Helsby RC News from 20th to 26th February 2017

Welcome to the weekly round-up, starting with  couple of dates for your diaries.

Sunday 05/03/17 11am Start – Manley Mere Borders League

First of all a message and reminder from Chris Patrick that we are hosting the next fixture of the Borders League:

“Borders league comes home this weekend, yes it’s our turn to host it. By now, all marshalls should know their positions, and what times they need to be there for. Any problems please let me know. Marshalls vests can be picked up from the club, there are some behind the reception desk.

Also, for anyone not volunteering, we need you to race, the more the merrier. It would be great to see a load of us there, remember, it’s not just the counters that count, even if you finish outside of them, you are stopping the other clubs finishing higher up the places, so it really does help. I’m hoping for good weather, and remember to get into Manley Mere you need 2 x £1 coins for the gate.

See you all on Sunday


I think we may also still be looking for a couple of people to help supervise the parking for an hour before the race. So if you can help please give Fitzy a shout.

Other Races this coming weekend that may be of interest:

Saturday 04/03/17 – 10am – Halewood 5k www.knowsleyharriers.com/alder-hey-5k/

Sunday 06/03/17 – 11am – Cloud Nine (BM) fell race www.congleton-harriers.co.uk/clud9.htm


Also, don’t forget the Helsby RC Presentation Evening on Friday 10/03/17 at 7.30pm – you should have already received a separtate  email about it . Please remember to let David or Lesley know by  8th March if you’ll be attending so they have an idea of how many to cater for.


Racing News

Stockport Trail Half Marathon 26/02/17

A big congratulations to Jane Ashbrook for her podium position at the Stockport Half Marathon on Sunday, and thanks for the following report Jane:

“I ran the Stockport Trail Half Marathon on Sunday. A well organised event from a pub in Marple. The route went along the Middlewood Way and back along the canal. On the advice of my professional running husband (who did the race last year) I wore road shoes, which after a week of torrential rain turned out not to be the best idea! I was sliding about like Colin Bishop and nearly fell in the canal a few times! Despite that I had a good run and was surprised to find out I finished 3rd lady in 1:36ish! Fairly reasonably priced for a half and lovely home made flap jacks and decent medal at the end made it worth the 45minute drive and a race I will definitely do again, particularly because part of my prize is a free entry to next years race!!”


Helsby RC had 17 athletes participating in 5 parkruns across the area on Saturday. There are a few notable performances in the consolidated results below. Neil Finnegan was first home at the Ellesmere Port parkrun in a time of 18:52,  and Debbie Read was 2nd lady with a PB. Over at the Phoenix parkrun Carl Pratt and Michael Williams also  achieved PBs while Suzanne Fletcher also ran Phoenix ,for the first time and finished 2nd lady.  Well done everyone, our club consolidated results are HERE.

Message from our Chair

A brief message from Jackie Keasley regarding recent committee role changes:

“Tim Palmer has taken some of the work load off our Treasurer Jo Farwell and is our new Membership Secretary.

Donna Geer & Jen O Hare are our new club kit co-ordinators looking after our supply of club vests, club training tops, hoodies and buffs etc.

Thanks to all and welcome to your new roles.



And with TimPalmer keeping us updated, in his additional role as membership secretary, as new members join us, we’d like to welcome Dave Smith to the Green Army. Hoping to see you burning off some green energy soon Dave.

I think that’s it for this week.

Thanks, Jim.

Helsby RC News from 16th to 22nd January 2017

Welcome to the round-up of a yet another busy week for Helsby RC, and thanks to everyone who has sent in a report or contribution for the blog. There’s quite a bit in the inbox this week with people continuing to be busy following our  hosting of another successful 4VHM last weekend. Whether you’ve been racing in events or organising stuff on behalf of the club, its great to see so much activity going on around the club, and with so many different people getting involved – Well done Green Army!

Dates For Your Diary

Firstly a few reminders of what’s coming up:

Tomorrow – Wednesday 25th January 2017 – its the 10k time trial, meet at  club house for 6.30pm – full details are in email already sent out by Col & Louise. If you don’t fancy the TT  there’s always someone who’ll join you for an alternative run, so still turn up.

Tomorrow – Wednesday 25th January 2017 – a reminder that we will be meeting in the bar after the run tomorrow to decide our Fell and Road Race counters for the next 12 months, so do come along if you’d  like to contribute to the process.

Saturday 28th January 2017 – Tarren Hendre  – first race in the North Wales fell running series- 12pm from Abergynolwyn Village Hall, LL36 9UU

Sunday 5th February 2017 – Liverpool & District XC League – Clarke Gardens – a message from Paul Foster:

“Hi all,

If anybody would like to run in the l&d xc at clarkes gardens allerton liverpool on sunday 5th feb 11am start

Please email me your name and date of birth by friday 27th january
If you have already entered a xc this year
I have your date of birth so just send me a message
Thanks to everyone who has already messaged me on facebook
P.s this is the last xc of the year to pre enter”

Sunday 5th March 2017 – Borders League Race 5 – Manley Mere – a message from Chris Fitzpatrick:

“Hello all, as you may or may not know we are holding the next Borders League race 5 at Manley Mere on Sunday 5th March, 11am start. Preparation for this Helsby organised race has now started and we need the lovely people of Helsby RC who are not planning on running, to help out if at all possible and Marshall. You will probably be needed from 10am through to around 12pm approx, and we will position you out on the course somewhere, all to be figured out still.

We need 22 marshalls, 2 people on lead bike (1 position already filled hopefully) and a course sweeper. If you can volunteer or if you are planning on running could possibly get a friend or family member to Marshal then that would be very much appreciated. We cannot put on these events without you’re help. Anyone who can could you email fitzpatrick_chris@hotmail.com to let me know please.

We are also going to hold a recce of the course on Sunday 12th Feb, 11am start, I would suggest you get to Manley Mere around 10.45am, don’t forget to bring your £2 for parking.

Thanks and see you all soon


Racing News

Sunday 22/01/17 Borders League Race 4 at Deeside


Thanks to Colin Thompson for the report:

“Borders League race No.4 saw the Green Army toeing the line at a chilly Deeside sports centre, a fantastic showing of the green vest with no less than 28 of us! A huge thank you to everyone who turned out to support the club. The course is a relatively short one for a borders, just shy of 4.5 miles, but it has a sting in its tail as it takes you up and down the steep Kelsterton Lane, pretty tough going!

It’s a real shame there was a Borders and XC clash this season as I think the numbers at the XC suffered as a consequence but it’s important for us to get as many green vests to the borders as possible to avoid penalty points, our ladies team is still recovering from this from the first BL.

On to the race, a fabulous run was had by all on what was a fast but also challenging course, the start and finish on a running track is certainly a first for me! A few stand out performances belong to our BL debutants who were Danny Ryder (amazingly 20th on his first race for the club and 2nd home for Helsby – excellent stuff Danny!) Danielle Ryder also had a brilliant race and then decided to do a 13 mile cool down afterwards, that’s dedication! Matt Huntbach is flying at the moment and so is Paul Cunningham who seemed to enjoy every minute of it! Kate Mann is just getting better with each race and seemed to enjoy her first BL.

