Dinas Bran fell counter 9th May 2012

Hi all

Quick report on last nights first fell counter of the season.

Brilliant night for Helsby at Dinas Bran. Glad to see the rain did nothing to dampen the enthusiasm of the 19 (just counted from the photo) green vests on display. Two members Roy and Tom were new to the fells and what a muddy and wet introduction to hill running.

This race is just under 5 miles and consists of two loops of the trails round Dinas Bran, starting with a lap round the school field then a short and sharp road section onto the Dinas Bran paths to start the first ascent. The paths were muddy and slippy in places so a remarkable achievement by Tom to get round in normal running shoes! Club talisman and coach Joe was (near enough) at the highest point of the course to cheer us on, which helps enormously at that particular section at the gate before the castle ruins. After the second lap a fast run in to the finish to wait for photos, tea and cake.

Lots of prizes for Helsby runners which even led to race organisor asking “is there actually anyway left in Helsby”

Prizes for Jayne 1st lady overall (That’s two from two for Jayne and yes you guessed it, straight to the wine again!) and Vanessa and Adair both 3rd plus lots of age category winners including Mario, Jackie, Janet, Ian Landucci and great to see ex Helsby member Steph Charman picking up her category prize also. Hope I’ve not missed anyone (should have taken a list!)

Some highlights

Comment of the night from young Tom “That was the hardest thing I’ve ever done”

Finish of the night undoubtedly goes to Phil Gillard for showing how a class fell runner can outpace a young whipper snapper who was even being paced to the finish! Made my night!

Fall of the night, well who else but Jimmy. Unfortunately no photographic evidence of said event but knowing Jimmy it will be Olympian standard

Photos from Adrian

Full results here


Helsby Runners positions and times as below

New female course record from Jayne Joy, Congratulations!

3rd        Adair Broughton      33.54
6th        Jim O’Hara                35.13
9th        Mario Foschi             37.18
10th     Jayne Joy                  37.37
11th     Ian Landucci             37.54
22nd     Roy Gaskill                41.04
23rd     Phil Gillard                41.12
25th     Steve Riley                41.46
26th     Paul Porter                41.49
30th     Adrian Jackson        42.55
33rd     David Feakes           43.18
34th     Vanessa Griffiths     44.46
36th     Janet Robertson      45.06
39th     Andy Smith               46.34
40th     Alec Robertson        47.16
42nd     Tom De Jong            48.06
46th     Jackie Keasley         49.54
49th     Nesta Hawker           51.37
52nd     Robbie Webster       57.15 

Helsby weekend round-up 5th – 7th May 2012

Hi all

Please find a great race report from Phil Gillard who did the Great Hameldon Hill Race at the weekend


Well done to Phil. Full results for his race here http://www.ukresults.net/2012/hameldon.html

Four Helsby runners were also out at Llangynhafal on Saturday, ably supported by Joe who was marshalling on the course (surrounded by women as usual!). Results are not yet out but I can inform you that Jayne Joy was first lady overall, showing her class not just on the roads but now on the fells, although I think her quickest run of the day was to the bottle of wine when her name was called out at prize giving.

Jimmy O’Hara also had a storming run for a top ten finish, highlighting his Japanese cake diet is working a treat. Adair and Mario were also around to add to the numbers.


6th          Adair Broughton         45.16
9th          Jim O’Hara                    48.25
19th       Mario Foschi                 50.30
21st       Jayne Joy                        50.57


Photographic evidence of that particular race is available from Pete Douglas website here http://www.prdouglas.co.uk/

and some of the notorious stone gulley shots should start appearing on Dave Pinnington’s Flickr account in the near future


Full results for the Llangynhafal when available will be here http://www.wfra.me.uk/index.htm

Chris Baynham-Hughes has also updated his blog with a detailed and interesting report on his 61 mile Fellsman run http://baynham-hughes.com/Blog/

This weekend also saw the Sandstone Trail Marshalls event which is one of the Long Distance Trail Counters. I’ve not heard any details of that yet but hopefully Andy will update us shortly.

If anyone else did an event then please let me know and I can update the blog accordingly.

Please note Wednesday night sees our first fell counter at Dinas Bran, Llangollen. This race would be a great introduction to the fells if you haven’t yet tried the delights of fighting gravity.

The Dinas Bran Race is at 7.15pm so I’d suggest leaving the club at 6.00pm for car share. Race headquarters is Ysgol Dinas Bran School, Dinbren Road, Llangollen, LL20 8TG, but for those walking there it’s GR 215423.

Any questions on the race just ask but basically it’s a two lap race, just over 4.3 miles with 1150ft climb.

