms to start from, where there is a lovely traditional village fete. Then there’s the Wincle brewery also! It’s a fairly tough little BM fell race, well organised, decent parking (if you don’t mind sheep droppings), the only downside being some queues at stiles, but it does provide a nice little rest! At the end of the race you get a trout, which tops off a fairly eccentric experience! We’ll be back next year hopefully, but seeing as entries sell out within a day we’ll have to be quick!”

Parkrun

Please find the the consolidated Helsby RC results for last weeks parkruns, well done to all members who took part.

https://www.parkrun.com/results/consolidatedclub/?clubNum=1721

That’s all this week folks, thank you again for all the ace reports, please keep them coming, the Helsby RC inbox is helsby-race-reports@outlook.com.

Cheers
Col T

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Helsby RC Weekly Round-up 22nd to 28th April 2019

Hi everyone

Welcome to this week’s blog, sorry for the slight delay I was waiting on some key reports from last week. It was a bumper week with all types of races, London Marathon, ultra running, fell and the Borders League, so let’s get started…first up is Ed Halliwell…

Race Report – Shropshire Way Ultra (50 miles) – 27 April 2019

I signed up to do the Saunders Mountain Marathon in July this year after doing a couple of fell events towards the end of last year and remembering how much I enjoy them. I ended up watching a few fell running videos on Youtube over Christmas to get myself in the mood, drifted into Ultra videos, and somehow by Boxing Day I’d signed up to do this. Bearing in mind I was only running up to about 10 miles at the time, I suspect alcohol may have been involved, but my memory is hazy. Anyway, four months of somewhat accelerated distance training saw me up to regular 25 mile weekend runs and at 7am on Saturday I was at the start line, hoping that the other 25 miles would kind of just happen on the day.

The weekend before had been the heatwave, so I was praying that it wouldn’t be the same weather for Saturday. I certainly got my wish as it wasn’t a heatwave, but I must learn to be more specific with praying as the heatwave was replaced by gale force winds and rain. Not sure how many people had entered (it was the first year of the race, so maybe not many), but only 43 people were foolish enough to still actually turn up. Looking around, I got a sudden fear that everyone else looked like they knew what they were doing, and I was going to roll in last…

The race started with a 7 mile loop around the Ellesmere countryside, which involved a lot of long grass just to ensure our feet were properly drenched before the main 43 mile loop. I felt pretty comfortable after that, and was sitting in the top half of the field. The next section was one of the two long canal sections. This was around 15 miles to the next checkpoint in a village south of Oswestry. We came off the canals for a little while due to a closed towpath, but mostly it was quite dull, but got a lot of miles under the belt.

The next two sections contained the climb, around 750m in total I think the Race Director said, over around 17-18 miles to Chirk. I’d picked up some ultra running poles (“cheat sticks” as I believe they’re called!) cheaply a few weeks ago, and had one bit of climbing practice with them a couple of weeks beforehand. I was unsure whether or not to take them, but I had them attached to my pack and started using them. I have to say I don’t think I’d have finished without them, the extra help they gave on the climbs, and ultimately anywhere, was invaluable.

Around half way through this section I started having serious problems with my right knee, so between about 30 and 35 miles I ceased being able to run downhill. This kind of helped me keep pace on the uphills, but it was disappointing to be hobbling down descents.

This hilly section was most exposed to the wind, especially along Offa’s Dyke, and I was nearly blow straight off it a couple of times, I reminded myself I’d chosen the hills for ‘interest’ and ploughed on. This section also started to throw up navigational issues, as the orange spray painted arrows seemed absent in places (possibly washed away) and sometimes just seemed plain wrong. Several runners reported going off course. I went off course at one point, but fortunately had my compass and could see a tree line to help with navigation, so got back on track. I switched to relying on my map for navigation.

By the end of the hills, my knee was hurting so much I couldn’t run much even on the flat. I was able to keep a good power hiking pace up, but the 10 mile ‘run-in’ along the canals was really frustrating, as I had the energy to run still, but couldn’t manage more than about 50 metres at a time at most. At the last checkpoint I was in 15th place, but took around two and half hours for the final ten miles and slipped back to 19th in the end, in 11 hours and 42 minutes, with 34 out of 43 finishing the run. It wasn’t the time I was looking for in the run-up to the race, but the combination of weather and my knee meant I was happy just to finish, and in mid-table respectability.

I’m sure the signposting issues will be much improved last year, and the countryside is nice, so hopefully this race will expand in future years. Not sure I’ll be putting my body through it again though…. 🙂

Shropshire Photos

 

Some inspirational running from club members at the London Marathon last Sunday, it was great being able to track everyone and watch the finish live on TV! A big well done to everyone who took part, some big PBs were seen on the day too. Over to Jackie with her superb report.

London Marathon

After battling to get to London, during Storm Hannah on Saturday, things settled down overnight. Runners made their way to Greenwich Park on a cloudy, quite cool morning, with occasional rays of sunshine, spots of rain & blasts of wind throughout the rest of the day .  Ideal cool running conditions made for an amazing race day.  Some great times by Helsby Running Club members.

Richard Hankins    3:21:52
Jane Ashbrook       3:34:01
Rachel Holden       3:42:19
Hayley Brooks        3:58:44
Jackie Keasley        4:04:52
Jason Tate               4:15:07

& the winnners times  …

Kipchoge                   2:02:37  1st man
Mo                             2:05:59  1st Brit
Kosgei                        2:18:20  1st lady
Perdue                       2:25:38   1st Brit

I was running in a charity place, for Team YHA, with a team of 15 including Alex Staniforth (of Everest & West Cheshire fame) who managed a great time of 3:14:19 wearing a quaility street YHA triangle.  He said he was more challenged by getting his costume across London in the wind on Saturday than by wearing it on Sunday!

I set off faster than I intended, taking over a minute off my ParkRun time these days. Feeling comfortable I thought I might as well carry on rather than slow down  & managed to keep going for the next 20  miles before dropping below my typical ParkRun pace!  Stopped at 11 & 17 miles for a quick chat, refuel & photos with Bill & co. At mile 17 I managed to stuff down a huge piece of granola flapjack & jelly babies which lifted my fading pace. The last 6 miles were tough but the sights & the amazing crowds all the way round keep cheering you on,  handing you sweets, drawing you to the finish.

Very pleased with a time of 4:04:52 as I was aiming for 4:30, which is my good for age time! 50th V60 lady out of 331.

It was great being part of team YHA. It added an extra dimension and being in the charity runner start was really humbling, with all the different causes with slogans and outfits about why folk were running.   I’m currently over 80% towards my target of £1500 so there is is still time for you to add to this great fund !

https://www.justgiving.com/fundr…/Jackie-Keasley-London-2019

Here’s some happy memories of the weekend.

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Steve Riley has been playing on the fells again, looked like a great race Steve! Please read on for his report…

Prestatyn to Meol Gyw

Dave Jones and me had a cracking day out on the new Sea to Summit event from Prestatyn to Moel Gyw in the Clwyds. The lowest key marathon ever – free jelly babies and no ballot! Dave played a blinder and came in 4th. Nice warm up for his hundred miler. Cough! Glad we had Sunday’s weather not Saturday’s 😀

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Jake Holmes has sent in an epic race report for an epic race! Thanks for sending in such a comprehensive report Jake, get the popcorn out folks it’s a great read.

Fellsman Race report – Saturday 27th (and a bit of Sunday 28th!) April

What a ridiculous event!

It’d been in my head since January as something I wouldn’t mind having a stab at and at and 3 weeks earlier I was chatting to a guys at a different race who’d done it twice, was in it again and in the same breath telling me how hard it was while trying to persuade my to sign up. A few days of back and forths later and I had!

From their website: “The Fellsman is a high level traverse covering more than 60 miles over very hard rugged moorland. The event climbs over 11,000 feet in its path from Ingleton to Threshfield in the Yorkshire Dales…. the route does not follow well defined footpaths, so the entrants’ skills with a map and compass are tested as well as their physical fitness.” I was after a challenge and reckoned this qualified.

Heading up the night before the weather was poor and getting worse… but that’s all part of it (I kept telling myself). Didn’t stop the butterflies from showing up! There were plenty of checkpoints to duck out at if things went wrong of course but no one wants to do that.

Saturday morning and after the most thorough kit check I’ve ever been through – first aid kit with various bandages, emergency bivvy, 5 long sleeve tops, 2 full length trousers, emergency food and, most importantly, 4 safety pins(??) –  we were bused the hour over to the start and come 8:30am we were off.

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Half a mile in and alongside me arrives they guy who persuaded me to sign up. He’d come with another mate and I thought I’d tag on to see if the pace worked as company for the day would make for a completely different event. It worked well and we were soon up and over the first mountain, Ingleborough, two checkpoints were ticked off and we were heading up Whernside.

Skip ahead a bit and Our first taste of heading straight up the face of a hill, off footpath, was to Gragareth summit. The wind picked up, hail started coming down the size of frozen peas and you realise a bit more of what you’re in for. It was that harsh it was funny and spirits were good as we approached the CP to see the commitment the Marshalls were putting in too!

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From the beginning, total miles and time were irrelevant. It was all about completing and whether it was 12noon or 2pm I couldn’t have told you. The race is broken down into 25 checkpoints and it was all about getting to the next one. They’re on tops, in valleys, at the end of footpaths or surrounded by bog. Some a mile apart, some 7 miles apart.