Too many other excellent individual performances to mention but it’s congratulations to Alison Halsall (also first Helsby lady home after a close battle with Jane Ashbrook) and Christina Roach who both won their respective age groups to help the ladies top the table on the day! Jane A was second in her age group also. Congrats ladies and if we can keep the momentum going we should be out of the relegation zone in the last few races.

The men came 4th team overall on the day to consolidate their 5th position in the league, great running chaps!

Thank you to Fitzy and Laura for rallying the troops before the race and also a big thank you to our support on the day – Mario and Joe!

The Helsby results can be found below:

14 Colin THOMPSON 24:27
20 Danny RYDER 24:51
30 Chris FITZPATRICK 25:16
36 Adam GORDON 25:26
49 Neil FINEGAN 25:54
63 Ian RUTHERFORD 26:41
75 Matthew HUNTBACH 26:55
84 Philip TOMKINSON 27:03
96 Jim O’HARA 27:31
104 Darren O’CONNOR 28:03
119 Richard HANKINS 28:37
125 Tim PALMER 28:45
142 Phillip ROBERTS 29:20
146 Alison HALSALL 29:26 (1st in age cat)
150 Jane ASHBROOK 29:29 (2nd in age cat)
160 Laura BAYNHAM HUGHES 29:51
184 James JONES 30:54
206 Danielle RYDER 31:40
221 Christina ROACH 32:19 (1st in age cat)
246 Stephen ROACH 33:40
256 Benjamin WILLIAMS 34:14
264 Paul CUNNINGHAM 34:36
274 Geoff COLLINS 35:12
292 Christopher IGOE 35:49
309 Kate MANN 36:45
310 Stephen WIGGINS 36:46
317 Chris MORGAN 37:08
345 David WIGGINS 40:00

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

The next race will be hosted by us at Manley Mere. It’s a brand new race so please come along to support the event whether marshalling or racing. Fitzy will send out all the details nearer the time.”

Also, thanks to Tim Palmer for also sending in a summary of the Borders League results.

Sunday 22/01/17 North West XC League Race 5 – Town Park, Runcorn

Thanks to Colin Bishop for sending in this race report:

short and sweet race report for this weeks XC as the team was small and sweet, only 4 men and 1 lady which was a pity as the collective points from the turn out was not that high, 305 for the men and 38 for the ladies unfortunately there will be penalties, anyway……
a cold wintery start to the race, if we had not already woken up, the start certainly got our attention with a dash through a cold watering hole lots of splashing and squealing to be heard, (think there will be some good photo’s) then on to the mud the glorious mud, two laps including a running up the side of the ski slope and two slides down it!! Glad to say all home in one piece, valiant effort from the team well deserved chocolate flapjacks afterwards,
thanks to Jane for support, flapjacks and token collection
cheers Colin B”


More pictures courtesy of Andy Smith available HERE

Results from Town Park XC are now available HERE


It was great to get a report sent in about a Parkrun this week. Over to Davyd Mitchell:

Parkrun tourist report


Unfortunately due to visiting family I was unable to take part in the Borders race, however I did manage to find a local parkrun to be a tourist at. The nearest parkrun was located in Nonsuch park, the course was 3 laps with a mixture of paths and grass, but was pretty flat. I’d underestimated the weather and Saturday morning arrived and it was –5!. The good news was the ground was hard and the grass section which looked like it could have been a bit boggy was frozen solid. 483 people toed the line and off we set, 3 cold laps later we were done. I managed a good time for me, I think this might have had something to to with trying to avoid frostbite, coming home in 19:58 for 35th. It was the usual well organized friendly event and nice to run on a different course. David”

Thanks for the report Davyd. Well, Helsby Parkrunners are certainly improving my knowledge of geography week on week! From Davyd in Nonsuch to Mark Gittins in Hervey Bay, whose been showing the Aussies how its done. Mark finished first in his Parkrun down-under in 18:47 – Well done Mark! While nearer to home Colin Bishop stayed true to form by finishing third at Widnes in 17:53. Our club’s consolidated results can be viewed HERE

Fitzy’s Caption Competition

I know you’ve all been squirming with anticipation, waiting for the winner of Fitzy’s caption competition to be announced. Well, after much deliberation the prize of a pair of 4VHM socks goes to Gareth Boyd for his brilliant entry (now captioned below).


Tim is saying “that’s for not shouting Greeeeeeeen Armmmmmy, at the start line! “

Well done Gareth, you can collect your prize from the Quartermaster next time your at the clubhouse.

I think that’s it for this week. Hope I’ve not missed anything.


Helsby RC News from 19th to 25th December 2016

Hi everyone, I hope you’ve all had a fantastic Christmas and still managed to get out and do a bit of running – the Parkruns have certainly been busy! It’s been a bit of an odd week for the race calendar. There’s nothing in the inbox but I know quite a few people have been taking part in races the past few days. To avoid any confusion I’ve only included events from the Monday to Sunday, as we usually do. So there’s still plenty of time to send in reports from the past few days, and they’ll be picked up in the next blog. We did of course have the Xmas Handicap on Wednesday, which has already been covered in a separate update.


On Christmas Eve we had a fantastic turn out of 12 runners from Helsby at Delamere, and a total of 19 Helsby members across all Parkruns. The results were pretty awesome too. Neil Finnegan finished 3rd at the Chester Parkrun, while Darren O’Connor and David Wiggins both set new PBs. Delamere runners were not to be outdone though! New PB’s were set at Delamere by Colin Thompson, Davyd Mitchell and Tim Palmer. Meanwhile …… up in Keswick, there was a new PB by Alfie Grady.

There was an additional Parkrun on Christmas day at Delamere and we had a further 7 people participate there. Parkrun’s consolidated weekly results finish on the Saturday so hopefully any Parkruns’ hosted on Christmas Day will be included in next weeks consolidated report.

This is probably a good point to acknowledge all the time given up by Parkrun volunteers throughout the year. I know that Helsby RC members have been key to organising and marshalling some of the local Parkruns for some time now. Well done and thanks to all the volunteers.

Consolidated Parkrun results Helsby RC

Dates For Your Diary

So I think that all remains for this week’s blog is a few reminders, and dates for your diaries.

New Years Eve -31st December 2016

4 Villages Half Marathon Recce – You should have already received a detailed email about this from Colin Thompson. Meet at the club at 10.30 and there will be different paced groups to cater for all abilities so that nobody is left behind.

Also please remember that we are still looking for people to help out with the 4VHM on 15/01/17. Please contact Laura Baynham-Hughes if you haven’t already offered your services, or if you know someone else who wants to help.