Enjoy your running


Anniversary Waltz April 2012 – Report by Phil Gillard

The Anniversary Waltz is a classic Lakeland fell race instigated to celebrate Wynn and Steve’s wedding at Newlands church in 1996, it is 11.5 miles long and 3,600 feet of climb. 2011 was my first experience of the event so having entered again this year; I guess this was my Anniversary Waltz anniversary.

Last year the race was a ‘warm up’ for the Scottish Islands race; as a result I felt I was in reasonable shape and came home in 247th position with a time of 2:42:40, however no amount of training on our Cheshire hills can set you up for the Lakeland terrain and I struggled on the last part of the race. This year I was determined to improve my race management even though my fitness level was probably lower.

An early start from Helsby allowed for a coffee stop on the way up, arriving at the village of Stair two hours before the start, time to watch the start of the longer “Teenager” race, recover from the journey and catch up with some fellow runners from Macclesfield, Spectrum etc. The weather was forecast to be close to freezing on the tops with the threat of sleet and hail, so long sleeved top as minimum.

My warm up consisted of a 20 minute climb up and down the lower levels of Cat Bells and some stretching, with fifteen minutes to go, it was time to get onto the start field and the obligatory kit check – well done to the organisers, absolutely essential given the forecast conditions.

In terms of race management, the first part of the course consists of a 3 mile flattish run down the Newlands valley taking us onto a track underneath High Snab and then a very rough hands on knees climb up onto High Snab ridge thereafter taking the ridge line up onto the top of Robinson, my plan was to make the Robinson summit in 70 minutes. My route choice up onto the ridge last year was very direct, taking in a fair amount of scree but avoiding a bit of a scramble on the ridge itself, this year I opted to get onto the ridge earlier and do the scramble and it seemed to work and was pleased to get to the checkpoint on top of Robinson in about 65 minutes.

So, where was the weather, no wind reasonable temperature and fantastic visibility, along with the flattish run off Robinson the lack of clag allowed me to have a cheeky view of the next two peaks – Hindscarth and Dale Head. This is probably the most enjoyable part of the race grassy descents, (nearly) runnable climbs and the feeling you are bagging the peaks quite quickly, I timed myself taking 15 minutes going from peak to peak – Robinson to Hindscarth and Hindscarth to Dale Head.

So far, so good but now the descent from Dalehead to the tarn, I have made this descent many times and have never felt I have done it justice, however speaking to others; this seems to be a pretty common view. The terrain is quite steep, tufts of grass and intermittent groups of boulders; if you get in amongst the boulders you end up looking at the next couple of meters rather than looking 20 meters ahead to pick the best line. I chose a line to the right of the tarn to pick up the walkers path up to High Spy, despite the fact that this ascent is runnable I made the decision to take it easy and save something in the tank for the section across Maiden Moor. The choice of line also worked well in that nestled behind a rock just beyond the stream crossing (eating his lunch) was Joss (Naylor), a knowing nod was exchanged and off I went energised by a blessing from the fell runners Pope.

Maiden Moor – what a pleasure; a flattish / slightly downhill cruise on softish ground with views of Derwentwater on your right, this is where I struggled last year, what a contrast to my recollection of this year – a testament to another year of experience and better race management. Soon the summit of Catbells comes into sight, a welcome site, not quite home yet, keep the concentration make sure you take the runners line on the penultimate descent, make sure you keep your arms pumping on the short ascent to the summit, remember to take a left down the rocks just after the summit, remember to relax on the grassy descent along the contour, set yourself up for the last section of road and the descent on the finish field and then check your watch – an 8 minute improvement on last year and that warm fuzzy feeling you get when a plan comes together.


King John’s castle – new fell race 24th sept 2011

New Fell Race 4.6 miles, 865ft ascent at 11am on 24th September 2011

King John’s Castle Fell Race


The Raven Inn (http://www.raveninn.co.uk/)
Llanarmon yn Ial (Map ref 190562) nr Mold

The course is suitable for all abilities
& marked for the whole distance

£4 entry fee payable on the day

For further details contact
John Linley
01352 771543

Directions: The village sits on the B5431 road, near the junction with the B5430, six miles south of the market town of Mold. In the centre of the village can be found a small, traditional village shop and the Raven Inn public house, the last of the many drovers’ inns that were once found in the village. Llanarmon is 2 miles from the A494, a main north–south trunk route, and 3 miles from the A525 and the A5104 roads.