Over the next few hours, we got well acquainted with bog, more wind and rain (thankfully not too much more hail). The bigger targets became the catered checkpoints which came every so often… with different offerings: sausage rolls, pasta, beans, flapjack, biscuits. You had to carry a cup for hot drinks and my favourite was handing it over, to be given it back full of chilli! Finished that, handed in again for a quick wash before I got my cup of tea 🙂

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Come 7pm, and everyone is put into groups of at least 4 to run through the night. This made Fleet Moss CP17 our checkpoint we’d be grouped at. We decided it was the chance to reset things before heading into the night. Fresh/additional layers, gloves, hat, anything you needed. Because of that coming, I didn’t worry about how cold my hands were getting from the wind and rain and  by the time we got there, I couldn’t pinch the buckle on my bag to get it off… “err.. excuse me mate, do your hands work? any chance of a bit of help”. We’d been in and out of other checkpoints in 10mins top, but we knew to take our time here to get things right again.

We’d been running as a three all day and a girl had joined us a little earlier which meant we had an evenly paced 4 ready to go. Two other guys were waiting for a group though so they were added and became a 6. You’re not sure what you’ll get then, might be someone who’s struggling but not wanting to give up yet, which could make settling to a good pace tricky. Turns out we landed on our feet with a couple of hardy yorkshiremen who’d completed the race 12 times between them. This also meant that instead of having to check the map every time you started to doubt your nav, we had John who just led the way like he could have done it blind folded. Big plus!

The first CP of note after grouping and night arriving was Middle Tongue (great name). We found ourselves at the foot of a big ol’ climb. New guys were pushing the pace and Dave (the guy I knew from previous) was struggling which started to stretch our group out. It was a real of climb. Nature of it all being by head torch and about 5 or 10m visibility meant as the slopes steepened, you didn’t know what you were climbing in to. A steep moorland slope turned into a much steeper rocky face to negotiate round, before a 3m scramble to get over onto the tops. The little tent CP at the top was a very welcome site.

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The next CP, Cray, was a catered one.. a tent we could catch our breath in and have a cup of tea. I had a dry pair of socks in my bag I’d been thinking about most of the day and now was the time. All a bit pointless as I put my feet straight back into the sodden inov8’s but for 2 minutes it felt great :). Dave decided to call it a day here, to be fair, he didn’t look great and there was still another 17 miles to go or something. His pal gave him a suitable amount of stick but it all made sense as there were first aiders about and better to duck out here than have trouble on the tops somewhere.

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After another couple more hours of bog dodging, we got to the only part of the course I knew. I’d done my one recce the week before of the last climb and about 8 of the last 12miles. It was a good call as it meant getting to that had been my target, in my head shortening the route by 10 miles. Get there and I’m on the home straight. Turns out the home straight was about 3.5 hours but by that point no one was dropping out. (It was somewhere along here I started to lose my voice. Not through shouting or even talking that much, I guess it had just had enough of the whole thing and decided to take a break. Made for an interesting first day back at work but it’s pretty much back now).

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The sun started to come up, the birds started singing and we started dropping down off the last fell and back to Threshfield and the finish at 6am Sunday.

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I’d only gone and completed it!

Official results aren’t in yet, but from the tracker.. 330ish started… 100 dropped out (higher than usual due to the weather) and I finished about 135th (which is pretty irrelevant, but top half is always nice).

What a mad event. It’s fair to say I’m still sleeping pretty heavily.

 

Over to Fitzy for a report on the final Borders League at Prestatyn. Congratulations on a superb season in such a tough league, the standard was very high this year so to be battling it out in the top league is testament to the quality runners we have. Huge big thanks to Fitzy for rallying the troops and making sure we have full teams each week!

Borders League Race No. 7

Weds 24th April seen the green army travel over to Prestatyn for the season finale, already in the knowledge that Hannah Cowley had secured 1st lady, but hoping the ladies could put another great performance in and somehow finish champions. Even if the the injured Hannah would have run, I think the Buckley team overall were just a little bit too strong finishing 51 points ahead in the final standings.

There has been some great performances from the ladies this season, but what has most impressed me is the number of ladies now turning up to race these month after month. There have been years gone by were we always struggled for the 4 counters, and have even incurred penalty points in past seasons. It’s not just Hannah who has stolen the headlines this season, Laura BH coming in a very good 2nd place in the FV40, Alison Halsall 1st place in FV45, and Debbie Read 1st in FV60.

I’m not sure if the ladies have ever won the Borders league before, maybe someone can correct me if i’m wrong, but i think the strength and depth now of this team of ladies can definitely go one better next season.

After a difficult start to the season the mens team have got bigger, and stronger each race. I think we all agree that we have never seen such a competitive borders league like this since the days of Froddy back in the 1980’s/90’s. Our bacon was probably saved from relegation when loads of of turned up and showed our commitment over in Anglesey, other teams in the league just could not compete with our numbers that day.

There’s been some fantastic performances from lots of the men this season, but Colin Bishop yet again is my stand out performance winning the MV55 category. I know how much Bish loves this club, even though he’s always moaning, as Jane says “if he’s not moaning he”s not well”

Another 4th place finish 2 seasons running for the men, above teams with quality runners like Prestatyn and Wirral. I think it’s my aim to push us to 3rd next year but with EPRC and Wrexham coming up from Div 2, i think it’s going to be more competitive than ever.

Next season will see us host a race, we are working hard right now to organise this and i cannot wait for October and the season to start all over again. Thank you to each and every one of you who have turned up in your droves month after month, my highlight being the Chester Spring 5 course race, us getting a photo outside the club house and then all walking down to the start. It was like a scene out of Braveheart and us going into battle.

Pre-season training starts in August, rule 4.3 is not in place right now so make the most of it.

See you all soon

http://www.bordersleague.org.uk/results/

Tim Palmer has sent over some interesting stats about the borders league, please see below:

This is an analysis of the winning times at Birkenhead Park over the seasons – which shows that these are becoming faster by perhaps a minute over the last 10 seasons or so.

Borders League

 

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Please find the consolidated results from last Saturday’s parkruns. Once again well done to all who took part, it’s great to fly the Helsby flag at these events.

https://www.parkrun.com/results/consolidatedclub/?clubNum=1721&eventdate=2019-04-20

Phew! That’s all folks, thanks if you got this far. It’s great to see so many reports in the inbox, please keep the coming each week, the email address in helsby-race-reports@outlook.com

Keep on running…

Cheers
Col T

Helsby RC Weekly Round-up 25th to 31st March 2019

Hi everyone

Two reports in the inbox this week, a big thank you to Geoff Collins and Hannah Cowley for their contributions this week. First up is Geoff…

The Joe Shellhorn Falesia 5k – Tuesday 19th March.  (Aka the big Algarve Adventure)

“This is a bit more than just a race report.  It’s more of a story about a big week long adventure to Falesia in the Algarve Portugal.  I think in my case, it was a step into the unknown too.  It certainly proved to be an experience like no other for me, but absolutely fantastic. Lots of eating nice food, as much drinking as you want, and being able to talk running, and do it for hours on end.    

This is an annual event which has been taking place for around 30 years.  It all started with a few people coming out on a training camp run by 2:09 Events, the company set up by the athlete Mike Gratton in the 80’s.  Mike won the London Marathon in 1983 with a time of 2hrs 09mins, he is also a Commonwealth Games medal holder.  This company with Mike Gratton, still runs the training camp here, happily taking lots of cash from aspiring young athletes. 

A few people got together after that to organise their own annual ‘training camp’ in Falesia, FB Tours was born.  This breakaway group had a more laid back interpretation of the words ‘training camp’, maybe less structured than the 2.09 Events one.  Your experience ranges between having a bit of a workout to I’m just having a laid back holiday pretty much covers it.  

So there was a training plan with two runs a day on it together with three races, and… um some social activities, the Neptuno Bar featuring as the meeting point, and the grand finale the presentation night, and fancy dress competition.  The training plan was a bit indicative of what might happen, it often did, but I soon learnt not to trust it implicitly!    

Debbie & Geoff Reid have been coming here for some time and extended the invitation to Helsby Running Club this year.  This year I came for the first time, and Sue Buck who has been before.  In total there were around 56 people whose ages ranged from 8 months to 70+ participating. 

Our event organiser/coordinator is Fred Aird from Deestriders Running club.  Spectrum Striders were quite well represented, and a few from various other clubs in the North West.  Many of the participants I knew, or recognised from races.  

There was a choice of places to stay, ranging from the incredibly luxurious Epic Sana, where Debbie & Geoff stayed with its private access to the beach and gated driveway to more modest apartments nearby.  They kindly allowed us in for a brief viewing of their private steps and a walk through the hotel and grounds!  

Sue & I independently both chose the Victoria Sport Hotel with very spacious apartments with kitchens and a balcony.  This still had a 4* rating I liked it because it had a running track guests could use.  The 2.09 training camp also stayed at the Victoria.  I had the breakfast option which was very good too. 

The weather was glorious all week, sunny around 20C, but a bit breezy at times.  Debbie did say the weather was the best ever, sometimes there isn’t so much sun, but it’s always warmer than the UK. 

There were plenty of other activities other than running to enjoy in this beautiful area, with its stunning beaches and crumbling cliff’s, eaten away by erosion and terrific views.  We got to run on the beach, over the cliffs, along tracks paths, through the nature reserve with Turtles and other wild life.  The morning runs were generally around 5-6miles but it was possible to do more.          

Cycling is a good way to explore the wider area.  Sue and I both hired bikes and went off on rides, to the nearby areas of Vilamoura, Quarteria, Loula and Paderne.  Navigation could be little challenging at times especially on the minor roads, but on the whole was a safe experience.  Just one moment we hesitated and avoided turning onto a motorway!  A sketch map given to us by another cyclist/runner was very useful.  I think if I’m honest the cycling was definitely a highlight for me, being able to explore quite a lot of interesting places, eat ice-cream and find cafes, one where they didn’t speak any English.  I had to ask Mike Gratton to move out of the way so we could pass him on our bikes!  That’s the first time I’ve overtaken a London Marathon winner!   