New Year’s Day – 1st January 2017

I’m not aware of any road races over the next week, but there are two races in the Welsh Fell Running Calendar on New Year’s Day; the appropriately named ‘Morning After’ in Church Stretton, and ‘Tour de Lyn Lydaw’ in Snowdonia:

The Morning After – BS category race – 8km/275m 5miles/900ft – 11am, £5 on the day – Church Stretton Social Club, Essex Road, Church Stretton.

Tour de Lyn Lydaw – CS category race – 8km/181m 5miles/594ft – 10.30am, £2 on the day – Pen-y-Pass Youth Hostel, Snowdonia.

Saturday  – 7th January 2017

X-Country Cheshire Championships – Birchwood Forest Park, Warrington – time TBC


And something to chew on:  according to Runners World – 3 Quality Street = 122 calories = 1 mile.

Best Wishes for 2017, from the Helsby RC Bloggers.




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

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

Dates For Your Diary

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

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

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

Hope to see you there!



Sandstone Trail Challenge 2017

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

Liverpool & District XC Fixture 2

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

Racing News

Penmaenmawr Fell Race


Thanks to Tim Palmer for sending in the Penmaenmawr report:

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

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

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

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

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

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

95th – David Feakes – M V50 – 1:52:10

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

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


Escape from Meriden

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Combe Crawler

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

Athens Marathon

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

“Athens Marathon, The Authentic.

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

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

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

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

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

Tatton Park half marathon!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Definitely would not recommend this one for next year.”

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

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

Conway Half Marathon

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

Race Report Conwy Half Marathon 20th November 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


1st Russell Bentley Eryri Harriers 1hr 09m.

Paul Roberts Helsby 1hr 41m.

Geoff Collins Helsby 1hr 50m.

Geoff Collins”


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


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



Helsby RC News from 17th to 23rd October 2016.

Hi everyone. Helsby RC  have been busy over the weekend with a great turn out at two local fixtures. If there’s any more that I’ve missed, please let me know and I’ll update the blog.

NW Sunday XC League – Race 1 at Clarke Gardens

Thanks to Chris Fitzpatrick for sending in the first of the race reports regarding the X-Country event on Sunday:

“It was the first race of the cross country season on Sunday, and a whopping 27 of us turned out in what was a great morning in Liverpool to run a cross country, blue skies and lots of sun, not too cold, perfect racing conditions. It’s a good course as well for your first XC, it was great to see loads of new faces. It’s a pretty flat course with a few hills and a bit of mud thrown in to test you, and also a few bottle necks so you can catch your breath. Lots of good performance on the day, especially from Colin Bishop who is on the comeback trail from injury, finishing 11th, closely followed El Capitano, and first back for the ladies was Jenny Illidge, followed by Flo Jo.


The men’s team currently sit 6th out of 22 teams, which is a great start to the season with much more to come, and also a good start from the ladies sitting 8th out of 22 teams, and only 1 point29902754683_9ea5cdeedb_o separating them and local rivals Delamere

Next race is this coming Saturday 29th at Arrow Park in the Saturday league, the next Sunday league race is 13th November at Beacon Park, Skelmersdale, which is a slightly harder course, would be great to see even more at the next one.

Fulls results below


Clwydian Hills Fell Race

14725630_1166317700111763_1819940854038832344_n Also on Sunday, there was another event that has always been popular with Helsby RC. I’m sure it was a difficult choice  to make for many people on Sunday,  X-Country or Fell Race? Anyway, over, to Tim Palmer who sent in this report:
“Whilst nothing like the turn-out at the cross country at Clarke Gardens, five Helsby runners (Neil Finegan, Ben Fletcher, Jim O’Hara, Tim Palmer & Steve Riley) turned out for the Clwydian Hills Fell Race. By all reports the temperature was much lower than last year, the weather was perfect fell running weather – sunny and cool. The new course (revised for last year’s 14670621_10157492451920018_875652605279373390_nrace) is 8 ½ miles with about 2,700ft of climb (at least according my Garmin); it has a number of climbs culminating the ‘gully’ followed by a fast and furious descent from top of Moel Famau back down to Cilcain. Whilst Jim was chasing the leaders, Neil and Ben were having their own battle just a bit further back (finishing within 2 secs of each other). The Helsby results were:
10th Jim O’Hara 1:24:20.5
21st Neil Finegan 1:29:49.8
22nd Ben Fletcher 1:29:51.6
74th Tim Palmer 1:43:09.6
85th Steve Riley 1:46:41.5
Helsby RC were 5th placed in the team prize.


There are lots more photos of the above two events, courtesy of Andy Smith, Dave Pinnington, and Phil Tugwell. (follow the  links on their names)


Helsby had no less than 12 athletes participating across 4 different Parkruns on Saturday morning. Helsby’s consolidated club results can be viewed HERE.

Dates For Your Diary

Firstly a reminder from Jackie Keasley:

Keeping Well in the Community

“This coming Saturday, 29th Oct, from 9:30 to 12:30 at Helsby Health Centre there is an event promoting “Keeping Well in the Community”. For the last few years Helsby Running Club have had a stand telling them about our club and more importantly promoting the benefits of running; from both a health and social/mental point of view. It’s always worthwhile attending and time well spent. Betty & I will be there for the full session but if any of you can pop down for say 30 mins or an hour to extol the virtues of running that would be great! How about popping in for a few minutes after your Park Run, sweat & mud acceptable! Please post if you think you can pop down.

Cheers & thanks


Liverpool & District X-Country League

Also this coming Saturday 29/10/16 is the first X-Country fixture in the Liverpool & District League. Hopefully we’ll have another great turn-out. This fixture starts a little later at 2pm and is at Arrowe Park – so you could even pop into the above event at the Health Centre beforehand.

Don’t forget that you can check out all the upcoming fixtures on Tim’s race calendar.


I think thats it for this week. Please keep any reports or contributions coming in to helsby-race-reports@outlook.com



Helsby RC News from 19th to 25th September 2016.

Hello everyone. Thanks to those of you who have already sent race reports in.  If anybody has any more updates from the past week then still please send to helsby-race-reports@outlook.com and we can update the blog with them.

Wirral Multi-Terrain Series – 20/09/16


The third and penultimate race of the Summer Multi-Terrain League took place at Harrison Drive on Tuesday night. I haven’t seen a race report but I can see, from a scanning  of the results and  current standings, that Helsby were well represented on Tuesday. Current team standings  have Helsby Men in 7th place and Helsby Ladies in 21st place.


More notable though, are the individual results and standings. Colin Thompson finished 5th overall on the night and 1st in his age category! Helen Owens was the first lady finisher for Helsby, closely followed by Debbie Reid who is currently placed 2nd in her age category for the series.  Colin Thompson stays at the top of his age category as we go into the final race next Tuesday and Adam Gordon is presently 3rd in his age category. Overall, some excellent performances by Helsby. Well done everyone and hopefully we will have another great turn-out at Arrowe Park on Tuesday 27th September for the final race of the series.