The Raven Inn
Ffordd Rhiw Ial

Read more: http://helsbyrunningclub.proboards.com/index.cgi?board=fells&action=display&thread=52#ixzz1WcMaY8uZ

Midweek awayday at Chunal Fell

Inspired by Phil’s Hathersage birthday bash, I wanted to have a look at some more races further West. My very first fell race was the Kinder Downfall above Hayfield and I’ve always had  a soft spot for the Peak. So that was how I came to be racing Chunal Fell on Wednesday.

Battling it out with Pennine Rich after the first climb

This seemingly innocuous hill packed a terrier-like bite into its meagre statistics. I saw it described on the FRA forum as mixture of Herod Farm and Wormstones races, finding the worst of both! 4 miles and 950′ of climbing with some real brutal pulls on the ascent.

A quick glance at the BBC weather site in the afternoon gave a shower at 7pm. As if by magic it started to rain at 6:50pm for the 7pm start. That and a bit of waiting around for late arrivals made for a fairly low key start, with a fairly select field of 50 entries. I lined up with my old biking mate Rich, now running for Pennine, and that’s where we stayed, having a place swapping ding-dong over the rest of the course. I got him in the end.

The changeable weather made for a stunning final descent, with tired legs all heading to the finish neatly marked by the end of a rainbow. No pot of gold for this ageing runner though — 27th out of 50 and a time of 36’30. Aiming for top half next time!

An unexpected bonus was seeing Danny Chan, ex of this parish, on the start line. Dan’s running really well at the moment and enjoying Sheffield life. Tonight wasn’t his night though as he had to pull out at the furthest point with some weird problem with his leg (nerve complaint?). With at least two physios on hand at the finish, he’s already booked in for fixing. That’ll be the one time I ever beat him I think.

Good race, well marked, friendly, good course. One to come back to.


[Thanks to Glossop Ian for the pic, more on Picasaweb]

Green green grass of home fell counter results 27th july 2011

Hi all

‘The Green Green Grass of Home’, sounds like a pleasant evening run over the gentle rolling fields of Wales stated new fell runner Jayne before having a go at this popular midweek Moel Famau escapade.

Full commendation also goes to new Helsby member Adrian who only popped to the club to see if there was a vest for him and ended up being driven to his first fell race. Some people do jump right in! And what a night he had too heading home with a bottle of wine.

And how about this comment from Ed recently on our blog ‘There’s nothing more spiritually fulfilling than tanking it downhill only to have to turn around and trudge back up to the path you should have been on’.

So it wasn’t all plain sailing, there’s not much give in the course, running uphill, undulating paths, little time to enjoy the views, lots of ferns, tussocky undergrowth…..and some good downhills! But the one thing that was not lacking on the night were the smiles. Check this one out, looks like someone isn’t working hard enough! Good spot by Phil


Alistair took some great photos on the night, Joe mentioned the hazy golden sunset over Snowdonia as he marshalled and supported just below the summit of Moel Famau. After finishing the race, heartbeat slowing down, the warm evening air cooling down, you can really soak up the atmosphere of this location.


As well as Alistairs site, Pete Douglas was out taking photos and video also which should appear here shortly


However, star of the show and the night and now dominating the welsh fell runners website is Andy Smith wearing the Number 50 proudly signifying that he is now 18 years old with 32 years of experience. Race organiser had also brought along with him a cake for Andy and organised a fell running sing-a-long outside the Golden Lion. Great summary by Martin the race organiser on that site here. Full results will appear in time also.


Stunning performances on the night by all Helsby runners, which bodes well for our possible Helsby v Tattenhall v Spectrum Fell Challenge next year if it comes off. Jane was 5th lady overall and Jackie and Janet were age category winners, superb. (But Jane always appears to pick alcohol as her prize?) …. then again I guess the skateboarding gnome had already been taken. Albert showed his perpetual talent, an engine more powerful than his motorbikes that can push him to win on any terrain.

But there was some sad news, Paul Porter didn’t win a spot prize! However, looks like his luck rubbed off on Colin who picks up a technical training top instead.

123 runners in total, 15 of them Helsby, it’s a good number of Green shirts out on the fells this year and great to see. Thanks also to Mario who ran the course with Jayne. Helsby positions and places as below:

14th Adair Broughton 44.51
18th Jim O’Hara 46.21
38th Jane Ashbrook 54.19
44th Paul Porter 54.56
49th Phil Gillard 55.23
50th Janet Robertson 55.31
60th Edward Halliwell 56.13
73rd Jayne Joy 57.39
79th Albert Berry 58.49
85th Andy Smith 59.42
87th Colin Scarisbrook 60.52
89th Rachel Arnold 61.09
93rd Adrian Jackson 61.43
99th Jackie Keasley 64.03
119th Robbie Webster 74.01

It’s the Gyrn Gallop on Saturday but the Wednesday following the Pie and Peas will see the Ponderosa, another popular event for Helsby hitting the fells, so details to follow on that one



Moel y Gamelin

I think most who turned up here had done it before, which is curious really because you’d think knowing what was coming up would be a severe disincentive to coming back. Always a tough race with around 2400′ of climbing spread across 5 or more tops and 9.5 miles. The Llantysilio ridge is a real roller-coaster, no sooner is one climb over than you’re straight into a steep descent, and some of us at least found it hard to get into a rhythm.

