2014/15 championship winners

We’re delighted to announce the following winners of the 2014 road and fell championships and the 2014/15 XC and Border’s League winners. Congratulation all on your trophies, representing a lot of dedication and hard work. Thanks also to everyone else for taking part — you’re all winners!

Roads Championship
2014 Men’s Champion Colin Thompson
2014 Men’s Runner Up Roy Gaskill
2014 Men’s Senior Winner Stephen Wiggins
2014 Men’s V40 Winner Dave Madders
2014 Men’s V50 Winner Ian Landucci
2014 Men’s V60 Winner Geoff Shaw
2014 Ladies Champion Joanne Lacking
2014 Ladies Runner Up Louise McEveley
2014 Ladies V50 Winner Carol Shaw
Fells Championship
2014 Men’s Champion Jim O’Hara
2014 Men’s Runner Up Phil Gillard
2014 Men’s Senior Winner Chris Baynham-Hughes
2014 Men’s V40 Winner Paul Foster
2014 Men’s V45 Winner Steve Riley
2014 Men’s V50 Winner Dave Feakes
2014 Men’s V60 Winner Mario Foschi
2014 Ladies Winner Rachel Arnold
2014 Ladies Runner Up Jackie Keasley
2014 Ladies V35 Winner Jane Ashbrook
2014 Ladies V45 Winner Janet Robertson
Cross Country Championship
2014/15 Men’s Champion Adrian Jackson
2014/15 Men’s 2nd place Steve Riley
2014/15 Men’s 3rd place Andy Smith
2014/15 Ladies Champion Jackie Keasley
2014/15 Ladies 2nd place Jane Ashbrook
2014/15 Ladies jnt 3rd place Janet Robertson
2014/15 Ladies jnt 3rd place Vanessa Griffiths
Borders League
2014/15 Men’s Champion Colin Thompson
2014/15 Men’s 2nd place Colin Bishop
2014/15 Men’s 3rd place Adam Gordon
2014/15 Ladies Champion Carol Shaw
2014/15 Ladies 2nd place Joanne Lacking
2014/15 Ladies 3rd place Shan McCarthy
Club Champions
2014/15 Men’s Club Champion Colin Thompson
2014/15 Ladies Club Champion Joanne Lacking
2014/15 Most Improved Man Colin Bishop
2014/15 Most Improved Lady Emma Barnes
2014/15 Greatest Comeback Adrian Jackson
2014/15 Joe Beswick Runner’s Runner Steve Wiggins

The full spreadsheet is here, together with previous winners – Helsby Champs 2014-2015

Club champions back to 1980

Champion!Download the complete list of club champions since 1980 — men’s, women’s, road, fell, xc, Border’s League as well as summer and winter handicap winners and winners of the Joe Beswick trophy for services to the club.

Helsby Champions since 1980

I’ve added a new page to the menu on the left, but for anyone who might not see it there, I’ve put it up as a news story too. Let me know if you have any missing information (eg names for the summer handicap winners for 2009 and 2011).


Very new news – Jayne Joy picked for England!

ImagePardon the interruption — we’ve just heard this morning that our grinning off-road specialist Jayne Joy has been picked for an England vest!

More details when we have them but everyone from Helsby couldn’t be happier. A great supporter of the club, an unassuming winner with great spirit — Jayne is always just as interested in what happens to us donkeys at the gruntier end of the field as the thoroughbreds at the front. Well done!

The picture shows her in typical form, happy but grafting hard, from last week’s inter-counties fell championships where she came in first Cheshire and 6th overall against top opposition. Anyone new to the club might be surprised to learn that she only started running around 3 years ago. Go Jayne.


Pic: Thanks to Adair, from the runhelsby flickr.

