Four Villages charity donations

A big thank you to everyone who opted to donate their refund from the 2015 Essar Four Villages Half Marathon to our charity partners.

We’re delighted to announce we’ve been able to donate over £25,000 to local groups involved in the race and our two local hospices, Halton Haven Hospice in Runcorn and the Hospice of the Good Shepherd in Chester. We’ve already had fantastic feedback on the difference this money will make to these organisations. So a big thank you again.

We’re now planning for 2016 and are making some changes to try to ensure the weather doesn’t beat us again. As you may remember, we asked all 2015 entrants if it should be moved to later in the year. Around 1,500 entrants responded and over 70% wanted it to remain in January.

We’re pleased to let you know next year’s race will take place on Sunday 17 January 2016. Entries open 1 October 2015. Check back in September for entry details. We hope to welcome you again to our race in January.

Best wishes,

The Helsby Four Villages Half Marathon Team


Four villages (almost!) full

Entries are now closed as the race nears its race limit. There are a handful of invites and manual entries to take care of. After that the race will reopen for the final few of places (less than 50). These places will again be via the Fabian website as before.

You can check you’re on the existing start list here:

See you in January!

Essar four villages half marathon on Facebook

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Four villages half marathon

Four villages half marathon 2013

Joy - Four Villages Half MarathonThe race was cancelled because of the weather and you should have had email updates. We still have a few reduced T-shirts for sale and commemorative finisher’s mugs for anyone that wants to collect or cover the postage.

One of our goals has always been to support local community groups and charities. Many runners have been in touch to ask that their money be donated to charity. Thank you!  We’ll be back!

The refund window has now closed.

Pic courtesy of Mick Hall photos.

Helsby runners results

Hi all

Well what a day that was and what a good feeling to be able to send out results with so many names on!

Don’t really need to describe the weather though…, a bit windy should do it, but it didn’t seem to deter many of the Helsby contingent producing great times in the conditions. I know it was Jayne’s , Adrian’s and Hannah’s first foray into the half marathon so hearty congratulations for them producing very impressive times to now build on. Dave Feakes, wearing the elegant number 50, isn’t convincing anyone that he reached that category today, not with the PB he secured! Well done also to Jane Ashbrook for a 2nd place in her category.

Unfortunately I didn’t manage to speak to everyone today so if there any more PB’s out there or tales to tell please let me know and I’ll get this report updated for the blog. Photo links on other blog reports or twitter/runhelsby

And I should really reiterate what so many people have said today, that it’s with lots of hard work from many individuals, and some in particular, that the Helsby half is continually so successful. It’s a real honour to be part of a club that has people with so much commitment, drive and energy and I think the enthusiasm now evident at the club is clear for all to see.

Great support round the course too

Results for the Historic Helsby Half 2012 below

Individual results for Helsby runners extracted below (if I’ve missed anyone please let me know!). I’ve used gun position and time for this so check your chip times as they’ll be quicker!

24th         Adair Broughton               1.17.49
144th      Ian Landucci                       1.28.26
153rd      Chris Baynham-Hughes 1.28.52
191st       Jim O’Hara                          1.30.22
231st       Jane Ashbrook                  1.31.51  (2nd in age category!)
269th      Ivan Davies                         1.33.06
289th      Jayne Joy                             1.34.03
307th      Ed Halliwell                         1.34.33
311th      Paul Porter                         1.34.37
332nd      Gareth Boyd                      1.35.43
336th      Alex Fitzmaurice               1.35.49
404th      Steve Riley                          1.37.49
445th      Dave Feakes                      1.38.54
460th      Geoff Shaw                        1.39.03
462nd      Adrian Jackson                  1.39.04
560th      Carol Shaw                          1.41.32
624th      Albert Berry                       1.43.35
670th      Hannah Hughes                1.44.49
793rd      Lesley Feakes                    1.48.05
958th      Chris Igoe                            1.52.47
969th      Dave Madders                  1.53.00
996th      John Thompson                1.53.55
1000th    Alison Meakin                   1.53.57
1184th    Nesta Hawker                   1.59.55
1224th    Betty Grieve                      2.01.27
1275th    Liz Dobson                          2.03.39
1423       Peter Causton                   2.11.07
1426th    Kay Pirali                              2.11.15
1487th    Ivor Johnstone                  2.15.49
1622nd   Kevin Bell                            4.04.28
However, the highlight and performance of the day surely goes to Kevin Bell for completing what is a record breaking 31st Helsby Half marathon in 4 hours 4min and 28 seconds. Kevin was determined to finish and shows not just what this race can mean to individuals but also acts as testament to their character. I think this in itself puts a great perspective on all our performances on the day. I’ve also been informed that Kevin’s wife may well be bringing along his collection of medals one night after a Wednesday run which will be great to see.

Keep on running


Four villages festival of wind and running

Thanks to all our marshalls, volunteers, runners and spectators. Another brilliant event!

Some tough running conditions saw a Tipton Harriers 1-2 in the Helsby Four Villages Half Marathon this weekend. Martin Williams lead home the field in 1:08:32, with 89 seconds in hand over team mate Ben Gamble, who improved on two 4ths and two 3rds in consecutive previous years (albeit in a slower time, giving some idea of the conditions). Christian Prior, City of Chester Triathlon, completing the podium and first from a local club, a further 28 seconds behind.