Mustn’t forget the Races; race 1 was the Falesia 5k on Tuesday at 10am.  I’ve never done a race on a Tuesday morning at 10am, but it beats working.  It cost 4 Euros to enter, was 3 laps on the road and went past the Victoria Hotel.  But the course wasn’t flat, and it was quite hot.  Debbie & I were the only Helsby runners, Sue was marshalling outside the Victoria.  I decided to run with Debbie trusting her judgement on how to pace this race in the heat, amazingly we stayed together for the whole race, and it made life easier for the photographers!  On the approach to the finish Debbie got slightly ahead, I closed the gap and just got past her to the finish by 1sec. This was an amazingly close race and to all intents a draw between us.  The results aren’t yet on Run Britain.   

Race 2 was the Cross Country Relay team race, on the course under the trees next to the Victoria Hotel.  There is plenty of loose sand tree roots and it goes uphill too.  3 Runners do two 1k laps and one 2k lap.  Debbie & I were chosen to be in the same team with one other runner.  Our team was not first or last but finished somewhere in the middle. 

Race 3 was the Cross Country Handicap. 3 laps of the course with staggered start times based on power of 10 best 5k times.  This gave Debbie a 15 sec start ahead of me, Sue getting a bit more time ahead of us both.  Running earlier in the day, cycling and the heat took its toll on me, I couldn’t close that 15 sec gap on Debbie, by the third lap the gap got even bigger.  The race was won by one of the slower runners who started well before most of us did.   

The dates for the 2020 adventure will be 14-22 March. Basically you book your own flights and accommodation between those dates.  Look for the FB Tours Facebook page, transfers between Faro airport and the resort can also be arranged.  Fred Aird from Deestriders RC is the point of contact.”

And now over to our newly crowned Borders League champion!

Borders League Race 6 – Hope

“It was a lovely cool morning in hope and the excitement of another boarders race was in the air. Despite it being Mother’s Day, I was over the moon with a strong number of the green army rolling up, especially for the ladies team! As always I had my lucky charm with me and the parents cheering the green army on!

With the start of the race being delayed, this wasn’t ideal especially for my pre race nerves! However I knew that by winning this race I would secure my women’s champion title so I couldn’t help but turn the nerves into excitement. I wanted to win the race but try and race my strongest to show I was deserving of the title.

As we queued up on the start like sardines, The race was finally underway.  A quick first mile, I began to panic that I may have gone off to fast. I steadied myself down and managed to keep a good pace. I knew that as o passed the mile 2 mark  there  was a long drag of a hill approaching, although being from helsby I knew this wouldn’t phase the green army!

As I approached the bottom of the hill the sun came out and I managed to start picking off the men one by one. I kept pushing through the rest of the hill and pushed myself back down and along the undulating course.

As we approached mile 4 I could see Fitzy in my sights, I pushed as much as I could to keep up with him and his 4%’s. As the finish line was in sight, a little ‘go on hannah’ came from Fitzy and I pushed as much as I could until I crossed the finish line. As I finished 2 green army vests came racing past me and just pipping me to the finish to make it a 24th, 25th and 26th place finish (how’s that for team work!).

Overall for me it was an amazing course, the most controlled, enjoyable borders race this season and possibly my favourite 5 mile race. All the hard work and training/ speed sessions especially at the park with June and John have definitely been paying off! What made the day even better was my ladies championship sealed with a race to spare and the helsby ladies team finishing 1st on the day and 2nd on the overall standings.

Let’s all give it one last big effort for the last race of the series! Come on green army!”

Amazing Hannah, the first Helsby Borders winner for a very long time and well deserved too! Be sure to congratulate Hannah on her achievement all!

We had some other fantastic running from the troops too. Congratulations to Danny Ryder on a superb run to power through the field to take the chequered flag for first Helsby runner home in 28:29 and a new PB, just pipping Neil Finegan and Hannah who were seconds behind and who also got big PBs. Brilliant running!

The vets were also flying with Colin Bishop (MV55), Paul Frodsham (MV60), Alison Halsall (FV45) and Debbie Read (FV60) all winning their respective age categorys. Great running all!

The full results can be found here:

http://www.bordersleague.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/results2018-19R6-2.html

And my pick of the best race picture:

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Let’s get a massive turn out for the last borders and end the season in style, the final one is on Weds 24th April in Prestatyn. Start time is 7.30pm, put it in your diary folks!

Parkrun

Please find the consolidated results from last Saturday’s parkruns, well done to everyone who took part.

http://www.parkrun.com/results/consolidatedclub/?clubNum=1721

That’s all this week folks, thanks again for the reports and please keep sending them in, it makes our job easier each week as well as giving the blog more variety. The Helsby RC inbox is helsby-race-reports@outlook.com.

Cheers
Col

 

10k TT Results 27-03-19

Thank you to everyone who turned up for the 10k TT on Wednesday evening, nine of you in total. Congratulations to Ed Halliwell who stormed around in 41:31 to take the chequered flag and Graham Lloyd was our only runner in the 6k so therefore gets the kudos of a win!

Also a huge big thank you to the 10k TT team on the night who were Louise Spruce (results), Jackie Keasley and Tracy Woods (timing and tags) and John Whitehead (marshalling).

We have finished our winter program now but we will be hosting a few 10k TT events over the summer, details will be announced soon!

Results:

10k
1st  Ed Halliwell  41.31
2nd  Chris Lloyd  43.00
3rd  Richard Hankins  43.01
4th  Ian Llanducci  44.10
5th  Chris Dodd  44.37
6th  Trevor Lewis  45.45
7th  Ben Tumilty  47.46
8th  Ste Wiggins  55.54

6k
1st  Graham Lloyd  38.28

Thanks
Colin

Helsby RC weekly round-up 25th Feb – 3rd Mar 2019

Hello all

A busy week of racing last week and some superb reports in the inbox so let’s get started!

Before the racing news please see a few messages below from Jackie and Fitzy:

Helsby Beer Festival

This weekend it’s the Helsby Community Sports Club 10th annual beer festival. Please support if you can.

Beer Festival

Monday Night Training

Thanks to Juni & John who have kindly stepped in to organise & lead our Monday night training sessions whilst Joe & Mario are unavailable.  Last Monday we tried using Helsbys new running track/path in the park by the Scout Hut on Lower Robin Hoods Lane. Feedback was very good &  with it being a tarmacked track it’s a great  option when Castle Park is wet/gloopy. The plan is to try a few new sessions & places/routes for the remainder of our Winter Mondays. Our Summer sessions at the High School will start after Easter.

Each weekend they will post on Facebook Helsby Running Club page the session plan for each Monday & where. If you are not on Facebook this is a problem.  As a temporary measure till we work out what’s the best way to spread the word each week to all. Juni can email you the session details each weekend if you let her know your email address.

swifty800@icloud.com

Thanks & hope to see you on a Monday soon.

London Marathon

I’m running the London Marathon this year for Team YHA. Today I’ve set up my just giving page which gives the full story of why I’m running a marathon once again; who for & why!  It really all means a lot to me.

https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Jackie-Keasley-London-2019

It’s a great cause, changing young lives forever through outdoor adventure. Race day is April 28th, so training is well underway. Nearer race day, after training on a Wed, I plan on showing  some heartening videos of the rewards & reactions of young people experiencing a YHA adventure break for the first time. With free chips too of cause!

Please support, if you can, by donating to this great cause. Although it’s early days yet, as I prefer to get rewarded on completion, I’ll send out a reminder after race day too!

Cheers & thanks
Jackie

Helsby Vs Fellsby

Season 3 of the road runners v’s the fell crew is nearly here. The 2 races shall be Borders League Race 6 in Buckley on Sunday 31st March, and the Fell race will be at Dinas Bran on Weds 8th May 7.15pm.

For those who have not heard of this challenge before, we’ve done it for the past 2 years, and it’s to create a bit of banter between us road runners and the Felsby crew. Felsby have won it for the past 2 years, actually Helsby have never won it, but I reckon this year will be different.

All you need to do is choose a team you want to run for, so for example I would run for the road running Helsby team, and Chris Baynham-Hughes would run for Felsby. If however, you clearly are a road runner like Adam Gordon, but choose to bat for Felsby, I may unfriend you on Facebook.

Points are given for just turning up, which is why it’s important to get great numbers to both of these races, and points are also given for 1st, 2nd, 3rd and so on. Every point helps.

Email me fitzpatrick_chris@hotmail.com or message me on Facebook, and i’ll add you to the teams. You can also turn up on the day and I’ll allocate you a team. You don’t have to come to both races, but it would be better for your team if you did, and remember, it’s a bit of fun, and the main aim is to get more Fell runners to the road races and vice versa, us roadies to the Fells.

Any questions please let me know.

Cheers
Fitzy

Rhayader Round the Lakes

Report by Richard Hankins

I entered this race as prep for Edinburgh Marathon last year. However, it coincided with the Beast from the East and was cancelled. The organisers kindly transferred my entry to this year and so I went along on Saturday. In previous years it has been a 20 mile race, but the metric system has arrived in Wales and it is now a 30K. Organised by Rhayader Athletic Club it is a small local race based around the leisure centre in the middle of town. This years record entry saw 540 of us complete the course. Rhayader is in Powys and famed for its Red Kite population and they were out in force to watch the start.