Macclesfield Half Marathon on 25/09/16img_0843

Helsby leads the pack at Macclesfield.

We had four of the Helsby team take part in the Macclesfield Half Marathon on Saturday. Thanks to Neil Finnegan and Jackie Keasley who have both sent in  race report – see below.  Also below are a few more photos, courtesy of Bryan Dale of Racephotos.org.uk

Over to Neil:

“The Macclesfield half on Sunday was an excellent race – a small scale running event organised by runners for runners and as such it is an event which clubs like ours should be actively supporting. 563 runners took part in the half and over 200 in the 5k event held while we were out on the course.

Starting on the running track, which was possibly the only flat part of the entire route, the course is challenging (950ft climb) but a real pleasure to run. Most of the route was through the outlying “desirable” villages home to various premiership footballers and the tree lined country lanes offered a real feel of autumn with the leaves changing colour, but also offered welcome shelter from the rain which unfortunately hit us that day – ranging from drizzle to torrential downpours. The course is famous for its 2 big climbs – not especially steep hills, more long slow grinds. From a runners perspective that makes it very difficult to pace yourself on the course as the constantly undulating roads hit your rhythm and left your Garmin stats all over the place. So it was a case of plod up the hills and try to take advantage of gravity on the other side.

The support on the course was superb even in the remotest points – the locals seem to have really embraced the race which has been going for 15 years. Knowing that it wasn’t a PB course I went out with the mindset to enjoy the race and scenery – high fiving the kids and thanking the marshalls. It was only when I got to mile 9 and I was told I was 20th that I kicked on for the finish. The long climb from mile 10 to 12 was tough but the encouragement from the locals despite the bad weather was brilliant.

For the finish you were back on the track – a really nice touch as there were lots of spectators and people who had taken part in the 5k race, and full commentary on the finish was provided over the speaker system. A great value for money race and really enjoyable event. Well organised from start to finish and a really good atmosphere.

4 Helsby runners – and special congratulations to Richard Hankins for getting a half marathon PB on a really tough course – 1:32 despite the climbs.

14 Neil Finegan M40 01:23:52
58 Richard Hankins M40 01:32:37
175 David Feakes M50 01:45:14
404 Jackie Keasley F55 02:01:02″


img_0625      img_0760







And now over to Jackie for her report:

“Just a few words on yesterdays penultimate club road counter.

Despite being a well established club organised Cheshire race I have not done the Macclesfield Half Marathon before. A tough treat was in store!

A well organised race by Macclesfield Harriers, who use it to raise all monies for their 3 nominated charities, local hospice, autism and the Rossendale Trust who house adults with learning and physical disabilities in local apartments and houses, some of whom clapped and cheered us along the way as we ran through the outskirts of town, a really humbling experience . img_0114
It’s described as a challenging and rewarding route through the leafy back roads of East Cheshire. Apart from the laps around the very posh running track at the start it was most definitely undulating. The biggest hill being Hare Hill, a name causing much amusement as I ran up feeling like a tortoise. However Neil. Richard and Dave must have sprinted it like Hares to record the times they did! The finish was back onto the running track, but surprise surprise it’s located in a fairly elevated position at the back of the sports centre, so there was even a sting in the tail at the very end before the 100m sprint to the finish on the bouncy track. Sunshine and showers prevailed; the overnight heavy rain stopped and the sunshine came out just in time for the start, giving cool fresh ideal running conditions, two very short sharp downpours during the race tested us out but then the sun shone for the finish.

Brilliant running race after race by Neil to claim 14th place overall and well done to Richard for getting a PB on such a tough course.”

Windsor Half Marathon – 25/09/2016

Geoff Collins sent in the following race report from the Windsor Half Marathon:

“An invite to a friend’s birthday party gave me the chance to run the Windsor Half Marathon. This year being the 34th race with sunny and warm conditions. I really wanted to do this race because I lived around this area as a child and it thought it would be a bit nostalgic. Mind you, moderation was called for on the alcohol consumption stakes, for a sporting chance to make it to the start line!

The race is set within the 5,000 acre estate of Windsor Great Park in Berkshire. The location is absolutely stunning with fantastic views of an undulating and varied country landscape. It has sweeping deer lawns, small woods, coverts and lots of huge old oak trees. Yes you could actually see the Deer. You also get a good view of the planes taking off from Heathrow 6 miles away! The course is totally car, bike and pedestrian free!

But the course is very undulating. Basically two different loops with a small section repeated. My friends had warned me this isn’t a PB course. Hardly any of it level, you either go up or go down. The race starts and finishes on the Long Walk, the wide tree lined avenue which links Windsor Castle at one end with the dramatic statue (known as the Copper Horse) which is George III on his horse at the top of the hill. The race starts off uphill towards the Copper Horse for the first mile. Then you head along the well maintained wide park road way towards The Royal Lodge, now the official residence of Prince Andrew.

Then you head towards the quaint Royal School, where some members of the Royal Family have been educated. Then back to the Copper Horse repeating part of the first loop, before heading down on a longer loop towards Cumberland Lodge, Smith’s Lawn and the Prince Consort Statue. Smith’s Lawn is where the famous Guards Polo club is. Now Polo is not a game for the faint hearted. Sitting on a galloping horse swinging a mallet with a long handle, trying to hit a small wooden ball without clouting your horses legs or the other players! But today there is no Polo on. Suddenly I’m transported back to my 11 year old self, remembering running with the family dog, over Smiths Lawn!

Then the course drops down to the Valley Gardens and Virginia Water Lake, passing a sign saying no public access. This bit the public cannot normally access. Then a steepish climb away from the water, past one of the farms within the park up to Dukes Lane and Sandpit Gate.

The best bit of the race was the final mile from the Copper Horse back to the finish! All downhill, which made for a super quick fast finish!

I would recommend this race, for the unusual stunning park location, for the views, the best maintained tarmac roads I’ve ever raced on. Good crowd support. Not the flattest of courses with 630 feet of climb, (similar to Conwy half) Not the cheapest entry fees, but I suspect the Crown Estate take a fair chunk of that. Just a medal, water bottle, Mars Bar and a nut bar from Meridian the sponsors at the end.

4,396 finishers
1st Kojo Kyereme 1hr 07mins Shaftsbury Barnet Harriers
1018th Geoff Collins. 1hr 51mins Helsby RC (6th/out of 50 in age category)

Geoff Collins”

Well done Geoff, and thanks for sending in the report.

Parkrun 24/09/16

We had 8 Helsby members participating across 4 different Parkruns on Saturday. Consolidated club results can be viewed HERE. Colin Bishop finished 2nd place in his first run at Ellesmere Port – well done Colin, and hopefully well be seeing you at number 1 there soon.

King Offa’s Dyke Race

At the time of writing, Gaz O’Conner is still going strong (so it appears on his tracker) on the epic Offa’s Dyke Race. With just 185 miles over  4 days, from Chepstow to Prestatyn, I’m sure Gaz will be checking his cellphone for this bulletin- so best of luck in the final stages Gaz, and I’m  looking  forward to hearing about it in the blog next week.

