Long trail series 2012

Sunday’s Sandstone Trail races marked the end of this year’s Long Trail Series races, so here’s a summary of the year’s events, and the results. I’ll soon be looking at what events to include in next year’s series, so if there are any you would like to run, just let me know. Any off-road timed event between 14 and 35 miles qualifies.

This may have been the best year in the club’s history for off-road endurance running. As far as I’m aware, nobody has ever matched Chris Baynham-Hughes’ achievement in completing the Dragon’s Back race. We also had two completions of the Bob Graham Round in the same year, again something that has never happened before. And once more we were well represented at the Saunders Lakeland Mountain Marathon, with four members competing.

The Long Trail Series itself went well again, with four of the seven events having four or more club members running, and one or two more club members starting to try out some of these longer runs. Here’s a brief event by event summary:

Wuthering Hike, 33 miles, 10 March: Only me on this one, which was a pity as it’s a great event. It’s a bit of a long drive to get there, which may have put some off.

Edale Skyline, 21 miles, 25 March: Four of us ran this Peak fellracing classic, with good weather for the third year running – too warm if anything. The main highlight was Chris Baynham-Hughes’ performance, finishing in 44th place in what is always a top class field.

Sandstone Trail Marshals’ event, 33 miles, 5 May: This didn’t happen as I was ill!

Gritstone Tryal, 15 miles, 29 July: Only Jackie and me for this one, but I think we should try to get more out next year, as it’s a great local event and it needs support. We both had a great run on the Staffordshire gritstone, and the navigation was reasonably straightforward.

Race the Train, 14 miles, 18 August: It wasn’t a normal running of this event as it didn’t rain at all. Five HRC runners competed: none of them beat the train this year, but Jane Ashbrook came closest. Dave Feakes being the only man among them picked up 20 points, with Jane being first HRC lady home yet again.

Open To Offas, 30 miles, 15 September: This was a great LDWA event, crossing the tracks of a number of the short fell races we’ve had in the Clwydian Hills. Most of the participants are walkers but there are some runners too, and the organisers would be happy to have more. We had the first three finishers, with Adair setting a new course record of 5 hours 4 minutes, and Jackie finishing joint first lady.

Sandstone Trail A Race, 17 miles, 30 September: Five of us ran this year, on a day when we were expecting rain, but in the event it stayed dry. The conditions were pretty muddy, but not nearly as bad as it could have been, given the flooding there had been only days before. A great event as always, with Adair leading the club home in 11th place overall.

Overall, Jackie and I competed in five events each, and Adair and Ian Landucci ran two each. One was enough for everyone else! Full results to follow…

Andy Robinson

Edale Skyline, Wilmslow Half, Wrekin Fell March 2012

Hi all

This weekend saw the classic Edale Skyline race, and one of the Helsby Long Distance Trail Race counters at 21 miles and over 4000ft of ascent in total. 299 runners finished with a great winning time of 2.41.55 in what were obviously warm conditions.

Four green vests out for Helsby, ably led by Chris Baynham-Hughes to secure the full set of points. (Please bear in mind Chris had run the Hardmoors 55 the week before!)

Helsby positions and places below

44th      Chris Baynham-Hughes         3.27.10

123rd    Andy Robinson                       3.56.04
208th    Ed Halliwell                             4.19.09
266th    Jackie Keasley                       4.44.36

Full results available below


This weekend also saw the Wilmslow Half Marathon, the first Cheshire GP counter with over 4000 runners on the day

Results and photos available here


Two Helsby runners enjoying the day with positions and times below

879th    Mike Searle                 1.42.33
2799th  Nesta Hawker             2.03.37

Mike has written a highly entertaining and descriptive account of his day here, just check out the previous Helsby Blog article or simply click the link below


Also out at the weekend was the ageless Robbie Webster competing in the Wrekin Fell Race, full results here


Robbie Webster was 87th in 1.21.52

There are also photos of the day available on the Welsh Fell Runners website


We also have a great write-up of Chris’s Edale race with plenty of description, video and photos in Chris’s blog account (also has detailed information and extremely interesting write-ups of his training for the Bob Graham)


Video’s of Andy Robinson and Ed Halliwell final descent at Edale are included on the blog.

It’s very promising to see people writing up about their races and events and sharing the day with other people, keep them coming! The more people that write about races and share their thoughts the better, as it adds a depth to the Helsby blog that can’t be gained just from listing positions and times. Please feel free to add or send something in the future, even one or two sentences can make a difference!