This was the 31st edition of a highly regarded opener to many people’s season. The first race was established as a local answer to the first London Marathon. Both events draw an incredibly loyal and friendly crowd, with the Four Villages ever popular with north west club runners as well as attracting high quality club entrants from further afield, together with a healthy cohort of civilians.

In the women’s race local Gemma Connolly was first home in 1:21:05, improving on last year’s 4th, followed by Belgrave’s Louise Blizzard just 4 places behind and first F40, getting closer to a PB time set 8 years ago. Completing the trio another travelling runner, this time from the East Midlands, Nicki Nealin of Huncote Harriers (another strong F40).

The strong and blustery winds and an exposed course, meant that the course record was never under threat. Nevertheless further down the field were numerous PBs — including Adair Broughton first from host club Helsby RC in 24th with 1:17:49 — on what’s never an easy course. The steady climbing from mile 7 to 10 normally finds out any weakness in legs nearing their limit.

Despite the unpredictable wind, the weather gave us a good temperatures for running and a massive improvement on some forecasts. A personal highlight was seeing clubmate Dave Feakes get a pretty respectable PB on his 50th birthday. A great race, that always gets good feedback. Here’s to the next one!

Steve Riley

More pics at

Dave Pinnington’s pics on Flickr

Results and event video over on the main site at


Women’s results
Gemma Connolly 01:21:05 St Helens Sutton (55th overall)
Louise Blizzard 1:22:00 Belgrave Harriers (59)
Nicki Nealin 1:23:32 Huncote Harriers (70)

Men’s results
Martin Williams 1:08:32 Tipton Harriers
Ben Gamble 1:10:01 Tipton Harriers
Christian Prior 1:10:29(PB) City of Chester Triathlon Club

Four villages buffs now on eBay

The most excellent Four Villages Buffs are now available on eBay. Already being seen around as the apres-race accessory for the discerning runner. These are genuine buffs, generally retailing at 13 or 14 quid, in a never-to-be-repeated 30th anniversary commemorative design.

Fill your boots over at eBay, where you can pay the frankly ridiculous sum of £7.50 for this cult item. And it’s post free.

I was Buff-sceptic, till I tried one. It’s a really functional bit of kit, taking up almost zero space in your pack. I’d recommend getting a spare in case yours is requisitioned elsewhere.

Shell four villages half marathon

Another fantastic running of this great run, now in its 30th year (that’s the same birthday as the London Marathon fact fans!). Growing from strength to strength from around a 100 runners in 1982, the race now boasts a reputation for smooth organisation, always gets great ratings, and always sells out quickly. The Helsby Half, as it is affectionately known, has just been voted no7 in the Runner’s World list of Britain’s favourite half marathons.

Sunday 23 January saw a 2000 entry running the scenic course around the Cheshire plain …although those struggling up the long drags between miles 8 and 11, would probably argue with that description! There is some payback for tired legs in a big downhill to the 12 mile marker and a fast, flat run in to the finish.

This year’s half was the first event in the Cheshire GP and included a strong contingent of local, county and national standard club athletes, as well as a healthy contingent of just under 50% ‘have-a-go’ weekend warriors.

Edinburgh AC runner Neil Renault came home first in a quick time of 1:05:55, closely followed by Tipton’s Michael Aspinall at 1:06:05 and Altrincham’s Dave Norman in 1:07:34. Several athletes came into the race strong and confident and there was some talk of the course record going. As it was Carl Warren’s 2002 time of 1:04:36 was safe for another year.

Stoke’s Michelle Ross-Cope came in first woman, first F35 and 18th overall with a time of 1:14:31, followed by Sarah Harris (Long Eaton) 1:14:50 – another close battle – and Louise Gardener (Lancaster and Morecambe) with 1:16:52.

Further down the field numerous PBs were broken (including your author’s) on what was a great day for running, featuring cool-ish temperatures in the low single digits, with dry and windless conditions.

The race also featured an unusual world record (world’s best to be strictly accurate). Personal trainer and ex-marine Lee Riley is chasing the world record at London for running the marathon with a 40lb rucsac. Today at Helsby he showed the form he’s in by posting a world-beating time of 1h41, knocking over 2 minutes from the previous best. Well done, more about Lee at

More on Helsby Running Club: (with results) and

New members are very welcome from amongst the army of unattached local runners that always make this a great local event!

Thanks as ever to our regular sponsors Shell, Asics and Running Bear and thanks also to our more recent backers Maxifuel and Northern Running Guide.


Results over on the Helsby Running Club main site

More pics:
Official Mick Hall photos
Runner/photographer Steve Angus
Mick Charman’s Flickr site

Four villages half marathon 2011

The 2011 Helsby Half is full and there’s no waiting list. This is our 30th running of this fantastic event — we’d be delighted if you could help make it special. Do you have any stories big or small from the race? Something amusing from an early race? A special meaning for you? Perhaps you’ve run the event many times and have a story to tell with your times. Please email or leave a comment below. Thanks!

Update: cancellations have been filled and the window for transfers closed 17 Jan. We need the remaining time to get the data in shape to help ensure all our runners have an enjoyable experience on the day.