Dates For Your Diary

Tim Palmer continues to do a great job updating our race calendar which can be viewed here and I’ve put a screenshot of the calendar showing the next few events below:


Essar Four Villages Half Marathon

Entries for the ESSAR 4 Villages Half Marathon open this Saturday 1st October. As usual, we need as many volunteers as possible to continue making this event successful. So any club members who are entering the race do please try and bring a friend or family member who can help out on the day.



That’s it for now.

Remember to stay safe and start wearing those high visibility vests as the nights draw in.




Helsby RC News from 15th to 21st August 2016.

Welome to the weekly round-up. First of all a quick reminder that we have the Cilcain Show Mountain Race coming up on the Bank Holiday Monday of 29/08/16. It’s one of our club counters and there will be a whole programme of events at the Cilcain show so why not make it a family day out. At a distance of only 4 miles its a great introduction to fell running. The race starts in Cilcain village center at 1pm and registration is from 11.am to 12.20pm.  You can see full details of the day and also a watch film of last years race by following this LINK

Catherine Dowdall Memorial Fell Race


Only one report in the mailbox this week. Thanks to Tim Palmer for pulling  this report together:

“Saturday saw 8 Helsby runners (plus Jamie Dowdall (running in his 1st claim Darwen Dashers) and Helen in support) at the Darwen Gala Catherine Dowdall Memorial Race in Darwen, Lancashire . This race is run in memory of Jamie’s late wife. As the British weather had resumed its normal summer service, the race was run in strong winds and showers. Whilst short (4.7 miles), the race has a bit of everything in it: nearly 600ft of climb in the first mile only to lose ½ of it almost immediately, couple of miles over the moor (some on fast single track) with a fast and furious descent in the last mile first off the moor and then within the park.

The Helsby contingent (helped by being more than 10% of the runners) walked away with 5 individual prizes (6 if you count the one that Jamie won) plus both men’s and ladies’ team prizes.
Pos, Name, Time
3 Jim O’Hara 00:36:39 3rd man
15 Tim Palmer 00:42:05 1st M50
19 Jim Jones 00:43:56 2nd M50
22 Phil Gillard 00:45:45 1st M55
34 Suzanne Fletcher 00:50:07 3rd lady
40 Paul Foster 00:53:12
44 Debbie Read 00:54:36
55 Jackie Keasley 01:00:12

Debbie commented on Facebook: “Tough but great fun – great value too £5 and you get a half of real ale, bottle of water, hot dog, banana and apple!” ‘’

Ellesmere Port RC 5k

I haven’t seen a report but their was nearly a whole army of green vests at the Ellesmere Port 5k on the evening of Wednesday 17th August. Colin Thompson and Joanne Lacking were first home for Helsby, in admiral times, in the respective mens and ladies races. Well done everyone who took part. If anyone has completed a race report please forward it to the inbox and Ill update the blog.

Screen Shot 2016-08-23 at 19.08.35

Birchwood 10k

We had one Helsby athlete at the Birchwood 10k on Sunday. Neil Finegan clearly had something left in the tank after his 17:31 5k finish on the Saturday and managed a brilliant 37:14 10k the day after. Well done Neil.

Screen Shot 2016-08-23 at 19.25.38


Green vests were again far and wide this weekend. We had five members at five different Parkruns! Well done guys. Our club consolidated results can be viewed by following this  LINK

Well I think that’s it for this week. Please keep sending any reports into: helsby-race-reports@outlook.com

If you don’t have time to write a report just send in an email with details of the race and maybe a link to the results. It all helps to pull the bog together.

Thanks and keep on running :-),


Helsby RC News for week ending 24/07/16

Welcome to the weekly round up, starting with a reminder of what’s coming up over the next week:

Wednesday 27th July 2016 – The Green Green Grass of Home – a great little fell race of 5 miles and 1500ft of climb which has been well attended by Helsby in the past – 7.30 pm £4.00 on day only. Allow 15mins to get to start – Venue: Golden Lion Inn, Llangynhafal, near Denbigh (GR 129633).

“Saturday 30th July 2016 – North Wales Half Marathon – Our next club road counter. I did this a few years ago before word got out about what a good race it is. It’s a bit hilly and has ‘a bit’ of off road too! If the weather’s good you’ll get a great view of the castle before you drop back into Conwy for the home run. Hopefully anybody wanting to do it will have already entered as, looking at their website, it may now be full.

Saturday 30th July 2016, 2pm –Push up the Pincyn Another cracking fell race that is also a good family day out. The race is integrated into the annual village show at Clawddnewydd, Denbighshire.  It’s  6.2miles with 1300ft of climb  but quite a good introduction to fell running. Be prepared to climb over the bale of hay on the way out and then again on the home run!

Sunday 31st July 2016 , 10am – Helena Tipping Wrexham 10K 10:00 The Clubhouse, Wrexham Industrial The Clubhouse, Wrexham Industrial Estate, LL13 9RG

Sunday 31st July 2016 – Arenig Fawr Fell Race – One I haven’t done yet but looks a toughie – AM 13km/1000m 8miles/3300ft PM/LK/NS/ER, Details: 1.00 pm £4.00 on day only, Venue: Parking and registration near Arenig quarry (GR SH 830392).

Hopefully we’ll have some reports from the above races for the blog next week. Remember to send any contributions to: helsby-race-reports@outlook.com


Mystery 5k

It was great to hear from Tom De Jong again who has submitted a race report from the Mystery 5k on Tuesday last week:

“Tuesday saw the mystery 5k event, Colin Thompson and myself took part in this monthly event and it is a reasonably fast course. There was a really strong field and Colin Thompson ran a superb time getting into the top 10 of a high standard race. I ran myself as I’m trying to get my 5k times down which seems to be working, it’s a great race if anyone is interested doing the next 1. here are the results.

7th Colin Thompson 17.17
80th Tom De Jong 22.25


Holme Moss Fell Race

Holme Moss FR was on Sunday. Still awaiting the results but thanks to Ben Fletcher for sending in the report:

“Me, Jim and Phil decided to tackle the Holme Moss fell race, now there is some confusion over what the distance is of this race, the website says 15.9m but people who have ran it before say 18m, well it was 18m.

The start of the race is at Cartworth Moor Cricket Club which is the 2nd highest in the country. We were blessed with almost ideal running conditions both underfoot and climate wise, I say almost as it was a little humid. The forecast had predicted dark clouds and heavy rain from midday, the worst we got was light rain for all of 5 minutes, which was a welcome relief in the humid air.

The race started and after a short bit on a track we plunged down onto the lower slopes of the moors and bogs.