2012 long trail series

Andy Robinson has been consulting interested runners and has proposed the following dates and events for the 2012 long trail series…

  1. Wuthering Hike (Haworth Hobble), Sat 10 March. 33 miles, 4400 ft of climbing. This is a great race.
  2. Edale Skyline, Sun 25 March. 21 miles, 4500 ft. Testing AL fell race. Fills up quickly, so enter early in the new year.
  3. Sandstone Trail Challenge Marshals’ event, Sat 5 May. 33 miles, 3700 ft.
  4. Gritstone Tryal, Sun 29 July, 15 miles, 2000 ft. This is a navigational event, so map & compass work will be needed. I’ve never done it, but it looks interesting!
  5. Race the Train, Sat 18 August, 14 miles. The only one for which entries are already open.
  6. Open to Offas, date not set yet, but probably Sat 15 September. 30 miles, 7000 ft(?). An LDWA classic in the Clwydian hills.
  7. Sandstone Trail A Race, date not set yet: either Sun 30 September or Sun 14 October. 17 miles, 655m of climbing.
Let us have your thoughts in the Comments box below!

Andy Robinson

Edale skyline virgin view

Edward Halliwell writes about his very first fell event…

Sunday 27th March saw my first fell race, and I decided to throw caution to the wind by starting with a biggy – 21 miles and 4000’+ of climbing. These numbers clearly instilled a good deal of respect in me, but I don’t think I truly understood the scale of the task until I drove through Mam Nick on the way there, and dropped down into the valley. You can then look around you and see the skyline you’re going to be running round, and it’s vast. Even though I felt I’d trained well enough and was looking forward to it, the sheer size of the valley still terrified me.

After some deliberation about what to wear in the car park (field, obviously), I ended up listening to my very skinny fell-running mate and put on an extra layer and went for the long-sleeved base layer. This would prove to be my downfall later in the race as the weather warmed up.

After sign-in and very thorough kit check it was time to go. The start of the race went pretty well for me, a trot then scramble up Ringing Roger, then a run along the tops to Crookstone Hill. The run down to Crookstone Barn saw me live up to expectations and take a tumble, but fortunately I chose a good place to fall. As one runner said, “at least he chose a soft place to land”, and his mate replied, “yeah, his head”. A quick forward roll later I was off again.

Next came the climb of Win Hill, I chose the narrow path to the left and tucked in behind a lady who was running in the top 10 women at that point. I was relieved to hear her breathing as heavily as I was, so that gave me confidence that if she could make it to the top then so could I, and soon enough it came, though by that stage I was sweating heavily.

Then came the descent of Win Hill. I would say this was probably my least favourite part of the race. The descent was way beyond my novice fell-running abilities and I was lucky not to be down again as I clipped my toes a couple of times on the way.

I managed to catch up the the people who’d dropped me on the descent going through Hope to the bottom of Lose Hill. I cannot tell you how relieved I was when everyone else switched to a walk up this part. It surprised me how my heart, lungs and legs were still hurting when we switched to walking, but I was so glad I wasn’t expected to run at that point.

I say everyone was walking up Lose Hill, but there was one madman who was still trying to run. “Hello Andy”, I said, as Mr Robinson rolled by. I managed to keep him in sight near the top of the hill (and managed to de-layer a bit on the way up) but the descent was a completely different matter as my legs were now starting to tire, and I was feeling cold in my wet clothes.

As I got to Hollins Cross and Mam Tor the lactic from the climb of Lose Hill started to clear and I managed to keep running over the top of Mam Tor and through the half-way check at Mam Nick, where there was some very welcome homemade flapjack, which merited a stop for a couple of minutes.

Then came Rushup Edge, which might not pose too many problems normally but was a bit of a slog by that stage. Then the race turned right and started off over the peat bog to Brown Knoll. This was where it all started to go wrong for me. I paid the penalty for the perspiration of the first half and the cramp arrived, first in my quads and then my calves. If there’s one place you don’t want cramp it’s a peat bog, when your muscles are having to work overtime to keep you upright anyway.

The remainder of the race after that was a case of walking until the cramp faded, then running again until the cramp came back, and then repeating the cycle. This was pretty frustrating as I felt I could still be running well, but at least I could keep going, albeit slower, and at least the weather conditions were fair so I feel sure the bog could have been much, much worse.

Eventually the bog ended, and I was actually glad to start climbing afterwards as it felt easier on my legs. The remaining four or five miles again were a case of running when I didn’t have cramp, but at least I could try and walk the uphill bits and run the flatter bits, and I didn’t seem to lose too many places.

The noise of race numbers being shouted signalled that the final checkpoint of Ringing Roger was near, and you could start to relax knowing there was only the descent back to the finish. This was extremely tricky with crampy legs, but by then just getting down was a satisfactory result.

The run across the grass to the finish was a truly great feeling, and I was smiling rather than grimacing as I crossed the line. My finish time of about 4 hours 9 minutes was better than I’d budgeted for. It could’ve been better without the over-layering and subsequent cramp, but I was just pleased just to have conquered it. On the stagger back to the car park I looked around at the skyline again – it still looked too big to consider running round, but somehow I can now say I have.

The Dark Peak club put on an excellent race. There were enough Marshalls to mean I didn’t have to get my map out. Admittedly this was partly because I’d memorised the main parts, and partly because I’d decided that the map would only contain bad news, but the Marshalling was excellent.


PS – Even managed a recovery run Monday lunchtime, and guess what – I still over-layered. I never learn. I’ll probably be stupid enough to try this again next year…