I had planned a marathon paced tempo run, but fortunately looked at the route profile the night before. The first 6 miles are uphill with 1200 feet of climb and a consistent pace was not realistic. Storm Freya also arrived making any consistent pacing a challenge with 40mph winds and driving rain. At times it felt like a challenge to stay on my feet never mind stay on pace. The race starts just outside the town centre and then passes down the high street before heading out into the Elan Valley. This was a new location to me and a real revelation. The valley is rugged and beautiful, possibly the most impressive countryside I have ever run a race through. The valley was flooded in the 1920s and provides the main water supply to Birmingham. It has a series of huge dams  linking three reservoirs. With the wind, however, at times it was a challenge to breath…my cheeks acting like a giant wind break and the rain stinging it was hitting so hard. At the worst point I ran with some lads from Todmorden taking it in turns to lead and break the wind. Fortunately, the last four miles were downhill with the wind on your back…a fantastic way to end a race of this length.

I finished 58th in 2:21 – just 6 second off my intended tempo which I was pretty happy with. The organisation was great…really low key but friendly and efficient. The tea and bara brith at the finish topped off a great experience. Its a race I’d like to do again…but hopefully with a little less weather.

Foel Fenlli

Report by Jake Holmes

The 2nd of the Clwydian Mid Week Series (a to a Clwydian summit and back). This one was Foel Fenlli, Moel Famau’s neighbour and a 3.5 mile loop.

It started with a long grassy descent from the car park on a narrow path to add a bit more ascending to the evening. I quite like the downs, and after being surprised with an ok finish place last time, I thought I’d be brave and put myself at the front. A little out of place, but it meant I’d avoid having to check my stride if anyone was taking it easier. It worked out well as I managed to make a place and get to the bottom in 3rd(!). I knew that’d be my high point though so as we started to climb the long path that wrapped around the back of the hill, I just tried to keep perspective (and count) as the quicker runners came past. The weather couldn’t have been more different to round one. That was driving rain and 5m visibility, this was really mild and a sky full of stars!  7th, 8th, 9th (and a dog). I lost count then but it didn’t get too much worse and a glance back as we reached the top showed a bit of a gap to the head torches behind so I was hopeful to better my 16th place from round one.

Scan of the wrist band as you go over the top and all the way down the other side. The field had spread a bit so there weren’t many runners in reach on the descent but I managed to regain a couple of the places I’d lost. The route drops down past the finish, along a straight fire track that gave me a glimpse of the next two runners in the distance. A u-turn at the bottom onto a path to come back up the 500metres to the finish. Each site of them showed them a fraction closer… maybe… but that’s where they stayed to the finish. Just close enough to give me hope, but all I actually got was a pretty painful last stretch trying to catch them! That, or good training, depending on how far after the effort you’re thinking about it.

A few fewer runners this time but I managed that higher finish – 13/39. If it carries on like this, by Christmas I could be on the podium out of a field of 4.

Next up – 7pm Tuesday 26th March Moel-Y-Parc. if you need any more incentive, the start/finish is at a pub. ⛰ 🍺

Borders League Race No.5 – Birkenhead Park

Another fantastic turn out from the Green Army at the Borders on Sunday, a big thank you to everyone who turned up to support the club on a cold and miserable day at Birkenhead Park.

The course is 4 full laps of the park with a slight detour around the lake and then the long slog up to the start/finish. Fitzy and Hannah lead the charge for the Helsby contingent with Fitzy having a storming run to take 12th place overall and first home for the club and Hannah showing her class once again to take the overall win by quite a big margin! Great stuff you two!

We had an array of age category wins and podiums with Colin Bishop, Alison Halsall, Laura Baynham Hughes and Debbie Read all coming in first and Jackie was second in her age group! Helsby really does have some super vets!!

Well done to everyone else who ran, we have a great strength in depth in our squad and it really paid off on the day and cemented the men’s team in 4th position in the league with the ladies in 3rd.

A big thank you to our support team on the day who were Mario, Leah Binns, Karen Horsley, Danielle Ryder and Jane Bishop (with her fantastic cakes!!). Sorry if I missed anyone else…

Don’t forget the penultimate race is on 31st March, this is a new race in Caergwrle hosted by Buckley RC, put it into your calendar folks! I’m sure Fitzy will be rallying the troops nearer the time.

Helsby results:

12th Chris Fitzpatrick 30:00
26th Colin Thompson 30:58
31st Colin Bishop 31:07 (1st in age cat)
37th Mark Amphlett 31:23
43rd Neil Finegan 31:38
47th Danny Ryder 31:50
50th Chris Collins 31:55
53rd Hannah Cowley 32:04 (1st lady overall)
75th Mark Gittens 33:17
84th Matt Huntbach 33:49
86th Adam Gordon 33:52
99th Matthew Larkin 34:29
125th Ian Rutherford 36:37
134th Alison Halsall 37:12 (1st in age cat)
135th Davyd Michell 37:13
151st Laura Baynham Hughes 37:55 (1st in age cat)
157th Ian Landucci 38:10
177th Peter Rodriguez 39:17
181st Jane Ashbrook 39:42
184th Jim Jones 40:00
205th Roy Gaskill 40:52
232nd Helen Owens 42:19
235th Ben Williams 42:24
241st Florence Woodward-Moor 42:45
249th Geoff Collins 43:19
250th Debbie Read 43:21 (1st in age cat)
274th Susie Woodward-Moor 44:26
276th Neil Fergusson 44:37
296th Jackie Keasley 47:24 (2nd in age cat)
303rd Ste Wiggins 48:11
304th Kai Horsley 48:12
324th David Wiggins 52:07
338th Charlie Roberts 56:15

Full results can be found here http://www.bordersleague.org.uk/results/

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Parkrun

Please find the consolidated results from the Saturday parkruns, no magic pumps were worn by any members this week so no parkrun wins but some superb running as always 🙂

http://www.parkrun.com/results/consolidatedclub/?clubNum=1721

That’s all this week, thanks again for all the reports, please keep sending them in, the helsby inbox is helsby-race-reports@outlook.com.

Cheers
Col T

 

Helsby weekly round-up 28th Jan to 3rd Feb 2019

Hello everyone

Sorry for the late blog this week, 3 superb reports in the inbox, two from Jake Holmes and one from Ed Halliwell. Thanks guys, very much appreciated! Don’t forget if you did a race and would like it to be included in the blog please fire it over to helsby-race-reports@outlook.com, even just a few words or a link to the results would be great and really helps us to compile the blog each week. If it’s not in the inbox we generally won’t know about it unless we were there!

First up are Jake’s two reports…

Dark mountains – Mountain Marathon

“A search back in November for upcoming ultra races introduced me to Marmot Dark Mountains. 7 course options? Score courses? Elite, A, B, C? 10pm start? There was a bit too much to work out so left it there and carried on looking for daytime events with sign posts! 

But I’d watched the promo video… and it had exciting music and everything… 

So I found myself back on the website working it all out. Linear course… navigate between predefined checkpoints and back to the start as quick as you can… simple enough. 

But it’s a pairs event. And you’ve hardly done any navigating in the daytime never mind at night. Ahh.. Steve Riley he’s said he’s done night stuff before. Quick message, and just short 6 weeks of him procrastinating later and he’s on board. 

So on the last Saturday of January we found ourselves in Lowther Castle in the lakes. We bumped in to Chris and Max, who went on to take 3rd spot in their course, great work! The hour before start consisted of double checking our kit, putting things in and taking them back out again.  You’ve got to carry quite a bit: waterproofs, sleeping bag, bivi, bothy bag (i hadn’t heard of one of these but I’ll be coming back to it later), stove, food – even a tent! So despite having to carry all that, the decision of whether to take 2 pairs of inner gloves or 3 seemed like a critical decision just 20 minutes before the start.

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10pm comes round we’re given a map each and on our way. It’s the first time you get to see the checkpoints and your route. The first stretch is signposted to get you up onto the fells from there you’re on your own. CP1 to 2: no obvious helpful footpaths, so took a bearing and headed straight for it. 20mins or so of seeing nothing but the 5 metres or so of moorland your head torch lights up and other pairs of head torches bobbing around the darkness, and then the shiny box of CP2 reflects back at you not far in front! Great feeling. A CP ticked off and you know exactly where you are on the map again. On to CP3.  

I’ll skip ahead now, as once you’ve described one stretch of pitch black mountain, you’ve described them all. The notable additions over the next hour or two were some serious ascents, the snow arriving, a highlight of the event for me when Steve splashed through a stream to get to cp3 and I took the bridge he’d missed 2 metres further up, and then the next ‘torrent’ of a stream that was unavoidable and we waded through up to our knees.

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We’d hit each checkpoint bang on so far and decided to continue with our winning ‘follow another bearing’ tactic to get to CP5. 45minutes later we got there, or we thought we had, but it wasn’t there. About 10mins earlier, the wind and snow had really picked up. We had Haweswater down in front of us so we hadn’t passed it but the snow was driving hard, we had very poor visibility and standing still we were both getting cold quickly. Steve was having problems with his jacket and my feet felt like they were about to drop off so we decided to drop down out of the wind a bit. It wasn’t enough though… we weren’t getting any warmer and needed some shelter to regroup… back to that Bothy bag I mentioned. 

5 minutes later me and Steve are cosying up in what was essentially a tent fly sheet about the size of a small arm chair but that two of you can fit in when you’re on the side of a mountain and needs must 🙂 An extra layer on for Steve, some dry gloves for me (I did take a pair) and moral started to improve. We even got the stove out for a bite of hot food and some calories not in gel or cereal bar form. 

A study of the map showed we had an easy escape down to the valley, or we head back into the moors again. It was about 3am ish. We’d been going 5 hours, and with about 7hours max left we weren’t going to be able to complete so we called it experience, cut our losses and headed down to do the the 7 miles back to the finish on the road. 