Holme Moss lays claims to be one of the best climbs on the fell scene. After descending Bareholme Moss and crossing the brook you’re ‘treated’ to a tough scramble up through rocks and bracken before the imposing Laddow Rocks come into view. Whilst standing at the foot of Laddow it looks almost impossible to ascend, especially when rock climbers are spotted roped up onto its rock face, after a short scramble we were up onto the top.

For many the race really starts once Laddow is climbed and the Pennine Way is reached, places and time can really be picked up whilst running up the slabs towards Black Hill.

The final climb up from Riding Wood is only short, but blimey it’s steep. Holding the undergrowth for leverage!!

The Cricket Club was a welcome sight after 18miles of tough running.”

The results should be published at: http://www.holmfirthharriers.com/club-events-a-results

Raes Y Cae 10K Fun Run

Gaz O’Connor won the Raes Y Cae 10K Fun Run over the weekend. Well done Gaz!  He did send in a race report but I censored 25% of it and that only left three words. Still- a valiant effort 😉 well done mate.

Snowdonia Trail Marathon

The marathon with a sting in the tail! Sunday saw the second hosting of this race which is now definitely on my list of favourite races. This year I again clocked well over 28 miles despite it being a prescribed route. Difference being I knew what to expect this year and ran it 28 minutes faster, finishing 75th from 414. Conditions were similar to last year – very wet and slippy but the wind and rain wasn’t quite as persistent. The route starts in Llanberis and takes in Rhydd du, Beddgelert, Nant Gwynant, and Pen y Pass before Snowdon and then taking you on a long fast descent back to Llanberis. The last few miles being the ‘sting’ for those expecting to find the finish at around 26 miles. Its a trail race that does seem to be popular with a lot of runners used to the road and quite a few people seemed to be struggling because of their choice of footwear. I know I’m not as fit as I was when I ran this race last year and therefore reckon my improvement on last year is simply down to shoes that I was comfy in (mudclaws) and 12 more months experience of mountain running.


We had 9 people out at various parkruns on Saturday. Consolidated club results can be viewed by following this link, but congratulations to Colin Thompson who finished first at Widnes in 18:02

Marshalling at The Lakes Skyrunning Event

Chris Baynham-Hughes queried whether this was appropriate for the blog. Well I think it is, so it’s in the blog. Cheers Chris.

“This weekend I was out on duty in my role for SkyRunningUK. This took the form of marking out ~ ¼ of the course (Ambleside up Fairfield, down to Grisdale tarn, up Dollywaggon Pike to Helvellyn then across Swirral edge to Catstycam and down to the dam wall) looking after competitors, registration, carrying a full sized video tripod up St Sundays Crag, marshalling on the top of Pinnacle ridge and finally getting to run out ~1/2 the course chatting to competitors so I can write up some sort of report. For those of you that have ever thought about marshalling at an event like this, I thoroughly recommend it. It was a terrifically rewarding experience to give back to the sport that we love and the competitors appreciation really shines through.

The event organiser had employed a team of 5 camera men including a drone pilot to capture some footage of the race. They have already put out a teaser which can be found at the link below. Let’s just say that the weather was a little different from when Max and Phil had a run at this last year (here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rLbzEuO6eWY ) This year’s race: https://www.facebook.com/LakesSkyUltra/videos/1780773285469621/ “

I think that’s all the racing news for this week. Please do keep sending any reports in to helsby-race-reports@outlook.com. Even a couple of lines, and maybe a link to the results,  all helps to pull the blog together.

Club Constitution update

Just to finish, you may well have already received an separate email about this – after last Wednesday’s club run, the Club adopted a new constitution (and supported the HCSC bar takings) – see: https://helsbyrunningclub.wordpress.com/constitution/ for the details.

Happy Running,


Helsby RC round-up for week ending 26/06/16.

Welcome to the weekly round up. First of all a quick reminder of what’s coming up over the next week:


a reminder from CBH:

Robbie Webster’s Wobbler
Just a reminder that Wednesday will see the 4th running of Robbie Webster’s Wobbler – in memory of the late Robbie Webster, an inspirational figure within the club.
Details are all on the website: https://helsbyrunningclub.wordpress.com/2016-robbie-websters-wobbler/

But the key bits are:

Registration at Forest Hills 6:15-7pm

Start @ 7:15pm by the Ring o’Bells

Cake and social back at the club afterwards
It’s part of the INTERCLUB series we have and we have a title to defend!!! Everybody counts!!
It’s just like the Wednesday club run on the hills… only with more hills! Guarantee you won’t be last, and if you are then just think about how happy you’ve made the person who finished one ahead of you.”

Moel Siabod fell race

Saturday 2nd July, 2pm. An ‘AS’ category fell race of 5.4 miles with 2300ft of climb. Race venue  is the Show Field opposite the Moel Siabod cafe, Capel Curig, LL24 0EL (GR SH728577)

Halewood 5k

Saturday 2nd July 10am at Knowsley Harriers AC club house, Okell Drive, Halewood, L26 7XB.

Fairy Freckled Cow Trail Race

Sunday 3rd July 11.30am. A fast 11k trail race around the Llyn Alwen Reservoir (GR SH 955530)  http://www.denbighharriers.com/Trail_Race.html


Tunnel 10k

We actually start with a race report that just missed last weeks blog. Tunnel 10k. Thanks to Carl Pratt for sending in the results and Clare Louise Miller for the race report:

“On Sunday 19th June myself, Gaz o Connor, Ste roach and Carl Pratt travelled to Liverpool for the staple of the BTR calendar which is the tunnel 10k.

This is the 11th year of the event and is a firm favourite with most north west running clubs and in the past it has attracted big numbers from Helsby. In fact one year Roy and Colin T were that keen to run it they were at the start line before the race organisers and before there was even a start line!

Anyway, the course is a pretty flat 10k course going through the kingsway tunnel from Liverpool to New Brighton. Running through the tunnel is a novelty however the rest of the rest is a bit industrial until you get to the beautiful promenade for the last 2 miles.

Some cracking times from the lads whilst myself managed a sub 55 10k on my first attempt at this distance since my “comeback”.

Great goody bag this year, along with obligatory t shirt and medal. Would recommend this race to everyone really, it’s a cracker. “

Carl Pratt – chip time 43:01 – gender position 108 – category position 70

Ste Roach – chip time 47:05 – gender position 286 – category position 172

Clare Miller – chip time 54:10 – gender position 91 – category position 43

Well done everyone!