The day was blessed with very warm weather, as it has been for the last few years, making the added water stops at the two road crossings very welcome. Helsby presences from Adair, Chris BH, Jim, Steve, Phil, Andy S & Jackie, with the usual high quality marshalling and vocal support from Joe. Good to see Robbie out as well doing his own thing earlier in the day, missing the worst of the heat.

13 1.25.58 Adair Broughton
21 1.32.00 Chris Baynham-Hughes
39 1.39.24 Jim O’Hara
56 1.46.00 Steve Riley
81 1.58.06 Phil Gillard
87 2.04.22 Andy Smith
91 2.11.07 Jackie Keasley

Full results over at wfra.co.uk

Put it in your diary for next year. And if I haven’t sold it you, put the date in anyway for a long weekend away elsewhere, for the guaranteed weather.

Fell counter 2 – Dinas Bran @ llangollen 6.45 wed 4th may

Hi all

Here is a link to some more information about the Dinas Bran race, Race 2 of our summer ‘Fell Race’ series this Wednesday @ Llangollen 6.45pm


At 4.3 miles and with total climbing of 1100ft it would be a great introduction to hill or fell running. With a laid back atmosphere and refreshments available I’m sure it would be an enjoyable night for all.

Some information on where you will be running too


Location is Ysgol Dinas Bran, Dinbren Road, Llangollen, Clwyd LL20 8TG

Ed has suggested a 5.45pm meet-up at the club for those intending to run.

Please note official start time is 6.45pm



Hotfoot up Moel Famau

Last Wednesday saw another outing on this friendly mid-week race, the first of the ‘Clwydian Summer Trots’ series. It goes a little something like this: up, down, up, down, uu-up, doWN. That big up is the horrendous stone gully leading almost to the top of Famau. Really we’ve run up there sufficient times to know better by now. It’s not a fit place to walk, let alone attempt to race. Nevertheless several Helsby vests were out for this great little race.

Some characteristically bonkers prizes from organiser Martin – a water pistol, chocolate, watering can and sleeping mat, amongst the usual beer and wine.

Helsby positions:

8 Adair Broughton Helsby 40.17

17 Jim O’Hara Helsby 43.38

23 Steve Riley Helsby 45.37

29 Jane Ashbrook Helsby 47.13

50 Chris Hatton Helsby 53.05

62 Robbie Webster Helsby 61.11

Jane came away with 2nd female prize and Jim took a spot prize for ‘most creative final descent’. Well done both! Full results from WFRA. and pics from www.prdouglas.co.uk


Rainow 5 fell race

A hearteningly strong showing from the green vests over at Rainow last night (a lovely village just outside Macclesfield, home to two ex members of New Order, the new Chancellor of the Exchequer and a Stone Rose, it says here).

A shortish race (5 miles), without too much climbing (750′), this is a fairly beginner-friendly event. Or depending on your perspective, short enough to make you feel obliged to really, really try. And consequently get really, really tired. Anyway, there were some good performances on a perfect evening for running, with Jane notably taking 3 minutes off last year and coming home with a prize, and Adair knocking a staggering 2 mins off last year, from what was already a good baseline.

Quite an undulating course with one short sharp grind up to the folly of White Nancy (built to commemorate the Battle of Waterloo, but this time witnessing a more friendly form of conflict).

Back in the second tier for the men, there was a veritable log-jam of green vests, with 4 of us battling away and finishing within about 10 places and another shortly behind. Strong support from Joe for all, poor bloke didn’t know who to cheer for hardest!

Running last night were:

13. Adair Broughton, 36m 20

37. Chris Baynham-Hughes, 40m 06

41. Steve Riley, 40m 44

43. Jim O’Hara, 41m

46. Ian Landucci, 41m 20

53. Jane Ashbrook, 42m 23

85. Chris Hatton, 46m 22

117. Andy Smith, 52m 54

132. Robbie Webster, 59m 31

Full results on the Macc site http://www.mh.k313.com/mh/index.php.

Pencil it in for next year if you fancy it – if you can do a Wednesday club hill run, you can do this.