Joss Naylor Challenge

He’s done it! Andy Robinson writes:

Joss Naylor Lakeland Challenge, 22 July 2011

This was the run I’d been training for since the beginning of January. It was why I’ve been running reps up and down Frodsham Hill, and why I’ve been running longer events than usual all year. My first attempt at the end of May was battered into failure by driving rain, and I didn’t really know what to expect this time: the weather had been awful for days, but the forecast was for gradual improvement with showers and cloud. And I really didn’t know whether I was up to the task even if the weather was good. But yesterday it all went right. My target was 15 hours, and I got under this by over an hour, finishing at Joss Naylor’s house in Wasdale 13 hours 56 minutes after leaving Pooley Bridge.

Living legend Andy Robinson, Joss Naylor, lives in The Lakes

For those of you who don’t know, the JNLC is a challenge run set by Joss Naylor for the more mature runner. Men over 50 must complete in 12 hours, over 55s have 15 hours, over 60s 18 hours, and over 65s have 24 hours. Women get a bit longer. It’s not the sort of challenge most over 50s would have on their ‘must do’ list, as you would expect from a challenge devised by Joss. It’s the equivalent of about 2/3 of a Bob Graham round, being around 45 miles long, with 17,000 feet of climbing. It crosses the tops of 30 fells, including High Street, Fairfield, Bowfell, Great End, Great Gable and Pillar, finishing with a great runnable descent off Middle Fell to end at Greendale Bridge by Joss Naylor’s farmhouse. To qualify for an invitation to the October dinner to be presented with a tankard your run must be witnessed by pacers, and you must collect at least £100 in sponsorship money for charity. I’ll be coming after you all for the money you promised once I’m back from my family holiday (Wed 17 August I should think).

The alarm went off at 4am in the bunkhouse in Glenridding, and Chris and I got ready to go, mainly involving eating and a brew. 15 minutes’ driving and we were parking up at Pooley Bridge, and at 5 on the dot we headed off up the fells to run the ridge south to High Street. It was so different this time – no rain no wind in our faces, and we could actually see the fells. And no sign of the promised showers, in fact I was running in shorts and t-shirt all day. At the end of the ridge we faced the steep pull up Stony Cove Pike, then raced down to Kirkstone Pass arriving 15 minutes up on schedule. There was no sign of the promised reception party (which would have been a brief ‘well done’ and a handshake as we ran past), so we started on the path up Red Screes, shortly hearing a shout from the car park – he’d missed us as we were early. We shouted back, but that’s all – we had to press on, up the steep side of Red Screes. Easier running followed, up to Hart Crag and then Fairfield, the only two tops we crossed in cloud. At about this time Joss Naylor was tending to sheep in Middle Fell and got drenched by a heavy shower, but we didn’t get a drop. Down the scree path then steeply up Seat Sandal and a good run down and we were at Dunmail Raise, meeting up with Julian, Bryan, and Bryan’s dog Holly. I was 25 minutes up on schedule by this time, but starting to feel pretty tired.

No stopping, and Bryan led up the hardest climb of all, desperately steep up Steel Fell. Our routefinding wasn’t perfect from here to High Raise, but we only lost a few minutes, then down to Stake Pass, Rossett Pike and the Bob Graham route up Bowfell. I was feeling pretty rough on this section, and Bryan had to coax me along. I recovered well on the easy section to Esk Pike and Great End, and we scampered down the steep descent to Sty Head, arriving 30 minutes up. Peter was waiting for us there. Again no stopping, and it was straight up the tourist route to Great Gable, a steep unrelenting climb, but I was feeling quite good and kept up a good pace, hands on my knees at times. This was familiar ground, and at last I started to believe I was going to finish. It had been hard work hanging on to that for a while. At Beck Head we were unexpectedly met by Chris and Julian, who had walked up from Wasdale, and Julian joined us for the rest of the way. Kirk Fell was OK, and on the top we caught up Peter’s wife Sheila and Alan, who were out recce-ing the route themselves, bring the party up to 6. The long pull up Pillar wasn’t too bad, as I’d done it not long before and knew what to expect. Easy ground followed to Scoat Fell and Steeple, and the run down towards Haycock is always good. I started feeling the strain again on the steep pull up Haycock though, and didn’t speak much from then on. I could hardly eat and even sips of water were hard to swallow. The descent from Haycock is on grass so that wasn’t too bad, then we crossed the boggy depression to the foot of Seatallan, getting our feet wet for the first time. I doubt anyone’s ever got across there in running shoes without getting wet feet. The steep climb up Seatallan I was dreading after my experience recceing, but I plodded up, and it wasn’t so bad. I suppose it was because I was so close to the end and half in dreamland. At the top someone said “if you can keep going you might get under 14 hours”, so we belted down the side of Seatallan, up Middle Fell and down to Greendale Bridge, beating 14 hours by just 4 minutes. My pacers were great: I’d have really struggled to finish without them. As it was, we finished in style, racing down the hillside.