We had six Helsby runners participating in Parkruns over the weekend. A noteable 3rd place was had by Degsy at Widnes park run and just 13 seconds short of his PB. Well done all. Consolidated results for Helsby can be viewed at  http://www.parkrun.com/results/consolidatedclub/?clubNum=1721

Penny Lane 10k

Thanks to Adam Gordon for sending in this race report:

“Eleven members of the Green Army turned out for the Penny Lane 10k on Otterspool Prom on Sunday, our 8th Road Counter of the year. Despite a dodgy forecast, it was a near perfect day for running. Much of the pre-race chat was about it being a lovely, friendly club-organised race but not a quick course for PBs because of the grass, the off-road bits and the twists and turns.
13537710_10154298167083980_8878534066509899120_n-3 Nearly 400 runners set off, looping around the grassy park before heading out into a bit of a headwind for 4 km on the prom, followed by a wind assisted return and a blast around a park and uphill to the finish. There was plenty of support along the course and even drummers to give encouragement. Colin Bishop led the Helsby charge and stormed to a fourth place finish and V55 category win. I was pleased come in next and bag a new PB after a bit of battle with Neil (another PB) and Fitzy. Strong performances from the rest of the gang got us 2nd Men’s Team (which I thought was a cracking achievement for a race in Liverpool) and Tanya claimed the points for the road champs as first Helsby lady!”



North Devon Marathon

I returned to one of my favourite parts of the country for coastal running on Sunday and did the North Devon Marathon. It’s one of the few races in the South West of England that is actually listed on the calendar of the Fell Runners13510870_1226943700652013_8561493763451020797_n Association. The race starts and finishes in Woolacombe Bay and takes you in a figure of eight around rolling Devon countryside and along rocky coastal paths with stunning views. With over 3300ft of climb it wasn’t one of the easiest marathons I’ve done. Having ran for over 15 hours in the V3k the week before, I was
probably a bit blasé and set off too fast on this one – and then wondered why I was tired after only 4 hours of running! A highlight of the race was  a beer station  laid on by a local publican at mile 19. Beer being a theme I continued afterwards while catching up with mates from Ilfracombe Running Club. I finished the race 64th out of 175 with a chip time of 4hrs 36mins.


I think that’s everything for this week. Please keep sending in any contributions to helsby-race-reports@outlook.com. Good luck with the Wobbler everyone, whether you be running or helping out. Sorry I can’t be there.



Helsby RC blog. Week ending 22/05/2016

Welcome to the weekly round-up. What a week for Helsby Running Club. There has been loads going and it has been great to get lots of contributions in the inbox. I hope I haven’t missed anything!

Please keep sending contributions to helsby-race-reports@outlook.com

Upcoming Events

First, a reminder of upcoming events:

Tonight! Wednesday 25th May at 8.30pm (after the club run) in the clubhouse. ICEFALL Through Adversity to Everest by Alex Staniforth. If you want feeding too, you should have already Leslie know.

Sunday 29th May – Mynydd Myfyr Hill Run. 11.30am Trefonen Village Hall SY10 9DF. This is the next counter in the club mini fell series.

Thursday 2nd June – Deeside Off-Road Grand Prix (race 1) 7.30pm Tata (formerly Corus) Sports and Social Club, Rowley Drive, Shotton. This race is a club counter in our mini trail series.


Walton Park 5 mile

This week’s racing reports start with  a contribution from Degsy, who did the Walton Park 5 mile on Tuesday night.

“The Walton Park 5 mile race is a cracking little 5 miler on paths around Walton Park. As I lined up at the start as a lone Green army runner I was surrounded by liverpool Based clubs mainly the fake green army (Kirkby milers) LRC and Knowsley harriers. Once again I failed to cry green army at the start hooter (sorry Gaz I was too outnumbered) it’s a fairly flat race with a medal and a set of number clip thingies waiting for you at the finish. My time was 31.07 ish (I’m so keen with my reports the official times haven’t been published yet 😉 ). Apologies if anyone else ran this I didn’t see you.”

Thanks Derek. The results are now available and as far as I can see, you were the sole Helsby representative – well done mate. http://www.racetecresults.com/Results.aspx?CId=16418&RId=229

Christleton 5k

There was a fantastic Helsby turnout on Friday night to the Christleton 5k. Thanks to Tanya for sending in the results and race report:

“On 20 May 16 Helsby runners attended Christleton 5K, remeasured two weeks before to ensure it was corrected. A wide variety of clubs attended and proved to be a fast field of runners. The weather was kind and ideal for running. First in for Helsby was Colin Bishop with a fantastic run and first lady, getting stronger by the race, was Jo Lacking. A very ecstatic bunch of helsby runners at the end all with personal bests, all very much deserved.
Colin Bishop 16:49
Colin Thompson 17:08
Adam Gordon 17:25
Gaz O’Connor 18:21
Ian Rutherford 18:37
James Higgins 18:45
Richard Hankins 19:08
Ian Hamling 19:08
Jo Lacking 19:38
Ian Landucci 20:21
Carol Shaw 21:51
Helen Owens 21:59
Jenn Naylor 22:53
Geoff Shaw 24:25
Tanya Downes 24:47
Janet Shaw 28:53 “

Well done everybody, and extra congratulations to everyone who achieved a PB on that course. I believe our Colin Bishop now holds the course record for V55 – brilliant work! The official results, and lots of race photos can now be accessed at:  https://chestertri.niftyentries.com/Results/Christleton-5K-2016

The old County Tops Fell Race

Chris Baynham-Hughes, true to form, identified another new venture and completed the old County Tops Fell Race on Saturday. Thanks for following the excellent write up Chris:

“I’d heard about the Old County Tops race from a few people, but had never really looked into it. All I knew was that it was a classic fell race and that I should give it a go at some point. The race is run in pairs and a friend of mine I’ve met through ultra running (Matty Brennan) asked me if I was up for it; the date fitted so I said yes and thought no more about it. Fast forward to a night before a recce where I sat down to look at the route… my jaw dropped… I wondered what on earth I had agreed to.

At over 35 miles and 11,600ft of climb the bald stats are enough to concern anybody, but add in the sheer volume of rough ground, contouring, insane descents, bogs and river crossings and it is a genuine test of stamina. The race itself came in waves, the final 3 miles were absorbed by teams trying to chase us down and we weren’t prepared to given an inch… the ridgeline to Coniston old man and back was punctuated by breaks in the clag and incredible views; shadows dancing over ancient valleys, real wow moments… the run through the valley between Scafell pike and the beastly climb up to the Coniston ridge line was all about the bog – falling hip deep into a bog generated an initial panic before I remembered to lean forward slowly and patiently raise my leg as I “swam” out of it. As I escaped the clutches of the bog I heard a loud cheer from behind my misfortune found the attention of friends we’d overtaken earlier (good times)…. Getting on and off Scafell Pike itself was simple insanity mixed with the odd bits of panic as my leg went in and out of cramp just as I needed precision to climb down the wet crags in one piece… From Helvellyn to Angle Tarn was totally rough and totally exhilarating; the wind battered us with horizontal monsoon-like rain leaving us with the narrowest of vision – dare we look at all. I find in the mountains that wind is the most deadly for the mind and that the line between exhilaration and frustration is very thin; the direction and blend of rain and underfoot conditions meant this was just about kept in check and thus made for one of the most enjoyable runs I’ve had in a long time, I felt completely and utterly allive. The trip over to, up and subsequently down Helvellyn was all about control, not going too fast but keeping in contention, picking the best lines, eating well and keeping hydrated.