What a great event. Unfinished business this one. If I take one thing away, it’s that even if you do get your water boiling, you can’t rehydrate a dehydrated meal in minus whatever it was. Still it didn’t stop us finishing the crunchy luke-warm pasta 🙂 

Two days later Steve sent me this screenshot showing where we’d been sitting was about 10metres beneath CP5! I’ve struggled to sleep since.”

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Moel Famau Evening Race

“First of the Clwydian Mid Week series of 12 races – out and back to a different summits each time. 

So this one was Moel Famau – from the top car park, up through the woods, join the main path halfway and carry on up to the summit. A quick scan of your timing chip by the hardy marshal and straight back down to the car park. Rain, wind and heavy fog from the start to the finish added to the fun.

Very professional race for such a small one with splits so you can see how you compared to the field in climbing and descending. And I’ve found the trick to a higher finishing position (15th!)… do races that hardly anyone else enters! 

Next race is on Tuesday 26th Feb if anyone fancies it £9 in advance of £10 on the night.”

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And now over to Ed…

Kong Mini Mountain Marathon – Round 1 – Capel Curig

“As I’m aiming to do the Saunders Mountain Marathon in summer, I decided I was going to do this as a ‘warm-up’ on Sunday. The format is a four-hour score event, which means that there isn’t a set course, it’s a case of getting as many points as possible for visiting controls in the time limit. This was a pretty new format for me, as my one previous MM (an ‘easy’ course with my son a few years ago) was a set course.

There were plenty of warnings about the conditions we’d be facing in the week up to the event, so the race vest was left in the cupboard and I went with rucksack complete with down jacket in. It looked like I was packing for a weekend camp away! The conditions meant a slightly reduced course, but given much slower going, this wasn’t an issue.

After a two-mile jog from Car Park to Registration to Start I was ready to go. Well, not quite, there was still time for more dire warnings from the lady at the start. Apparently someone had spent four hours putting controls out the previous day and only managed three or four. The someone in question was someone called ‘Max’ who apparently fancies himself as a bit of runner. The lady suggested I should put my over-trousers on from the start as I’d be needing them pretty soon anyway. I happily took the advice, and away I went, wearing more clothes than I’d ever imagined running in – two merino tops, waterproof, leggings, over-trousers, two pairs of socks, two pairs of gloves.

I had a vague idea at the start of a possible route, and wanted to start with an easy control to settle in. This first control was at a low level, and running was OK then, but as soon as I was moving uphill to my second control it was snow halfway up my shins. The third control was up at 2500 feet. This was a real slog in knee deep and above snow, with strong winds at the top, but was feeling like a real adventure. Certainly happy to have full waterproofs on.

After the top, it was time to descend, and it was good to be running, but only briefly before I managed to get trapped by a crag and had to pick my way round. I was then into the rocks, which was a nightmare as you couldn’t tell what your feet were going to land on in the snow. At one point my foot went between two rocks and I fell. I could easily have broken my leg, but I ended up stuck in a ‘127 hours’ scenario unable to extract myself, as my weight was pulling me forwards, and I couldn’t push back or up in the snow and my calf wouldn’t fit through the gap. After some digging with my hands in the snow I only found more rocks locking me in, so I just had to really force my calf through the gap in the end to escape.

Off and running again, the next two controls were OK. On my way down to the valley after those, I panicked a bit about running out of time, so decided to abridge my loop and play safe to make sure I didn’t run out of time. Whilst these thoughts were going through my head, I failed to notice the big flat rock coated in ice, until my feet disappeared and my shoulder followed by my head hit it. Fortunately I didn’t lose consciousness, but my vision was blurred for a good 15-30 minutes afterwards, so I took it easy to the next control, and was anticipating a trip to hospital that evening. Sometime after the control after that I realised with relief I could see clearly again.

After that, it was another two controls along a bridleway, before a mile or so run into the finish, only just over three and a half hours.

Result – 77th out of 151

Summary – A great adventure. Not a particularly outstanding result for me, but it was my first attempt at one of these. Another couple of controls would have been just inside the top 50. Could’ve been a bit braver with route maybe, or could have chose a different route which would have yielded more points, but glad to be round in one piece!”

Northwest Sunday League XC – Croxteth Park

No reports in the inbox for this sadly, looked like a great race though in some quite challenging conditions. Quotes from Steve Riley and Davyd about the race:

Steve: “Croxteth XC: Good course, frosty, icy puddles, no falls. Average run, above average cakes. Thanks Jane.”

Davyd: “Croxteth XC: Good course, frosty, cold icy puddles, fell over 3 times due to stupid choice of spike length. Decent run, top cakes. Thanks Jane.”

Unfortunately Steve Saunders website seems to be down so I am unable to extract the Helsby results, once it’s back up and running I’ll update the blog. In the mean time keep an eye out here http://www.stevesaunders.co.uk/

Don’t forget the last and final race of the NWSLXC season is at Birchwood park on 24th Feb, would be nice to get a good turn out from the Green Army for that one!

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Please find the consolidated results from last Saturday’s parkruns, we had a lot of cancellations last week due to the weather so it was great to see so many people finding alternative parkruns. Well done to everyone who took part!

http://www.parkrun.com/results/consolidatedclub/?clubNum=1721

That’s all folks, if you got this far thanks for reading and see you all soon. Keep on running…

Cheers
Col T

 

Helsby RC weekly round-up 31st Dec to 6th Jan 2019

Hi all

Happy New Year everyone and welcome to this weeks blog, before we get to the race reports please find a quick message from Betty below regarding the new club house:

“Helsby Community Sports Club News
Exciting news about our new Club Development. Everything is now signed off for both the new club house build & the enabling housing scheme. In anticipation of this the an application for the Jan/Feb TESCO BAGS OF HELP APPEAL has been made for new furniture for the new club of £4K.

PLEASE VOTE !! AS MANY TIMES AS YOU CAN !!

We are up against up against Alvanley CC and Kingsley community centre, so hoping for a win with your help!”

Wirral Way Half Marathon

Big thanks to Bish for the following report, it’s been a while since he’s done a half marathon and he had a superb run. Please read on….

“Sunday saw me heading off in the dark to Wirral Country Park to take part in Time2Run event – Wirral Way Half Marathon. Following registration and number collection buses shuttled us off to the start near Hooton station for a staggered start of just over 400 runners I believe.

Apart from a little drizzle early on weather conditions were perfect both temperature wise and under foot. The route saw us take a point to point for approximately 10 miles with a loop to the finish. Well stocked feed stations x3 plenty of company along the way from other runners, dog walkers and cyclists.

I finished 6th overall which was a little disappointing when I crossed the finish line in 4th place😔 however did get first V55 😊

A well organised event and would recommend this one for your diary.”

Church Stretton Fell Race

An excellent report has been sent in by Geoff Collins for this race…

“I decided to kick off my New Year with a £5 to enter race on New Year’s Day. This took me to Church Stretton in Shropshire. I found out about this from friends a couple of years ago. Its organised by the West Midlands Mercia Fell Running Club who wear yellow tops with a leaping stag logo! Fortunately there weren’t any (Stags) to be seen.

So with a favourable weather forecast I arrive in the very quant small town of Church Stretton. It looks like a something from bygone times with little shops, and friendly locals. Church Stretton sits nestling in a valley, with The Long Mynd hills rising to the West. It’s also known as little Switzerland because of the way the houses are slotted into the hillside. Further along the Long Mynd is the famous Midland Gliding Club, who launch their gliders using bungies that is worth seeing too!  

There is always something a bit random and causal about fell races. I arrive to register at the location stated on the website, only to find a closed social club. Hmm this is odd but I go for a wander, and spot a yellow sign near the church – registration this way, yes the race HQ had moved to the scout hut here…      

So with time to spare I go on a reccy. There are no maps of the course buts it’s about 5m, fully marked and marshalled, and no requirement to carry any kit. I meet Dave one of the organisers, originally a Tattenhall runner who now lives here. He kindly showed me the start and finish sections of the course. So it starts in the Vicarage field and climbs steeply up a wet slippery slope before reaching a footpath which winds up the side of the Carding Mill Valley. You head towards the highest point on the Long Mynd, Pole Bank at 1,693, but don’t go up it fortunately.                                    

It’s a mass start for the 5m race, there is a 3m option which includes walkers. The scramble round the trees to the left up that wet slippery grassy slope was tricky, because it was difficult to grip, but once the main path was reached everyone seemed to be in the right place. Having gone up a steep hill, then it’s down into the Carding Mill Valley along a short section of tarmac and back up the other side. In fact the scenery was quite good with the terrain constantly changing as you went along.

None of it was that technical, but nothing was flat, just a bit of tarmac here and there, and about 900 feet of climb in total. The finish was back in the Vicarage field with an annoying loop round three sides.

Afterwards soup and rolls were served in the scout hut. The lucky ones getting seconds too. There were a couple of Buckley runners from our area, Chris and Fenella Higgins, we all agreed running was better than a hangover on New Year’s Day! I expected the prizes to be random produce or maybe a bottle of wine, but no they had a few small trophies!

I finished in 90th place out of 153 runners in 49m 31s, male winner was Clive Morgan U/A 35m 30s, first lady Jules Toone 41m 56s U/A.”

 

Cheshire XC Champs (Birchwood)

What a fanatastic day last Saturday at the Cheshire Cross Country Championship Races was for Helsby.

Congratulations to Hannah Cowley who won the ladies Cheshire Cross Country Championship and Christina Roach for getting the V60 award. There was also a very nice mention in the Warrington news!

https://www.warringtonguardian.co.uk/sport/17339130.hannah-cowley-wins-cheshire-cross-country-championships-womens-race/

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parkrun

Please find the consolidated results from the Saturday parkruns, well done to everyone who took part.

http://www.parkrun.com/results/consolidatedclub/?clubNum=1721

That’s all this week folks, thank you for all the reports, please keep them coming, the Helsby inbox is helsby-race-reports@outlook.com.