I lay down on the grass and closed my eyes, so grateful at being able to stop at last. Then “the big man’s coming”, so I got up, to be welcomed by Joss Naylor. Chris took a couple of photos, and we chatted to a while, then Joss went off to bring me back a pint mug of tea – no tea ever went down better. Half an hour more standing around talking, then we headed off home to collapse. This was the hardest run I’ve ever done, and a tremendous outing. I won’t forget it for a long time.

Steph Charman champ of cheshire!

Just a quick Big Up for Steph Charman, ex of this parish, whom many of you will know. She came away from the Cloud 9 fell race (and Cheshire Championship race) with her age category. Well done Steph!

And looking at the results, Mick Charman has also made a return to racing! Go well Mick.

Monday hill training

Andy Robinson writes to let us know about a new service from the club for slackers, part-timers, the retired and the non-gainfully employed[1] …the Monday morning hill session.

The format is simple: Monday mornings, 9:30, at the corner of the woods above the Ring o’ Bells, Overton (Frodsham).  Look for Middle Walk on the map, just off Bellemonte Road.

All we do is run up and down the Sandstone Trail zig-zags to the monument & back. It’s 60 metres of climbing per rep, and very good training for fell races. Contact me, Jackie or Janet beforehand to check who’s likely to be there.

As Andy says, it’s great training for the fells and equally good for anyone wanting to add a bit of leg strength. This kind of thing has been called speedwork in disguise by some coaches. Ideal for all abilities, you’re guaranteed to benefit however many you do or however fast you feel like going.  Good for a mixed group, you’ll find yourself doing your own thing and exchanging sympathetic glances as you pass each other on the way up and down, doing their own thing.


[1] just jealous because until recently I was in that group and able to enjoy the joys of the daytime session.

Ponderosa fell counter – results

Wednesday night saw one of the Clubs more popular ‘fell races’. The Ponderosa Hill Race. Direct link to results can be found here:

Helsby positions and times as below

13th     Adair Broughton           28.56
16th     Chris Baynham-Hughes 29.40
19th     Jim O’Hara                   30.35
35th     Ian Landucci                 32.35
54th     Jane Ashbrook              35.23
64th     Phil Gillard                    35.56
70th     Alec Robertson            36.35
103rd   Jackie Keasley             41.45
111th   Robbie Webster           45.21

With what was a record turnout of 118 runners to make their achievements all the more spectacular, two Helsby runners enjoyed their place on the Ponderosa Podium in 1st Place.

Well done to both Jane and Alec continuing the impressive winning streak. If I am not mistaken I think both these runners have now had two victories apiece in two races!

Joe gave some great hillside support as always, noticing how tightly the Helsby front runners were packing at the top of the first climb. It looks like next season will have some very close battles in the fell races. So please come along and be a part of it!

When  photos become available of the Ponderosa I will post an edit on the Helsby blog. Comments and thoughts always welcome!


Comedy evening on the fells

Green green grass of homeLast week’s Green Grass of Home race provided a hugely entertaining finish for bewildered border runners. A popular mid-week race, the Green Grass keeps everyone on their toes (with consequent aching calves) by changing the route every year. This year was a tough one.