In summary it was one of the best races I have ever done. The paired element means you enjoy an incredible journey with a good friend. Like I’ve mentioned above, the race just keeps on giving – with several fast water crossings appearing out of the blue there was always something new to put a huge grin on your face and really feel like you were on an adventure. The old school organisation was faultless and gave a feel to the race that commercial exploits just don’t grasp or achieve. Put simply, if I can only do one race a year… this has to be very high up the list of contenders.

In the end we raced in to the finish in 8:34:16. I’ve no idea where we finished, neither is it of any consequence to me. Sometimes it’s about the event, the journey, the experience and the camaraderie – this turned the dials up to 11 on all four counts.


Excalibur Trail Marathon

So whilst CBH was galavanting around the Lake District, fourteen of us took on one of his ‘training runs’. l enjoyed reading the following report from a road-runners perspective sent in by Chris Fitzpatrick. And the results show that you don’t necessarily have to run off road all the time to be able to do well in these events. Gaz O’Connor did a PB at Christleton the night before this! Over to Fitzy:

“14 of the green army headed up to the Clwydian range on Saturday to take part in the Excalibur Marathon, described by some (Ben Williams) as the toughest UK marathon, although CBH has already spoken to me about this and just laughed at me (he’s hard-core though). For those like myself this was a bit out of my comfort zone, I’m used to doing the odd occasional ultra-marathon, and I also consider myself a good marathon runner, but I did not realise this would be as tough as it was.

IMG_0655 2

We arrived at race HQ in Moel Famau car park, registered, done our kit check and then went and sat back in the car as it was lashing down, Phil Roberts then gave myself and Gaz a lesson in what kit we should and should not have, obviously his kit was better than ours he quite quickly pointed out. The rain then stopped right up until 9.30am, right on cue for the start of the race, the heavens opened, and continued to rain probably for the next 2 hours. I had been a bit nervous before the race on the navigation, but rest assured this course was excellently marshalled and excellently signposted, even myself who gets lost around a 400m running track found it quite easy.


I had not prepared myself for some of the climbs this course had to offer, and even more so for the descent on the other side of these massive hills, which was why whilst typing this I am still in a lot of pain, road running just does not prepare your muscles for this type of event. Once the rain started to clear up a bit, you could see why so many people love walking/running up here, the views were spectacular. Mile 11 we were greeted by a marshal who said “up that way please” for the next 15 minutes (yes a 15 minute mile on my garmin, unheard of!) , I managed to run a mile up hill, whilst a few competitors ran past me, how they ran up it I do not know. All through this race there was very rarely a flat bit of the course, you were either going uphill or downhill. Eventually I reached 20 miles and had been forewarned by CBH that there is a gradual incline for 2.5 miles and not to stop running, at this point your body is screaming at you to stop, I didn’t stop and was greeted with a bit of tarmac at the top of the hill for my reward, only to be told by the checkpoint helpers I had another massive climb to make up part of the course we had earlier come down. GREAT!

By this point Mr “I’ve got better kit than yours” was catching me up and Phil soon over took me as he looked really strong going up the last hill on Moel Famau. We both descended back down to the finish line a minute apart, well done Phil, finishing in 8th and myself in 9th overall. Big mention to Andy Robinson, 1st MV60, Steve Riley, 2nd MV50 and Lesley Feakes 3rd FV50.

A great day was had by all and there was a bonus at the finish line with a beer van at the event. I would definitely recommend more of us doing this again next year, as they also offer 10k and half marathon options.

See you all soon


Thank Chris. I’d just like to add that it was brilliant to see Mario and Joe out on the the course giving their support again. I think I must of seen them at least 3 times at different points in the race :-). Helsby results are below:

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Run for the 96 -5k

A truly worthwile  event was attended by Claire Louise Miller on Sunday and she has sent in the following write-up:

“Today, Sunday 22nd June I took part in the 2nd year of the run for the 96, which is a 5k run in memory of those who lost their lives at the Hillsborough disaster, obviously with this year being the year the families got the justice they fought so hard for this was always going to be an emotional day.

The likes of Alan Kennedy, Pat Van Den Hauwe, Rafa Benitez and sinbad from Brooke were there to show their support along with some of the families of the 96 including Margaret Aspinall who made sure she hugged, kissed and thanked every runner that passed and she was even giving out medals and kisses at the end, very emotional day.

The course itself was a cracking 5k, if a little short my garmin recorded a finishing time of 25.57 however there were a few bottlenecks and a lot of weaving and overtaking walkers, prams etc. Would be interesting to see this course as a parkrun as it is really quick but today was more of a fun run if I’m honest.

Medal, goody bag and a t shirt were good and the race was organised by BTR so it was very well organised.”

Well done Claire and thanks for sending in the report. For anybody wanting  to know more about this event or wishing to support it in the future, the website is well worth a visit:  http://www.btrliverpool.com/#!run-for-the-96-5k/c1em3

Sunderland Strollers Pier to Pier Race

A bit further North! Geoff Collins was also racing on Sunday and has sent in the following excellent report with photos:

Screen Shot 2016-05-25 at 09.23.07“A visit to one of my favourite parts of the country, the North East. Few people outside the North East know about this brilliant 7m race put on by Sunderland Strollers. It’s a multi terrain race. It starts on the beach by the South Pier at South Shields. Sea Road nearby, is the famous finishing point for the Great North Run.

The route heads South East up over the sand dunes onto National Trust headland known as The Leas. At this point the 1128 runners can follow either of several footpaths towards the cliffs at Marsden Bay. The day was perfect for this race. Sunny not too warm, light westerly wind, good visibility, and dry underfoot. Just one water stop by Souter lighthouse at the half way point. The route follows the coastal cliff top path as it winds its way up, and down towards Whitburn Bay. The views are spectacular as you travel over a variety of surfaces underfoot.

Screen Shot 2016-05-25 at 09.24.04Further on past Parsons Rocks and yet another lighthouse, you enter the prom at Seaburn near Sunderland. Tempting as it was, I didn’t stop for ice cream. Time for a final push of speed! Finally with the lighthouse and pier at Roker Point looming into view ahead, you drop onto the beach for that final sprint to the finish. 

First male finisher was Andy Burn 37m 15s (Jarrow & Hebburn AC), First Lady finisher Alyson Dixon 41m 29s (Sunderland Strollers). I was the first (and only) finisher for Helsby in 57m 17s.

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The goody bag with baseball cap, number belt, handmade glass lighthouse medal, chocolate and crisps all for £21 I thought was excellent value!

Geoff Collins”


And as if the week was not busy enough …………. we had 10 Helsby members participating across 6 different Parkruns on Saturday! Well  done Colin Bishop for finishing 1st at Widnes and to Laura Baynham-Hughes for being 2nd lady to finish at Delamere. Our consolidated club results can be viewed  here

Thanks for all the contributions this week. Please keep sending them in to helsby-race-reports@outlook.com

keep on running 🙂