Cheers
Col T

Helsby RC weekly round-up 3rd to 9th December 2018

Hi all

A very short blog this week as there were no reports or messages in the inbox so just a few words about the Borders League on Sunday…

Borders League #3 – Trac Mon, Ty Croes

Message from Fitzy:

“Thank you all so much for making the journey to Anglesey to race Borders League race 3, didn’t get a photo today but think you’ll all agree it was great running around that track today, great turn out, 25 of us in total!”

The men finished 4th on the day and the ladies 3rd. Due to a couple of clubs not providing full teams the men have now moved out of the relegation zone and have cemented a strong position in 5th place overall and the ladies are now 3rd. Well done everyone and see you in January for the next one, I’m sure Fitzy will be rallying the troops nearer the time.

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Parkrun

Well done to everyone who ran in a parkrun on Saturday, the Helsby consolidated results can be found at the following link:

http://www.parkrun.com/results/consolidatedclub/?clubNum=1721

Please keep sending in those race reports, the Helsby inbox is helsby-race-reports@outlook.com . The blog will be a very bleak place without them!

Cheers
Colin

Helsby RC weekly round-up 5th – 11th November 2018

Hello all

Welcome to this week’s blog. Before we get to the racing news please find a few words from Betty below regarding the new club house.

“Helsby Community Sports Club relocating to a new home.

The club is delighted to report that our brand new club house will finally be going ahead. The final hurdle in the long negotiations has been crossed and developers have agreed purchase of the current dilapidated club premises. The deal will see a purpose built new building for the sports club in exchange for development of new homes on the existing Chester Road site.

It’s been a long time coming – the initial planning consent goes back nearly 10 years to 2009 – and many were sceptical the land swap would ever happen! Revised planning permission was submitted in 2015 and Trafford Housing Trust has now agreed to purchase the current site with outline consent for 120 new homes. The purchase is conditional on approval of Reserved Matters been submitted to Cheshire West and Chester Council.

Trafford – a profit-for-purpose developer – reinvests profits in the provision of more new homes and wider social purpose initiatives.

The money from this sale provide the necessary funding to build phases 1 & 2 of the new sports club, to be overseen by the Brookhouse Group. The deal is for the new facility to be delivered before the house building can commence on the club’s existing site. So a good deal for the all the different groups making up the Sports Club.

A very happy bunch of people representing all the various sections of  the Club.”

Also a reminder from Fitzy about the Xmas knees up…

“Just a quick reminder that Friday 7th Dec is the date for the Christmas party, as per usual, drinks starting in Frodsham from 7.30pm onwards, a few of us might actually meet up a bit earlier i am told. Meet in Helter Skelter, everyone is welcome, they are pretty good nights out. Christmas jumpers are compulsory!” 

10k TT

First up is the belated report for the 10k time trial which took place on 31st October.

“Thank you to everyone who turned up and congrats to Nathan Woods for a fabulous win flying around in 39.06 on his debut (despite getting lost!) and Hayley Brooks and Trisha Van Rooyan, both also on their debut runs taking the chequered flag for the ladies in a joint time of 53.51! Superb ladies.

Graham Lloyd was the only runner to take part in the 6k and finished in 39.05, well done Graham!

Special thanks to Louise for working hard to organise it all this week and a big thank you to all the team – Tracy Woods (positions) Helen Gillard (tokens) Maz (marshalling) Joe (timing) and Jackie (tail running). The time trial wouldn’t be able to function without all of you!”

All results can be found below:

https://helsbyrunningclub.files.wordpress.com/2018/11/10k-tt-31-10-18.pdf

Warrington Way 40

A few Helsby runners ventured over to Lymm on Saturday for the Warrington Way 40 mile ultra. Some ran solo and we had a few teams of relay runners too. The four reports below are from each leg of the relay team “Helsby Team A”. Get the popcorn out, it’s a long one!

Colin Thompson (Leg 1)

“It seems ages ago since Ian organised the teams for this but before I knew it race day had arrived and our team of 4 were heading to Lymm for the start of the Warrington Way 40 mile ultra relay. Each leg was 10 miles with the swap over at the 3 different check points. We arrived, picked up our numbers, met the other Helsby teams and solo runners, quick warm up and then I was on the start line ready to go for the first leg.

To cut a long story short I made a bit of a hash of it, I led the race multiple times but I kept going the wrong way, some of the markers had blown off the trees and I just wasn’t familiar with the route at all. With hindsight I should have reccied it but I am a road runner after all who’s used to marshals on every corner! 🙂 In the end I decided to stick with the leading group of 3 runners, one of which was Charlie Sharpe, a GB ultra runner who was going for the solo record. He also seemed to be the only one who knew the way!!

The course was a bit faster and flatter than I’d expected, bar a few muddy fields and some trail I was surprised at how much tarmac was on route. It was pretty undramatic for the main and hardly any elevation, I’d definitely picked the easier leg!

As we approached mile 8 Charlie mentioned that if I follow the road and take a left at the end the finish wasn’t too far and was well marked. I was feeling good so I used this opportunity to get my foot down and I pulled away from the group, after a few more turns I saw Fitzy up ahead on a bridge who was shouting that it was only 400m to the finish down a little trail path, I put a shift on and saw the check point, dibbed the dibber and Bish was off like a grey hound for the second leg…

I really enjoyed the race and was made up to finish the leg in first place (and eventual overall winners) but I’m sure I could have ran a few minutes quicker had I’d known the route. I could have kicked myself for being so unprepared and a bit gutted to find out we’d missed the course record by only two minutes. We have all agreed to return next year and have another crack at it and next time I’ll definitely be more prepared!”

Colin Bishop (Leg 2)

“Well El Capitano put in a belting performance on the first leg handing over to me for the second leg in first

place. My leg should have been 11.4 miles however due to some navigation difficulties it ended up nearer 13.4😣 Second leg started at The Plough in Winwick saw me heading off through a housing estate for a short while then into the fields with just the local wildlife for company😊plenty of twists and turns, mud and ditches. Handing over at check point 2 still in first position to Ian Rutherford who put in another cracking performance. Have to say a great team performance all around.”

Ian Rutherford (Leg 3)

“A very different event from anything a number of us had done before.  With lots of logistical challenges of transport and kit and refreshments to consider, but also lots of fun too.  As a team we decided to all support each other on each leg, so by way of example even though last man Fitz didn’t start running until gone ten past eleven he like the rest of us was in Lymm Village Hall at 6.45am to support our first man off “The Captain!”

I leave it to the others to describe their own experiences of their leg, so we fast forward to CP2, Curdley Rd in Widnes circa 9.30am.  Myself and Fitz arrived in good time, with Col T in transit in his car from CP1 having completed his leg and with Bish out on the course at leg 2, noteablly was the longest leg of the four at 11.5 miles.  Here at Curdley Rd, we met other members of the Helsby relay teams (Rachel & Ian H) to await the incoming runners. At a little after 10am a sprinting Bish could be seen coming over the adjacent fields and along the road toward the CP.  He was closely accompanied by solo race leader Charlie Sharpe which suggested some nav problems, he “dibbed’ in, handed over and off I went with no time for explanations as to how it went.

I had done a recce some weeks ago (in the dark), I also had run the entire course in the race of 2016 but the first few miles were always going to be a bit of a struggle and I was so desperate not to go wrong especially being the slowest runner of the four.

Knowing Charlie was 150m behind was a great comfort blanket for these unsure miles as I ran not at flat out pace and the large unmarked straight sections of the canal I could turn back and see him chasing.  I didn’t so much map read as read the instructions on the reverse of the map, following every word carefully, looking for the pink waymarkers at all times to validate I was on the right track.  Don’t think there’s much doubt, that leg 3 is the most scenic once you get across the ship canal and into Moore on the out-skirts of the nature reserve and it was here I was happy I knew the rest of my route.  I rolled the map up like a batton and really put my clog down; I was happy to know I wouldn’t be seeing Charlie again till I was safely at CP3.  I was basically on home turf now, almost FFC territory and was really running hard.  The Bridgewater canal section had a few spectators awaiting their friends and family and I was given a great reception as the first runner in the entire field they saw. Close to Hatton I arrived at Hurst Farm where a regular Saturday Shoot takes place each week from October to January.  I was greeted with a round 8 gentleman all dressed in tweeds with dogs and shotguns.  I shouted “there’s about 300 runners coming through behind me”.  I don’t think they were very happy.  I got about a hundred metres down the field and I heard the volley of guns, I was thinking to myself at that precise time “I do hope Charlie’s alright”.  Sprinting uphill to the CP, encouraged from spectators and the Helsby crew, I handed over to Fitz who I knew would never be caught… it was simply would we be able to take the course record.  Charlie indeed was alright and looking really strong came in around 7 mins afterwards, a very quick stop and he was off again.  His own solo course record was very much on too.

After a brief rest-bite and some refreshment from Jane who was an absolute star all day to us, we set off together – the four of us, back to Lymm to go and eat chilli-con-carne, drink tea and wait for Fitz to come home!”

Chris Fitzpatrick (Leg 4 – The Glory Leg 😉

So Ian hands over to myself in Hatton having given us a great lead over the 2nd placed relay team, possibly around 5-6 mins in the bag. As it was Borders league the next day i thought i’d take it easy, especially seeing that Ian had given me a great lead. I couldn’t do that though, we knew we had a half decent team out and we had talked about the course record beforehand. I quickly worked out the captains leg, Bish’s leg and Ian’s leg would put us in with a very good chance of beating it, so that was it, the race was on.