Hardened fell runners and experienced mountain folk that we are meant that few had bothered to memorise the map beforehand, preferring the normally reliable strategy of “it’ll all work out somehow”, with a small side order of “there’s always someone to follow”, for those of us accustomed to the more sedate end of the field. Thus we set off.

There was some climbing, some more climbing, a bit of traversing (some friendly marshalling from stalwarts Joe and Mario), a bit of descending, a bit of godawful flogging through featureless gorse, bracken and tussocky grass. Even the sheep had more sense than to provide us with a trod to follow here.

The blessed relief of the end of this section saw more open ground and wishful thinking led to many runners seeing what they wanted to see and following a path leading gently over the brow and hence down to the finish. Those of a more pessimistic nature glanced up the steep and unpleasant hillside to see the telltale sign of a flash of marker tape. We accepted our fate and turned up the climb.

We climbed and climbed some more. Eventually there was a narrow singletrack path leading almost levelly up and across the hill. Away from the finish. We were almost too tired to run on level ground here. Eventually we found Joe. Again. Nice that someone from the club was enjoying himself. More climbing. More pathless featureless difficult ground. Then a descent. A steep one at that, lots of ankle snaffling vegetation to worry about, or not, depending on your descending prowess. Eventually we popped out on the stony track we’d left some 45 minutes earlier on the ascent and a fast drop to the finish. Where we found the slack group looking remarkably fresh having been back for some time. The realisation began to hit as it became clear what had happened. Most people were remarkably relaxed about the confusion, I only heard a couple of cross voices. Everyone had a nice run after all. Just some people chose to cut the race a bit shorter.

Martin took the sage decision to swiftly reclassify the race into ‘short’ and ‘long’ versions, generously giving two sets of his always-amusing prizes.

The moral of the story is to never, never underestimate the hills. They can be cruel and unforgiving. Always be prepared for the worst and follow someone who know where they are going.

Helsby long (5m/1800′):
16 Steve Riley 53.01
29 Phil Gillard 59.15
30 Alec Robertson 59.27

Helsby short (4m/1400′):
9 Adair Broughton 37.04
15 Jim O’Hara 39.56

Nice try lads 🙂

Results and pics on the wfra site.
Thanks to Al Tye for the pic of Phil and Alec above and for Martin Cortvriend for taking it all on the chin.

Danny Chan at Coiners

Another great run by Danny sees him with 3rd place at the Coiners Fell Race

Results now out


full information can be found here


Some photos of the day here


Wray Caton Fell Race

Thanks to Phil Gillard for providing a great write-up of the Bank Holiday Wray Caton Fell Race and for Mick Charman for providing the photos included in this article…

Training for the Three Peaks Yacht race takes over your life and despite the fantastic support of your nearest and dearest there are compromises that have to be negotiated, so having spent Saturday and Sunday either on the water or the fells, the Wray Caton race was one of those compromises.

The village of Wray is a lovely community set about 8 miles east of the the M6 near Lancaster, every year they hold a scarecrow festival and a fell race is held as part of the festival, so an ideal recipe for your family to have a look around the show in the sunshine and by the time they know it, you are back from the race and able to resume your domestic duties.

The race starts from the centre of the village with plenty of spectators to cheer you on, the first part of the race reminded me a little bit of Snowdon with a steep incline on the road followed by a left turn onto an undulating run to the fell gate. Upon entering the fell the ground softens up with a runnable incline up to the turnaround point, it was good to Mick Charman about halfway up the incline at two miles, marshalling and taking photos. The descent is one of the best; spongy soft ground, a steady gradient which forces you to open your legs and very little in the way of rocks or other hard hazards

Making your way back via the fell gate you can see and hear the festival which really gives you that little kick to take a couple more places as you descend into a wooded valley, cross the stream and enter the show field to the finish

It was great to see another Helsby vest in the form of Chris Hatton and a lot of our friends from Spectrum – this race was one of their counters

Full Results here: http://www.wrayvillage.co.uk/rptResult.html