The weather was really kind to me, i believe this is the hardest of the 4 legs, but i personally think it’s only the hardest if the weather has been poor and the numerous farmers fields i crossed would have been so much more difficult if it had been raining lots, like the previous year. There was lots of trails to run on and a bit of tarmac, where i could really get some speed up. There was also numerous farmers fields full of cows, bulls (charging me) and styals to climb over, but i was pretty happy with how i felt and how quickly i was covering the ground. To be on for the course record i thought I would need to be finishing in around 1hr. To do a 9 mile run on tarmac in that time is doable, just, but i knew it was going to be hard to do it on this race having done a recce of it, but i did give it my all.

Having started my leg in Hatton, the Warrington way takes you through Lower Stretton, hugging the M56 motorway to Appleton, heading towards High Legh before crossing the motorway and heading back on yourself for a mile or so, before hitting the fields and heading towards Leigh Dam, which is a great place to run. It’s at this point Ian had come out to meet me with about 3/4 of a mile to go, screaming at me “it’s on it’s on, the record is on”. I picked up the pace then as if my life depended on it, next stop a road crossing where the captain and Bish were stood, also shouting encouragement, before heading back up into Lymm town centre and back to the finish line.

I’m sorry to report we missed out on the course record by approx 2 mins, although we will be back next year for another crack it. I have to say i was really impressed at the organisation of the whole event, especially the chilli, cakes and cups of tea at the end. We had 3 teams in it this year, i reckon we could get 5-6 teams for it next year, it’s an excellent event. 

Well done Lymm runners, and well done to the real #greenarmy and all the teams involved. Special mention to Jane who followed us around each checkpoint making sure Bish could dress himself and genuinely looking after us all.”

Borders League (Chester)

Report by Colin Bishop

Big thanks to Bish for our Borders report this week and a big well done to all members who took part and kudos to everyone who did the double over the weekend.

“A record number of #Green Army turning out for for the 2nd race of the season. Have to say there was quite a few tired legs out there with previous day races/runs in them. However great to see everyone.

We saw Hannah come home first for Helsby ladies with a 20 second gap ahead of second lady. This gives he 2 wins a row. Great performances from all our ladies on Sunday which have contributed to Ladies being second overall in the league just 12points behind the leaders.

Fitzy was first home for Helsby followed by a great performance from Neil Finegan and the rest of the men. Then Men are currently in 6th place overall 64 points behind 5th place.

Thanks as ever to everyone who turned out, there is strength in numbers. Thanks to our support team Mario, Ian especially for the cracking team photo and Jane for her belting cakes as ever.

Speedy recover to our club members who are injured hopefully see you all at next Borders League.”

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Pen Llyn Winter Ultra – Pwllheli

Report by Jake Holmes

We weren’t the only ones running the long stuff over the weekend, Jake also ran an Ultra in Pwllehli, please read on for his fab report…

“Excited to be on the start line of my first Ultra. Huw, jolly race organiser chap in the orange jump suit, said something about a high tide, lit a flare, counted down from 10 and we were off!

I’d traced the route on the OS map a couple of times so had an idea of what to expect. Start off with a flat two or three miles, then up and over the first bump and along to Abersoch. Nothing too complicated, except that at about mile 3 the high tide comment came to life as we’re wading to the start of the bump with the sea pretty much up to our shorts. Love it. Out of the water and up the short but steep climb to the top and it felt like the event had properly started with some great trail running, a bit technical but still quick and I was looking forward to how much more was to come before we’d be back at the clubhouse.

Get to Abersoch and head inland to start over to Nefyn in what feels like the second ‘leg’ (from the south coast to the north). Mix of fields some rolling hilly stuff and a chunk of road. I had entered with a mate from work with the idea we’d run together for a bit and see how it goes. We thought it made sense that we split up about now but checkpoint 3 was a pub… so mile 19 ticked over and two halves at Ty Coch went down very easily.

Third leg was back up the north coastline, longest stretch between checkpoints at 11miles. We split up and I headed off for about 6miles of not seeing anyone except the odd glimpse every now and then of a group of about 4 runners that maybe I was catching, but not particularly quickly. Taking it easy from the start had meant I wasn’t too beaten up yet and I could really enjoy this bit… the scenery was fantastic. There was a single track descent at about 25miles where you lost about 400 ft in about a mile or something (is that a lot? well it felt it anyway). Narrow path and dramatic coastline dropping away on your left but still really runnable.

Getting down to the beach meant the biggest climb of the day next though with 1300 ft ascent in about 2.5miles. I still felt ok ish and managed to catch the next group of runners before the top which ended in a set of concrete steps that you have to climb just for the sake of it, turn around and head half a mile back down the way you came. Good to see my mate for the first time in an hour on his way up looking in great shape.

Check point 4 (another pub, no chance of a beer this time though) started the last leg back across to Pwllheli. Nearly all road and feet were definitely starting to hurt. I passed a group of three chatty runners and quickly thought better of it and dropped back again to run with them.  Best decision as it kept me going and it added another aspect to the race which was having people to chat to about how ridiculous it was that we were almost done.

Back on the coast path around the golf course and to the welcoming party at the finish line with the watch saying 39miles.

Really great event… scenery… plenty of different sections to keep it interesting and very friendly bunch of organisers and marshals. I could do this one again.”

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A big well done to everyone who took part in a parkrun on Saturday, the Helsby consolidated results can be found in the link below:

http://www.parkrun.com/results/consolidatedclub/?clubNum=1721

That’s all this week folks, if you made it this far thank you for reading! We always appreciated reports each week as it really helps us compile the blog and adds variety. If you would like your report to be included please fire it over to helsby-race-reports@outlook.com.

Keep on running…

Cheers
Col T

Helsby weekly round-up 8th – 14th October 2018

Hello everyone

Welcome to this week’s round-up. Loads of ace reports have been sent in this week, thank you so much for these, makes our job so much easier! It’s great to see lots of new faces each week at training and at the Borders League on Sunday, hopefully you are all enjoying your time at Helsby RC!

Before we get to the news please see a flyer below for the Helsby Fireworks display on Friday 2nd November:

Firework Poster

Palma 10k

Bish and Jane flew over to sunny Palma at the weekend to take part in their annual 10k, a few other members and friends joined them and made a weekend of it, looked like a great laugh! read on for Bish’s report on the shenanigans…

“While many of the green army made a start on the Borders League some of us along with some ex Helsby club mates and a few Widnes Running club members followed the sun for the Palma 10k and half marathon. Don’t think there was any takers for the marathon. Apparently  there was over 10,000 runners across all 3 distances.

On a welcomed cloudy but very warm morning 26C we headed off from the start with lots of support from all nationalities.

Danielle Ryder headed off first for the half marathon, safe to say I think she welcomed all the shouts of encouragement from both the green army and the temporary green army members 😉 

The rest of us started the 10k glad to we completed the course maybe not in times we wanted. I am pleased to say I came in first for the team in 10th place retaining my V55 title for the third consecutive year.

Great to see Tanya Meredith there too.

Loud support from Chris Holden, Nicola Kozer and Jane Bishop 

Safe to sage the post race beers went down a treat 😎”

Team Helsby:

Colin Bishop
Ian Hamling
Rachael Holden
Danielle Ryder
Temporary Club Members 😉
Nikki Hamling
Will Kozer

Ullswater Trail Race

Richard Hankins is on a mission at the moment, he’s an ever present at the club counters / races and training nights and he slipped away to Ullswater at the weekend for the trail race! Nice result mate, please read on for his full report.

“As storm Callum passed I made my way to the Lake District to run the Ullswater Trail Race with a work colleague. A 14km route from Howtown to Glenridding facilitated by a ferry trip to the start. The roads were covered in gravel and stones from the previous days storm and the temperature had plunged to 8 degrees but looked ok for a trail run.

Upon arrival I found that Ullswater has risen sufficiently to stop all sailings and flood the car park of the cafe we were meeting in, and the car park of the ferry company. As a result an alternative wet weather route was in place. A quick internet search and it becomes apparent that the trail race route has not been run since 2014 with the alternative route used each year. The route started on the roads and then over a few rough fields before thumbnail_44106595_2190256894377730_4587895576099553280_oheading off onto the fells at the Patterdale end of the lake. There were a number of streams still running across the paths and a 15m stretch of ankle deep water within the first two miles. The route proceeded along the lake and then up onto Place Fell : a long and rocky ascent of approx 300m. This was followed by an immediate steep descent on a very wet and gravelly path that I found barely runable. The views were stunning but the route required careful attention to your feet and there was little time to enjoy it. The marshalling and general organisation was good and it is a race I wouldn’t mind doing again…especially if i actually got a ride on the steamer. Results haven’t been published yet, according to the website the ‘timing system is just drying out’!

Results are out, I finished 27th and my fellow runner Nick Barr 60th/292.

Hell Up North (Little Devils Fun Run)

Rebecca Tate has sent in two reports this week, great stuff Rebecca! First up is her take on Hell up North (Little Devils Fun Run) and the next one is her race at Anderton Boat Lift…

“Of course I wasn’t going to go swimming through mud for fun at the weekend, that’s not proper running! However I accompanied my daughter on the Little Devil’s fun run, which was two small laps of a bit of Eddisbury hill. The medal was fantastic. However the promised goody bag contained protein shake powder, a can of taurine/caffeine drink and a packet of men’s razor blades. I later emailed the organiser to ask who in their right mind thought that this was a good idea, and to suggest that if a balloon, a bit of chocolate and cheap pen would be too margin-busting then no goody bag at all would have been better, to avoid disappointment. In fairness, the organiser emailed back to admit it was his idea, and promise a little something in post to make up for the disappointment. I’m not sure whether to be excited or afraid.”

Anderton Boat Lift Half Marathon

“What a great venue! If you had people coming to support, or to mind children while you run or whatever, there’s plenty to look at with the boat lift, a nice cafe and lovely shop. There is loads of parking (pay and display, not a high charge – especially compared to £10 Delamere parking for Hell Up North!).

For people racing, there was a warm marquee with coffees, bag storage, and well organised race registration. Most astonishingly, there were no queues for the women’s toilets. It was chip timed, so no jostling at the start. If all this wasn’t enough already, there were 6 excellent drinks/food stations, with a choice of water or electrolyte drinks and jelly babies / jelly beans / flapjacks and other stuff that I didn’t notice because it was all about the jelly babies for me. If I wasn’t going for a sub-2-hour time I could have happily spent more time with the jelly babies.

But back to the race – it was 2 laps of a trail course that went through Marbury park, Neumann’s flashes and along the River Weaver. I’ve not done a laps race before, but this worked well and didn’t feel repetitive, with nice scenery and slightly undulating through the woods but otherwise flat, with the potential for fast times. Unfortunately the reason why lots of people smashed their PBs was because the course appears to have measured short, at around 12.5 miles!

The weather was chucking it down and quite cold, with a huge puddle that turned up a few miles from the end and there was no way round it so like any proper trail race we ended up splattered with mud with squelching shoes. That’s not the bit I remember though – the great organisation, venue, medal, marshalling and feed stations are what stick mostly in my mind. The medal is a picture of the boat lift which is awesome, and the goody back was full of nice snacks. There was a sports therapist on hand to offer free sessions which was a huge help for sorting out my recent piriformis issues.

Entries were limited to 500, but only 163 raced – this was the first time this event has been held but I hope it’s back again next year, with a course revision to make up the full distance. Despite glute and hamstring pain all the way round, I got in at 1 hour 52 and half, 21st woman home, and first out of the whole of Helsby Running Club (woohoo!) OK, in fact I was the only person from the whole of Helsby Running Club attending, but a win is a win 😉 Hopefully it won’t clash with other races next time and there’ll be loads of us there next year!”

Borders League #1 – New Brighton

Fitzy was a very happy bunny on Sunday, read on to find out why…

“One very happy Border’s League Coordinator (that’s my official title apparently).

What impressed me most about our Borders League team on Sunday was the amount of new faces that turned up. Yes I’ve been harassing you on social media for the past 2 months, yes I’ve been sending out loads of email reminders about our first race of the season, but everyone looked like they had a ball, and were enjoying being part of the green army. (once the pain of the race had subsided on an extremely fast course).

Job done if you ask me. That’s what it’s all about. Some people say it’s very elitist, but i disagree. Ian Rutherford pointed out his time was quicker than his last time he ran this course last year, but lost about 50 positions in the process. OK, the standard is very high right now, and it was the 2nd biggest turnout for a Borders League race, but for every 5 minute miler, there’s a 6, 7, 8, 9 ,10, 11, & 12 minute miler as well. This series of races caters for everyone.

I knew we would get a great turn out after doing our first Borders League taster session on the Thursday before the race, 16 of us turned up, in rotten weather, to run around an industrial estate in Runcorn. So i would like to thank each and everyone of you that turned up on Thursday and Sunday, and i’d like a shout out all the new members who raced their first Borders League race and i’m hoping you will all be back for many more.

Well done Nathan Woods, Kevin Smith, David Pearce, Florence Woodward-Moor, & Becky Pearce.

A couple of mentions for some great performances on the day. Hannah Cowley leading the way again, coming home 1st lady a whole minute ahead of her nearest challenger. Alison Halsall 1st in her age category, Christina Roch, 3rd in hers, Debbie Read doing what she does best and coming 1st in her age category. A great days running by Nathan, Kev and David, 3 of our newest members, and a shout out to the younger of the two Woodward-Moor’s, Flo making her debut beating Mum, which I believe she enjoyed a lot.

The ladies finished 3rd on the day, only 14 points off top spot. The men finished 6th with a decent score, but looking at other teams results, i think this year is going to be a really tough battle at the top, but loads more to come from the men I’m sure.

See you all in Upton on 11th Nov for the next one….9.30am start for that one”

http://www.bordersleague.org.uk/results/

Hellrunner up North – Delamere

Our hardy Chair Jackie showed them how’s it’s done, running Hell Runner with a fractured arm! Excellent running Jackie, and an age group win to boot! Read on for her full report…

“Well Fitzy has done this the last 9 years and chose chosen running buddy Peter to join him in the swamps this year. I did it 9 years ago & decided to give it a go before this sort of thing ceases to be fun any more!

Storm Callum shut Delamere to the public the previous day so the organisers did really well to put up the marquees & mark out the course, which covers every nook & cranny of Delamere there is on the west side of the B road. There was still the aftermath of the storm with gusting winds & rain in the morning. But there was so much to concentrate on and most was under the canopy of the trees, so the weather became insignificant compared to all the other natural forest elements! The sun did show it’s face for a short period in the afternoon. The really good news was that the air temperature was barmily warm for an October day which helped with the many immersed sections along the way; plus at the end that instant freezing, get me home & dry asap feeling didn’t happen. 

Chris & Peter were in the first earlier wave (the expensive one!) &  I was in the 3rd (“cheaper”) wave an hour or so later; might as well give it time to get tracked & even muddier. A fairly normal start up & down New Pale Heights & back past the start field to get warmed up. Then into the forest for a zig zag route, with very short spells on the wide tracks. Followed by dozens of sudden dodges to the side into the thick of the forest in search of obstacles; fallen trees, steep slippery banks, water slides, streams, bogs, swamps, drainage channels, & some very awkward sections through many of Delameres newly felled trees with all their jutting branches & trunks. The first major water feature was near Hatchmere, I don’t think it was part of Hatchmere but not far off it!  A recently flooded area that had been ploughed into furrowed lines. The route went along a long narrow muddy peaty ridge which you sank into up to your knees with deep water on each side. Several folks lost their shoes in this one & bravely continued having been unsuccessful in digging them out.  Another involved 400m across a lake of fairly open peaty water, with the bottom being ridged & full of the usual cut down trees; so you were at one stage balancing on a trunk or ridge with water upto your knees and the next stride out of depth so swimming was the best mode until you crunched into the next hidden obstacle. Chesire Search & Rescue did a brilliant job; balancing in wading wellies & full dry suits on exposed tree trunks in the middle of the water guiding & encouraging folks through, with a dinghy on standby for emergencies- surreal! The final famous Bog of Doom, I have to say was rather a disappointment and tame after all what had gone before, although the consistency was different to the rest, green & slimy smooth pea soup as as opposed to thick & brown lumpy gravy!.

I shouldn’t really have set off as I am still suffering from a fall leaving me with a weak left left arm due to a chipped elbow, but the thought of not getting my £37+ worth hurt me. I escaped from home to cries of ……, & instead took a walking stick which was really helpful all the way around. Also I went around very steadily & gently not really racing. It was still amazing how many folk I overtook though, having started off at the very back of wave 3. There was also a shorter version Valhalla which I got muddled up with along the way so good or bad there was company and queuing all the way around. 

Some moments of the day the really made me chuckle along the way & on reflection afterwards; it’s always best to laugh rather than cry!

– The worst thing about the water features was getting out as this usually involved getting up a high slippy bank which with one good arm was a problem. One guy behind could see I was struggling & offered to help, the next thing I was given a two handed bum lift onto the bank for which I thanked him perfusively!

– Another water feature was waist deep with lots of logs above water level. Some folks (including me) straddled them, others balanced along connecting ones. Suddenly a lady balancing alongside me started to wobble & I came to her rescue by giving her my stick which she was extremely grateful for!

– Being in the 3rd wave there were quite long queues entering the water features & some folks going slower than me were starting to feel the chill both in & out of the water. Following the 400m dip which was at 10+ miles, a lot of folks started cramping up all at the same time. Particularly the burley chaps (sorry to be sexist but these were the ones I noticed!). With the silence of the woods interspersed by loud shouts, cries & swearing of broken men! At this stage also, despair, exhaustion & frustration was setting in & they hurled themselves helplessly into the tricky parts hoping to get over quickly, only to find themselves stuck in deep mud with little energy to extract themselves. In the meantime I made my way following my survival plan of quiet, steady & gentle concentration through the surrounding turmoil! 

– Towards the end many runners realised how useful my stick seemed at keeping going so were seen snapping away in the woods making their own walking aid!

– With a couple of miles to go, having just crossed the switch back road back to the Visitor Centre side, there was loud music & lights & a dark marquee to run through. This had a lot of folks, including me, thinking what next, “a pitch dark tunnel section” but surprise surprise it was the last drinks station serving flap jack too!

– Chris & Peter sampled the fire brigade’s fundraising hospitality at the end & were hosed down by them. By the time I got in they had ran out of water so I wandered back to the car at Barnesbridge & had a wash & change in a hidden bit of a cleanish pool neat the carpark.

All in all a “fun” character building day our in our Delamere!

Chris & Peter came in in 2:09, I took nearly twice as long 3:50 but was chuffed to be first in my new age category!”

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Please find the consolidated parkrun results from the weekend, some fabulous running from the green army which included a first lady for Jenny Illidge at Phoenix! Superb Jenny and a big well done to everyone else who took part.

http://www.parkrun.com/results/consolidatedclub/?clubNum=1721

That’s all this week, thank you again for all the excellent reports, please keep them coming, the Helsby inbox is helsby-race-reports@outlook.com.

Keep on running…

Cheers
Col T